By Tes Welborn, HANC Board Member
The SF Plaza Program is another effort of the City to privatize public spaces and to pass on their maintenance costs to private parties. It innocuously imagines non-profits and neighborhood groups being able to spare time and money to address City infrastructure maintenance, and then allows them to close the public space and hold private, entrance-fee events. We've seen how allowing Civic Center to be leased by private parties has led to the blocking off for weeks of Civic Center and portions of adjacent streets, followed by continued closure while grass is replanted. Imagine nonprofits set up by Twitter, Ron Conway, Google, etc. being able to take over even more of our precious and limited public space! AND put up sponsor signs!
The Mayor's office of Economic and Workforce Development gives a number of examples of current “activation” such as farmers markets, movie nights, food trucks, and dance that do serve the community. Why should the public have to maintain city facilities paid for by taxpayers? Why should private, admission-charged events occupy public plazas at the expense of quiet public enjoyment?