Twice now, I've heard the opinion that essentially, street memorials are bad news and do more harm than good. The first time was from Tribune reporter Harry Harris, after I asked him if he was interested in looking at this site. More recently, I read in this East Bay Express article, a quote from Councilwoman Jean Quan saying "We have ... no tolerance for shrines because they have become magnets for retaliation. Please let the police and my office know if a shrine appears in your neighborhood; we make arrangements for police and Public Works to take them down."
Although I can't disprove this theory, I'm not sure there is overwhelming evidence to support it, either. As a matter of fact, the Tribune had initially implied the shrine for Anthony Dailey (#42), was partly responsible for the death of Moses Barnett (#46), who was killed near the shrine. Two days later, police stated the following:
"the Friday night fatal shooting of a man at a street shrine for Anthony in West Oakland was not connected to his killing. Killed was Moses Barnett III, 31, of Oakland. He was shot about 9:53 p.m. Friday at the shrine at 31st and Market streets (...) it was coincidental Barnett was killed at the shrine. There is nothing to indicate it's related (to the youth's death)".
In any case, it seems that when someone is killed on the street, it would be natural for loved ones to express grief, at least in part, on the street as well. The problem with Councilwoman Jean Quan's "no tolerance" attitude for street memorials is that it is yet another way to marginalize and silence the victims. The street memorials for Chauncey Bailey (who I liked and respected), can still be seen on 14th Street two weeks after his murder. Why hasn't Quan demanded that they be "taken down"? Probably because Chauncey was, well, somebody. This proverbial double standard speaks volumes about our attitude towards the "other" victims....