Will State Street never again thrill to a parade? | Credit: Paul Wellman (file)

The lurid headline of a recent Angry Poodle column reads “Specter of Mass Shootings Casts Pall over State Street Parades.”

The Poodle writes, “As far as parades go — another key flashpoint issue — the murmurings I’m hearing are disquieting in the extreme, reflecting the extent to which paranoia over mass shootings will forever now intrude into all aspects of city planning.”

What? “Murmurings”? Where the heck did this come from? Not the Police Department, since the Poodle admits, “Full disclosure: I haven’t asked the cops yet to find out.”

We can, however, pretty confidently guess the source of this attempt to quash any community efforts to restore the historic Old Spanish Days Fiesta Parade to State Street for its 100th Anniversary. Or the Solstice Parade. Or the Christmas Parade.

Way back in 2022 at the September 20 City Council Meeting, Councilmember Mike Jordan attempted to enlist SBPD Commander Arroyo in supporting his claims that any parades on State Street were a severe “public safety” concern. (09/20/22 CC Meeting Video 01:24:00 mark)

Self-appointed “active shooter” expert Mike Jordan tries to pin Commander Arroyo down and have her state that the PD would recommend no parades on State Street ever again.

Commander Arroyo refused to agree, instead suggesting that there were security concerns at all venues.

Mr. Jordan’s attempt to justify the permanent closure of State Street with this silly argument was BS back in 2022, and it is BS now.

Think about it — if we can’t have parades on State Street because of security issues caused by large gatherings then we should be canceling all events that cluster large numbers of people exposing them to “mass shootings.”

All parades canceled forever. No more Bowl concerts, Granada shows, beach and park festivals, religious gatherings. All should be cancelled if we take Mr. Jordan’s very serious assertions to their logical conclusions.

But we know Mr. Jordan is not serious. We know this because at the same time he argues that State Street is unsafe for large gatherings of people, he has supported the massive increase in alcoholic beverage service areas into the street on the lower State Street “promenade,” in the Funk Zone, and on other city streets.

The city has had at least one shooting incident, several stabbing attacks, and many other unpublicized alcohol related altercations. County drunk driving stats are up.

Not a problem to Mike Jordan, or his colleague Oscar Gutierrez, who has said more than once about safety concerns with the expanded bars on State Street “I don’t see what the problem is, why people are complaining, no one’s been killed — right?”

We also know that for decades, pre-COVID, the PD, Alcoholic Beverage Control, and public safety officials complained openly about the concentration of alcohol venues on Lower State Street.

Why is this no longer a concern?

Surely an even bigger threat to public safety is the unlicensed food vendor stands that miraculously appear everywhere. E. coli and Salmonella are probably greater threats to the public than the Poodle’s parade “mass shootings.”

We should ask ourselves why city councilmembers and city staff feel the need to BS us.

Or just lie to us. As happened when State Street Master Planner Tess Harris, city staff, and Councilmember Kristen Sneddon lied to the Historic Landmarks Commission at the June 21, 2023, HLC Meeting by emphatically asking them for their recommendations on outdoor dining structures and repeatedly promising to take those recommendations to the next week’s City Council meeting.

They never did so. They never told the rest of the Council or the public at the June 27council meeting of the HLC’s unanimous recommendations that all State Street roof structures be removed and all dining structures elsewhere citywide be completely removed immediately.

In concert they lied to the HLC, and then misled their colleagues and the public.

It’s all on video: Historic Landmarks Commission Meeting 06/21/23 Video 00:41:00 mark (approx. 1hr.) City Council Meeting Video 06/27/23 00:51:00 mark (approx. 3hrs.)

Why the lies and the BS?

Is the State Street “promenade” so important to them?”

Or do they just think we’re stupid?

Maybe both?

Editor’s Note: After this Voice was posted, Councilmember Kristen Sneddon sent a reply: “For the record, this discussion was to receive input for staff to present to full Council in subsequent meetings when the item was agendized for council. Councilmember committee assignment reports are not discussion items and do not allow for public input, comment from HLC members, staff input, councilmember input, or action. The input of HLC was shared and fully discussed as an agendized item at a later date, which allowed public comment (including your own), comment from HLC chair, staff input, councilmember input, and action. These agendized meetings of HLC and Council were open to the public and transparent.”

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