2. How can you kill the tradition of booze-fueled mayhem at B2B?
Easy. When you've got damn near 1,000 cops at your beck and call, you
can do a lot. And when you've done it once, you've established a new
Meanwhile, let's talk about this "tradition" of inebriated hijinks so
grand that many people are surprised to learn that actual serious
runners (from Africa and whatnot) compete in this race. The Bay to
Breakers had its inaugural run the same year the Titanic went down --
1912. No one ran naked. Wacky traditions -- tortilla-tossing, anyone?
-- were added over the years, but it's only fairly recently that the
race became an all-out mobile bacchanal topped by generous doses of
public urination. Vance Cardell ran the B2B back in 1985. He remembers
plenty of caterpillars, silly hats, and some exhibitionism -- but no
one was noticeably drunk. And no one was pissing in public, either.
"These days, everyone is carrying a bottle of water. Everyone is
hydrated," said Cardell, 63. "I come from the dehydrated era. Maybe we
3. Why do those goddamn NIMBYs ruin everything?
Say what you will about neighborhood NIMBYs, but they've decided to do something a lot of young, hip folks don't do. They've made a commitment to live their lives and raise their children -- yes, children! -- here in San Francisco. For most of the young and fun folks who'd marked a day of B2B debauchery on their calendar, it's a good bet they won't be living here in five-odd years. And that's not a judgement -- it's just statistics. Urbanologist Joel Kotkin calls S.F. an "adult Disneyland" where young folks basically treat the city like an extended stay hotel during their wild years before moving on with the next phase of their lives. So it's no surprise our elected leaders cater to those who've chosen to stay here for the long haul. Why try to appease a constituency that'll be living in Livermore by 2013?
Again, if you were hosting a party, you'd probably want to have the young and fun crowd over more than folks who regale you with stories about toilet training their children. But, speaking of toilet training, I can understand the frustration of having 60,000 to 110,000 out-of-towners rumble through your neighborhood and spill untold gallons of alcohol-saturated urine and vomit in every alcove (and, worst of all, feel entitled to do so). I can sympathize with the "Death of Fun" crowd. Wandering half drunk through this marvelous city of ours on a clear and cold day is one of life's true joys.
But cleaning up after 100,000 people solely focused on their good time is decidedly less stimulating.