Friday, August 10, 2007

Gavin Newsom Smashing Pumpkins

The Great Pumpkin will skip San Francisco this year.

Gavin Newsom has declared there will be no official Halloween celebration anywhere in San Francisco in October - not in the Castro neighborhood, the traditional home of the event, and not at a parking lot near AT&T Park, which had been considered as an alternate site.

City officials are still trying to prevent any festivities in the Castro. On Wednesday, Supervisor Bevan Dufty sent a letter to 110 owners of bars, restaurants and stores in the Castro, asking them to close shop on Halloween night to discourage partygoers.

The Halloween event was marred by violence last year after the shooting near the main stage on Market Street. Another person was injured as the crowd fled the area. Dufty and other city leaders had already been concerned about violence at the event, including the potential for attacks on members of the city's gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender population.

Halloween traditionally has been a major community event - sometimes referred to as the "Gay Christmas" - but Dufty said that era has passed.

"It's not a holiday in the Castro. It's a night in which the neighborhood is overrun by people who come to gawk, not celebrate, and unfortunately it turns into gang night out in the Castro."
To quell the Castro event, which draws several hundred thousand people, no roads will be closed, no barriers will be erected and no portable bathrooms will be set up, Dufty said. Police will be out in numbers akin to last Halloween, but they will be patrolling with "zero tolerance" for anyone breaking the law, he said.

Dufty has commitments from five businesses in the Castro to close on Halloween night, and he will try to persuade more to do so at a community meeting in the neighborhood next week.

San Francisco Chronicle : No Castro Halloween This Year, And No Official S.F. Alternative by Wyatt Buchanan

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