The urchins in Haight Street sure are in the news a lot these days. First there was the super-excellent story in this week's SF Weekly. But of even more significance is that Gavin, while in New York, studied up on Central Park and got some ideas on how to make Golden Gate Park nicer. First thing up-- trying to get rid of the homeless.
Last week, while Gavin was away, officials handed out flyers to the homeless telling them that they had til September 29th to pack up and move along or else the city would do it for them. As he talked to the press at a spot in Central Park, Mayor McDreamy pointed to a spot in that park and said: "Look at those great benches. We'd have so many people sleeping on them." He then declared a zero-tolerance policy towards the homeless in the park and he certainly seems to be making a lot of ultimatums lately, hasn't he?
We fully intend to pull up a chair, grab some beer and some yummy Cool Ranch Doritos and watch what happens next. If the homeless problem is our most intractable social problem in the city, the homeless situation in Golden Gate Park is even more intractable. Among other things, it led to one of the all-time great Willie Brown moments when he tried to clean up the park, even having helicopters fly over the park to track them down. One night, while being interviewed on a local news station (we forget which one), he began talking about how there were no more homeless left in the park while the station went split-screen to show all the homeless people wandering around, not affected by Brown's policy at all. Brown was so enraged, he went in and tried to throw everyone out of the park and fenced in several parts of the park (like the little park on the other side, across from where Cala used to be) just to keep them from gathering. For parts of that, Willie and the city got sued by the ACLU and homeless advocates for property rights violations.
Good times...good times....