SFPD Hopes To Meet “Leaders” of Critical Mass

November 23rd, 2009 by hughillustration

SFAppeal has a big headline at the moment: “Has SFPD Tracked Down The “Leaders” Of Critical Mass?” I got all excited when I heard that, since I’ve always wanted to meet a genuine “leader” of my favorite leaderless phenomenon.

But I was disappointed yet again when I learned that the SFPD hasn’t “tracked down” anyone:

SFPD Deputy Chief John Murphy reclaimed the mic to respond, saying that “that’s been brought to my attention, so I’ve been working on that also…specifically. it’s the Critical Mass event that’s the most troubling of all events, when the group goes out en masse. But I’m hoping to meet with the group leaders and basically convey to the group leaders the concerns of the people that get stuck in traffic.”

Deputy Chief Murphy clearly says that he is “hoping to meet” with someone — not that he has anyone in mind. Well, hope springs eternal, but I think the Deputy Chief will wait a long time before he finds anyone to talk to. In case anyone needs reminding, Critical Mass organizes itself when thousands of people show up each month at Justin Herman Plaza to ride home together. Decisions about route have been made spontaneously by the people at the front of the ride for years now, and there simply is no one in charge of this genuinely leaderless event.

But if Murphy is determined to find someone to talk to, we recommend that he bring his bicycle down to Justin Herman on the last Friday of the month and ask for “Spartacus.” That ought to do the trick!

One Response to “SFPD Hopes To Meet “Leaders” of Critical Mass”

  1. I really don’t think Chief-like Murphy knew what he was planning to do, he just felt like saying something.

    I was present at the meeting more than a decade ago, when an actual effort was made to “meet with the leaders” of Critical Mass. It was called by stuporvisor Michael Yaki (at the request of Emperor Willie Brown) as an emergency measure when the city was in an uproar about CM, due to baiting by reporters. At the meeting, it was made pretty damn clear by a variety of participants that he was off his rocker for trying to negotiate with a leaderless thing. He seemed to understand but pushed those present to say they would personally feel fine about a later Mass starting time and at least one other “concession”. People made it clear that they were only speaking for themselves, but when the meeting ended, Yaki let the almighty Press come in with fanfare and announced a “bargain” with bicyclists. The fact that he’s an idiot shouldn’t make us scared to continue our practice of saying specific truths. But it should perhaps make us think twice about trying to say them to people in power who we don’t individually trust. There are a very few I’d trust, and only if I have personal knowledge outside of what the media says about their deeds and words.

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