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San Francisco | Police State and Prisons

San Francisco Police Begin Lock Down of Castro Area
by ntuit
Wednesday Oct 29th, 2008 12:29 AM
Once again martial law comes to the Castro District of San Francisco
There is something going on in San Francisco that is scarier than Halloween. For the second year in a row, the San Francisco Police Department will station a cop every few feet on the streets of the Castro District – to prevent people from having a party. How did it come to this oppressive show of force and martial law in a city that has billed itself as one of the nation’s most progressive? Walking through the Castro District last year on Halloween was one of the scariest. There were almost no regular citizens on the sidewalks but there were hundreds of cops patrolling nobody. It was very surreal and it really gave one a feeling of what a police state might be like.

But there are a lot of people who like all of this. It is not the San Francisco of old. Now days the city has cameras positioned around the city to watch it’s citizens. The city is represented in congress by a woman who apparently knew about secret and illegal torture carried out by the Bush Administration yet did nothing. In fact, she took impeachment off the table. I guess it didn’t matter if Bush did anything impeachable or highly illegal, Nancy Pelosi had decided that she would usurp the constitution and rule of law to make this decision on her own whim about what is best for the country. Also, Pelosi has been able to provide all of the funding Bush has requested to carry out the war in Iraq even though the American people and her own San Francisco constituents were heavily against continuing the war.

For those who don’t know – San Francisco is a city still run by the Burton machine. It’s mainly about keeping money and power in the hands of an exclusive group of people while making the city appear progressive. There are some true progressives in the city but the power still rests with a very establishment group of democratic politicians who have more to gain from maintaining the status quo on all levels of society as versus real change.

There are a lot of strange things going on in San Francisco. Open your eyes and take a look.

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by ^
Wednesday Oct 29th, 2008 8:20 AM
For us native San Franciscans, this fantasy of San Francisco being some beacon of good against the forces of evil is just a fantasy. For example, the Republican Party prevailed in San Francisco before the 1960s, long after it ceased being the party of Lincoln, AND THE DEMOCRATIC MAYORS THAT FOLLOWED WERE EQUALLY DESPICABLE.
Here are the mayors of San Francisco:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Mayors_of_San_Francisco

This writer can remember back to Mayor George Christopher, of the Christopher milk company family, whose bottling plant is now the police station on Valencia Street. As described in this biography of Lawrence Ferlinghetti, the owner of City Lights bookstore, at
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawrence_Ferlinghetti
it was in 1956, under Mayor Christopher that the police siezed Allen Ginsburg's Howl on obscenity charges adn arrested Ferlinghetti and the bookstore manager.

It was under this same Mayor Chirstopher in 1960 that the fire department literally hosed the demonstrators against the House Un-American Activities Committee's (HUAC) last witchhunt of "communists" in San Franicsco INSIDE CITY HALL with high pressure water hoses and the police literally threw people down the marble stairs in the City Hall Rotunda, leaving blood stains that lastest for decades. The response the following Saturday from the anti-HUAC Bay Area was to provide a SOLID DOUBLE PICKET LINE AROUND THE 4 BLOCKS OF CITY HALL, with 1 line going clockwise and the other counter-clockwise, literally one step between us as we protested the police brutality. For us kids, it was the best "choo-choo" train game yet, and we were old enough to understand the meaning of the picket as well. It was the kind of solidarity that we need far more of if tihs country is to change. The Left at that time was based in the labor unions, especially the longshore workers' union, the ILWU.

The horrors of the Democratic mayors' police department are too numerous to list here. Special mention should be made of Mayor Joseph Alioto, whose police viciously beat the San Francisco State labor-student strike picketline for ethnic studies 40 years ago, and whose same police beat the Kaiser workers' picketline about the same year, 1968.

