Monday, July 12, 2010

B2B at 100: "Alcohol Ban Is Not Enough To Prevent Bad Behavior"

Editor's Note: This article is part of a series about neighborhood efforts to reclaim Bay to Breakers as a foot race and party that San Franciscans can support and celebrate for all the edgy, quirky, and fabulous things it has represented for most of its 99 year history. For previous entries in the B2B at 100 series, check here.

On July 7th organizers of the Bay to Breakers announced a no-alcohol policy for the footrace that many stakeholders believe was years overdue. The restriction just might help the iconic San Francisco event cross the finish line during its centennial run in 2011. Yet Jarie Bolander, President of the North of the Panhandle Neighborhood Association (NOPNA), thinks the ban on alcohol is only the first of several changes required to ensure a safe event. "We need to plan to manage the huge number of people who will show up. It's irresponsible to just wish it will go away or to put the burden on a single stakeholder," he wrote to BIKE NOPA. He added that all the major stakeholders must take responsibility to find a solution to the problems that have dogged the event the last few years. "Everyone has some responsibility in this including participants, neighbors, AEG and the city."

Bolander and five other leaders of District 5 neighborhood groups were quick to call for a meeting with the Mayor's office after this year's B2B party in the streets left neighbors angry over the out-of-control behavior and over-consumption of alchohol. As soon as Mike Farrah, director of the Mayor's Office of Neighborhood Services, learned of the request, he told BIKE NOPA he would convene such a meeting right away. That gathering of neighborhood groups, the Citizens for the Preservation of Bay to Breakers, and other stakeholders took place at City Hall late this afternoon for the first round of discussions about the operation of next year's event.

AEG, the owner of Bay to Breakers, already posted a set of other changes it intends to implement for next year's race:
  • only registered participants will be allowed on the race course, which AEG reserves the right to fence off
  • all streets may be opened by noon
  • no floats will be allowed since too many have become "alcohol delivery vehicles and magnets for unacceptable behavior"
  • a limit on the number of registrations for the centennial race
North Panhandle neighbors will discuss recent B2B developments at the upcoming NOPNA general meeting:
Thursday, July 15th
7pm social, 7:30 meeting begins
San Francisco Day School at 350 Masonic (use Golden Gate Avenue entrance)
7:00 pm social
7:30 pm meeting begins

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