Halloween in the Castro, etc.


  As a Castro resident, I say leave the event alone! People who don't feel safe on that night, or want peace and quiet, should plan to stay indoors or be out of the area. It's only once a year for heaven's sake. If they can't handle that, they should move to the suburbs and bring a bit of sanity back to our housing prices instead of trying to ruin it for a quarter million people trying to have a good time.

  And why is 250,000 people and one stabbing here versus 20,000 people and seven stabbings in San Jose *not* an indication that Halloween in the Castro is a successful event? Insisting that large-scale events happen without any injury or harm to anyone is not realistic and you know it. There will always be some problem behavior -- if the stabbing hadn't happened there that night because the party was elsewhere, the perpetrator could just as easily have stabbed somebody somewhere else. Maybe more people would have been stabbed without the mellowing effect of the Castro vibe on Halloween revelers. Would it be any less of a tragedy, simply because it didn't happen in our neighborhood? No.

  As far as public safety, government officials have plenty to do to get their own house in order before trying to rain on other peoples' parades. Have you seen how badly some of the streets are paved? Talk about asking for serious injuries! The fact that Proposition B failed despite this obvious neglect shows that people are sick of taxes continually being raised to pay for basic maintenance, and they want the city to get the job done by budgeting responsibly with the money they're already collecting (i.e. stealing from taxpayers). Please stop going after pot users and go after potholes! Too bad there will be less cash to go around after the city has to pay for defending the misguided firearms ban that you co-sponsored -- another threat to public safety, since we can expect to see a rise in violent crime as has occurred in other locales that adopted gun control, if the courts don't toss that bit of Chris Daly grandstanding out first.

  This town is suffocating under an epidemic of NIMBYism. It would be fitting if the Board of Supervisors adopted Oscar the Grouch as the city mascot, considering how closely that character's attitudes are reflected in some of SF's more vocal and politically active residents. Shame on you if you pander to them and detract yet further from San Francisco being the daring, fun-loving city unafraid of change that it once was and could become again.

      <<< Starchild >>>
Outreach Director, Libertarian Party of San Francisco
Board Member, San Francisco Taxpayers Union
Member, Americans for Safe Access
Member, Sex Workers Outreach Project
Member, San Francisco Pink Pistols

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Halloween in the Castro Community Meeting

Wednesday, November 30 at 6:00 p.m. at Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy Elementary School (4235 19th Street @ Collingwood).

Over the past three years I have led a City-Community effort to reclaim Halloween for the neighborhood as a safe and fun event. Pre-2003 it was an un-permitted event without adequate security, traffic control or an entertainment focus. There was significant violence.

This year, I worked with SFPD in the emergency access lanes until 3:00 a.m. Halloween and returned with DPW Street Sweeping Crews at 7:00 a.m.to carefully clean up. Many complimented DPW's herculean effort to clean affected blocks (Kudos to Mohammed Nuru!).

We hoped a Monday would draw fewer attendees; however the balmy weather drew a crowd in excess of 250,000 overwhelmingly from outside the neighborhood. Clearly there were problems.

Before 2003, people came whether there was a plan or not. We've tried to plan hoping it would bring in the good celebrants and keep out the bad actors. That is not happening and I am not sure there is any way to make it happen. I am open to all ideas including how to dissuade people from coming to the Castro. I received a good deal of positive feedback but many others felt menaced in their own neighborhood and believe the event is simply too large for a neighborhood venue.

You are encouraged to either attend this meeting or e-mail me your feedback and ideas (bevan.dufty@...). I want to thank the City Departments, Neighborhood leaders and Community groups who worked so hard over many months. These is some solace that San Jose had only 20,000 attendees, but seven stabbings. But this is surely not the measure of success.