SF Mayor Ed Lee is saying he may look to the National Park Service to foot some of the bill for all the preparations and police overtime that went into dealing with the planned but canceled Patriot Prayer rally on Saturday, which the federal agency granted a permit for despite the protestations of local politicians.
As ABC 7 reports, Lee said Monday "I'm prepared to send a bill to the National Park Service," and that bill would cover overtime as well as the cost to put up fences, around Crissy Field, only to then have to take them down and put up different fences around Alamo Square when organizer Joey Gibson announced a last-minute "news conference" there.
The total bill for Saturday has yet to be tallied, but as the Examiner notes today, Muni was also enlisted in helping with Saturday's law enforcement operation, ferrying SFPD officers around by Muni bus.
Gibson ended up canceling the Alamo Square event as well, and later in the day making a surprise appearance to speak with reporters and a few others at Crissy Field an event that went off without incident largely because protesters were occupied elsewhere in the city and had given up on him having a right-wing rally.
The NPS and Golden Gate National Recreation Area cited a history of allowing political events to occur under the protection of the First Amendment. Critics have continued to argue that such events have less to do with political assembly and free expression of opinion than they do with riling up activists on the left in order to create public spectacles that turn public opinion against leftist activists, known collectively on the alt-right as "antifa."
While all the anti-hate rallies and counter-protests that occurred Saturday were peaceful here, attendees reported seeing black-clad antifa at several events, including the rally in the Castro.
Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin is calling on UC Berkeley to cancel a planned "Free Speech Week" in September, which seems like yet another ploy to draw extremists into a cage match made all the more dicey for the school, as the home of the Free Speech Movement.