Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Deputies Who Cried Wolf

Early Tuesday morning, May 30th, the remaining flotsam and jetsam of a three-day weekend in Civic Center...

...managed to induce yet another panic attack in City Hall Sheriff's deputies...

...and they decided that three pieces of discarded luggage strewn around outside City Hall were potential bomb threats.

The item above on the McAllister Street sidewalk was one of these terrifying apparitions.

This set off an absurd chain of events that included closing down Van Ness Avenue from Golden Gate to Grove...

...and McAllister Street from Larkin to Franklin Streets.

This happened during the morning rush hour from 8-10 AM so as to cause maximum inconvenience to the city's commuting workers...

...involving confusion such as this 5-Fulton bus that wasn't paying any attention to the traffic control officer, and which ended up blocking Franklin Street for ten minutes.

The loud and obnoxious local television news helicopters soon showed up to make sure none of the neighbors missed any of the action.

When I later went to the Sheriff's lovely, airy offices on the fourth floor of City Hall and asked how many of these phony bomb events had caused street closures in the neighborhood, the sweet but suspicious receptionist replied, "Oh, you should contact the police. They would probably have those statistics." When I pointed out that it had been deputies finding packages and closing down the neighborhood every time, she simply smiled.

I wish a few of the deputies had been more like the receptionist, and pretended to have concern for their constituents, but instead they seemed more interested in yelling at people, even when they were elderly and confused, or just plain crazy.

Also, if the city can have a policy to put videocameras in poor people's neighborhoods, why can't they just put a few up around City Hall so they can see where these infamous "suspicious packages" come from and who unintentionally leaves them.

This is either the third or the fourth time within the last year that the neighborhood has been shut down for hours at a time, and it's growing as old as the useless, stupid security measures in airports.

It's costing a lot of people a lot of time and money.

Our conservative young City Supervisor Sean Elsbernd, pictured above, should hold an enquiry. This is a serious waste of everyone's resources.


p said...

it seems that the nice sfpd folks are gonna be busy with homeless leftover...they like to do the same down in oakland...blow those bags up!!Up baby!

that robust cop , she's a regular on your blog it need to tell her!

sfwillie said...

I'm surprised there aren't more false alarms, intentional ones. A coordinated set of simultaneous false alarms in four major US cities (closing down for instance the Bay Bridge, Holland Tunnel, Santa Monica Freeway and some fucked up Interstate in Houston) would be scarey.

Also I would expect more nut cases to see terror false alarms as a thrill source. I think we're in for more, not less. Like steak and sizzle, it ain't the attack, it's the alert.