Harvey Milk Democratic Club Holding ‘Sleep In’ Protest at Dolores Park Tonight

Dolores Park empty!! Pick a spot and bring a really, really big blanket!

Dolores Park on a lovely Sunday afternoon.

Castro Supervisor Scott Wiener finds himself at the center of controversy again regarding his proposed legislation seeking City parks have posted, uniform and enforced operating hours. Homeless activists are crying foul saying this is another step in the City’s ongoing legislative plan to outlaw homelessness and being poor. The Harvey Milk Democratic Club (HMDC) agrees and is taking action. Tonight they’re holding a overnight ‘sleep in’ protest at Dolores Park. Their press release leaves little doubt on their position:

Tom Temprano, President of Harvey Milk Dem. Club in a recent campaign supporting BART workers strike. Photo: SEIU

Tom Temprano, President of Harvey Milk Dem. Club in a recent campaign supporting the BART workers strike. Photo: SEIU

“San Francisco prides itself on being a place that is welcoming and open to all. Our parks remain one of the City’s greatest public treasures and are spaces of recreation, sport, entertainment, and leisure. This proposed legislation threatens the accessibility and openness of our parks and comes on the heels of a spate of recent policies at City Hall that have sought to regulate public spaces, police bodies, and criminalize homelessness. With almost 30% of San Francisco’s homeless population identifying as LGBT, and many living on our streets and in our parks, we know who the real targets of this legislation are. This is yet another attack on the homeless, on queer people, poor people, and people of color, and on our right to exist in public space in our society. The Harvey Milk Club has had enough. Parks are for people and we believe this policy to be another step in the wrong direction for San Francisco.”

Supervisor Wiener has maintained that is an erroneous accusation and that the real focus of his new law is stopping all the illegal, late night dumping in our parks and the plethora of vandalism marring the City park system like the high-profile trashing of the newly renovated kids playground at Dolores Park.

Dist. 8 Sup. Scott Wiener Photo: Facebook

Dist. 8 Sup. Scott Wiener
Photo: Facebook

He told the BAR, “I completely disagree with that characterization.” He said he’s been “a strong proponent” for services for homeless people, including securing housing funding for homeless LGBT youth, making more homeless outreach workers available, and supporting a youth meal program.

The facts are sleeping or dumping anything in City parks is already illegal and has been for years. Mr. Wiener believes his new legislation is needed to make things tougher for those who wish to make mischief or toss broken down couches onto our public greens and will lead to greater enforcement.

HBDC isn’t mollified by his explanation. Tom Temprano, president of the Harvey Milk Democratic Club, said in an email to the Biscuit, “Supervisor Wiener and I and most others opposed to this legislation all agree that vandalism and illegal dumping are truly a problem in our parks. That said, I don’t find this to be the right solution to solving these problems and think the claims that ‘this has nothing to do’ with homeless people are untrue. Even the Mayor recently said that this legislation would help keep homeless San Franciscans out of the parks. Our parks are beautiful, our parks are one of the City’s greatest treasures and unfortunately not every San Franciscan has the privilege of visiting them and then returning to the comfort of their own home. Until we have a bed for everyone in this City who needs one homeless people will have little choice but to sleep in our parks. Until they have the housing they need legislation like this will remain an unfair attack on them.”
HMDC protest begins at 9PM at Dolores Park located on Dolores Street between 18th and 19th streets.

Waiyde Palmer

Waiyde Palmer loves San Francisco, social activism and punk rock(ers). His work has appeared in Handbook Magazine. SF Bay Times, The Advocate, Diseased Pariah News and American Music Press . He also has an extensive and repeatedly redacted FBI file.

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17 Responses

  1. Joe says:

    I truly believe Harvey would be embarrassed by the antics of the HMDC. I wonder how many of the “protesters” have Created, Produced and Managed anything worthwhile? We the Citizens of SF own the parks. And this Park owner wants them CLOSED at night.
    Want a bed for everyone? open your house up!

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 11

  2. Patrick says:

    HMDC has jumped the shark.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 8 Thumb down 10

  3. Brian says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 15

    • rblack says:

      Sup Wiener takes MUNI to work.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

    • Hsm says:

      This is very interesting to me – about 7 years ago, when my son was in high school, he and two friends gave up waiting for the 44 O’Shaughnessy and decided to walk from the Richmond to the Sunset. They were stopped by the cops for ” being in the park after 10pm” and each given $169 tickets. I called everyone I could think of – supervisor, park and rec – no one could give me a straight answer, and to this day I am pissed I paid that ticket.

      Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  4. Chris M says:

    I support Scott Wiener on this. Anytime the city tries to do anything to stop ILLEGAL activity (dumping, vandalism, littering, etc etc) it is called targeting the homeless. It is not targeting the homeless, it is targeting illegal activities. And I am sick of being lectured by the Homeless Coalition and the HMDC that because people are homeless they can do whatever they want.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 8

  5. Ramón says:

    In a July 17th article posted in the Castro Biscuit, Wiener stated that SFPD is approximately short 300 officers short of its goal of 1970. So, how is SFPD going to enforce one more ordinance given its current numbers? There are already plenty of laws and ordinances that it cannot/does not enforce: cellphone while driving, scofflaw bicyclists, sit-lie; to say nothing of not being able to keep up with assaults, burglaries, violence, etc.
    San Francisco has MANY parks, and I’m not arguing about the wisdom of restricted hours. What I don’t see is possible enforcement when SFPD is falling behind on other problems. The city is trying to make mid-Market more attractive to development, but a stroll on 6th, Stevenson, Jessie, Minna, Howard, Mission, Larkin, Taylor, Jones, etc., will tell you that SFPD needs to prioritize their “300″ officer short police force.

    Nudity bans, soda taxes, park closures and so forth may look good on a Get-me-to-Sacramento résumé, but pragmatic? – nuh-uh.

    As Celia Cruz said : “Sin clave no hay son.”

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 6

    • rblack says:

      This actually makes sense. I don’t believe this is some ‘war on the homeless’, I actually think this is seen as an idea to stop some of the expensive vandalism going on in our parks. However like you I don’t see how this is going to be enforced.

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  6. How many laws do we need on the books that attempt to accomplish the same task before people wonder why the existing laws aren’t being enforced?

    Isn’t dumping, vandalism, loitering, public urination et al already ILLEGAL?

    Do we need four different versions of the same legislation before the laws are enforced or is there another purpose behind politicians taking controversial positions “for the people” a year before re-election?

    Any LGBT person that sought refuge in SF ought to be able to recognize the tactic of identifying a minority population for scorn and rallying the troops (aka voters) into finding a way to punish/scapegoat them.

    Don’t be so quick to climb about the Wiener bandwagon because he’s LGBT. Ambition can (and usually does) eclipse reason, compassion and empathy.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 8

    • rblack says:

      I think the law is preemptive. Currently the police have to witness people doing the things you mention. By making it illegal to even be in the park after hours, the police can just ask them to leave.

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      • Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  7. Peter says:

    Meanwhile, Tom Ammiano is pushing legislation in the Assembly that would nullify all local street- and park-access laws. The inevitable result would be the establishment of permanent tent cities all over, including in Dolores Park (why should the homeless be forced to sleep in GG Park when it’s so cold and foggy over there?). And what will SF “progressives” do then?

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  8. bluesparrow says:

    If this law is already on the books, I’m not sure how much good this extra enforcement is going to do but the fact that other, better-managed cities than SF also have restricted park usage hours indicates to me it’s the right thing to do.

    Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  9. Denise Huxtable says:

    This site has been taken over by the new breed of rich uptight real estate whores that are making the Castro more boring. Too bad, I used to like it. Now go ahead and hide my comments like I know you will.

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    • Waiyde Palmer says:

      Denise- just to let you know and anyone else reading the blog-Castro Biscuit doesn’t hide comments-that happens based on the number of ‘unlike’ vs. ‘like’ hits each comment receives from other readers and commenters. It’s part of the WordPress software design and something we have zero control over. If it was up to us there would be no comments hidden. Thank you for sticking around and reading. Cheers.

      Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      • Denise Huxtable says:

        I was not referring to you wayde, I respect the work you are doing and in no way blame you. But I can’t help but notice that even moderately liberal points of view now get the routine majority thumbs down and the nature of the commenters has changed dramatically over the last couple of months.

        Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

        • Waiyde Palmer says:

          Yes. That seems a fairly accurate assessment. Appreciate you and your point of view attempting to lend a different track to the discussion.

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