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:
“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.
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.