Here We Go Again...

Dolores Park Neighbors Demanding Increased Police Patrols, Surveillance Cameras For Park

Between 2009 and 2012, Dolores Park’s many grouchy neighbors waged an ill-fated campaign to “dampen the spirits of those who are inclined to come to DP for unfettered drinking and carousing.”  But in spite of their many public hearings, and police support, San Francisco’s party positive spirit prevailed.

Now after a year of peace, Dolores’s neighbors are once again looking to flip the script on the park’s prized vibe.  In an open letter to the city’s Rec & Park Department, Dolores Park Works—in conjunction with Mission Dolores Neighborhood Association—writes:

After hours vandalism, increased homeless camping, public intoxication, underage drinking, out of control trash and occasional violence continue to plague the park. Now that the good weather is here, these issues have reached a critical point. Every hot weekend we host an impromptu festival at Dolores Park. The park is known region-wide as the place to party, where there are no rules, and no repercussions for bad behavior.

The neighborhood has been tolerant, welcoming and patient. But we are convinced that there’s an opportunity to begin to address these problems now, during the park renovation, so as to avoid more of the same after the park is finished.

If we are to make the park truly welcoming to all, we need to curb some of the sunny weekend excesses that are both damaging the park and the surrounding neighborhood.

With half the park closed for renovations, it’s no wonder that cramped quarters are leading folks to get even more stressed out over weekend boozing.  And their points aren’t completely unfounded: campaigns like Clean Up the Plaza and DPW’s attempt to wash the homeless out of Mid-Market has led to a significant uptick in Dolores camping and the trash situation has always been a terrible, tricky problem.  But instead of tackling the those issues head-on with more trash cans and improved homeless services (as all we seem to be doing now is kicking them around), the solution is, of course, getting the police involved:

Extended Rec and Park presence in Mission Dolores Park on weekends during peak hours. Beginning in the afternoon (noon to 4pm) the crowd arrives and Rec and Park pulls out. Daniel Perea, Captain SFPD Mission Station, has increased uniformed police foot patrols in the park, especially after 3pm and into the evening. Marcus Santiago, of the Park Patrol, is looking into increasing patrols from his officers. Both departments are working to coordinate their efforts. We’d like you to support these efforts and to find the resources for Rec and Park to participate in this collaborative effort. Rec and Park must take a leadership role and help monitor Dolores. […]

As you know, vandalism of the new Helen Diller Playground and throughout the park is a serious concern. We would like to help fund and install security cameras around the children’s playground. We are also interested in discussing more lighting around the children’s playground and adding a time-locked gate. Maybe now is also the time to take a good look at the proposed lighting plan for all of Dolores Park as well.

Of course, we’d ordinarily brush off these renewed and recycled calls for stepped up enforcement as they’ve failed before (and will fail again).  But this time, Supervisor Scott Wiener seems to be ahead of the demands, himself declaring in September that he seeks a “culture shift” and “better enforcement” to take hold before the renovations are wrapped up.  And next Wednesday, Wiener will be joined by Supervisor Campos, Captain Daniel Perea of Mission Station, Rec & Park General Manager Phil Ginsburg, and Senior Park Patrol officer Marcus Santiago in meeting with these neighbors to discuss their brand of preferred solutions to the perpetual problem.

Should you want to attend the meeting yourself, it’ll be taking place at the Dolores Park Church at 455 Dolores, starting Wednesday, May 14 at 6:30.  Dolores Park Works has all the details.

[Photo: colleenvonhenry]

Comments (30)

I have no problem with this.

I was hoping for the unofficial update after the meeting.

I haven’t been in the playground lately, was there an excessive amount of tags? I’m not really in the tagging culture, but is there nothing that is just understood to be off limits? I can’t imagine so, since I still see tags on trees.

Oh don’t worry, there will be a culture shift. We’re almost done with our colonization. We always follow rules. 

I think you mean “we always make the rules.”  That is, unless you’re just pretending to be one of us.

I’m totally on board with more police presence after dark, but I really hope they don’t start busting people during the day.

Rec and Park loves them some fences, security, police, surveillance video, you name it!

You know what else they really like? Private parties for the rich.

So just remember when corrupt security guard Maecus Santiago is shoving a taser up your ass for drinking a talllboy, it’s all for the greater good. Phil Ginsburg and Mark Buell have decent, well paying guests lined up for that park and it’s time for you to move along, sir.

“ A Matt Smith cover story last year revealed that head park patrol officer Marcus Santiago had transformed his small force into a lucrative overtime machine – more than doubling his take-home pay in the process.”

Truer words were never written, my friend.  The tech boys have rolled in and they are building a wall around our city with the help of our police department. Like Iggy Pop once sang, “No Fun”.  When will we wake up and stop what’s happening to our city?  

Eye roll 

Everyone’s Of Color fool. You think Honky has no color?

You better believe I don’t have any color.

