A Santa Rosa city councilperson aspires to “make lemonade out of lemons” by permitting  sideshows at the county fairgrounds, complete with vending booths and safety barricades.

The daredevil donut street stunts known as sideshows are this year’s version of the nightly illegal fireworks displays of last summer. Half the city of SF seems to love these outlaw shows, the other half is furiously bitching on Nextdoor while printing up stacks of Recall Chesa Boudin petitions. But sideshows are becoming drastically more frequent in plenty of other Bay Area cities where Boudin is not the district attorney; San Jose has seen so many sideshows that they made it a crime to tweet about them, Oakland has called in the Highway Patrol for help (to little avail), and the Vallejo City Council just labeled sideshows as “street terrorism.” Here in SF, a so-called crackdown on these affairs has proven ineffective at best.

Up north in Sonoma County, where they are certainly fans of motor sports, one elected official thinks law enforcement needs to shift gears. The Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports that city council member Eddie Alvarez is proposing legalizing city-sanctioned sideshows, holding them at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds, and permitting vendors at the events. He plans to introduce a measure at Tuesday’s meeting.

"If we could produce an alternative we wouldn't be seeing our roadways being destroyed in the way they are currently being dealt with," Alvarez tells KGO. In remarks to the Press Democrat, he said, “Ask me what period of time our youth hasn’t done something we consider dangerous,” and “Why not make lemonade out of lemons?”

You can imagine that Santa Rosa police are not thrilled with the idea. KGO reports “they would not be in favor of a sanctioned sideshow due to dangers posed and the liability involved.” Here in San Francisco, sideshows have brought with them shootings and fatalities, ands Santa Rosa saw two women stabbed at a sideshow earlier this month.

But there is evidence indicating that sanctioning sideshows does lower body counts. San Diego’s KGTV explains that they tried it in San Diego, and “The number of deaths from street racing fell from 16 in 2000 to just two in 2018. Injuries also saw a drastic drop-off in the same time frame, from 39 to only one.”

Former Oakland cultural affairs commissioner Sean Kennedy introduced a sanctioned sideshow proposal in that city, but it did not make it out of committee.

“I think we need to stop criminalizing sideshows and dumping money into law enforcement and overtime hours and put that money into resources that train kids and then give spectators a place to come and socialize at an event that’s safe,” Kennedy told the Press Democrat.

Related: SFPD Seizes Cadillac Spotted During Sideshow With AK-47-Wielding Woman Hanging Out Window [SFist]

Image: @sfvas via Twitter