SF Supervisors Delay Park Closure Vote
Advocates for the poor saw a modest victory this week after the San Francisco Board of Supervisors decided to delay for a week a vote on a proposal that would close city parks at night.
Members of the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club, fresh off a sleep-in in Dolores Park Monday to protest the planned Tuesday vote, quickly mobilized and set up a Facebook page urging opponents of gay Supervisor Scott Wiener’s legislation to call three board members they said were on the fence: Supervisors Katy Tang, London Breed, and Malia Cohen.
"While I am frustrated that Supervisor Wiener chose to delay the vote on his unpopular legislation and criminalize our most vulnerable citizens, this action shows that our efforts to defeat this legislation are working," said Milk club President Tom Temprano.
In a Facebook post, Temprano said he saw the delay as a sign that Wiener lacked the six votes needed to pass the measure.
Wiener explained that the vote was continued because Police Chief Greg Suhr had to leave the October 29 meeting.
"Given the questions and assertions about enforcement that have risen, I thought it was important for the chief to be there to answer questions," Wiener said.
Wiener’s proposal would close city parks between the hours of midnight and 5 a.m. He maintains the ordinance is needed to curb excessive and multiple incidents of vandalism in the parks. Examples of the vandalism include dumping, destroying park benches, and once, subjecting a public restroom to explosives. Both Wiener and officials from the Recreation and Park Department have said that most of these incidents occur after midnight.
Opponents argue that homeless people have nowhere else to sleep, although overnight camping in parks is already prohibited. Temprano has said that San Francisco’s homeless population is disproportionately LGBT identified, and that there has been anti-LGBT violence in city shelters.
In late June, the biennial San Francisco Homeless Point-In-Time Count and Survey was released and, for the first time, included statistics on LGBT people. The report found that out of a total of 7,350 homeless people, more than one in four (29 percent) identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual or "other" for a total of 2,132.
On Monday, October 28, approximately 75 homeless activists gathered in Dolores Park at 9 p.m. for an overnight sleep-in, which they hoped would illustrate the need to allow homeless people to continue using the parks overnight.