Our democratically-appointed executive mustache has had enough of the vandalism of late in Dolores Park's new playground, and he's not taking it anymore. According to Mission Local, Mayor Lee outlined plan to combat vandalism in Dolores Park at yesterday's Board of Supervisors meeting:
- The Parks and Recreation Department is working with food vendors and bicycle rental companies to offer “happy park uses.”
- The San Francisco Police Department will hire nine park patrol officers (citywide.)
- The police chief will tell his officers to enforce property crimes.
- “Once arrested, [the DA] will work to prosecute these criminals to the full extent of the law,” Lee said.
- Work with judges who dismiss vandalism cases and educate them on the importance of prosecution. “I see far too many [cases] dismissed,” he said.
- A graffiti specialist is currently developing leads to apprehend the vandals.
This sounds very similar to SFPD's plan to curb the so-called “out of control” behavior in Dolores, so draw whatever conclusions you will about this new anti-vandalism drumbeat.
When I first saw this Beat Robot, I feared he'd be yet another burnout blasting weird electropop dubstep skrill ex-girlfriend stuff. Wrong! Not only does he have a sterling finish, but this robot is programmed to listen to Cake! Fuck! I haven't listened to Fashion Nugget in forever. I think I still have a tape of that pleasantly stupid album somewhere…
Now, your Moment of Zen:
Further proof that the rents are too damn high, you guys! These days even your local neighborhood yoga teacher dude can't even afford a brick and mortar location for his practices! What you're looking at here is a self-proclaimed Yoga Riot, which you can now find in Dolores Park on Saturday mornings.
Kudos to these folks for remembering to bring their $45 “yoga mats” (aka flaps of recycled plastic) to protect their bums from the residual urine and malt liquor that fertilizes the grasses of Dolo. But what is this, synchronized sunbathing? They're doing what we do at Dolores every weekend, only they're doing it on colorful little squares, and way earlier in the morning. Any time the SFPD wants to crack down on these public displays of “inner zen” or whatever is fine with me.
After a spring season of aggressive policing in Dolores Park (including at least 17 arrests, bothering folks for smoking and drinking, undercovers badgering lounging picnickers for heroin, and an alleged campaign to harass gay sunbathers), Dolores Park Works was able to get the word from Mission Station Captain Bob Moser at a community meeting as to what's going on:
Moser told the group he does not have the resources to completely eradicate alcohol from Dolores Park. He instead is focusing on enforcement of illegal alcohol sales, drug sales, public intoxication and underage drinking.
This subtly implies that the goal is to eventually “eradicate” alcohol from the Park, which obviously no substantial constituency is interested in. But SFPD is making inroads on that situation regardless:
Starting at the end of April, Moser has increased police coverage in and around Dolores Park. This involves radio squad cars, gang enforcement and plain clothes officers. Captain Moser said he has directed all shifts of radio patrol cars to include Dolores Park and the surrounding neighborhoods in their patrols. In May, radio cars logged 413 “passing calls” or visits. Success from this increased enforcement operation includes gang officers spotting and arresting known gang members, plainclothes officers making buys and issuing citations for the sale of psylocibe mushrooms, pot, Jello shots and beer. Plain clothes officers are also being sent into the park at night and extra officers are patrolling the park during peak weekends and issuing tickets for keggers that “get little bit out of control,” Moser said. On the perimeter of the park, officers have made arrests for public urination and auto burglary.
Keggers? Well, in all the countless afternoons I've squandered in Dolores, I've never once seen or heard of anyone hauling a barrel of brew in the park. But, hey, I guess it's possible that multiple keggers just spontaneously started happening over the last few weeks.
Anyway, the city's park rangers report that they are also in the midst of stepping up their patrols in the park, stating that their priorities are shutting down loud late parties, “underage drinking, tents, drug and alcohol sales and illegal venders.”
Crime in San Francisco's many parks is a Big! problem. And with all the hoodlums running amok and SFPD understaffed, Rec. & Park is looking towards the good citizens of San Francisco to reclaim their rightful public spaces (via food trucks).
From an editorial in today's Chronicle:
Dolores Park, in what should be a bucolic, family-oriented neighborhood, is being attacked by vandals who damage play structures and buildings and deface them with graffiti.
This is not new, of course. The very thing that attracts people to parks - wide-open spaces - also seems to attract unwelcome visitors.
Can this be stopped - ever?
Can it? CAN IT? However will we be saved?!
The Recreation and Park Department hopes to “activate” many parks - to encourage daytime and nighttime activities, such as farmers' markets, sporting events, food-truck days and expanded skateboarding programs like a popular one at Waller and Stanyan streets. The department also plans bike-rental programs to generate activity around parks and to plant trees and ornamental flower beds to inspire residents to take pride in their neighborhoods.
The idea is to encourage law-abiding citizens to use their own parks more - for their own enjoyment and to discourage undesirable elements from taking over space that belongs to everybody.
