Updates today: Thanks to KGO TV (ABC-7) for joining with KRON TV in airing our three TV PSAs featuring Donny Lumpkins, Michael Capozzola and Harry Denton. Also, thanks to the Castro Theatre who today agreed to post a "GO HOME" message on their marquee on Halloween to anyone who doesn't QUITE get the message.
If your host suddenly made it clear you weren't welcome at their party, would you REALLY want to stay? And, if you SHOWED UP ANYWAY wouldn't the host be justified in compelling you to LEAVE?
"I want the Halloween to be like it used to be," someone said to me today. It reminded me of my grandmother's wise words when I was a child and would answer each bit of her sage advice with "if" or "but". Her response:
"If ifs and buts were candies and nuts, we'd all have a Merry Christmas" (or in this case, Happy Halloween). Her point: deal with reality.
Reality is this folks: 9 people got shot last year during an event which has grown too large for the Castro and so -- the official Halloween Party in the Castro this year has been CANCELLED.
HALLOWEEN itself has not been cancelled, but the days of the City (and Castro residents) saying "come on down, the Castro is fine" on October 31st are over -- OVER. The days of "let's build a stage and ENCOURAGE 100,000 people to overwhelm our little mainly residential and small business district with drunken and disorderly conduct during the night time hours" are OVER. The days of Castro residents and business owners (gay and non-gay) dealing with insulting behavior are OVER.
Here's a thoughtful "non-yelling" email I received today. With the permission of the writer, I share it here, and my response.
I also live in the Castro and can't believe that "Home for Halloween" had any test marketing to ensure the message would be identified with by the target audience. Given the fact you only had a week to develop the campaign I understand the limitations you must have been working under.
Do you really think the list of events on homeforhalloween.com will discourage people from coming to the Castro? Ballroom dancing, I hate Hamlet etc. Not the same as Halloween in the Castro.
With that said I do have a couple of specific questions.
Home for Halloween campaign is expected to influence how many people from not coming to the Castro?
Who approved the final campaign?
When and how often will the PSA run?
You stated CBO's would be targeted and given flyer's to distribute and or post...can you provide a list of these CBO's?
Thank you for your help and efforts to make Castro safe this Halloween.
Darrin (A Castro resident)
My response, to good questions:Darrin --- first off, please call me David. I so enjoy meeting other neighbors! Second, thanks for taking the time to write, and for your kind email. We're all doing the very best we can -- with admittedly a shorter time frame than one would like -- to keep Castro (and every neighborhood) safe on Halloween. Lemme' see if I can answer your questions.
1) The Home for Halloween campaign is expected to influence how many people from not coming to the Castro? The answer: as many as possible. There is simply no way to guage that. However, based on past experience (and our work in 1995 with the Halloween in Civic Center initiative on which I worked with CUAV and the City), any message of "don't come" sent out widely and frequently will have an impact. The less people the better is the hope. But, also, we're hoping through what is also an admittedly "tough love/don't come" campaign to make sure that those people who might come to the Castro intent on doing harm, or not respecting our community, understand that Probation Officials, Police, CHiP (doing DUI screenings), and other safety personnel will be out in FORCE (with a much stronger presence than last year) so hopefully they will think twice about coming this year. Then, on November 1st we can start planning for next year.
2) Who approved the final campaign?
Answer: The SF Convention & Visitors Bureau working in concert with the Mayor's Office and public safety officials.
3) When and how often will the PSA run?
Answer:The PSA has started airing already on KRON 4 and via online sites such as "YouTube". We're expecting other TV / Radio venues to pick it up beginning today. PSA running schedules are based on the station's availability and desire. Having said that, we believe they'll air an aggressive flight for these ads.
4) You stated CBO's would be targeted and given flyer's to distribute and or post...can you provide a list of these CBO's?
Answer: There is a list of those businessness who have agreed to close on the site. We'll be distributing to them and any-and-all other businesses in the Castro. We're approaching businesses one-by-one on a daily basis.
5) Do you really think the list of events on homeforhalloween.com will discourage people from coming to the Castro? Ballroom dancing, I hate Hamlet etc. Not the same as Halloween in the Castro.
Answer: I do - I think it will discourage SOME. No one expects Castro to be empty on Halloween night. This is a vibrant, lively neighborhood. This is a double-edged sword campaign for sure, and a tricky one. However, I'm encouraged by the response and an optimist by nature. My guiding principal hinges on the words of Benjamin Franklin: "I prepare for the worst. That way, if the best happens, I am delightfully surprised."
I've been delightfully surprised this week by how many people have reached out to this campaign with the same thought in mind: How can I keep the Castro safe. How can I keep my HOME safe for Halloween?
I'm happy to talk. But yelling isn't terribly productive at this point. To quote a sage philosopher: "Anger is fear announced." So -- I vote for a bit less yelling, a little less fear and a LOT more productive support of this effort.