Whew - what a long day, but one which ended on a high note, followed by post "Talk Show" sushi (and a well-shaken "Martuni's" martini). Thankgs to Craig Udit, host/producer of "SF TalkBack" on SFAccess, Cable Channel 29. Craig dropped me an e-line on Sunday saying he was a "skeptic" about the HomeForHalloween campaign, but willing to talk. Would I like to come onto his life call-in show, "SF TalkBack."
I think this is what they call "retail politics". :-)
Besides being thoughtful, well-produced and well-informed, Craig's show is really what public-access TV is all about: creating dialogue in the community around important issues. I was supposed to chat for 15 minutes, which quickly stretched to a 30 minute discussion about the evolution of Halloween in the Castro, how our "No Halloween in the Castro" efforts came about, and what they hope to accomplish. Thanks Craig -- tonight was my first time enjoying your show, but not my last as a viewer. Here's to keeping the spirit of public debate alive. (Note to blog readers: a digital link to the interview will be posted here tomorrow)
To go backwards in time, the day started early: popping awake at 4:31am with visions of Halloween, press calls and flyer-distribution deadlines dancing in my head. This campaign, like any with high stakes, can consume one. By 10am, I was wide awake and at the weekly meeting with the SFPD and other City Department heads. There will be two more such meetings, right up 'til the day before Halloween. This is the meeting where all the details get hashed out; where are the "unaskable questions" get asked and then answered through true "team work" and cooperation. I've said it before, but I'll say it again: if those skeptics of the Home For Halloween effort could experience just a few minutes of this meeting, they wouldn't doubt how seriously the City takes its responsibility for the public welfare.
Tomorrow, the Castro Theatre will have its banner: a clear message 16' wide and 3' tall proclaiming "Home for Halloween YES; Castro NO." This weekend, flyers/posters start showing up around the Bay Area, and radio PSAs hit the airwaves. People ARE getting the message.
Will they heed it? We'll see: I know many will -- and hopefully they will tell others.
Here's the fact folks: The Castro is tired of playing host to other people's partying. The party has been CANCELLED. We respectfully invite others to stay home for Halloween and invite their friends to do the same with celebrations in THEIR home neighborhoods. The Castro isn't a petting zoo: it's a neighborhood with people who want to wake up on November 1 with clean steps, un-dented cars and sidewalks not covered in...oh, so many things. Let's hope that this year's efforts and putting the damper on things will reverse the tide of nastiness which has come to roost for one-day a year under the giant Rainbow Flag. Let's hope this year sends a message that we all want to be "home" for Halloween.