Apparently they are also calling for a “zero-tolerance” policy towards drugs and, with SFPD slated to hire 2,000 more officers to protect the citizenry from harming their own livers and lungs, increased “aggressive patrolling of the parks.” And while I'm sure this is all fine and dandy, let's just call this what it is: a call for families to use the parks.
While this article is talking about all of San Francisco's parks, the example of Dolores Park is an interesting one. Dolores Park is quite obviously one of the highest trafficked parks in the city and surely 95+% of its users are law-abiding (unless you're boring and recognize the legitimacy of open-container laws, in which case 5% of the park is law-abiding), yet the very vandalism and crime the Chronicle detests persists. Pumping more people into the parks obviously won't clean it up in any meaningful way, unless actions are taken to change the very relaxed atmosphere of the public space—by extension, making it less public.
Can't the city just recognize that people want to drink in public and understand shitheads will be shitheads? This noise is getting old.
Say you're in Dolores Park, trying to look at Facebook and stuff and your battery is running super low from trying unsuccessfully to send the same text over and over because, lol!, there's no service! You could run home and charge it up; or you could hit up Lynn on AirBnB, who's now offering up her sweet apartment as a quasi-airport charging station:
So you're hanging out in the Mish all day. Instagramming like crazy, taking pics of all the things, and now you have to go to dinner in 2 hours, and your phone has 20% battery left… HOW will you survive???
Drop off your phone at my place, we'll let it charge for an hour or two. $5/hr - it's not so much to pay - after all, you're going to be in the hood for 6 more hours. Those incriminating photos don't take themselves! Charge your phone!
Charge your phone!
Some two years after “Mission Dolores” opened up in Brooklyn, I finally made the 2,911 mile journey to check it out. And guess what? It's nothing like Dolores Park! No weed cookies, no lines for the bathrooms, no hula-hooping, no wet bums, no drum circles… hell, they didn't even have some gross guy blasting questionable music from blown-out iPod speakers (but they did have plenty of Bestie Boys loaded in the jukebox). They didn't even serve PBR and Tecate, never mind from a guy named James yelling “Cold Beer, Cold Water.”
Actually, maybe this is a good thing….
The bartender, who apparently has never even been to San Francisco, reported that one of the owners was from the Mission, hence its name and expansive selection of west coast beers. While all it's un-Dolores Parkness might disqualify this bar as “fake”—just another business trying to cash-in on Dolores Park's fame and beauty—it's got some real SF charm to it. Like two pinball machines next to a wall of mugshots… (side note: what the fuck is up with New York City and their lack of pinball machines? Maybe I've just been totally oblivious in my travels previously, but the fact you have to hunt to find a playable machine in Brooklyn makes me wonder if pinball is somehow a Bay Area-only sport. But I digress…)
…and this bitchin' mural of Mission Dolores next to the bar….
…and that the only good tacos I've found in NYC are across the street and can be delivered right to your seat at the bar.
In short, it's a great bar, but not really worth the journey unless you're craving some Racer 5 and tolerable tacos and have the misfortune of not living in the Mission full-time. (And at least their bathrooms are so goddamn clean that this is all the patrons have to complain about:)
As the City of San Francisco continues its annual temper tantrum over people having fun in city parks, they've found a new menace to direct their attention to: slackliners—you know, those guys and gals who tie ropes from tree to tree and walk across them…real gnarly stuff. Hide your kids!
See, the city's park policies make this (and many more activities) illegal, and now the slacklining community is looking to get that changed.
Max for SF Slackline fills us in on the situation:
Currently the rule says, “It's unlawful to attach anything to trees” in San Francisco. So technically it is illegal to rig a slackline to tree, attach a hammock, or even place a balloon on a tree in San Francisco. I have meet with the head of Recreation and Parks and they will not change the rule, but If I can prove there is community support and that slacklining is a growing recreational sport, then we can get certain spots (or certain trees) permitted for slacklining.
When Dolores Park was being renovated they wanted to cut down the palms where we slackline. A fellow slacker named Evan sent a complaint and prevented the trees from being cut down. This was first time the city acknowledged slacklining as community supported recreational sport. However in no way did it legalize slacklining, we just prevented trees from being cut down… Dolores Park authorities have tended to turn their back on a lot of things in the park (however, I have still been shut down multiple times in that park). We have always had access issues in city, with occasional ticket threat (in the Presidio in February, I was threatened by federal cop that he would confiscate all gear and give me multiple fines me for illegal movable structure, rigging on trees, and slacklining without permit).
I can understand why the city might want to shut them down, seeing as through they're dirty fucking hippies and what not. But is it really necessary? Well, no. Obviously not—especially since they don't blast dubstep at other park-goers, nor do any real damage to the trees the parks department wanted to cut down in the first place. But the city is against them anyway, which is causing Max and the SF slackliners to take action:
In response to growing slacklining community and the fact that Recreation & Parks will not classify slacklining as recreational sport, I decided to take action. Slacklining is in a gray area; no one has legalized it, nor is there any rule that says it's illegal. By getting local community support of both slackers and non-slackers, I believe I can pull enough evidence and credibility to designate “slackspots”, specific areas where authorities and park services will recognize its a slackline approved area.