Wiener’s not going to go for security cameras in Dolores Park, heavens they might photograph some closest case (a situation Wiener no doubt knows well) giving a blow job in the bushes. 

As he said here in reference to the SFPD wanting security cameras outside bars to capture fag bashers:  “In the LGBT community for gay bars, there are people who are not out of the closest who go into these bars and they don’t want to be recorded.”

That’s Little Scotties San Francisco, “people who are not out of the closet.”

Anyone know why Brust signed on with the grouchy neighbors?  I thought DPW was supposed to be a more balanced alternative to the knee-jerk NIMBY hate.   

Thanks for the notice about this meeting.

The new bathrooms are going to be welcome.   But making the park uninvited for the genernal public, is shit.   If its true that the plan is tod changed to be managed to give preferenced only for those who want to rent it out is an abomiination.    !!

That is very much what has happened to the building at Mission Park at 19th and Linda.   It used to be open for kids, and the public, not its closed, non inclusive, and  available for rental.    Same thing is happening at the soccer field there.  It used to have regular high level pick-up games.   Now, the player are regularly getting kicked off by the rentals, so the culture shift against pickup games is happening.  That culture change should be rolled back, and this attemped shift at DP defeated.

I’ve lived two doors down from Dolores Park for nine years. I have never had a problem with homeless campers. People need to sleep somewhere, sheesh. I think I’ll join this association and try to get them to chill out (before I’m promptly shouted down by Todd, MD and Piper, Esq.).

This ain’t Utopia people, but thinngs aren’t real bad in the park. It’s all bogus and will die down again soon.

Hey, I got an idea. Don’t see a trashcan? Maybe hold on to your trash in a bag or something until you fucking find one.

I lived next to Dolores Park for many…MANY years. Like right next store. And it was great. When I was younger, it was such a prize being near a party hotspot like the park. But honestly, I don’t blame my neighbors for being grouchy. I have had to clean up so many drunk people’s piss off my porch. And sometimes, even POOP.

Oh, and on top of all of that, Earth Day 2013… Everyone swarmed the park to celebrate such an awesome day celebrating Earth, in a city that prides itself for being green. I came out of my house the next day and the entire park was covered in beer cans and just piles of disgusting trash.

hmm, the park was covered in beer cans?   More frequently, I notice that there is an effect ecosystem where the beer can collectors are gathering the cans before the last ounce is drunk.   But if exagerations help you make your point, then noted.

Or just put out enough goddamn trashcans to hold the amount of trash that is actually generated.  How’s that for a novel fucking solution?

  Ah, the great things that have happened in that park. Mime Troop and Woman’s Will performed for free. The dike fest and Tranny fest.Hunky Jesus contest. Cinco De Mayo celebration. Slip and Slides on hot sommer nights. Demonstrations and rallys. And just chilling on a sunny day, watching the people, the acrobats, the ice cream eaters, and so forth.  This park has been the cities living room. And yes, for some folks, it’s bedroom.

  All that, I fear, will be part of our cities history, with cops, cmeras, and lots of fenced off private events. I always welcome more public bathrooms. But other than that, they should leave Dolores Park alone.

It doesn’t have to become history, and the love and use that Dolores Park has been getting in recent years is actually an argument for optimism. If even a small percentage of the people who enjoy the park every week start turning up at meetings like the one at Dolores Park Church tonight and voice their opinions against tools like Wiener and Ginsburg then things will change. People like Wiener and Ginsburg are not leaders, they’re followers. They’re just following a small group of people that they think will continue to pay them and provide political cover. If enough people turn up at meetings and city hall and tell them to go fuck themselves (politely, you know) and that their plans suck, they will either fall into line or they can be replaced by someone who better represents you.

Hell, form your own neighborhood group, give it a name and tell these losers you represent way more people than their precious angry homeowners’ association. Because it’s true.

I think they need to build a second playground for adults. The equipment in the Helen Diller playground is completely beat to shit and there are teens/adults using it most of the evenings I take my kid there. I have no problems with drinking, partying or overnight sleeping, but why do people have to break everything?

Fuck you white motherfuckers!

It’s time for some alternatives to the Ed Lee / Scott Wiener / Phil Ginsburg war on fun machine.

These fucking assholes will not rest until they fence off every park and control the behavior of every misguided fool who thinks they have a right to be left alone in public to enjoy the spaces they pay for with their taxes. Case in point: Fencing off Alamo Square Park for Bay To Breakers because of unspecified “safety” concerns.

“We’ve seen years where it wasn’t as safe as it could be,” Mayor Ed Lee said.

