Champagne, fires and police were the theme in the Mission District. Photo by Laura Wenus.

Our staff had a long night Wednesday, zipping around the neighborhood to catch everything from dancing and drumming in the streets to various objects being lit on fire. Thursday morning we were back to talk about how things went from all-in-good-fun partying to what could be called a riot. Listen in for Mission Local’s take of the night’s developments and why a baseball game victory might inspire this kind of fervor…and why voting and political issues can’t seem to inspire much enthusiasm at all. With voter turnout for midterm elections like the one coming up this Tuesday hovering around 30 percent, it seems most people are uninterested in participating in government. We talk about why that might be and what role media plays in guiding (or confusing) people through the voting process.

Listen here:

And if you haven’t caught up on all the coverage of the chaos in the Mission last night, you might check out our live blog of the night and our recap.

Recorded live at’s Secret Alley studio. Intro music this week by Alaska Y Dinarama. Outro by the Pixies.

What should we talk about next time? Who should be our first guest? Send us comments, questions, and more at

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Daniel Hirsch is a freelance writer who has been living in the Mission since 2009. When he's not contributing to Mission Local, he's writing plays, working as an extra for HBO, and/or walking to the top of Bernal Hill.

Founder/Executive Editor. I’ve been a Mission resident since 1998 and a professor emeritus at Berkeley’s J-school since 2019 when I retired. I got my start in newspapers at the Albuquerque Tribune in the city where I was born and raised. Like many local news outlets, The Tribune no longer exists. I left daily newspapers after working at The New York Times for the business, foreign and city desks. Lucky for all of us, it is still there.

As an old friend once pointed out, local has long been in my bones. My Master’s Project at Columbia, later published in New York Magazine, was on New York City’s experiment in community boards.

Right now I'm trying to figure out how you make that long-held interest in local news sustainable. The answer continues to elude me.

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  1. Jason, where are you getting your facts about the construction materials in the Mission? My apartment is made of wood.
    And if we “learned how to build a burn proof-ish city back in post earthquake days”, how does that explain the successful fire at 22nd and Mission a month ago?

  2. Camping is the socially acceptable scenario for a bonfire, even though it is far more dangerous because one is lighting a fire IN THE MIDDLE OF FOREST with few people (or fire hydrants) around to help out if things goes awry. Contrast that with socially unaccepted (and illegal) World Series street bonfire and I think, even though it is shunned up, the World Series fire is probably actually safer. The WS bonfire is lit on a flat concrete street (it won’t spread) and the city is not a grove of trees, it is comprised of stone buildings (sorry, we learned how to build a burn proof-ish city back in post earthquake days over one hundred years ago) This has been going on since the 80’s with the Niners victories (cars were flipped and burned back then) Now I don’t agree with vandalism, violence, or ugly graffiti on windows (as opposed to a nice mural) etc, I do think that dancing around a bonfire is not SOOOOO big of deal and is relatively safe, especially as there are police with radios monitoring the situation. I just don’t think that logically, you could really burn down this city. I don’t think the city was designed that way. Unless we have some sort of HUGE earthquake ripping open the gas manes. Short of that, the concrete intersection where the nasty-ass sofa got burned…it’s probably gonna be just fine. In conclusion, as I said early on, it’s nearly impossible to advocate for arson! 🙂 LOL, so that was my devils advocate and slightly tongue-in-cheek attempt to argue for giving the bonfire dancers a pass. Not they need a pass.