Evan DuCharme/Special to The S.F. ExaminerDemonstrators hold a protest Monday night in Dolores Park in the Mission district over Supervisor Scott Wiener's legislation that would close San Francisco parks from midnight to 5 a.m.

Vote on San Francisco parks closure proposal delayed

A push to officially close down San Francisco parks from midnight to 5 a.m. was delayed a week Tuesday when police Chief Greg Suhr had to leave City Hall before the Board of Supervisors could begin debate.

The board did not want to hear the item without Suhr present to discuss its potential impacts on crime.

Supervisors will revisit Supervisor Scott Wiener's proposed new law at their next meeting, Nov. 5.

Currently, some individual parks have set opening and closing times, but there are no citywide rules.

Closing parks at night will cut down on vandalism and dumping that cost the Recreation and Park Department about $1 million a year, according to the San Francisco Parks Alliance, which supports Wiener's proposal.

Homeless advocates and The City's progressive activists say the law – which would see violators punished with a misdemeanor in the worst case scenario – is unnecessary, as overnight camping is already illegal in parks.

An unknown number of people live in Golden Gate Park, only about 10 percent of which is regularly patrolled for campers, according to an analysis from the civil grand jury.

San Francisco police issued 277 citations for sleeping in the park in 2011 and 420 between January and September 2012, according to another grand jury report.

Meanwhile on Monday night, about 100 people demonstrated against park closures in Dolores Park in the Mission district. Organizers said six people spent the night in the park.

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