Posts Tagged ‘botanical’

This is What the San Francisco Tourist Agency Does with Our Money, Our Tens of Millions

Monday, May 26th, 2014

It sends youthful orange-shirted attractivas with iPads out to approach tourists in Golden Gate Park.

Feigned excitement: “Oh it’s your birthday tomorrow!?”

We can’t afford to operate the Strybing Arboretum without soaking the tourists, but we can afford this?

What’s going on, SFGov. Do you do everything a special interest tells you to do?

The Last Fox I Saw in Golden Gate Park – This One was Either Poisoned or Run Over by a Car on Crossover Drive

Monday, July 15th, 2013

At the time, employee(s) / gardeners of the former Strybing Arboretum were feeding this particular critter from cans of dog food they would carry around for the purpose,

Also at the time, poisoned pellets were put out for “vermin.” One theory is that this vixen ate the pellets and died.

Also at the time, there was a report that a fox was run over on nearby Crossover Drive. But of course that could have been a coyote IRL, or it could have been a different fox.

Click to expand

Anyway, this was the last fox I saw in GGP.

 

 

Well, As Expected, the $7 Fee at the Strybing Arboretum is Going to Become Permanent – A Little History

Friday, June 28th, 2013

Boy there’s a lot of overhead involved with the whole process of charging people $7 to walk through the former Strybing Arboretum, it sure looks like.

Anyway, here’s a little background on how we’ve gotten to this point:

LMA-BOS-Supporter Talking Points-6-4.21.13 Budget Hearing

Arboretum Contract Critique

And here’s a post from 2010:

“Not sure how many people were at last night’s ”workshop” to discuss the idea of charging admission at San Francisco Botanical Garden (aka Strybing Arboretum) in Golden Gate Park ’cause I left before it ended. But the hand-count totaled 225 souls, so let’s call that a gentleman’s 250 altogether for the crowd.

Here’s the thing - people on both sides all seem to know each other and care deeply about The Garden. This conflict seems a kind of civil war (hence the Antietam name check, yes it rhymes exactly), a family squabble. It’s plant-loving Brother against plant-loving-but-other-stuff-too Brother. Get up to speed on this dispute here.

Now, once more into the breach, dear friends.

The mise-en-scene last night. It’s Recreation and Park Commission President Jim Lazarus taking individual questions from a hostile crowd, split up unnecessarily, it turned out, into three sections. This is what the bulk of the meeting looked like. Click to expand:

But let’s start at the beginning. Below, it’s the organized neighbors! They taped up hundreds of small signs to draw attention to the meeting. Did workers from DPW spend a lot of time taking down the unofficial notices? Apparently. Were any official notices put up, like last time? Not that I could see.

Inside, the fellow on the left, (didn’t get his name, someone called him The Kid) tried to get things started, but vocal members of the crowd didn’t like the agenda that was handed out, particularly they didn’t like being split up into three groups.

The guy with the ponytail went off, and the Eli in the Yale jacket on the right pleaded for calm. Thank Gaia for Yalies:

After a couple go-arounds like that, The Kid threatened to cancel the meeting. (Arboretum staff appears to view hosting public meetings like these as doing a favor to Arboretum visitors, and truth be told, if San Francisco officials are dead-set on allowing the charging of admission, they can do it regardless of what regular Arboretum visitors want.) Here’s a ten-minute video of the action.

But after a brief huddle, redolent of a friendly car salesperson taking your low-ball offer to the Big Guy…

…out comes lawyer Jim Lazarus calling an audible to change the meeting’s format. He seemed every bit the experienced pol he is.

The new agenda that got worked out with leadership elements from the masses: an uninterupted 10-15 minute “general presentation” of the plan. “Then you can decide how much you want to beat us up after that,” said Jimbo. “You can shoot us all when it’s over.”

This Lazarus Effect resuscitated the meeting. So, let’s hear The Proposal.

The Arboretum would set up pre-fab ticket kiosks at the Main Gate and the Friend Gate (near the Japanese Tea Garden) for $65K and then hire four part-time cashiers, a manager(?), and also a part-time accountant for $148K per year. San Francisco residents would enter for free after showing some sort of ID. Those useless freeloading parasites known as Everybody Else in the World would pay $7, or $4 (students and seniors), or $2 (kids) each time they go in. They’d have the option of getting a $75 annual pass that would also allow entry at the Japanese Tea Garden and the Conservatory of Flowers – something like that.

The projected 100,000 in paid admissions would have a “blended average” of $5.50 per, resulting in a gross take of $550K. Take away $150K for expenses and you end up with an annual net of $400K, of which $100-150K would go into the Rec and Park kitty and the rest could go into whatever, like hiring more gardeners at $68K salary (plus 25% more in benefits).

The goal would be to eventually get up to a full complement of 16 gardeners, which will “never happen” without some new source of Arboretum-specific cashola.

That’s it.

“KEEP THE ARBORETUM FREE”

What about residents of neighboring counties in the Bay Area you say? It doesn’t matter, all auslanders gotta pay.

What about the rumoured $1.3 million cost of building the kiosks and other related expenses? That was just a “Cadillac proposal” dreamed up by somebody or other – the bare bones approach discussed last night would not be as nice, but it would get the job done.

This charismatic-messianic type got lots of applause for questioning the whole idea of charging anybody anything, regardless of the numbers:

Mr. Lazarus acknowledged the fear San Francisco residents have of being the next in line to be charged, the fear that admission prices would then increase after that. No promises on that front. Que sera sera.

But I’ll let the Keep the Arboretum Free people delve into these issues more. When I left, Lazarus was answering questions one by one, Phil Donahue-style.

“FREE means NO FEES, NO I.D.s”

Oh yes, the “next terrible meeting” promised by Jimbo will concern paid parking in Golden Gate Park. (Do people really plant their vehicle in the park for free and then run all over town all day? People do.)

