Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A Night at City Hall

Three weeks from tonight, we'll see how people respond to our public safety message urging people to stay "Home for Halloween" and NOT come to the Castro.

Tonight, picked up the three TV PSAs just in time to "debut" them at the weekly San Francisco Police Commission Meeting. Commission President Theresa Sparks led a thoughtful -- and often passionate -- meeting about how people feel about the Castro Halloween being cancelled.

After about two hours of back-and-forth, Commission Vice President Joe Marshall said: "Can't we all agree -- whatever side of the issue you're on -- that this is about public safety? Can't we all come together around that?" I hope he'll understand when I say I could have kissed him.

Some of the "No Halloween in the Castro" opposition seemed to slink down a bit in their chairs - they should have. Three weeks from Halloween is not the time to talk about "might have beens" and "what would have beens." Now is the time to support the City's efforts at keeping the Castro safe.

Hats off to SFPD Chief Heather Fong and her cadre of captains, sergeants and officers: a finer, harder working group of civic professionals don't exist ANYWHERE. I wish everyone could hear and listen to the behind-the-scenes professionalism exhibited by these people everyday. It's a thankless job, so I'll thank them here. If the Castro is safe, quiet and reasonable on October 31, it will be mainly thanks to their efforts. They've been planning for every exigency for months. Hopefully, tonight's Commission meeting answered many valid questions and concerns. Also, hopefully, those who came in "nay saying" left with a bit of Vice President Marshall's words ringing in their ears.

New tally: 20 Castro businesses have agreed to close. There will be more by Halloween and they should each be thanked individually for their civic spirit.

"I know I'm not popular with some people here," said one Castro resident at tonight's Commission meeting. "But, I applaud the City's efforts to shut down this party and support what they're trying to do."

Then, he recounted an especially troubling account of non-Castro-residents verbally abusing him with a homophobic tirade -- literally -- on his front steps.

After hearing that, how ANYONE could oppose the efforts to stop this madness is quite beyond me.This is NOT what Halloween in the Castro was supposed to be. But, it IS what Halloween in the Castro has become. Sorry folks - but the time has passed for complaints about "should we cancel the party" in the Castro. The decision has been made. So -- get on board and help us unite around the ONE issue we all agree on: a safe Halloween this year in the Castro.

Below: a "YouTube" link to one of our PSA "stars" -- Harry "Starlight Room" Denton. Now, there's a guy who knows a fun, safe party when he sees one and THROWS one. Thanks Harry - you're a star AND a hero. Hats off.

more anon,