A Clarion Call

Instead of the annual Clarion Alley block party, organizers conducted a funeral procession on Sunday to call attention to a changing neighborhood and threatened public space in San Francisco.

For 10 years, people packed the alley for the annual block party to celebrate the Clarion Alley Mural Project. Organizers have received increasing resistance from new residents in the neighborhood, and last year they were forced to pay police officers to patrol the block party for the first time. Opponents of Proposition L, the sit-lie ordinance on the November ballot, joined the procession in solidarity.

On a pamphlet handed out before the procession, their mission statement reads: “We want to embrace what is new but still remember what was here before; we care about affordability — of housing, of food, of education, of health care, of child care, of spaces for political and personal and creative expression; we care about our neighbors who sit or lie in search of those things. We care about this City, our home, and what we make of it. What will you make of it?”

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  1. Joey

    I used to love going to clarion block party. That sucks that the cops canceled it!This city is just becoming more square every day. It pisses me off.

  2. susan

    Part of this is the new requirement that all events be ‘full cost recovery’. What this means is that all public safety personnel costs be covered by event organizers. Sounds straightforward, but what it overlooks the fact that these events have significant value to the community and the public (including generating tax revenue and boosting tourism) that is not accounted for. We pay taxes for public safety already, and yet organizers now have to come up with significant funds to pay for additional coverage for these kinds of events. At the same time, we have public safety personnel providing services at major sporting events, directing traffic during rush hour every day that are considered regular duties- with no one being charged extra- while grassroots organizers are on the hook to cover ‘special events’ (paying overtime) like block parties. Where is the outrage?

  3. Anna

    Susan said it perfectly. We pay already with our tax dollars for police protection and then organizations, like Clarion Alley, that make only enough to cover their costs for the next party have to come up with another exorbitant amount to have it’s participants “protected” or harassed by the police. Did you see the officer come through on a motorcycle in the middle of the party last year? The street closure permits are payed in order to block traffic not to make a highway for bike cops.

  4. Paula

    Is this “full cost recovery” requirement something new (perhaps a result of city budget-tightening)? I’m wonder if this is also why I’ve read that the longstanding annual Day of the Dead procession is in danger of possibly not happening this year.

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