Tuesday, June 03, 2014
MUNI Sickout and FBI Stakeout
San Francisco felt weirder than usual on Monday. Unhappy about an upcoming contract negotiation, MUNI bus drivers staged a sickout.
The slow and unreliable MUNI bus system became effectively useless all day, with NextBus signage indicating that the next 47-Van Ness bus at 2PM would arrive in either 48 or 49 minutes, maybe, depending, and it would probably be packed like a tin of sardines.
So I walked up Van Ness to Jackson Street, the site of a bizarre, intense FBI stakeout and search this weekend at the apartment of Ryan Chamberlain II, a local political operative who likes to play dirty for the powers that be in this city, and who was something of a specialist in using social media for politics and marketing.
There was little to no information in the media all weekend about what was actually happening, so I had lunch at the Bell Tower pub/restaurant which is across the street from Ryan's apartment. "Was he a regular?" I asked the staff, and they said he wasn't exactly a regular but they knew him, and the wild charges by the FBI through the media that he was armed and dangerous and a domestic terrorist didn't read right at all from their encounters. What struck everyone as totally weird was the behavior of the FBI setting up a containment area and putting on Hazmat suits without bothering to evacuate anyone from the neighborhood. "Should we close the front door so we don't get poisoned?" one of the patrons who had been there on Saturday afternoon asked at the time. The response was "We're all doomed if it comes to that."
Later on Monday afternoon, the supposedly armed and dangerous fugitive was seen having a drink at the appropriately named Mad Dog in The Fog pub in the lower Haight, where he was spotted and somebody sent out a Twitter alert. At around 6PM, Chamberlain was spotted at Crissy Field in a pair of shorts and a sweatshirt, where he was arrested by a whole phalanx of law enforcement. (Click here for a phone video at San Francisco Citizen by some passerby that's priceless in its peanut gallery narration.)
None of the story makes a bit of sense. Since both the FBI and the San Francisco Police Department have proven themselves to be extremely untrustworthy over the decades, nobody is buying their story without some proof, which has not been offered so far. That doesn't mean Chamberlain is an innocent character either, since he was leaving clues left and right online about how dark his life had become over the last year. We shall see.