Tonight’s Mayor Debate Won’t Have Frontrunner Mayor Ed Lee After All – Topic Will Be Artificial Soccer Fields

[UPDATE: Word on the street is that Mayor Ed Lee is blowing off tonight’s debate owing to something to do with the Beach Chalet soccer field issue. FYI.] 

Or at least that’s the best I can guess.

Get all the deets about tonight’s Ed Lee-free debate in the Richmond District over at the Richmond District Blog.

Ed Lee certainly isn’t stupid but he commits gaffes with regularity, so it’s not a bad strategy to go full Rose Garden* until Election Day. Why should he show up to podunk debates? You know, where all he can do is lose.

Here’s the pre-game, with lots of debate about artificial soccer fields, or “playfields,” depending upon your worldview. It’s point-counterpoint!

First, from the pro artificial turf people and the anti, after the jump.

“Dear Friends of City Fields:

Apologies for the mass email but time is of the essence. Last night at a mayoral forum, opponents to the Beach Chalet athletic field renovations came out in full force – and filled with misinformation. They tried to pressure the candidates for mayor to oppose the field improvements that increase playtime by 9,582 hours a year. At the next forum, we need to match their presence with our positive message, and make sure the candidates for Mayor know that there are thousands upon thousands of San Franciscans who support playfield improvements.

We need you to join us at the next mayoral debate in the Richmond on Monday, Sept. 19 to counter the naysayers with a positive voice for the project. Now is the time to help! Please join us for refreshments and appetizers before the meeting so we can gather together as one community and discuss our strategy, so we can fully demonstrate the great support for Beach Chalet.

Pre-Forum Gathering
Monday, September 19, 2011
Hard Knox Café
2448 Clement St, between 25th and 26th Ave., San Francisco

After discussing our plan, we will all walk over to the debate – at the Richmond Recreation Center, 251 18th Avenue between California and Clement Streets – to provide a counter presence before the debate begins at 6:30pm. Please come with questions prepared and ready to submit about playfields, Beach Chalet, and keeping families in San Francisco. We must call out the problem that San Francisco does not have enough playfields to meet the current demand, and find out what candidates plan to do about it.

Please, spread this message to your friends, teammates, coaches, teachers, coworkers, family – post on your Facebook page, forward this email, and make a few phone calls. If we can each bring two or three people with us, imagine the impact we can make. If you are a member or parent of a team, be sure to wear your uniform so we can easily be recognized as one unified athletic community!

Please respond to this email or to <>
with your RSVP and any questions.

Thank you!”

*The phrase “Rose Garden strategy” (such as a re-election strategy) refers to staying inside or on the grounds of the White House as opposed to traveling throughout the country.

Dear PAR mayoral debate organizers,

It has come to our attention that lobbyists have been hired by Bob Fisher and Pisces,Inc./City Fields to pressure the candidates at the Monday night – PAR mayoral debate.

A mass email, (see below), was sent out by their lobbyists to soccer leagues all over the bay area to fill the room. The lobbyists will meet with them prior to the debate and they have been given questions and points to spin.

Frankly, we are appalled at this brazen attempt by Bob Fisher to bring in hired guns and outside agitators to hijack what should be a thoughtful democratic process.


We wish best of luck to all on a fair and productive debate.

Carol Antone,

Francisco Heights Civic Association

(District 1) San Francisco



City Fields lobbyist mass email (excerpt)
Dear Friends of City Fields:
“Apologies for the mass email but time is of the essence. “

“We need you to join us at the next mayoral debate in the Richmond on Monday, Sept. 19.

Now is the time to help! Please join us before the meeting so we can discuss our strategy. “

“Please, spread this message to your friends, teammates, coaches, teachers, coworkers, family – post on your Facebook page, forward this email, and make phone calls. If we can each bring two or three people with us, imagine the impact we can make. If you are a member or parent of a team, be sure to wear your uniform so we can easily be recognized as one unified athletic community!”

Thank you!
Allie Herson | Barbary Coast Consulting
T (415) FOG-0000 | M (415) 509-8580 |
Public Relations | Strategic Communications | Outreach & Advocacy

This email was distributed by

SoccerKids, Inc.,

Novato, California



We researched the 3 main points that the Pisces,Inc./City Field lobbyists are spinning.

They are, (with a brief rebuttal);


1)      San Franciscans support “playfield improvements”.

Of course this is true. But, an appropriate question would be, how many San Franciscans consider toxic plastic/tire waste infilled playfields a “playfield improvement”? Other than referring to the Prop A Parks bond, what polling has City Fields done, (other than their supporters)?


2)      “Synthetic plastic fields will keep families in San Francisco.”

Doubtful. What about tomorrow? Every day science is learning more and more about the public health and environmental risks associated with the chemicals and heavy metals in the ground up infill and plastic used in neighborhood artificial fields. More likely the complete opposite is true.


