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December Nights to be run by San Francisco impressario?

Yuma border patrol treatment tougher on male inmates

December Nights, eager to ascend to the next level.
December Nights, eager to ascend to the next level.

Gay pride, marathon experience better for Balboa Park?

After getting by as a car-confined, drive-by-only event for the past two years, Balboa Park’s traditional December Nights celebration is anticipating a full-scale reopening in 2022. But might hiring a jazzy San Francisco producer kill the Christmas holiday event’s home-grown charm? Taxpayers could be about to find out, judging by a new request for proposals from city hall for an “event producer” issued on March 25.

“While reviewing the event, the City determined it will be more efficient to utilize an event producer approach to elevate the event experience while still keeping it cost-neutral to the City of San Diego and remaining a gift to San Diegans,” says the document. “The City will remain the host of this event and work with an experienced producer to fulfill a vision of an experience that appeals to our diverse community. The winning producer will secure more favorable terms for goods/services, have resources and staffing available for operation of the event, secure sponsorships (revenue and in-kind services, including media) and take the event to the next level while remaining a family-friendly, accessible event for the public.” The cost of the putative consultant to hype up and run the annual event is not provided.

The list of prospective bidders contains locals like McFarlane Promotions and Bar None Group, but the out-of-town hopefuls include San Francisco’s IDK Events. According to the company website, “While known for larger-than-life occasions like The Annual San Francisco Pride Parade, Union Street Fair, and Formula-E events, the company executes smaller-scale operations as well. Wine walks, street fairs, and more community-based gatherings have all received the IDK treatment. Powered by more than a decade of experience, thousands of industry contacts, unrivaled vendor negotiation skills, and the innovative vision to create a lasting impression, as an LGBT-certified owned business, IDK Events came from humble beginnings with a now global reach.”

Another Bay Area hopeful listed is Silverback Pacific, which specializes in marathon staging. “In 2015, Silverback opened an office in San Francisco, and since then, they have owned the endurance space in the Bay Area, producing iconic events such as Bay to Breakers, The San Francisco Marathon, Giant Race and SailGP.”

PSQ Productions of Huntington Beach in Orange County, another bidder, produces Winterfest OC. The firm’s website describes the event as “SoCal’s Largest Winter Experience, where guests can go ice tubing down Snowflake Summit, frolic in Penny’s Snow Play, gather for nightly fireworks, Christmas tree-lighting, and epic entertainment!”

Hot as heck for border crossers

Life for single adult male illegal border crossers has been extra tough in the Border Patrol’s Yuma section, according to an April 14 report to Congress by the Government Accountability Office. “Single adult men were held in crowded conditions, and those held in overflow military tents experienced temperatures exceeding 95 degrees,” says the document, which found that treatment of other detainees met government standards. But the complete story remained hard to elicit. “Yuma station’s systems did not accurately reflect which detainees were being held in cells indoors and in overflow military tents outdoors.

A temporary structure in Yuma, Arizona was designed to hold up to 500 detainees.

Information about access to supplies, showers, and medical screening was unreliable,” per the audit. External conditions were partly to blame. “Yuma sector experienced the greatest percentage increase in apprehensions from the previous year of any Border Patrol sector,” the report notes, up 1038 percent from 8069 in October to August 2020, to 173,476 during the same period a year later. So-called noncitizen unaccompanied children, families, and single adult women did better than the men.

“These populations were transferred to large white soft-sided facilities which were air-conditioned and had plastic dividers to limit COVID-19 exposure,” the report says. “Detainees had access to showers and a change of clothing. They also had catered meals, bottled water, snacks, and fresh fruit. Contract medical staff were on-site to provide medical care. [Department of Homeland Security] volunteers and contract cleaners were on site to assist with distribution of supplies, facilitate showers, and clean holding areas.”

Crowding sometimes depended on nationality, the report adds. “Efforts to hold detainees who spoke the same language together — allowing detainees who also speak English or Spanish to interpret for those who do not — resulted in more crowded conditions for some detainees.

Specifically, although Haitian males were held in one of the largest available cells, the cell housing Haitians was more crowded than cells housing other nationalities.” Continues the report: “At the time of our site visit, outdoor temperatures were hotter than 105 degrees. Border Patrol personnel said they tried to place longer-term detainees indoors. They said they had installed industrial fans in outdoor areas and said they had called for maintenance to fix the equipment several times a week.”

— Matt Potter

(@sdmattpotter)

The Reader offers $25 for news tips published in this column. Call our voice mail at 619-235-3000, ext. 440, or sandiegoreader.com/staff/matt-potter/contact/.

