ASSIGNMENT DESK: Ask People Who Use the Golden Gate Park Panhandle Playground to See If It’s Really “Failing”

Per this bit on SocketSite, SFGov thinks it has 50 “failing” playgrounds. Does that means that all of them get an “F” grade, that they’re all basically worthless?

For instance, let’s take a look at the Panhandle Playground. It has 4.5 Yelp stars. Isn’t that a pretty high rating for a “failing” anything?

If you polled people who actually use the place, the grade you’d come up with is “A,” or possibly “A-,” something in that area.

I think what SFGov / RPD / all those people with clipboards from that big non-profit what’s run by the wealthy, white and wizened actually mean is that the Panhandle Playground isn’t brand-new. What they mean is that it hasn’t kept up with the latest trends in playgroundom the past decade or so due to the fact that it hasn’t been replaced the past decade.

In other words, what they’re saying is that the Panhandle Playground isn’t “world-class.”

Oh, what’s that, Parks Alliance, there were more than 2.5 pieces of litter per square meter or whatever on the day that you dropped by with your clipboards? OK, so don’t you mean that the RPD is failing then?

Oh, what’s that, Parks Alliance, you’re concerned about the health effects of “x.” You know, I don’t think you want to go there, Parks Alliance. Cause then you’d have to look at the other stuff RPD is doing lately, like, say, the Beach Chalet soccer fields. Now I’ll tell you, I’m 90%+ sure that all the things people are worried about with the new artificial turf aren’t going to turn out to be a problem, but that’s not an absolutely assurance. You could say the same for whatever it is that makes you say that four dozen playgrounds in SF are “failing.”

You know, I could take my clipboard and go up to somebody’s 2004 Honda Accord with low miles and I could say, “Oh, no sat nav – minus five points. And oh, dirty windshield – minus three points. And oh…” And then I could put the car on my list of “failing” commuter vehicles, even though the person who drives it every day M-F thinks it’s a great ride and even though it passes its smog test every year or two and even though it starts up every time without fail. Who, oh who will appoint me chairman of the “Failing Hondas Task Force?”

(Oh hey, you know what RPD is disappointed about? It’s bummed out that the Maude Flanderses and the Reverend Lovejoy’s Wifes of the 94117 haven’t formed something like the Friends of the Panhandle Playground to raise $800k or so to give to RPD, you know, the way things worked with Presidio Heights and Mountain Lake. Oh well. Sorry RPD.)

In any event, a big bag of money fell from the sky and SFGov is going to spend it the way it wants. IMO, SFGov spends too much time focusing on the aesthetic concerns of millionaires who appoint themselves to the boards of the non-profits they create.


So, go for it, send a reporter over to the Panhandle to check things out, to see why SFGov wants to spend months and months tearing out a perfectly good playground, to see why SFGov wants to scrap a Honda Accord with low miles, and a dirty windshield…

Free Kool-Aid, after the jump, drink up, it’s free, well, not really, but you’re going to end up paying for it anyway, so might as well.

“Mayor Lee Announces $15.5 Million in Playground Renovations
Park Bond Funds Complete Renovation of Six Playgrounds Selected in First Round by City & Community
Posted Date: 12/15/2014

Mayor Edwin M. Lee today announced that six playgrounds throughout the City will be completely renovated with funds from the voter-approved 2012 San Francisco Clean and Safe Neighborhood Parks Bond. The first six selected playgrounds are Alice Chalmers Playground, John McLaren Park Picnic Area and Playground, Merced Heights Playground, Panhandle Playground, Sgt. John Macaulay Park, and Washington Square Playground with more playground renovations to be included based on project cost savings.

“One of our City’s top priorities is to make sure children and families thrive in San Francisco and one of the ways we do that is by investing in clean and safe playgrounds,” said Mayor Lee. “The $15.5 million renovation of these six playgrounds will provide our children with the open space they need to get out and play.”

San Francisco Recreation and Park Department and the San Francisco Parks Alliance convened a Playground Task Force that included community members, child services providers, parks advocates and youth, including the Boys and Girls Club, The Trust for Public Land, Coleman Advocates, the Child Abuse Prevention Center, Good Samaritan Family Resource Center, and the Parent Teacher Association. This Task Force analyzed and prioritized the $15.5 million called out in the Bond for Failing Playgrounds from the 2012 Parks Bond. To determine the list of selected playgrounds for renovation, the Task Force looked at several factors including low household income, high youth density, and low Parks Alliance Report Card grades and rankings.

“We’re very proud of the work the task force has done,” said Parks Alliance Chief Executive Officer Matt O’Grady. “This diverse group of advocates and community leaders dug deeply into the sometimes controversial work of prioritizing our needs and has emerged with a broad, independent consensus on how to move forward on fixing our most dilapidated playgrounds. Co-chairing this group with the Recreation and Park Department has created a new level of partnership between park lovers and their park agency.”

With 72 percent approval, voters enthusiastically supported the 2012 Bond giving the department an additional $195 million to continue capital projects for the renewal and repair of the City’s parks, recreation, and open spaces. The Recreation and Park Department hopes to leverage the Parks Bond funds for grants and donations from local businesses, philanthropic individuals, and government agencies to continue this important mission of renovating all playgrounds in the park system.

“With the Parks Bond funding approved and provided by the San Francisco voters, the Rec and Park is now able to renovate playgrounds throughout the City so that everyone has the opportunity to play safely in the outdoors,” said Recreation and Park Department General Manager Phil Ginsburg. “There is more to be done, but we are taking a great first step.”

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