Representatives from eight neighborhoods along the Bay-to-Breakers route are setting the course for a successful and less contentious race and after-party in the centennial celebration next year. Presidents of the District 5 neighborhood associations developed strategies to counter this year's problems that range from outreach and promotion to a central command center and more extensive enforcement.
The group also wants to take a look at the economics of the race and the negotiations for the race permit. They have stepped-up their involvement in event planning after what many consider a disastrous after-party that trashed several neighborhoods. "There needs to be an action plan for either controlling or abating the after-party," Jarie Bolander, president of the North of the Panhandle Neighborhood Association (NOPNA), said. "It can no longer be left to neighborhoods to fend for themselves when so many problems overtake the event."
The associations call for a city-wide task force that includes all stakeholders including elected officials, city department heads and the chief of police, race managers and sponsors, race participants, and neighborhood representatives. The local representatives developed several proposals for the task force to consider:
- More involvement by SFPD District Captains, as well as the Chief of Police, with a central command center and an "on the ground" focus that directs resources to hot spots
- Prepare for the after-party as if it were a protest with visible paddy wagons along the course and with resources staged throughout the day not just until the end of the race
- Trained volunteers to "observe and report" illegal or dangerous activities to the police
- Possible sealing off of the race from side streets from Fillmore to Stanyan streets
- Promotion of the event to warn that infractions will result in fine
- Opening the permit negotiations now conducted between the Mayor's office and race manager AEG to more public review before the proposal is submitted to the city's hearing committee
- Opening the books on profit and loss of the Bay to Breakers
- Placement of port-o-potties off the course on neighborhood streets
- Reduction of the environmental impact with major reduction of trash along the course
The local leaders presented their recommendations to Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi last week and obtained his support of the process. "It's clear that Supervisor Mirkarimi shares our concerns and will help us in any way possible," Bolander wrote in a summary of the meeting. "We have seen that when Supervisor Mirkarimi is part of the process positive outcomes happen." Mirkarimi was closely involved with planning -- and setting limits on activities -- for the 2009 race, but pulled back from this year's event. Following the troubles with the out-of-control after-party this year, the supervisor's office said AEG had not consulted with them.
The neighborhood leaders are not alone in urging a re-thinking of B2B with involvement across the city. BIKE NOPA spoke with Supervisor Bevan Dufty about his district's experience with the Castro Halloween party that was discontinued after violence disrupted the event in 2006. District 5 leaders frequently cite what happened with Halloween in the Castro as a harbinger of what could befall Bay to Breakers. "It's so pleasurable the last two years (in the Castro at Halloween)," Dufty said. "There's not the huge drinking party, but you can walk on the sidewalks and streets and be with friends and have your party that way." Regarding the Bay to Breakers, Dufty commented, "I do believe this is a multi-district issue. I think the stakeholders need to make a comittment to make their voices heard and be part of the process."
The neighborhood groups believe they have initiated that process in an effort to protect neighbors from unsafe conditions, bring all stakeholders together, urge positive solutions to current event problems, hold responsible parties accountable, and make the 100th Bay to Breakers a phenomenally fun event for everyone.
The following organizations are participating in the B2B planning:
- Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association
- Divisadero Merchants Association
- Alamo Square Neighborhood Association
- Lower Haight Merchants and Neighborhood Association
- Haight Ashbury Improvement Association
- Buena Vista Neighborhood Association
- Cole Valley Improvement Association
- North of Panhandle Neighborhood Association
Jarie Bolander requests that anyone who wants to get involved with making the 100th Bay to Breakers "Fun for Everyone" to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Check here for previous stories in BIKE NOPA's series B2B at 100.