Abortion rights Park ranger Bike mechanic
Park Ranger James Horn takes issue with Tune-Ups for a Cause on Oct. 23

The group of bike mechanics raising funds for abortion rights who were chased off JFK Drive by a city park ranger last month will return soon, with official permission and some money in their pockets. 

After Mission Local placed calls to the Recreation and Parks Department during the Oct. 23 incident in which Ranger James Horn threatened to ticket the mechanics and call police, Chief Park Ranger David Murphy personally intervened and “de-escalated” the situation. 

Bike mechanic Joey Shemuel said Murphy subsequently reached out to him, and the two had a cup of coffee and cordial discussion following the incident. 

Shemuel’s group had been operating without a permit; in October, he told us he’d hit a wall in a months-long quest to obtain the proper permit to operate the charitable service in the park. But, earlier this month, he had a Zoom meeting with three different Recreation and Parks officials and, on that very day, obtained his permit. 

It is, counterintuitively, a busking permit. Its nominal fee is being held in abeyance due to the pandemic. 

In addition to receiving the elusive permit, the mechanics received a $400 grant from the Parks Alliance to buy a table, a bicycle work stand, and signage to advertise their services to passersby. 

“Maybe the moral of the story is that people who work in these various agencies do want to make things easy and beneficial for everyone,” said Shemuel. “Sometimes their hands are just kind of tied.” 

Shemuel expects the mechanics to be back on JFK Drive next month, if the weather is fair and he can round up enough mechanics to lend him a hand. 

Anyone interested in their schedule, potentially volunteering services, or donating funds to aid abortion rights should contact them through their Instagram page, @tunups4acause

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Managing Editor/Columnist. Joe was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left.

“Your humble narrator” was a writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015, and a senior editor at San Francisco Magazine from 2015 to 2017. You may also have read his work in the Guardian (U.S. and U.K.); San Francisco Public Press; San Francisco Chronicle; San Francisco Examiner; Dallas Morning News; and elsewhere.

He resides in the Excelsior with his wife and three (!) kids, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.

The Northern California branch of the Society of Professional Journalists named Eskenazi the 2019 Journalist of the Year.

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  1. Me thinks that park ranger would be a lot healthier and happier if he got on a bike himself, instead of driving around in a motor vehicle on the supposedly car-free road.