Another year, another 365 days to wake up and smell the compost. 2010, we hardly knew ye. 2011, we need you to be big for us.
The turning of the calendar is always a great time to reflect on the past year and to look forward to what’s about to unfold. 2010 was a great year for the Wigg Party. It honestly seems like yesterday we were ringing in the new decade with all our friends at the Sunshine Castle. 2010 brought us the very first Wigg Party Party (February, 10th 2010 – for posterity’s sake), the birth of our self-preservation series of re-skilling events, thousands of pounds of food rescued from the waste stream through our Fresh Produce Share-With-Alls, two Carrotmobs, many a local-food sharing event, 10.10.10, the advent of wig-wearing (pretty sure we invented this), Sunday Streets, (PARK)ing Day, BP/ARCO protests, many moments of merriment and about 100 boxes of chalk applied to our beloved Wiggle. In 2010, the Wigg Party grew from a small group of friends with an idea to a bona fide movement in our little corner of this beautiful city of San Francisco. If 2010 marked the birth of a number of key elements of the growing sustainability movement (Hayes Valley Farm, Underground Farmers’ Market, the Hub SoMa, Fix Fell, Fix Masonic, SFBC’s Connecting the City, SF Urban Agriculture Alliance, I Bike SF, I Helmet SF, SF Bike Party, to name *just* a few!), 2011 will be the year many of these elements get together to figure out how to create some major victories for our city and our society.
Let’s examine. 2010, you brought us so many great things. And yet, when we stack up where we are against where all the people who don’t currently have their heads buried deep in the “grow the economy at all costs” sand say we need to be in order to stave off wholesale environmental and societal destruction, we’ve got a long way to go. Significant progress towards Zero Waste SF? Powerful binding Climate Change resolution? Creation of a sensible energy policy? Transformation of National Agriculture policy? Elimination of SF government red-tape so we can actually make sensible transit and other policy changes here in our own city? Yeah, not so much. Sometimes it feels like we’re trying to take down a giant monster with only a handful of tiny needles and none of us knows acupuncture. Sure, 2010 revealed a number of glimmers of hope for those who were looking for them, but where were the major victories? Where is the big public sign that says we’re seriously serious about this whole planetary crisis thing? If we don’t see some of these major victories in 2011, we at the Wigg Party might have to get around to creating those “Private Property Close to a Water Source” and “Sustainable Weapons” Working Groups.
So what would satisfy us in 2011? What should we be synergistically working on? Well besides the hundreds of collaborations we’re hoping to see in 2011 (e.g. Critical Mass, SF Bike Party, Bikes & Beats, SF Bicycle Music Festival, The Derailleurs, SFBC and The Wigg Party rocking out at every Sunday Streets event this year or Hayes Valley Farm, the Permaculture Guild, SF Urban Agriculture Alliance, Kitchen Garden SF, Garden for the Environment, and SF Environment kicking off a month-long city-wide Garden Installation Challenge), we think there are two major campaigns whose success or failure will be extremely telling of whether we’re sinking or swimming.
The first campaign that will require strong collaboration from a number of different organizations in order for it to succeed is the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition’s Connecting the City Initiative. This is, of course, SFBC’s five-year plan to create three bicycle routes around San Francisco that everyone will feel safe riding, even your mother. I’m not sure I can understate the importance of this goal. If we are serious about re-assessing our addiction to oil and the personal automobile, it is absolutely essential that people have viable alternatives for transportation. For the majority of our population, riding a bicycle on Fell or Oak street is simply not a viable option. This must change in 2011. Thankfully, SFBC feels the same way, and is calling for a transformation of the current de facto bike route from Duboce/Steiner through the Wiggle and out into the middle of Golden Gate Park by the end of 2011. The problem is that with a murky mayoral situation, SF gov’s typical red tape, a harrowing status quo, and the potential power of even a single disillusioned citizen (see: Rob Anderson) standing in the way, we are in fact a very long way from realizing the beautiful and essential vision laid out in the Connecting the City plan. That’s where we cue the Captain Planet theme song and unleash the power of our rings combined.
The Connecting the City plan will begin to be realized in 2011 if, and only if, we create a broad and powerful coalition of San Francisco organizations and individuals who stand together in demanding bicycling infrastructure that is safe for all of our citizens to use. If we succeed in creating this coalition, we will not only be able to actualize the basic infrastructure details that SFBC is calling for, but we will be able to create one of the most beautiful and well-known bike routes in the whole world of our beloved Wiggle. We at the Wigg Party are already in contact with a number of organizations about this potential collaboration including: SFBC, LoHaMNA, NOPNA, Fix Fell, Lower Haight Mural Collective, City Repair SF, Black Rock Arts Foundation, the Permaculture Guild, Alamo Square Neighborhood Association, Duboce Triangle Neighborhood Association, and Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association. If we can get all these groups on the same page, and get the average citizen excited enough about the possibilities to show up to a meeting or write a facebook message in support of the campaign, you just might soon find yourself riding past the Crude Awakening sculptures in the Panhandle.
The second big campaign that will require strong collaboration in 2011 is the upcoming November mayoral election. Of course, we first need to figure out who is going to be our interim mayor for 2011, and this in itself is extremely important for many goals we have for 2011 (see: above), but unfortunately we really don’t get a say in that matter (don’t blow this, Supes). But we do get to help determine who gets elected in 2011. Now I don’t pretend to understand all the complicated power structures that comprise our city government, but I do know that if our Mayor wants something to happen, it pretty much doesn’t matter what the “law” says (see: Gay Marriage, Newsom). That’s why it’s incredibly important that we all band together to ensure that somebody who actually understands both the challenges we’re facing and the urgency with which we need to act occupies Room 200. The long wait for a true progressive mayor must end in 2011. And while we’re still a long way from sizing up all the candidates and picking a favorite, we are sure of one thing: you’re not getting a victory party on November 1st, 2011 without first riding the Wiggle with us.