At this point one wants to shriek, "Move back to Mountain View, spoilsports!" And that's exactly the message of the San Francisco Party Party, the latest grassroots effort to combat what Party Party leader Ted Strawser calls "the rampant suburbanization of the most gloriously hedonistic city on earth." NIMBYs are hard to spot; they come in every class and color and don't always sport the telltale Hummers and French manicures of the previous generation of wet blankets (although they do often smell like diapers). The changing demographics of the city suggest that many new residents, mostly condo owners, commute to out-of-town jobs — in San Jose, say — and may be trying to transform San Francisco into a bedroom community.
"I don't know who these quasi prohibitionists think they are, but they don't belong here, that's for sure," Strawser says. "Street culture and community gatherings are the reason San Francisco exists. We live our happy lives on the sidewalks and in the bars. And it's bad enough we have to quit drinking at 2 a.m. Now we have to be quiet, too?"
The San Francisco Bike Coalition, the newly formed Outdoor Events Coalition, and the still-active Late Night Coalition are out in fabulous force to combat the NIMBYs. But, realizing the diffuseness of the problem, the Party Party is taking a less directly political, more Web-savvy approach to fighting San Francisco's gradual laming, using its site as a viral locus for disgruntled partyers, a portal linking directly to organizations combating NIMBYs, and a guide to local fun stuff happening each week. "We're a bunch of partyers, what can I say?" Strawser says. "We're doing our best to shed light on all this insane NIMBY stuff, but we also love to go out drinking. And that's a commitment many folks can relate to."
Let's hope we can win the fight again this time (tipsy or no). San Francisco is a progressive city, dedicated to the power of microgovernment and the ability to have your voice heard in your community. If you don't like what's happening next door, you should be able to do something about it. But it’s also a city of constant reinvention and liveliness, exploration and celebration. That's the reason we all struggle so much to stay here. That's what shapes our soul.
If some people can't handle it — well, the less the merrier, maybe. SFBG
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