For opponents, last night's community meeting on Rec and Park's plans for food vendors in Dolores Park was an exercise in futility. Dolores Park Works organized the meeting earlier this month, after Commissioners delayed signing off on permits for Blue Bottle and La Cocina to operate trailers in the park. Some neighbors and nearby merchants accused Rec and Park of failing to do the proper outreach, starting a year ago, when the agency issued its first call for vendor RFPs. Or that it failed to enlist community input on choosing vendors and negotiating contracts.
Last night's meeting at Dolores Park Church gave Rec and Park an opportunity to admit, publicly, that they underestimated neighborhood resistance to the plan. But while Rec and Park GM Phil Ginsburg acknowledged that his department had screwed up, it was clear that that wasn't enough to halt the vendor plan. Which, clearly, pissed off some in the 50 person audience.
Besides Ginsburg, Rec and Park had assembled a phalanx of officials: park service manager Eric Anderson, property manager Nick Kinsey, director of partnerships and resource development Nicole Avril. RPD Commissioner Gloria Bonilla was in the audience, and the Mayor's Office of Economic and Workforce Development sent Todd Rufo to talk up mobile vending as an enhancement to existing brick and mortars. And La Cocina director Caleb Zigas and Blue Bottle's Mike Hamm looked like they were just hoping to survive.