Monday, October 22, 2012

Urgent Town Hall:
October 28 at the Castro Theatre

Steven Soderbergh's movie "Contagion" was one of the best films I saw last year, with a relevant story similar in a few respects to the HIV/AIDS pandemic, a fast-paced narrative acted out by an engaging cast and terrific camerawork by Soderbergh himself. 

It's now serving as a jumping off point for public discussion, in the neighborhood decimated by AIDS a generation ago, so the better question for the forum organizers to ask is, are we prepared for a second pandemic. One was more than enough, thank you, very much.

From the Castro Theatre's site:

Is the Bay Area prepared for a pandemic? The Skoll Global Threats Fund invites the public to join us at 7:00 (organ at 6:45) for a special screening of Contagion in conjunction with the launch of Flu Near You, our collaborative project with the American Public Health Association and HealthMap. Find out how you can help put the public in public health . . .

A panel of experts including technical consultants on the film will engage the local audience of invited public health officials, healthcare providers, teachers, students, law enforcement, military, churches and corporations in a town hall discussion after the film.

We are reserving a limited number of free admission tickets for the general public on a first come basis:

I've got my tickets for this town hall, and am looking forward to it for the obvious cinematic and civic reasons. I can feed two birds with one seed. Watch "Contagion" again on the big screen and participate in a public forum in the Castro district. 

As anyone who's read my blog in the past two years knows, I've been demanding democratic engagement from Scott Wiener and MUMC over many public space control issues and the thing they are loath to do is throw open the doors and welcome one and all to a public discussion. 

There's a crying need for town halls in the Castro that are organized regardless of MUMC or Wiener participation or endorsement. With inter-community tensions so high over myriad public space issues and who sets public policy for the Castro for our collective gathering grounds, we could cool things off with open forums and create solutions acceptable to more folks than just the merchants.

If Wiener and MUMC need a town hall model to emulate, they need look no further the October 28 event in their own backyard. 

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