Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Pride Meeting: SFPD Chief Suhr on Security, Bradley Who?

(From the left, Greg Suhr, your humble activist and blogger, and in dark sunglasses, Liz Highleyman. Pretty cool how Greg and I each wear a badge. His is a golden six points, and mine is the pink triangle over "Silence = Death". Activism, like life, is strange. Credit: David Currie, SF Pride's treasurer who snapped the pic using my camera.)

In the midst of trying to settle the legal hassle brought against me by an elected official, I spent part my evening tonight with San Francisco Police Department's Chief of Police Greg Suhr. We've been on a first-name basis for years, and I always remember he's a cop and I'm an activist and we each have an important role to play in civic life.

The SF Pride board of directors held its monthly membership meeting tonight, and it was barely fifty-minutes long. I'm becoming quite a fan of Pride's existing open meetings policy and how they're expanding their online transparency, and praised them for it.

The chief was up first for a Q&A on general police issues and Pride festivities. I asked how the cops could allow people on the sidewalks watching the June 30 Parade to join a contingent as it passes by and not have the police freak out. Suhr dodged the question and said folks had to decide if they were watchers or marchers, and they wanted to march they should be at the start of the parade with a contingent.

There's something wrong with this City's Pride Parade in that the cops have decided how we can't and don't have a participatory march up Market Street, because the cops have laid down their requirement to line the route with steel barricades.

They've forced a crowd control measure on us for years, and grassroots queers need to reclaim the Parade as OURS and that means when we march by chanting, "Off the sidewalks! Into the streets!", our brothers and sisters can do without impediment from the police.

Definitely an item that should be on City Hall hearing agenda after Pride about Pride and the many ways the City's departments handling the official festivities. Hello, David Campos, let's hear from you about a hearing in July at the Board of Supervisors.

But I digress. Suhr took questions about foot patrols in the neighborhoods, security at Pride events and the department upgrading its communication equipment and networks for the force, that is supposedly giving the public more info about SFPD activities.

Pride board members gave short updates on preparations for the rest of Pride Month, public comment was consistently solicited and copies of the latest fiscal report were available on paper for all.

Longtime freelance journalist Liz Highleyman shared this tweet:  

10+ supporters at members mtg, only 2 gave public comment, on unrelated issues.

I was surprised other members of the ad hoc Bradley Manning coalition holding Pride accountable over rescinding grand marshal honors to him didn't speak up during public comment about that controversy.

My public comments took up the most time and included demanding Campos hold a City Hall hearing, requesting Pride move its account out of Wells Fargo and into a credit union, posting their minutes and monthly financials that they make available on paper at meetings on their site, thanking them for posting their three most current IRS 990s on their site and requesting that the latest version due for filing on August 15 be posted within days of the filing on their site.

Earl Plante, the executive director of Pride, took notes about my ideas and after I read my list, handed it to board secretary Lou Fisher who was taking notes to assist her in preparing the best minutes possible.

No more Pride meetings till after June 30. Happy Gay Liberation to You!

1 comment:

margarita rosa said...

"There's something wrong with this City's Pride Parade in that the cops have decided how we can't and don't have a participatory march up Market Street, because the cops have laid down their requirement to line the route with steel barricades."

Ridiculous. Yes, there's definitely something wrong with that. What are they afraid of (other than their own shadow)? Do they live under some delusion that the parade will attack the viewers? Or that the viewers will attack the parade? Which side is the "enemy?" We need to know. Or are they afraid of a Bradley Manning protest contingent getting into their little parade and "spoiling" this corporatist ad charade called SF Pride [sic]?