Bay to Breakers 2010: One Bathroom for Every 2000 People Passing Through the Panhandle?

Oh mercy, those Citizens for the Preservation of Bay2Breakers are on a tear after reading a couple bits from C.W. Nevius the past couple of days concerning the 2010 Bay to Breakers. Now, I don’t necessarily agree with all that they’re saying – check out my humble thoughts on the matter below, if you wish.

About those bathrooms: The reason why there were more port-a-potties in the Panhandle last year in aught-nine compared with 2010 is because the Citizens for the Preservation of Bay2Breakers went out and paid for them? Wow. So that explains why there were fewer this year?

Let’s do the math:

An estimated 100,000 racers, participants, observers, cops, etc. passing through the Panhandle on their way up to the highest point of the race in Golden Gate Park DIVIDED BY 44 port-a-potties set out in the Panhandle in four pods EQUALS 2,272…, right?

So let’s round down to an even 2000. One Bathroom for each group of 2000 passing by Sunday last. Do you think that’s enough?

So the small number of these (the bulk of the bathrooms in the Panhandle at 2010′s BtoB):

…led to this?

In other news, it might be wise for Mayor Gavin Newsom to register for the 2010 race after the fact. Just saying. Else B2b organizers from AEG will call him a “deadbeat” as well.   

Anyway, the main points from CPB2B’s recent manifesto and my thoughts: 

I. AEG is Pushing a False Narrative to Mask Their Own Mismanagement.

Yes, agreed.

II. AEG’s Campaign to Sterilize B2B Continues.

Not really sure about this. Would need to see a memo or something. But, Only Time Will Tell.

III. The Problem Is Not “Pirates.” The Problem Is a Lack of Resources.

1. First of all, get more toilets AEG.

Yep. This is pretty basic, actually.

2. Get some portable urinal troughs for the men.

Sure, perche no?

3. Account for spectators.

Yes, of course.

4. Host an event for the revelers in the park.

Well, the NIMBYs of Golden Gate Park proper probably would object, but they are not as organized as the hard-core Panhandle NIMBYs so maybe this could work. Hard to say.

5. AEG should better allocate barriers and police resources along problem areas

I’m sure that there are a few police captains and lieutenants who might think that they’re the ones allocating police resources, but anyway.

IV.  Maybe It’s Time for a Local Non-Profit to “Own” Bay to Breakers.

Well, if AEG wants to sell, then they can sell, but I don’t think they can easily be forced to hand over the race.

 

All right, read the manifesto at their site and see what you think.

 

“Well, unfortunately we were right.

I. AEG is Pushing a False Narrative to Mask Their Own Mismanagement.

We were at Bay to Breakers on Sunday.  We saw 70,000+ people having fun and peacefully celebrating their city.  By-and-large we thought it was a huge success.  Most media reports agreed.  Even AEG’s race director, Angela Fang, said “we had just a phenomenal day… it went exceptionally well.”

…At least that’s what she said on Monday.

Now AEG Worldwide, the “owner” of San Francisco’s 100 year old Bay to Breakers, along with their PR agent Sam Singer, are trying to convince you that B2B 2010 was a catastrophe.  In today’s Chronicle they suggest B2B was so bad that they “will propose a ban on alcohol for next year.” Huh?

Why with so many glowing media reports on the event are they already announcing bans for next year?  Let us explain.  The Chronicle article was written by C.W. Nevius, the only writer we’ve seen say such negative things about this year’s event.  In fact, this was his second negative article on the subject in the last two days (read the first here).  Both are heavily biased in favor of Sam Singer and his client, AEG, to give them fodder to ban the fun of San Francisco’s annual tradition.

Were there problems at this year’s B2B?  Yes. But as we will explain, those problems should be addressed with proper resources, not dishonest smear campaigns.  Don’t let AEG blame their mismanagement of the event on the people of San Francisco.

II. AEG’s Campaign to Sterilize B2B Continues.

We warned you. In the run up to this year’s Bay to Breakers, we published an article entitled 2010 Bay to Breakers Alert! AEG Worldwide Engaged in Multi-Year Campaign to Destroy San Francisco Tradition. In the article, we outlined how AEG was unable to achieve their goal of banning floats, nudity and alcohol from the 2009 Bay to Breakers and therefore would attempt to dismantle the fun piece-by-piece over the next few years.  Well, they tried to take away floats from the 2010 event.  We fought that and won.  Now for next year’s 100th anniversary, they’re back to banning alcohol, and likely will show up with additional fine print restrictions to ban floats and who knows what else before next year’s event.  It never ends with these people.  You know why?

Let’s break it down.