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Achondros and midgets, Marines kill older gays, our fast-growing kelp, poor trees of Balboa Park, Ed Miller turned D.A.'s office upside down, USDA's man on the border
December Nights, eager to ascend to the next level.
December Nights, eager to ascend to the next level.

Gay pride, marathon experience better for Balboa Park?

After getting by as a car-confined, drive-by-only event for the past two years, Balboa Park’s traditional December Nights celebration is anticipating a full-scale reopening in 2022. But might hiring a jazzy San Francisco producer kill the Christmas holiday event’s home-grown charm? Taxpayers could be about to find out, judging by a new request for proposals from city hall for an “event producer” issued on March 25.

“While reviewing the event, the City determined it will be more efficient to utilize an event producer approach to elevate the event experience while still keeping it cost-neutral to the City of San Diego and remaining a gift to San Diegans,” says the document. “The City will remain the host of this event and work with an experienced producer to fulfill a vision of an experience that appeals to our diverse community. The winning producer will secure more favorable terms for goods/services, have resources and staffing available for operation of the event, secure sponsorships (revenue and in-kind services, including media) and take the event to the next level while remaining a family-friendly, accessible event for the public.” The cost of the putative consultant to hype up and run the annual event is not provided.

The list of prospective bidders contains locals like McFarlane Promotions and Bar None Group, but the out-of-town hopefuls include San Francisco’s IDK Events. According to the company website, “While known for larger-than-life occasions like The Annual San Francisco Pride Parade, Union Street Fair, and Formula-E events, the company executes smaller-scale operations as well. Wine walks, street fairs, and more community-based gatherings have all received the IDK treatment. Powered by more than a decade of experience, thousands of industry contacts, unrivaled vendor negotiation skills, and the innovative vision to create a lasting impression, as an LGBT-certified owned business, IDK Events came from humble beginnings with a now global reach.”

Another Bay Area hopeful listed is Silverback Pacific, which specializes in marathon staging. “In 2015, Silverback opened an office in San Francisco, and since then, they have owned the endurance space in the Bay Area, producing iconic events such as Bay to Breakers, The San Francisco Marathon, Giant Race and SailGP.”

PSQ Productions of Huntington Beach in Orange County, another bidder, produces Winterfest OC. The firm’s website describes the event as “SoCal’s Largest Winter Experience, where guests can go ice tubing down Snowflake Summit, frolic in Penny’s Snow Play, gather for nightly fireworks, Christmas tree-lighting, and epic entertainment!”

Hot as heck for border crossers

Life for single adult male illegal border crossers has been extra tough in the Border Patrol’s Yuma section, according to an April 14 report to Congress by the Government Accountability Office. “Single adult men were held in crowded conditions, and those held in overflow military tents experienced temperatures exceeding 95 degrees,” says the document, which found that treatment of other detainees met government standards. But the complete story remained hard to elicit. “Yuma station’s systems did not accurately reflect which detainees were being held in cells indoors and in overflow military tents outdoors.

A temporary structure in Yuma, Arizona was designed to hold up to 500 detainees.

Information about access to supplies, showers, and medical screening was unreliable,” per the audit. External conditions were partly to blame. “Yuma sector experienced the greatest percentage increase in apprehensions from the previous year of any Border Patrol sector,” the report notes, up 1038 percent from 8069 in October to August 2020, to 173,476 during the same period a year later. So-called noncitizen unaccompanied children, families, and single adult women did better than the men.

“These populations were transferred to large white soft-sided facilities which were air-conditioned and had plastic dividers to limit COVID-19 exposure,” the report says. “Detainees had access to showers and a change of clothing. They also had catered meals, bottled water, snacks, and fresh fruit. Contract medical staff were on-site to provide medical care. [Department of Homeland Security] volunteers and contract cleaners were on site to assist with distribution of supplies, facilitate showers, and clean holding areas.”

Crowding sometimes depended on nationality, the report adds. “Efforts to hold detainees who spoke the same language together — allowing detainees who also speak English or Spanish to interpret for those who do not — resulted in more crowded conditions for some detainees.

Specifically, although Haitian males were held in one of the largest available cells, the cell housing Haitians was more crowded than cells housing other nationalities.” Continues the report: “At the time of our site visit, outdoor temperatures were hotter than 105 degrees. Border Patrol personnel said they tried to place longer-term detainees indoors. They said they had installed industrial fans in outdoor areas and said they had called for maintenance to fix the equipment several times a week.”

— Matt Potter

(@sdmattpotter)

The Reader offers $25 for news tips published in this column. Call our voice mail at 619-235-3000, ext. 440, or sandiegoreader.com/staff/matt-potter/contact/.

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Bluefin give way to yellowfin, yellowtail, dorado
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