City, Merchants Prepare for Post Super Bowl Celebration - NBC Bay Area


Coverage of the San Francisco 49ers

City, Merchants Prepare for Post Super Bowl Celebration

The mayor and the police chief visited businesses for themselves Wednesday



    Stephanie Chaung followed Mayor Ed Lee and Police Chief Greg Suhr as they toured the Mission District ahead of Super Bowl Sunday. (Published Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013)

    It’s probably the only World Series “repeat” San Francisco sports fans don’t want this Super Bowl Sunday: the celebration that turned into chaos in the streets, mostly in the Mission District last October.

    “It just kept growing and growing,” recalled Nick Balla, a chef at Bar Tartine restaurant on Valencia Street. “And then we saw some smoke, then fire and then glass breaking.”

    Balla and his co-chef, Courtney Burns, said they felt trapped inside the restaurant for three hours when mobs of out-of-control Giants fans took over the streets, burning garbage cans, tagging buildings and breaking in windows.

    Balla said he and a few other co-workers stood guard outside the doors to “keep people from breaking our windows, people were trying to kick them in.” Burns said the nightmare lasted until 2 a.m.

    "We were parked at 16th and Mission. We left the restaurant, couldn’t get to our car at all. They had completely shut down the street and our car was encircled in flames.” So what about this Sunday? “If it’s anything like last time, 100 officers on this square block would really be what the city needs,” Burns said.“It was that bad last time.”

    Hanaya Robbins, a stylist at the Weston Wear clothing store, said she is anxious about working Super Bowl Sunday along with two other women.

    “I am actually kind of nervous. We’ve been talking about it for the past week, like, what’s going to happen on Super Bowl? Is it going to be crazy? “

    At 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, San Francisco city leaders toured some of the hardest hit businesses along Mission Street.

    Mayor Ed Lee led the way. “The chief and I, and the fire chief, are all down here walking together to reassure everybody that we want the greatest celebration we can on a win.”

    Lee made national headlines when he made a comment last week asking that bars in the Mission limit or consider how much they serve hard liquor to their patrons. “I’m not really sure that not serving hard liquor will help,” Balla said.

    “I think that just bodies is the main thing – more security, faster response.” Greg Suhr, San Francisco’s Chief of Police, didn’t give any specific numbers but said that there would be a lot more police officers on the streets on Sunday, compared to the police presence after the World Series win.

    “We’ll double up on the amount of officers that are going to work post-game for what we believe to be a huge celebration.”

    Suhr said the department’s last safety plan after the NFC championship game worked well, with police netting a dozen arrests, mostly for public intoxication.

    He said it was so successful, the department was able to send officers home early, cutting down the amount of overtime to one-third of the original allotment.

    As for public transportation, Paul Rose, a spokesman for MUNI, which had a $700,000 bus torched in October, said the agency had been working with police, has plans to reroute buses if any trouble pops up and will tweet updates.

    People who have to work Sunday like Hanaya Robbins are just crossing their fingers, for a Niners victory and smooth celebrations to follow. “I’m absolutely a Niners’ fan, I support the team, I support the city, I work out here and I love San Francisco.

    I just want everybody to celebrate and have fun, and leave the local businesses alone.”