This recent post here regarding the Presidio inspired a correspondent to take pen to paper (so to speak) and leave a comment. Below are the words of “PresidioPal” along with some queries. (Surprisingly, he’s not a NIMBY.) Anyway, enjoy.
The mighty, historic Great Parking Lot of the Presidio is jeopardized by the Main Post Plan. The Presidio Trust just might unpave this paradise and put up a…lawn. Heaven forfend. What happened was the Army put it in and then left. Are we bound to have it forever?
“If we are talking about the “decay” of the historic character of the Presidio, which is a rare national historic landmarks district chosen for the layer upon layer of American history visible on Main Post…”
What does that mean to people – landmark status? Why should people care about this? The historic character of the South was Jim Crow laws (not that we didn’t have James Crow laws outside the South, but that’s another story) – would the “historic character” argument be useful for maintaining segregation? Would you like to turn the Presidio itself into a museum, where nothing ever changes? Isn’t it an underpopulated Land of Wind and Ghosts now?
“…the Fisher art museum…”
Isn’t the name of the proposed museum Contemporary Art Museum of the Presidio (CAMP). Isn’t it specifically not called The Fisher? Isn’t that one of its selling points? Isn’t it going to have like a “b” as in boy billion dollars of art in it or something, that’s not otherwise available for public view?
Or lodge, some people are calling it a lodge, in keeping with the whole “park” theme of the Presidio. What’s wrong with a lodge in a park?
“and a modern movie house”
Or “modernized,” I’ll give you that. Didn’t it used to seat something like 1000 GIs back in the day? Do you think your millionaire NIMBY allies would like to have all those blue-collar types back in the Presidio in “their neighborhood” near the houses they inherited from their parents fair and square? Isn’t it true that the Presidio Theatre seats zero people today and that’s the way the owners of competing theatres in San Francisco like it? Isn’t it true theater owners kicked in money to oppose the Main Post Plan because they don’t want competition? Is that a good reason to oppose opening up a small three-screener that would seat far fewer people than the 1000 it was built for back in the day?
“…ADD to the “decay” by introducing non-historic elements that detract from the historic site itself…”
Does the non-historic TransAmerica pyramid detract from historic San Francisco? Should nothing ever change in town? Did a collection of histrionic societies, millionaire NIMBYs and movie theatre owners object to the Louvre Pyramid in Cour Napolean? Probably, but isn’t the pyramid a good thing, despite its “non-historic” status?
“If you take “decay” to mean delaying needed repairs to historic structures, the new buildings have nothing to do with that.”
You and your NIMBY allies are fighting for the status quo, whether you realize it or not. Congress, in its wisdom, could have put your organization in charge of the entire Presidio. It didn’t though, right? Do you acknowledge that? Why should anybody pay attention to your unfunded mandates? Your half-baked if-we-had-some-ham-we-could-have-a-ham-sandwich, if-we-also-had-some-bread-but-only-if-five-million-dollars-fell-from-the-sky alternative plans? Back in the 1990s, Congress did something quite unique with the Presidio. Of course, it could have sold off a lot of land to condo developers. Would you prefer that?
“Let’s get it straight, the proposal is for three major new structures in a national historic landmark.”
Is that really an argument? Shouldn’t you go further and explain why people should care about national historic landmark status? And actually, it’s more than three structures, but I get what you mean. Is the 700-car parking lot historic? Was the Burger King historic? Should we bring it back to honor the military?
“Why not a contemporary museum on Alamo Square?”
The reason why is that millionaire NIMBYs and the Planning Commission would tear that one apart. That’s the short answer.
If I had any advice for the Main Post, it would be this – lively up yourself, mon! This may or may not happen, depending upon the lawyers, the judges and the juries associated with the forthcoming lawsuits.