Saturday, March 17, 2007

Escape to New York

With his girlfriend's posts still burning up the webpages of local blogs with attacks and apologies regarding the mayor's affair with Ruby Rippey-Tourk, Gavin Newsom jetted to Chicago, Washington and New York to meet with tourism officials.

Newsom said he fielded a lot of complaints concerning panhandlers and other seamy elements of the city's street life, adding tourism officials also bemoaned about the city’s high prices and inadequate convention facilities.

After three years in office, what a revelation? I can't wait to see the Gav go 'giuliani' on this town - rudy, rudy, rudy! Not gonna happen. I've talked to cops on beats such as Market & Powell, Civic Center and up and down Van Ness. They have to turn a blind eye to the homelss public urinating, loitering, panhandling, etc. Rather, they deploy a 'scarecrow' technique in which police officers fan out and look intimidating and not much more. Case in point, I had to go vigilante on some homeless alcoholics drinking their liquid lunch from brown paper bags in the BART Mall area. Esentially their mid-day booze-fest dammed up the steps exiting towards the Park 55 Hotel and wouldn't allow a Japanese girl through.

This administraton has zero respect for its pedestrian constituency and tourist. Sidewalks are thoroughfares and should be managed just as freeways. We need to remove the chalk outlines of homeless highjacking our sidewalks. We need to police vendors who bottleneck our sidewalks with tables and signs set across from trees, fire hydrants, garbage cans, etc. We need to mandate tempory facades on boarded windows of abandoned buildings. We need to address graffiti and launch a public service campaign to teach tourists and citizens alike how to walk:

  • Limit yourself to two people astride.
  • Keep Right. Pass on the Left.
  • Look Left. Look Right. Then merge. Don't interupt traffic.
  • Look where you're walking.
  • Window shoppers: Stop & Go with care.
  • Don't walk too close to walls. Doors open, Coffee spills, and Pigeons poop.

Think of this as a pedestrian's Bill of Rights & Responsibilities. Cleaner sidewalks mean cleaner air, cooler tempers and increased tourism tax dollars. Let's do this already.

Dean Barbella

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