The horrors of Willie Brown, both in the Assembly, where he became rich by supporting the gentrification of the Fillmore as a lackey of the real estate industry, as well as being a leading gambling racket spokesperson, and as mayor, where we committed election fraud, attacked the gay community, opposed public power and made it clear that he was by far the worst mayor in memory, are all described at:
http://www.brasscheck.com/stadium
and
http://www.brasscheck.com/jonestown

As to Congress, here are the San Francisco Representatives in history:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_Representatives_from_California
Jse the Find feature on your Edit pulldown, with "San Francisco" as the search word to find all the SF Congresspeople.
You will see Republican William Maillaird represented SF from 1953 to 1974. The current 8th CD was split as the 4th, 5th and 6th CDs at various times. The Burtons took the 2 seats that reprsented San Francisco on the rhetoric of being against the war in Vietnam. What they did to end it is unknown by this writer. This writer remembers Maillaird as being a staunch Eisenhower-Nixon Republican. Eisenhower was originally elected president in 1952 as a war hero as he was a general in World War 2.

There may be a good tradition of struggle here and we certainly vote to the Left of most of the country, but it is still the backward, fascist USA. We have to get rid of the profit motive to make fundamental change, and for that, we need a labor movement.
by ^
Wednesday Oct 29th, 2008 8:38 AM
It was Democratic Mayor Shelley's police who attacked the New Year's Day 1965 dance at California Hall for the gay community. This incident became known as San Francisco's Stonewall, Stonewall being the incident that officially marks the beginning of the current gay liberation movement when the police attacked black and Puerto Rico drag queens at the Stonewall bar in New York City in 1969. See Wide Open Town by Nan Alamilla Boyd and Stonewall by David Carter. I can remember my father teaching me the lesson from that incident: We have nothing to fear from a man in a dress; we have much to fear from a man with a gun. The gay movement was very much a part of the peace movement against the war in Vietnam then, and was also part of the civil rights movement of the 1960s, both very large in San Francisco.
by cp
Wednesday Oct 29th, 2008 9:31 AM
I'm not in SF, but can anyone tell us what this is really like on the ground there? I remember going to three Castro halloweens before stopping going- which was about two years before the city decided to 'shut it down' as well.
My perception is that many local people were angry about the direction it was going. I don't want to take an antipopulist viewpoint towards 'hicks' from San Leandro or the hinterlands who more sophisticated people from the city didn't want in their neighborhood any longer, but the size of this crowd really was getting fairly large - in the 100,000s perhaps. I noticed that about 75% weren't doing halloween activities like dressing up.
Naturally, most people behave acceptably, walking around bothering nobody, but I did witness several incidents of packs of kids suddenly jumping on men that they picked out, and kicking and hitting them for 10 seconds before running off again. In other words, using the cover off this crowd, people from outside the neighborhood were coming to do gay bashing. I and others weren't intervening because it looked dangerous, and by the time you could find a cop, you could never find the bashers. This bothered me but I can't enunciate what I think the city should do about it.
SF police seem to always have a mode of tolerance until a line is reached and they have a total crackdown (such as these checkpoints, or the shutting off of the neighborhood which you describe here).
I think they should perhaps do something like enforce keeping Market street open, and let everyone do what they want on the sidewalks of the side streets without checkpoints.
Santa Cruz also has issues with excessively cracking down. They triple the fine for ordinary evening crimes like open container and peeing in a planter to $500+ tickets. Two years ago, they fenced off most of the downtown street so that the crowd of 30,000 who goes to Santa Cruz was squished into a small area. Still, every year there are fights despite the police presence.
by the truth
Friday Oct 31st, 2008 6:28 PM
The original author of this article wrote "Walking through the Castro District last year on Halloween was one of the scariest"

Yes, scary in a way that Castro residents feared for their safety and lives. The last several Halloween parties in the Castro have been out of control. In several areas gunshots rang out and several partygoers were stabbed with real knives.

When the chaos during the night cleared by morning, residents/tenants awoke to find vomit in front of doorways, urine-soaked walls, and hypodermic needles in yards. Windows were smashed, trashcans overturned, graffiti everywhere.

Most residents of the Castro were for the Halloween party when it was actually fund to attend without worrying about being stabbed or shot at. With all the violence at the previous parties the police force is needed to keep the crowds in control.