Organizers put damper on Bay to Breakers party 

Bay to Breakers organizers promise to get serious about the partyers who spoil the annual race with tons of waste and bad behavior, with plans that may include sealing off the racecourse, a stronger police presence, and even banning floats and limiting registrations.

But many are skeptical organizers can eliminate booze and floats for the next race, May 15.

“It was a pretty drunken bunch of people, and I think I saw one or two stores close early just to avoid a fight,” said Joey Cain, who sits on the Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Council but was not speaking on its behalf. Race organizers plan a major advertising campaign that will reinforce laws and race rules.

“We take very seriously the response we’ve gotten from neighbors,” said race General Manager Angela Fang. “We want people to register and have a good time,” but she said excessive alcohol use, trespassing, public urination and litter have marred the event.

San Francisco police Sgt. Troy Dangerfield said this year, officers made nine alcohol-related arrests because of belligerence — two of them were also assault charges.

Fang said race participants aren’t the problem. Each participant receives a radio-frequency chip that attaches to shoes organizers can monitor. By 10:30 a.m., 95 percent of participants had passed the Hayes Street Hill. The majority of the problems occur hours after the race is finished.

In 2009, organizers made a similar announcement banning alcohol and floats, but reached a compromise after thousands of fans petitioned to boycott the race and city officials got involved.

AEG, organizer of Bay to Breakers, shares the same owners as Clarity Media, which oversees The San Francisco Examiner.

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Kamala Kelkar

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