Unfortunately, the city’s punitive approach to its most beloved street fairs and festivals only got worse last night when Recreation and Park Department staff convened members of the Outdoor Events Coalition to say they’re recommending substantially increased special event fees, so big that events like Bay to Breakers, Love Fest and other events could cease to exist. Rec and Park, an increasingly incompetent department that has bungled its way into a $2 million budget deficit, say they need big bucks to cover their costs and wipe out the red ink. Their proposal calls for charging $50,000 to use the Golden Gate Park polo field, $25,000 for Civic Center Plaza, and $12,000 for Mission Dolores Park. And on top of all this, the city has banned booze from the Haight Ashbury Street Faire of all places. Last year, we warned that fun in the city was under siege. Now it’s starting to look comatose.
If anyone has $25,000 lying around, we should hold a big protest at Civic Center Plaza because killing Bay to Breakers in an election year will draw a huge crowd. It was only five and a half years ago SF voters endorsed an Entertainment Commission to facilitate more events and now City Hall ineptitude is resulting in a cheapness strategy to kill any fun?