Dolores Park Crackdown

Life In The New Dolores Park: We Spent an Hour Following Around a Park Ranger

Since the northern half of Dolores Park reopened this past June, the city has stepped up enforcement on minor quality-of-life issues under the guise of reducing littering in the park. And so, when we noticed a park ranger at Dolores this past Saturday, we thought it would be interesting to follow him around for a bit and see his enforcement priorities for ourselves.

After warning a group for the crime of having a table, the ranger took a moment to hassle these guys about their amplified sound (apparently they hadn’t gone to the trouble of getting their speaker personally OK’d by Supervisor Scott Wiener).

He then meandered over to this guy and told him that having glass in the park could land him a $192 fine.

And in what had to be the most bizarre interaction of the day, the ranger then approached a clown and his sidekick who were at first too busy painting the faces of children to notice the ranger’s arrival. The clown’s tiny speaker (playing children’s tunes) needed an amplified sound permit, apparently. It seems spreading joy to children has no place in The New Dolores Park ().

Having harshed the clown’s mellow, the ranger made sure this smoker knew he was sitting on dangerous ground. Smoking in Dolores is illegal, don’t you know?

Sipping wine quietly while you causally smoke a cigarette? That’s a double warning.

Standing around drinking a Trumer Pils? Don’t think so.

Oh yeah, and this table on the sidewalk has got to go.

It’s like no one saw the giant flashing road sign warning of $192 fines for having glass. This guy didn’t:

Nor did these ladies:

Nor this guy:

Nor these women:

And definitely not these women:

What’s that? You’re brown and smoking a cigarette?

Yeah that will cost you a ticket.

And again, no glass in the park.

Bros, seriously with the table? What were you thinking.

And the ranger practically chased this woman from the park for the crime of smoking a cigarette.

It’s important to remember that all of this occurred in the span of an hour and ten minutes, and by no means is the entirety of encounters between the ranger and parkgoers. Incidents not pictured include the ranger grilling a tourist for having sparkling water, and telling a twenty-something he couldn’t drink iced tea (the man looked totally dumbstruck for a second, and then gave the ranger the finger).

And while it’s upsetting that the city apparently now deems it an enforcement priority to have a ranger nanny-stating his way through the entire park, this is the obvious outcome of our elected officials repeatedly calling for increased policing in the park.

The park ranger’s actions this past Saturday left us wondering: is the real goal behind this crackdown curbing littering, or is there a larger desire to remake the park’s culture? Because if our representatives truly wanted to see increased police presence without stomping on park culture, then they could have worked to repeal the laws that criminalize that culture. Instead, they ensured the park was hit with more of the same broken windows policing that has failed to keep the park clean for years.

Comments (131)

That was totally cool the way you stalked this guy while he was doing his job as prescribed by the orders of his superior. The point at which a bunch of supposed grown-ups can’t use a public accommodation – like a city park – without trashing it is the same point at which they lose the privilege of breaking minor rules without being hassled by The Man. It’s become absolutely clear that San Francisco park aficionados aren’t capable of treating our parks like anything except landfills, so “Hooray, S.F. Park Ranger.” Ticket those fucks into the Stone Age.


Burt is short for Butt Hurt.

“as prescribed by the orders of his superior” is exactly what this story is getting at, if you read it all the way to the end. 

i wish there were more people doing stories like this, not fewer.

Funny comoment Burt.

the new dolores does not have trash cans. And none of the above shown citations really had anything to do with littering. All for citing people who leave things behind, but let’s not be naive and blame increased enforceme of silly things on your so-called aficionados that trash the park. 

“And none of the above shown citations really had anything to do with littering”

Q: Do you know what the number #1 piece of litter found in public is? Cigarette butts.…

Unlike Japan, there is no culture in the USA of carrying around pocket ashtrays. Do you think these nice people are eating their butts when they are done smoking? Not likely.

Kudos to the rangers.


≈ Cigarettes are primarily a health issue because they put smoke in other people’s lungs.  The smoke doesn’t become magically uncarcinogenic when it’s in a public park, just in case you were confused about magical things.

In addition, despite San Francisco having one of the lowest percentage of cigarette-smokers in the nation, the butts that end up going into the sewers have ended up choking marine life and aquatic waterfowl.  Not all litter problems are about manicured appearances, you see.

I don’t think anyone is blaming the ranger personally here. It’s the policy (or, “orders of his superior,” as you put it) that’s the problem.

That says it all.

Scott Wiener’s brand new Uber conservative city… complete with suburban mall cop! He grew up in a very conservative small town in Jersey. Now he want to be Ron Conways lap dog in the state senate. 

Mall Cops or creative space.   I choose creative space.

@YogiBear - Because nothing’s more creative than inflicting your nicotine addiction on others.  “Look at me, I’m a rebel artiste!”


You are right, if this is about smoking,   inflicting second hand smoke on others certainly, is not creative.   Its not nice behavior.

Right On SFRPD Park Rangers !!  Keep doing the great job that needs to be done.  Changing Park culture ?  Uhh, yeah …… if that means hitting the asshole’s with monetary fines, then so be it !!

Fines for off leash dogs

From Park Culture to the new Mall Culture! The new conservative Frisco. Baby stroller approved by mommy bloggers from Noe Valley! Yummy!   

Dear Mommy Blogger/Transplant, this is the City or San Francisco, add a bit more respect to

our beautiful City and leave the Frisco slang on the other coast !