Park and Rec Tries Again to Charge $7 Admission at Strybing Arboretum

Officials tried last month to float the idea of charging admission at Strybing Arboretum but, for whatever reason, that scheme died an early death and the scheduled follow-up meetings (five of them or something?) got cancelled. O.K. then.

Tomorrow will bring a new plan– levying $7 per capita admission only on tourists, you know, those unfortunate souls who don’t hang their hats in San Francisco, those melon farmers from San Mateo, and Marin and 3000 other counties, and all foreign countries as well of course. That means you, as a City resident, will merely need to present your credentials at Checkpoint Charlie or Checkpoint Delta every time you step foot into the place.

The problem with that is the same people who don’t like the concept of charging City residents don’t like the concept of charging out-of-City residents. Why? Read on.   

You can’t miss this sign these days when entering the Main Gate near Ninth avenue and Lincoln. Click to expand:

The mise-en-scene:

Once the infrastructure is in place to charge the auslanders, the Others admission, then the decision to also charge San Francisco residents will then be seen as a no-brainer, right?

Here’s an interesting quote, allegedly from poobah Jared Blumenfeld:

“We will start by charging non-residents.”

Here’s more from Jared.

Now let’s hear from the Sierra Club Yodeler:

“In defending the fee, the Botanical Society points to several problems. Teenagers have entered the Garden to have a beer parties. Occasionally someone is found asleep in the Arboretum in the morning. Plants have been stolen.”

This is reminiscient of the rationale for a reduction in free admission hours at the Japanese Tea Garden. Oh well. Personally, I haven’t been to the Tea Garden in ages and if the Arboretum people want to start charging admission, I probably won’t go there either. If running the thing is so difficult, why not just fire the garderners and close the thing down?

Anyway, here’s the petition (with some awfully familiar-looking photos) and here’s the new website: It sure looks like more than a few people have signed their signatures to the petition that’s circulating.

Attention public officials: This L.Z. is hot. Repeat: Lima Zulu is Hotel Oscar Tango. The amount of money raised (which isn’t really knowable at this point – the new proposal, after expenses, could be revenue neutral, or even result in a loss) isn’t going to be worth the ensuing damage to your hide. JMO.

These people at the meetings are fired up, is what I’m saying.

And they can’t be brushed off as typical NIMBYs because NIMBYs actually like the idea of keeping auslanders out of their ‘hoods, they like the idea of keeping out the riff-raff, the hoi polloi. True NIMBYs would like the new proposal.

Oh and one more thing, those keeping vigil all day long at the gates of the San Franciso Botanical Garden reckon time by noting the passing of each bright yellow totally empty or nearly empty CultureBus – each hour like clockwork. Thusly:

Oh well. We’ll see how many folks will show up tomorrow.

Some allege that the people below, and others like them, are obsessed with the Arboretum attaining/maintaining “world class” status. Like there’s some big competition with Harvard and the like over who has the best garden. Is that true? No se, but the phrase “world class” might not be the best one to use on the “Save the Arboretum” crowd, just saying.


Wendy Tonkin, Chair
Don Baldocchi, Vice Chair
Phil Schlein, Vice Chair
Jennifer Bowles, Secretary
Bill Gaede, Treasurer
Ann Cameron, Member at large
Cynthia Anderson, Member at large

Dr. Frank Almeda
Dr. James Kohn
Brent Dennis
Michael McKechnie

Cynthia Anderson
Don Baldocchi
Dr. Joseph C. Barbaccia
Jennifer Bowles
Arden Bucklin-Sporer
Ann Cameron
Chuck Davis
William G. Gaede
Margie Ellis
Tony Farrell
Cynthia Jamplis
Victoria “Honey” Johnson
Robert Leitstein
Kevin Leong
Monica A. Martin
Eva Monroe
Philip S. Schlein
Wendy Tonkin
Wally Wertsch
Isa Mary Ziegler

McKechnie, Michael Executive Director ext 415
Bourell, Mona Plant Collections Registrar ext 411
Davis, Randy Development Services Manager ext 300
Eckels, Dan Project Manager ext 405
Estey, Jay Membership Manager ext 303
Fisher, Kitty Education Coordinator ext 400
Glasby, Jane Associate Librarian ext 403
Glaub, Diane Nursery Assistant 661-3090, ext 429
Gutmann, Dennis Bookstore Manager ext 408
Huddle, Annette Associate Director of Youth Education ext 407
Julian, Vicky Bookstore Assistant ext 408
Kruse-Pickler, David Associate Curator ext 411
Kuhl, Brandy Associate Librarian ext 403
Laursen, Thomas Volunteer Services Manager ext 412
Mahoney, Don Curator 661-3090, ext 429
Marcy, Jean School Walks Coordinator ext 407
Peneyra, Sophie Finance Manager ext 306
Pitschel, Barbara Head Librarian ext 403
Prokupek, Judy Capital Campaign/Development Director ext 302
Segedy, Lesley Development Associate ext 301
Steger, Rick Receptionist ext 414
Thériault, Olivier Curatorial Assistant 661-3089
Wohlwend, Heidi Annual Giving Manager ext 304
Wolf, Patrick Executive Assistant/Office Manager ext 401
Wong, Shannon C. Accounting Associate ext 305

Dennis, Brent Director 753-7271
Lee, Kern Building & Event Reservations Secretary 831-5500
Bonilla, Oscar Custodian
Favetti, Joe Gardener
Fiorello, Robert Gardener
Gamez, Dolores Gardener
Helmer, Russell Custodian
Hoffman, Gary Gardener
Lopez, Janet Gardener
Martinez, Jason Gardener
Nervo, Susan Supervisor 753-7092
O’Connor, Owen Gardener
Quinn, Patrick Gardener
Rich, Jeanne Nursery Specialist 753-7092
Schaumleffel, Diane Gardener
Seefeld, Terry Gardener
Sweeney, Shannon Gardener

See you there!

Public Workshop – Botanical Garden

When: May 28, 2009 – Thursday
6:30 to 8:00 p.m.
Where: County Fair Building, 9th Avenue and Lincoln Avenue, San Francisco
What: In response to the feedback received on the proposed admission program at Botanical Garden, the Rec & Park Department decided there will not be a fee for residents. The revised proposal does include a $7. fee for nonresident visitors. Public workshop is to take feedback regarding revised proposed admission fee and will be seeking topics including:
Implementation of the new fee for non-San Francisco residents.
Amenities at the Garden.
Potential new revenue sources.

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