Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Public Private Party at SF City Hall

A huge party setup, complete with ferris wheel, has gone up outside San Francisco City Hall over the last three days for a private convention party being held this evening at 7PM. I tried to find out who the event was for, but nobody at City Hall seemed to know, neither the Sheriffs guarding the doors, the sweet young woman in the Mayor's Office of Neighborhood Services, the catering staff, or the private security guards.

The rumors among most of these people were that the event had something to do with travel agents or the airport or something. So much for transparency and communication under City Hall's dome. Finally, one security guard mentioned that she had heard the party was for "MPI, whatever that might stand for." With a little internet research, I discovered the event is the closing party for Meeting Professionals International, who hosted their annual World Education Congress over the weekend at Moscone Center.

According to their website, "For the closing night celebration we’re taking it to the street – Polk Street. Outside San Francisco’s dramatic City Hall, which recently celebrated its 100th birthday, we’ll transform the pavement into one of San Francisco International Airport’s runways, with buses “landing” and putting guests right in the middle of a uniquely San Franciscan celebration...The North Light Court will double as the Duboce Triangle, with the Electric Headband playing the best of the ‘60s and ‘70s. The South Light Court will represent the Fillmore District, with the Andre Thierry Band lending its cool, down-home vibe. Don’t forget to step inside City Hall, where the Rotunda will become our Hayes Valley Arts District, with performances by classical dancers, jazz singers, and string players up and down the grand staircase. Just be sure you’re back out on the Polk Street side of City Hall by 8:45 p.m. for a special presentation from the Mayor’s Balcony."

It will be interesting to see if they unveil the $2 million dollar lighting system that was recently purchased for the City Hall centennial celebration and for corporate events in the future. There was a kerfluffle in the local media today, ignited by an SF Examiner article from Joshua Sabatini about the lighting system being used for corporate logos and ads on the side of City Hall, but in a sense that would simply be truth in advertising. The cabal that runs San Francisco politics has made it perfectly clear they can be bought by anyone.

Later today, Jonah Owen Lamb at the San Francisco Examiner reported on new information that has been emerging from the federal trial of Leland Yee and Shrimp Boy that seems to implicate Mayor Ed Lee in bribery and corruption. For whatever reason, the FBI decided to go after the low-hanging fruit of Leland Yee rather than the mayor, even though the details in today's court filing are fairly damning.

The money quote from the article is here:
The alleged misconduct started at the top, according to the filing and its FBI sources. “The FBI alleged in discovery that Ed Lee took substantial bribes in exchange for favors,” notes the filing, which goes on to say that then Human Rights commissioner Nazly Mohajer and commission staff member Zula Jones facilitated those exchanges.

Jones was reported by the FBI to have said that former mayor Willie Brown taught Ed Lee to do business, according to the filing. “You got to pay to play here. We got it. We know this. We are the best at this game, uh, better than New York. We do it a little more sophisticated that New Yorkers. We do it without the mafia,” the filing reports Jones to have said.


Unknown said...

This is ridiculous. Thousands of people live within a two block radius of this event, yet nobody bothered to tell anyone? I'm sick of Civic Center and Polk St. being shut down for private parties and conventions as though any part of the City is for sale to the highest bidder. Public parks and streets should be used for public events. The City has plenty of venues to host private events and we're expanding Moscone to add even more space.

Civic Center said...

Dear Unknown: Lavish parties in the neighborhood and in City Hall have never bothered me, to tell you the truth. At least people are having fun. And throwing a large party for very critical meeting planners must be quite a challenge to come up with something new.

What bothers me is the complete lack of transparency at City Hall, not to mention the relentless drive to commercialize public space. There is also the casual, old-fashioned corruption in San Francisco that has gone on so long that nobody even seems to realize how bad it is. Having an $8 billion dollar annual budget while streets are full of potholes and sidewalks with the mentally ill is a fairly obvious indicator that public money is going into a lot of private pockets rather than paying for any real services.

Nancy Ewart said...

Looks like 48 Hills will following the unfolding saga of Shrimp Boy and City Hall pretty closely.


Rachel said...

Oh yeah, I saw this event from out the window of my bus last night. Couldn't figure out what it was. Crazy lavish, from the looks of things. And loud, already, at 5ish.
Thanks for giving us the skinny on it!

Hattie said...

Come the revolution...