This was the scene on Saturday, February 13th, 2010 in Golden Gate Park, where the Save the Stow Lake Boathouse Coalition traded raffle tickets, cookies and, yes, pink popcorn for signatures to “save” the Boat House at Stow Lake. Get up to speed on this campaign here and here.
It was quite the affair, with hundreds on hand. KCBS All News 740 /106.9 had a vehicle there, but it’s tough to see if they reported on the event, AFAICS. (Oddly, an entry for “Save Stow Lake” is on the KCBS home page under “KCBS NEWS LINKS.”)
From the Yelp:
“FREE Organic Coffee! FREE Popcorn! FREE Raffle with great prizes! Other surprises! Come celebrate the historic Stow Lake Boathouse that has provided affordable recreation for generations. Sat. Feb. 13th, 11am-1pm. Stow Lake Boathouse, GG Park. We’ll have petitions for signing and art work for the kids so they can let the City know they don’t want the Boathouse turned into a restaurant/cafe.
“Save the Stow Lake Boathouse Coalition (STSLBC) organized in response to a proposal by Rec & Parks to take over the entire top floor of the boathouse for an indoor restaurant/cafe. STSLBC wants to see the boathouse restored and improved without losing the quaint, old style snack bar and historic boat repair shop. STSLBC considers the restaurant concept in the building, as inappropriate and economically unfeasible, adding little, if any additional revenue, that would change the historic character and primary usage of the property, which for years has served as a boathouse offering a calm respite from city life for generations of San Franciscans and tourists.”
Now, do I begrudge these people when they collude with the current operator of the boathouse to hold a picnic to further their political cause? No.
And are they allowed to giveaway stuff “FOR FREE!” and then immediately hit you up for your signature on a petition? Yes, this is America.
But the problems include:
1. What park visitors were told just before they signed the petition while munching on their cookies, and;
2. The fact that the Recreation and Park Department’s plans for this area won’t “destroy” the boathouse, or for that matter, Stow Lake.
Will there be “room for kids and old people” at the Stow Lake Boathouse if a sit-down cafe opens up on the upper floor? Yes, of course. Will the old boathouse look substantially the same as before, no matter what happens? Yes.
Now, I’ll give you this, the people behind the STSLBC are doing better than before in articulating a basis for their cause. The problem is that their cause appears to be simply supporting the existing franchise holder at a time when others are bidding on a five or ten year contract to run the boathouse. Here are the bullet points from the online petition:
> The current tenant has never had a boating accident
> The current tenant has a long-standing, excellent relationship with their customers
> The current tenant has employees that have worked there for over ten years
> The current tenant has added healthy food options to the snack bar menu
> The current tenant is interested in adding additional items to sell to increase revenue
> The current tenant is open to improving the facility once a lease is in place
O.K., but the rules say that RPD has the right to open up bidding for a new tenant. Is that so bad?
Am I saying that there’s something wrong with avuncular Bruce McLellan, the current tenant who runs the place? No. But having a new tenant wouldn’t “destroy” Stow Lake neither, nor even the boathouse, right?
Obviously, RPD is looking for new sources of money. Will having a new cafe help to make more money for RPD and the tenant such that the price of paddle boat rentals could be lowered from the current $24? We’ll see.
Is this a message that comes from the grass roots? Really? Or in other words, “Bidder A is great, Bidders B and C are not.”
The site of the coming cafe. That’s the boat hoist that the City is trying to “heist.” “Don’t heist the hoist”is a slogan they’re using. Srsly.
All agree of the desirability of a long term contract, which would allow a new tenant, or the existing one, to upgrade aging equipment.
The oar your $19 rental fee gets you – it does the job, I s’pose:
Leave us now depart the Boathouse at Stow, home to the most ridiculous grass roots effort to come down the pike in a good long time. (And I’ve seen plenty.)
Only In San Francisco.
To Be Continued.
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