Dolores Park Vendor Kerfuffle’s Missing Piece: Rec & Parks

First, briefly to those new to Dolores Park Works, hello, we are a non-profit park advocacy organization of 10 or so revolving volunteers championing the voices and needs of Dolores Park patrons, the approximately one million of us that enjoy the park annually, to city government, typically the D8 Supervisor and Rec & Parks Dept. Our primary goals and successes are advocating for adequate bathrooms and trash cans and coordinating community clean-ups and meet-ups. Our successes to date and in the future depend on the generous support and indefatigable cooperation of our partners in Rec and Parks.

What Dolores Park Works does not do is take positions on behalf of plurality or minority held interests, as compelling and cogent as they may be, as is the case for or against vendors in Dolores Park. We do support all Dolores Park specific interest-based organizations, such as Dolores Park Dogs, and support their outreach to Dolores Park patrons to build towards majority positions.

Now then, since the Dolores Park vendor kerfuffle arose in late 2010, Dolores Park Works has been relentlessly advocating within Rec & Parks to improve their communication, engagement and accountability to the Dolores Park community specifically utilizing Gov 2.0 best practices like blogs, wikis and forums. Rec and Parks and Dolores Park Works came to a verbal agreement in early 2011 on these two simple, achievable goals:

  • SF Rec & Parks will maintain an official blog with three labels/tags/categories: Dolores Park Maintenance, Dolores Park Renovation and Dolores Park Vendors.
  • SF Rec & Parks personnel responsible for those projects will routinely post using those labels.

This is the first I’ve posted this news as I had reasonably expected quick implementation of the first goal given Rec and Park’s existing Blogger-powered blog. To Rec & Park’s credit, I have seen the private beta of a new WordPress-powered site.

But, alas, Rec and Parks has to date neither launched these best practices nor posted directly on this or other important, time-sensitive topics and so the Dolores Park patrons, from its noblesse to its trolls, each draw their own specious, extrapolated conclusions in the absence of Rec & Parks leadership. Given Rec and Park’s conspicuous absence, we appear doomed to an unwelcome 2011 rehash of 2010’s Dolores Park vendor kerfuffle.

Chicken John Rinaldi promises 1,000 vending protestors at his "Puke-In"

In the opinion of Dolores Park Works, to stymie further conflagration, Rec and Parks on its own official blog under the label “Dolores Park Vendors” should post clear responses to these three vagaries:

  • Confirm the legal license status and launch date for La Cocina’s Chaac Mool food cart vending in Dolores Park.
  • Remind the community that Rec and Parks, not La Cocina or Chaac Mool, is responsible for park vendors and accordingly to channel feedback to Rec and Park via indicated online/offline channels.
  • Inform the public of the process going forward — will RPD review the vendor program in 30 days? 6 months? What are the critical metrics to determine success or failure? What role does the public play in the assessment?

Regardless, Dolores Park Works will continue hammering Rec & Parks to communicate, engage and be accountable to Dolores Park patrons. You can help us by posting your support in the comments below or directly contacting key Rec & Park personnel responsible for the Dolores Park vendors program: General Manager Phil Ginsberg and Partnership and Resources Development Director Nicole Avril.

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About Rob Lord

Dolores Park Works Co-founder, Steering Committee Member
roblord moderator

BTW, here's a perfect example of SF city government embracing Gov 2.0 best practices, even innovating beyond expectation: So much to praise here I don't know where to begin or end. :)