Gold medal in meddling

Posted: Aug 30, 2002 12:00 AM
Dear Olympic Committee: Pick New York. You won't regret it. New York is cleaner than San Francisco. In New York, "Urinetown" is the name of a musical. In San Francisco, it's Market Street if you walk too close to the buildings in the morning. Besides, when you guys splurge on a big fireworks display, don't you want the world to see the pretty lights instead of fog? I won't say there are no advantages to San Francisco. For one thing, international tourists will have little problem finding illegal drugs. And attendees won't be bothered by overzealous security -- not in the city where one of S.F.'s finest told The San Francisco Chronicle, "If you are driving down the freeway and a bullet comes through your windshield from the projects," there likely will be no criminal investigation. But there's a trade-off. Bay Area pols make French skating judges look like models of probity. Their power has gone to their heads, so don't cry foul if the San Francisco Board of Supervisors prohibits sodas and candy at Game events. They know what's best for you. Ditto smoking bans at all Olympic locations -- except for marijuana to alleviate Olympics-related stress. Then there will be resolutions to demand Olympic committee recognition of transgender people to the gender of their choice -- and that won't go over big with women weightlifters. Failing that, perhaps a third gender category -- transitioning -- could be added to the Olympic categories. Oh, and expect the supes that outlawed discrimination against fat people to pick up the cudgel for obese athletes -- say, by demanding a 50-meter head start for the 100-meter dash. Maybe you'll get lucky and California pols won't decide to outlaw the skeet-and-trap competitions. If so, you know they'll pass a law requiring that audience members be versed in "gun safety education" before the Games begin. And you don't want young children sitting in the stands for the men's Greco-Roman wrestling -- not without earplugs, anyway. Note that I dare not predict what resolutions San Francisco lawmakers will concoct to deal with people who are allergic to perfumes, to boost vegetarianism, to annoy the Boy Scouts, to address the need for locals to root for other countries, and to make a statement on the bad health effects of competition. I only know that whatever they cook up, it will be advocated as a tribute to "diversity." Naysayers might tell you that Bay Area bridge gridlock will make you long for Los Angeles. They're wrong. Tourists like the gridlock, because it forces them to sit back and smell the (mandated by Berkeley law) fair-trade coffee. The good news is that retrofitting to fix structural problems revealed in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake should be finished by 2012 -- so you'll be safer than area residents have been in the last decade. But since the state didn't start construction of the Bay Bridge's new eastern span until 12 years after Loma Prieta, you might want to give yourself a cushion: Insist on a contract clause stipulating that if the bridge work isn't completed by the target date of 2007, you can hire someone to finish the job. Finishing the Bay Bridge retrofit -- now that would be a feat worthy of an Olympic medal.