In our meetings this year with race director and AEG employee Angela Fang, she made it clear that Bay to Breakers “is not a civic parade” and that her goal was to make it a plain old 12K footrace.  Sans fun. Unless, of course, the fun qualifies for participation in the Disneyland parade.  In a moment of anger, she told us that “we will not support 20,000 bandits over 7.5 miles” referring to those “bandits” who haven’t paid the $48 registration fee.  (Oh, did any of you check out the articleon the Bandit-In-Chief?  Yes, Mayor Gavin Newsom showed up to run without registering, referring to himself as “one of those bandits.”  Maybe that’s why Sam Singer has now started calling them “pirates” instead.)

Our group has always said that B2B participants should pay their fair share; increased registration is central to our message.  The problem is, whether they use the word “bandit” or “pirate”, AEG and Angela Fang have shown a naked contempt for the people who see B2B as something more than just a footrace.  The “revelers”, as we call them, are the people who make this event unique, who make it San Franciscan.  Yet rather than trying to include them, provide adequate services for them, or encourage them to register (as we have done on all counts), AEG and Fang have demeaned and alienated them.

III. The Problem Is Not “Pirates”. The Problem Is a Lack of Resources.

In today’s article, Singer is quoted as saying, “we have a group of pirates who are using the streets and people’s homes as toilets.” There is obviously no excuse for that behavior.  But let’s focus on this for a long moment: why is it happening, and how can we stop it?

  1. First of all, get more toilets AEG. Yes, more, more, more.  We told you over and over again in 2009 that the Panhandle and other problem areas were suffering from a severe shortage of resources (read: port-a-potties!).  We went so far as to establish a Flush Fund and raised money to rent more toilets for those key problem areas.  It must have worked, because we didn’t get many public urination complaints in 2009.
  2. Get some portable urinal troughs for the men.  Actually, get a lot. Bucky’s has some here.  If a guy can stand and pee on a tree, bush, wall, driveway or rose bush, why not have him pee in one of these?  Seriously, there should be a sea of urinal troughs and port-a-potties in the panhandle.  A guy can be in and out in 30 seconds and leave the port-a-potties to the ladies.
  3. Account for spectators.  Race organizers need to get real.  Not everyone out there is a drunken “pirate”.  In fact, it is consistently estimated that there are 100,000 people in the streets on the day of Bay to Breakers.  If there are 30,000 registered runners and 30,0000 unregistered “pirates”, simple math shows us that we are missing 40,000 people. Oh yeah, we forgot about those people called spectators, which AEG would like to ignore providing resources for.
  4. Host an event for the revelers in the park.  Not some family oriented “Footstock”, but something substantial with a band that might be seen at Outside Lands.  You want to get people out of the neighborhoods?  Get them into the park.
  5. AEG should better allocate barriers and police resources along problem areas, like the Panhandle, to prevent the small percentage of “pirates” that actually do pee on private property.  We’re not defending them.  Use police resources to stop them.  A barrier with police positioned appropriately should solve the remainder of the problem.

Waiting 15 minutes or more in a port-a-potty line (as people we heard from did on several occasions Sunday) is unacceptable, regardless if you’ve been drinking beer, water or anything else.  And, it isn’t just a line of “pirates”, but a line of registered participants and spectators too.   Not to mention volunteers and the police. When you gotta go, you gotta go.  And not many people can hold it for 15 minutes when you gotta go. Put a sea of port-a-potties and urinal troughs out there (especially in the panhandle), and your problem is mostly solved. Stop blaming it on the booze and the “bandits”, uh sorry, “pirates”.

IV.  Maybe It’s Time for a Local Non-Profit to “Own” Bay to Breakers.

AEG will continue to use Singer to fabricate a public outcry that doesn’t really exist. Why would you think AEG’s goals for 2009 to ban alcohol, nudity and floats would suddenly change? This is a monster, for-profit, private corporation with a billionaire conservative owner who openly despises San Francisco values, and you think they’re just going to lose a fight one year and go away quietly the next?

AEG won’t rest until Bay to Breakers is transformed into an ordinary 12K footrace that maximizes profit for the corporation and represents the family values of its owner, Philip Anschutz.

And they’ve got a supporter in City Hall, Martha Cohen, the individual many cite as being personally responsible for the “death of fun” in San Francisco, having led the effort to end Halloween in the Castro and the Embarcadero New Year’s party.

Wake up San Francisco.  This isn’t over.  Stand tall and protect your traditions before they all evaporate at the hands of a few in power.  AEG needs to stop pointing the finger of blame at others and take responsibility for its own failures as organizer and manager of this event.  And, ultimately, city agencies such as ISCOTT should reject AEG’s applications for future permits unless they are willing to take responsibility for past failures and allocate sufficient resources and plans to end the recurring problems in the neighborhoods.  If they won’t do it, another event organizer will.

Oh yeah, and if AEG claims one more time that they are “losing money” on this event every year, it’s time to show us your financials. Nobody believes you anymore.

It’s time to put down the magnifying glass and pick up the mirror, AEG.

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