Letters to the editor

  • by BAR staff
  • Wednesday October 19, 2022
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Letters to the editor

Castro used as a pretty backdrop

Touting being inclusive in nearly all its branding, the recently departed Lesbians Who Tech conference in the Castro appeared to be anything but. This began with the overnight Monday erecting of fencing with tarps blocking all views outside of its footprint of the 400 and 500 blocks of Castro Street. Thus, with the presence of security guards and uniformed San Francisco Police Department officers, the public right of way was limited to admission by only those people who had paid $700 to $1,200 for that exclusive privilege. Along with the addition of 24 hour a day generators, tents, stages, sound systems and an Airstream trailer, the conference was less an embrace of the neighborhood than an armed occupation.

Last spring the Castro Merchants were advised of and asked to support LWT's intent to close off the street without many of the details just described in my previous sentences; along with the promise of a financial boon to the neighborhood. Any financial gain appeared to be limited to the Castro Theatre and a handful of event purveyors as commerce in the Castro ground to a halt for the duration of the street closure, associated detours and loss of parking. Additionally, made evident by the howl of online protests on Hoodline and Instagram, LWT apparently didn't bother to notify any of the resident groups about its plans. This only added to the perception that the Castro was being used as nothing more than a pretty backdrop to the event rather than a partner.

Even if it's a major Hollywood studio or this Washington, D.C.-based operation, I suggest the Castro merchant and resident communities have become weary of the expectation they will continue to support these seemingly self-serving assaults on the day-to-day enjoyment of what is, after all, a neighborhood.

Patrick Batt

San Francisco

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