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Clowns Block Google Bus
Scott Lucas | Photo: Courtesy Ellen Huet | April 1, 2014
While the Board of Supervisors decides the fate of an objection to the planned regulations.
Update: Last night, the Board of Supervisors voted nine to two to deny the appeal, with Supervisors Avalos and Campos voting in favor of a review of the shuttles.
The protestors who blocked a Google Bus from leaving a stop in the Mission today were clowns. We're not making a value judgment here. They had costumes, brought bouncing balls, and did acrobatics. According to the Chronicle, "they formed human pyramids, did the can-can, and tried to board the bus. One protestor dressed up as a surveillance camera walked around on four stilts."
The reason for the protest, besides what we imagine to be a nod to today's date, was a vote this afternoon at the Board of Supervisors on the fate of planned regulations and charges for private shuttles to use Muni stops.
The real target of the carnival was to block the adoption of regulations for the shuttles at today's Board of Supervisors meeting, which was to vote today on an appeal that would have delayed or blocked implementation of the program. That hearing is supposed to start at 3 pm, with a vote at some point after.
Although the MTA had voted in January to approve the regulations (which according to at least one poll are widely popular among the city's likely voters), opponents of the buses, including the director of the Housing Rights Committee, SEIU Local 1021, the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club, and the League of Pissed Off Voters had filed an appeal, charging that officials had not done taken into account the environmental impact of the plan under the California Environmental Quality Act. According to a flyer passed out by activists at today's Board meeting, "the project will have significant environmental impacts" including "displacement, impacts to MUNI service, pedestrian and bicycle safety, and air quality and noise."
So where do the clowns—and the rest of those concerned about displacement and gentrification go from here? Who knows? But we can't imagine today is the last we'll see of them.