Random observations:

The estimate of $148k annually to pay salaries for  the paid admission scheme sounds low. Way low, particularly in light of what cashiers at the Japanese Tea Garden get paid.

Park and Rec knows how to notice a public meeting but, for whatever reason, it appears to have done a bush-league job of noticing last night’s workshop.

Next up next month in June: the action will move over to City Hall and the Board of Supervisors. When will our civil war end?

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.

To Be Continued…

Photo: California Quail of Golden Gate Park Out on a Date

Friday, March 29th, 2013

Hello!

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Your Moment of Zen: The Stunningly Blue Bamboo of Golden Gate Park

Friday, October 12th, 2012

You can get bamboo in blue these days.

See?

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Blue Himalayan Bamboo, Himilayacalamu S Hookerianus in Golden Gate Park*

What will they think of next?

*They charge admission to get into the area where this bamboo is. They didn’t used to. Remember to VOTE NO on Prop B come November 2012!

This Giant Public Notice Outside of Strybing Arboretum in Golden Gate Park Means What, Exactly?

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

I think it means they want to build a new greenhouse and some offices, but they don’t want to put in the concomitant parking spaces.

I think.

Click to expand

I haven’t kept track of things there since they put up the paywall. (Do they still charge $7 per capita and pay the workers minimum wage? Something like that.)

Some people want to be alone with their plants at what used to be a free public garden, so that’s fine.

Oh well.

The Taciturn Raptors of Golden Gate Park

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

Poor little critter.

This hawk wasn’t looking so chipper, so I told somebody at Strybing Arboretum about it and he called the “raptor rescue” people.

And then they put this animal in a box to get it to “raptor rehab,” someplace in San Mateo County.

I’m srsly, that’s what they called it.

Click to expand

Poor little critter.

OMG, the Rare California Valley Quail of Golden Gate Park are Still Around in 2012, as This Photo From David Cruz Shows

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

See?

Via Natures Lantern - click to expand

Now myself, I haven’t seen quail since 2009, but I’ve not really had a chance since I’m boycotting the Strybing Arboretum these days owing to the toll booths they installed based upon impossibly optimistic attendance projections.

But anyway, it’s nice to see that these critters are still around in 2012…

Corvid vs. Raptor High Above the Now-Moribund Strybing Arboretum (San Francisco Botanical Garden) in Golden Gate Park

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

This shot of a crow hassling a red tailed hawk was taken before the boycott of San Francisco Botanical Garden, before the arrival of the paywall manned by minimum-wage workers.

Circling too close to the crow’s nest, Children’s Garden, near MLK Drive:

Click to expand

They said they’d kill the fee if it didn’t work out. It didn’t work out but I don’t think that they’ll ever kill the fee. Oh well.

On some days, the fees generated by the paywall don’t even cover the cost of paying the non-union workers minimum wage to collect the fees.

Of course our Rec and Park considers the paywall a “great success.” Oh well.

San Francisco Fox Roundup 2011: There are Fewer Adorable Red and Gray Foxes in Town, But They’re Out There

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

I think they are, out there in Golden Gate Park and the Presidio and other less urban parts of town. I thought I could point you to some photos of sightings this year, but I came up empty. (I found of lot of paintings (like this one at our Legion of Honor Museum) and other works of art and honeys and Halloween costumes and the like.)

However, all these relatively recent shots are new to me

2010 at Strybing Arboretum in Golden Gate Park

Another one in GGP

2010 in the Parkside near the Zoo

2009 in GGP

2009 at Strybing Arboretum in GGP

2009 near (or in) Daly City 

2001 in the Presidio

It was a lot easier to spot foxes back in the Aughts, back in the first decade of the 2000′s. Poison got a few red foxes in Golden Gate Park (and one got hit by a car on Crossover Drive, I think) and the native gray foxes are probably up there in the Presidio still, but I can’t point you to photos to show that. Oh well.

This was the San Francisco Fox Roundup for 2009. Enjoy:

After a period of time of no sightings of foxes in Golden Gate Park, it seems that they might be coming back, especially in the western end. They probably are able to travel back and forth to the Presidio and Land’s End fairly easily.

Here’s a report from Joyce W., who saw a Fantastic Mr. (or Mrs. Fox) back in 2009:

“It was about 4:00 pm and the fox was within 15 feet of JFK BLVD at the far West end.
It was intently watching a gopher hole on a wide open patch of mowed lawn.
Two cars stopped and watched in silence which didn’t seem to bother the fox.
It wasn’t until a jogger came by that the creature dashed into the woods.
I am 90% sure it was a Red Fox and not our local Grey Fox.  Very striking colour combination with the red, black and white.
How did these creatures end up in the park? Amazing.

I regret that my cell phone was tucked away.  I was mesmerized by the vision before my eyes and didn’t want to divert my gaze for a second.
I watched it be absolutely still for at least three minutes.”

So there you have it. Coyotes are a similar size, but they run with their tails down and they’re not red the way cute cute red foxes are. So let’s call this a reliable report of a red fox in the west end of GGP at the tail end of 2009. Elusive, aren’t they? (Not at all like San Francisco’s raccoons and parrots.)

Here are photos of some east end foxes, from back in the day:

Foxes certainly don’t mind living in and around cities. Near Lincoln Boulevard in the Inner Sunset. Until we get some new photos, these old ones will have to do. Click to expand:

The last fox I photographed in Golden Gate Park. A wispy blur:

From about 175 feet away in Strybing Arboretum. She’ll see you before you see her:

A kit (or pup or cub) with its mom:

Keep a look out, they’re out there somewhere.

Send in your reports or post them to Twitter, as Thrusty did.