Booze or mismanagement? - Page 2

Battle over proposed alcohol ban marks preparations for 100th Bay to Breakers
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Wayne Lanier, a resident at 256 Ashbury St., last year tried to stop a young man from urinating in his yard, informing him that he would take a photograph and notify the police. "He responded with, 'I don't care, I'm from L.A.,'<0x2009>" Lanier told us. "They had an attitude that expressed their right to party and who were we to question it. It was just unbelievable."

Sharpless said he wants to heed residents' complaints. "The management is supposed to be professional, so something like public urination and a little bit of public drunkenness should be dealt with," Sharpless said. "The priority is the neighbors, their private property, and their well-being. Just sticking your head in sand and turning a blind eye to the problem is not a solution."

Sharpless and others met with officials in the Mayor's Office July 12, seeking a dialogue between community groups, residents, city officials. and AEG. Some press coverage framed the meeting as simply about drunkenness, but Sharpless said mismanagement of the event was a key topic.

"The meeting was scheduled two weeks ago, before AEG decided to announce the ban," Sharpless said. "The reason Sam announced the ban subsequently is because he wanted to make it look like it was about a ban on alcohol when really it was a focus group on neighborhood damage."

AEG is expected to present a plan for next year's event toward the end of summer. "We will be working with the police department on having a larger and more strategically placed police force to help ensure safety," Singer said. "We are also planning on doing extensive outreach and advertising to inform the public of this year's new rules."

Sharpless remains confident that the party will go on. "It looks like we have a good, constructive start," he said. "Of course we don't support the alcohol ban. This isn't just a 12K race. This is Bay to Breakers. This is a civic institution that represents the uniqueness of San Francisco, and we will fight to save it."