“Public safety is one of my biggest priorities,” said Supervisor London Breed. “I want everyone to be responsible.”…

Want to know who to thank? Asshole politicians and your friendly neighborhood association busybody group:…

“How about public plazas?” you ask, “Shouldn’t there also be someone in those places telling me what I can and can’t do?”  You bet.  They’ve got plans to give control of plazas to “non-profits” meaning neighborhood associations again.…

Put out some fucking trashcans, make sure there are plenty of bathrooms, some gardeners and some maintenance people and then Fuck Off with your command and control mentality. We could be spending a fraction of the current Rec and Park and DPW budget every year if these assholes didn’t insist on larding up on middle management do- nothing desk pilots and over zealous security officers sniffing up behind every person who pauses to enjoy public space on a sunny afternoon or a pleasant evening.

 If even a small percentage of the people who enjoy the park every week start turning up at meetings like the one at Dolores Park Church tonight and voice their opinions against tools like Wiener and Ginsburg then things will change. People like Wiener and Ginsburg are not leaders, they’re followers.

They’re just following a small group of people that they think will continue to pay them and provide political cover. If enough people turn up at meetings and city hall and tell them to go fuck themselves (politely, you know) and that their plans suck, they will either fall into line or they can be replaced by someone who better represents you.

Hell, form your own neighborhood group, give it a name and tell these losers you represent way more people than their precious angry homeowners’ association. Because it’s true.

If you go to the meeting tonight be sure to thank Marcus Santiago for making SF parks a less hospitable place while raking in over $100,000 per year.

Why does the head of the Park Patrol division tolerate that Park Ranger supervisor Thomas Tom has a second full-time job with the state of California on top of his $69,786 per year, full-time city post?   Why is it that another Park Patrol officer enjoys impunity as he allegedly skips his rounds and sleeps during his graveyard shift — and then shows up the next day to work overtime?  Why does the head of the Park Patrol division not seem to mind that through questionable overtime pay this alleged sleeper doubles his annual $53,000 salary?  And why do San Francisco officials seem to go out of their way to protect the man in charge of Park Patrol, division chief Marcus Santiago…

The unit is expected to be fully staffed with 25 members by May 2012, which will increase the total budget of the park patrol by $113,000 to $2.54 million. Lotti will earn $111,000 annually, according to the department.…

Internal government memos and other records backed Horan’s allegation that Santiago had turned his division into an overtime generator for himself and a close circle of Asian American friends. For at least six years, Santiago, who is of Chinese and Filipino heritage, has more than doubled his base pay through overtime.

Santiago “favored Asians over non-Asians in the Park Patrol Division with regard to hiring, promotion, and overtime allocation from January 2006 to in or about December 2010,” wrote EEOC district director Michael Baldonado in a 2011 letter to the city.

GPS monitors suggested some of his fellow rangers slept through shifts, or didn’t even show up, yet still logged overtime hours. One of Santiago’s fellow supervisors held a second, full-time law enforcement job, yet still billed San Francisco for overtime on top of his full-time Park Patrol pay, records show…

The EEOC also turned up information showing that Santiago had not reported on his Park Patrol job application that he had previously been dismissed from the Oakland Police Department for excessive use of force and unauthorized possession of government property.

Santiago wasn’t the only Park Patrol officer who’d been dismissed from a previous law enforcement job. Tom, one of three Park Patrol supervisors, had been fired in 1995 from the Vallejo Police Department for allegedly kicking a suspect in the head. When Tom in 2001 applied for a job with the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department, a background check made public when Tom appealed the sheriff’s decision not to hire him revealed he’d repeatedly accepted gratuities from local businesses while on his rounds.…

 …That was before Santiago began executing his strategy to bring ever-greater order to city parks. In 2004, he advocated a seemingly subtle — yet, in the context of his intention to expand his small outfit, masterful — policy requiring concert promoters and holders of park event permits to pay rangers to staff their events.

Suddenly, the North Beach Jazz Festival, a Union Square outdoor film festival, the Golden Gate Park Yogathon, Reggae in the Park, and myriad other events had to come up with thousands of dollars for a new “park patrol salaries fee,” creating thousands of hours of overtime to be divided among the five rangers.

Rangers’ overtime pay predictably exploded. Santiago, for instance, has spent the past few years putting in almost as much overtime as straight time, ballooning his annual $65,000 base pay to $144,000. All this extra overtime created the impression that his crew was dearly understaffed, so rangers began lobbying to increase the size of their unit.

Around the same time, one of Santiago’s staffers created a nonprofit, the San Francisco Park Ranger Association, with the aim of raising their profile. The rangers began spreading the word that their department was severely understaffed, creating a situation where parks were unsafe. Their efforts led to sympathetic news articles, community group meetings, and activist calls for a beefed-up security patrol.…

Well, I can’t tell you what happened at the meeting, but I got off work around 8:30 PM last night and went to the park to relax/cool off after a long day.

At around 9:00 PM the sprinklers started turning on. I don’t know the sprinkler schedule, and maybe that is standard timing, but it seemed like a concerted effort to drive people out of a cool (temperature wise) public space on one of the hottest evenings of the year.