3)      “San Francisco does not have enough playfields to meet the current demand.”

Whether this is true or not, the reality is that since its inception, Pisces,Inc./City Fields has not created a single square inch of new playfield.

Even the Beach Chalet playfield would only add one additional field.

But, converting the Beach Chalet, or a neighborhood, multi-use all-purpose grass field to plastic eliminates its broader usage for San Franciscans many current and future sports and recreational activities other than soccer.


Addressing additional claims made by City Field lobbyists;

·         Claims that “synthetic plastic fields increase playtime by 9,582 hours a year.”

Is a completely unsubstantiated figure that has been exaggerated by City Fields for years.

·         The toxic chemicals used in these fields do repel gophers, (and humans as well).

·         The grass GGP Beach Chalet fields will utilize recycled water of the proposed PUC project.

·         The SF-Board of Supervisors has all but eliminated pesticides and fertilizers in San Francisco playfields.

(in accordance with the Board of Supervisors INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT PROGRAM Ordinance amending the San Francisco Environment Code by amending Sections 300, 301, 302, 303, 304, 305, 306, and 308, adding Section 310, and repealing Section 307.)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

7 Responses to “Tonight’s Mayor Debate Won’t Have Frontrunner Mayor Ed Lee After All – Topic Will Be Artificial Soccer Fields”

  1. Frank Hammond says:

    Did you really just characterize someone interested in non-toxic soccer fields as “soccer haterz”. I’ve coached and played in SF soccer fields for over 15 years. I am against destroying grass fields. If some people want plastic fields go build them somewhere without destroying our disappearing grass fields.

  2. sfcitizen says:

    Most soccers loverz don’t groove on all the gopher holes.

    RPD made the call – I think the artifical is cheaper, right?

  3. Frank Hammond says:

    Even if the issue were simply price and gopher holes
    versus exposing developing children to toxic chemicals,
    I don’t see how any “soccer loverz” who are promoting healthy playfields
    can possibly come down on the side of risking children’s health.

  4. To San Francisco soccer players and their families,

    We absolutely support youth soccer. We agree that the Beach Chalet fields need renovation and there is no reason they can’t continue to be used for soccer. But artificial turf and stadium night-lighting on 60-foot poles aren’t in keeping with the wild nature of the west end of this beautiful and historic park. Instead, we’d like to see some really great grass fields and spend the money that would be saved on facilities for soccer and other sports across the city.

    Here’s the truth about what we really want:
    • Top-notch natural, living grass soccer fields, properly renovated, with a great base, good irrigation, and good drainage, so that they stand up to lots of use and don’t get flooded when it rains;
    • Gopher controls, so that players don’t have to worry about twisting an ankle because of holes in the pitch;
    • No night-lighting – most of the year, youth players play in the daytime. The stadium lighting is bad for birds and other wildlife, and visitors to Ocean Beach won’t enjoy the sunset or the fire rings with 240,000 watts of lighting behind them;
    • A saving of about $8 to $10 million (compared to the artificial turf plans), which could then be spent on renovating other sports and recreation facilities in the city. SF soccer can get a lot more for this money.
    • A change in budgeting priorities in the Recreation and Park Department that moves away from the current policy of hiring high-paid management personnel and towards hiring groundskeepers and gardeners.

    We understand that this information may not address all your concerns. Please feel free to discuss any other issues with our volunteers, or e-mail us through our website.

    We want to work with San Francisco’s soccer community to put forward a really great proposal that balances the needs of wildlife, nature, parkland, kids, and everyone who uses Golden Gate Park, and maintain this fabulous natural resource for future generations.

    Many thanks,

    SF Ocean Edge SF Ocean Edge Facebook

  5. Matt says:

    I don’t play soccer (or futbol) and don’t ever to intend to. But I sure am against covering the earth with artificial and synthetic materials. Once the field is astroturfed, it becomes a single use facility. I can’t go lay out there on a sunny day and just enjoy the open space, nor can you. It’s a crying shame.

  6. Roland Campos says:

    Those of us against plastic turf at Beach Chalet meadow are not against the soccer community. We intend to preserve the character of Golden Gate Park according to its governing document ,the Golden Gate Park Master Plan. The proposed project(s) is a blatant disregard of the GGPMP:

    * (p 4-5) “It’s important to maintain the rural character in the western park.”

    * (p 6-1) “The demands for recreation need to be balanced with the objectives of preserving the original intent and purpose of the park as a sylvan and pastoral’ retreat.”

    *(p 9-5) “Lighting is for safety purposes and is not intended to increase night use.”

    Has Mr. Phil Ginsburg, Supervior Eric Mar, and the pro-plastic turf community forgotten this? Apparently. A lawsuit may be necessary to jog their memory.

  7. sfcitizen says:

    All right, fair enough. The words soccer loverz and haterz have been expurgated.

    Enjoy tonight’s Mayor-free mayoral debate…

Leave a Reply