John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
It turns out making a cancer survivor's dreams come true isn't cheap.
San Francisco may have made one Batman-loving boy's dreams come true for a day, but it didn't come without a cost – $105,000 to be exact, reports the
Buzzkill Daily San Francisco Chronicle. (Non-paywall story at KGO News.)
For those living in a hole, the saga of the Batkid unfolded last Friday when 20,000 strangers gathered downtown to cheer on 5-year-old leukemia survivor Miles Scott as he fought crime with a costumed Batman. The heart-lifting event, organized by the Make-a-Wish Foundation, culminated with Mayor Ed Lee giving the armor-suited tot a chocolate key to the city. The Internet responded with a well-justified AWWWWW, and to this day news outlets are still reporting the original story.
But unfortunately, there's no such thing as a free Batkid. The costs for handling the event might not come from where you'd expect, though, like police overtime and road closures. Rather, the city decided to drop some cash to make the day look super-good for the crowds, spending much of the $105,000 on a "giant TV screen and professional staging," says KGO.
San Francisco's government says it plans to recoup this expense with fees that groups use to rent the local convention center. (I'm not sure if that makes complete sense – where would these fees go otherwise?) Still, some people are a little upset over the use of public funds, to judge from a highly scientific survey of Twitter. Like these guys:
Unbelievable waste of resources. Imagine all the leukemic kids who could've been helped with the funds required to pull that off. #batkid— No God Know Peace (@N0GodKnowPeace) November 16, 2013
But from what I'm seeing, the bulk of folks seem to believe it was worth it. Sum it up, dudes:
The fact some people are questioning the city's responsibility & wondering about taxpayer $ for #BatKid... You hipsters suck, leave my city— Cole E. Gummere (@YoungKing_Cole) November 15, 2013
Concern trolling is annoying. We spend hundreds of billions of dollars on planes our military doesn't even want. Don't bitch about #Batkid.— ᴅ ∧ ∨ ᴇ (@thisisjustaride) November 16, 2013
My city spends my tax dollars on stadiums & corruption. I wish we spent it on taking care of kids instead. #batkid— Mikki Kendall (@Karnythia) November 15, 2013
Top image: Miles Scott, aka the Batkid, receives a key to the city from San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee on November 15 (Robert Galbraith / Reuters)