How Weird gets walloped...again

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By Steven T. Jones
When the How Weird Street Fair last month barely survived the city permit process to get the OK for one final gathering on Howard Street on May 6, I warned that they were likely to have a hard time with the cops. After all, Southern Station Capt. Denis O'Leary, the guy charged with setting their police fees, had come right out and sided with the handful of neighbors who were trying to kill the popular event. O'Leary promised to be fair. But now, How Weird organizer Brad Olsen tells the Guardian that the cops have more than doubled his fees, demanding $17,700 for beefed up patrols. That's despite the fact that this year's event ends two hours earlier than last year (another city demand), has never had significant law enforcement problems, and it's fee last year was $7,700. O'Leary hasn't yet returned my telephone call asking what this is about, but it doesn't sound like he's living up to his comment to me, "I'm very fair." Meanwhile, the newly formed Outdoor Events Coalition is pushing City Hall to ease the administrative crackdown on street fairs. Stay tuned.
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