Posts Tagged ‘parks’

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…

OMG, It’s Another New Sport in Golden Gate Park: “Footbag” Hacky Sack – Memorial Day Tourny in Peacock Meadow

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

All I know about this is from FunCheapSF – see below.

A quick scrimmage before yesterday’s big final in GGP: 

Click to expand

Cf. Hooverball.

All the deets:

“Footbag is an alternative to alternative sports, combining volleyball nets with tennis-like scores, and balls like hacky sacks you play with your feet.

Monday, May 27, 2013
Final Day & Awards | 2013 Green Cup: “Footbag” Hacky Sack Tournament

2013 Green Cup Schedule | May 27, 2013
Peacock Meadow, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

  • 11am – Open Doubles 5-8 Playoff
  • Noon – Semi-Final – Open Doubles – 1 vs 4
  • 1:15 pm – Semi-Final – Open Doubles – 2 vs 3
  • 2:30 pm – Bronze Medal Match – Open Doubles
  • 3:45 pm – Championship Match – Open Doubles
  • Green Cup Presentation and Awards
  • 8 pm – Player Party (location TBD)

Upcoming 2013 Green Cup: “Footbag” Hacky Sack Tournament Events

Heh: Rincon Hill Blogger Jamie Whitaker Pwns RPD Director Phil Ginsburg Using Math – And He Shows His Work

Monday, May 13th, 2013

Comes now the passionate and brusque Jamie Whitaker of Rincon Hill to totally pwn Recreation and Park Department Director and UC Hastings grad and Gavin Newsom lackey Phil Ginsburg.

“One issue that I am hopeful someone will take up is the claim by the Recreation and Parks Department’s Director Phil Ginsburg that “We want as much open space as possible, but we also need to have a way to care for it.” That was his quote in reference to why the City’s Recreation and Parks Department is unwilling to accept the donation of the park built in front of the new Rincon Green Apartments at 333 Harrison Street. Read the article here (hopefully, the shared full article will appear: http://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/Creating-new-park-no-picnic-for-broke-city-4490422.php?t=27ec6d327d3f99889e

“This is a lie from Phil Ginsburg and it should infuriate everyone who lives in the Rincon neighborhood or nearby.  Why do I say it is a lie?”

Read the rest of this over at Rincon Hilla san francisco neighborhood blog.”

Hey, speaking of Gavin Newsom lackey Phil Ginsburg, a few years back he had a total boner for this nearby project at Justin Herman and yet NOBODY HAS EVER USED IT EXCEPT FOR OCCUPY SF FOR A FEW MONTHS.

Gavin Newsom lackey Phil Ginsburg must be aware, I mean he’s not stupid, that this bocce thing was/is a big fat waste, but he’s afraid to acknowledge this because then he’d have to get a job in the real world.

Oh well…

Finally, Graffiti That You Can Understand: “Sinead” in the Panhandle

Monday, December 31st, 2012

Sinead will be with us until our poorly-managed RPD gets done with this maintenance project betwixt Fell and Oak:

Click to expand

This is the most legible graffito I’ve seen in Golden Gate Park since KKKatie…

Here’s What Tonight’s World Series Viewing Party Will Look Like – But No Alcohol in Civic Center – Vote No on Prop B

Sunday, October 28th, 2012

You’re invited to come to Civic Center tonight to see Game Four of the World Series on a makeshift “Jumbotron.”

See you at 5:07 PM (or earlier, to get a good spot if you want to be able to actually see the action unobstructed.)

It’ll look like this, but probably with more Matt Cain than Timothy Leroy Lincecum on the screen:

Via RubyxCube - click to expand

The SFPD requests (more or less) that you transfer your alcohol to unmarked containers, thusly:

And, oh yes, speaking of the Rec and Park, Remember to Vote No on Proposition B (November 2012), the so-called “Clean and Safe Neighborhood Parks Bond”

Why?

Well, because Prop. B is too costly for San Francisco

And also because Reform is Needed at San Francisco’s Recreation and Parks Department.

Also because area lawyer Philip Alan Ginsburg would consider passage of Prop B (November 2012) an endorsement of how he’s running the RPD.

That’s why.

Now, let’s hear from San Francisco Mayor Ron Conway,* after the jump. (Spoiler: He wants you to go to Chipotle’s and spend your money before you blow town.)

PS: The after party will be in the Mission District – spread the word, bring fireworks.

*Poor Sony. It appears that any television-like contraption bigger than 100 inches now gets the generic term “jumbotron.”

Oh well.

Displays similar to the Jumbotron include:

(more…)

Prop B, That Massive $200 Million General Obligation Bond, Has Zero (0) Chance of Winning Next Month – Vote NO

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

Check out this recent bit from Will Reisman over at the San Francisco Examiner.

Simply, Prop B of November 2012 is a way to give money to a mismanaged department without any requirement of reform, and without any promise of reform.

Oh well.

Let’s put this household down as a tentative NO on PROP B.

Click to expand

Leave us begin:

“Mark Buell, president of the Recreation and Park Commission, said opposition to the bond is based on personal slights, and not on the content of the measure.”

UH, NO. IT’S BASED ON THE CONTENT.

“The fact of the matter is that there are people who didn’t get what they wanted from the department and they’re coalescing around this measure,” said Buell.

UH, I THINK THERE ARE A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO DON’T LIKE THE WAY RPD HAS BEEN HEADING LATELY.

He said that due to The City’s capital priorities and the upcoming election schedule, another parks bond measure wouldn’t be realistic until 2020.

PERHAPS THE ABOVE STATEMENT ISN’T AS EXTORTIONATE AS “DO EXACTLY WHAT I WANT OR EVERYBODY DIES!!!” BUT THE ABOVE STATEMENT IS A LITTLE EXTORTIONATE, DON”T YOU THINK?

Peskin said the parks bond was originally scheduled for 2014, and could easily be placed on a ballot before 2020.

YEP.

Supervisor Scott Wiener said any criticism against the bond measure would be short-sighted, particularly given the immense needs of the department.

NOPE. WE SHOULD STARVE OUT THIS DEPARTMENT WHILE WE’RE WAITING FOR A NEW DEPARTMENT.

“I think the opposition to this is incredibly cynical and irresponsible, because they are taking the position that, ‘We don’t like Phil Ginsburg, we don’t like some of these operational decisions,” Wiener said.

OH NO, IT’S LOVE THE SINNER, HATE THE SIN. I DON’T THINK ANYBODY HATES PHIL GINSBURG. IT’S JUST THAT PEOPLE DON’T LIKE MOST OF WHAT HE DOES. VOTING FOR PROP B WILL ONLY ENCOURAGE HIM. IN FACT, PROP B _IS_ PHIL GINSBURG, MORE OR LESS.

“‘So therefore kids should continue to play on broken-down playgrounds, people should continue to sit in puddles even when it is dry out because the irrigation systems in these parks are broken, we should continue to have substandard pools.’”

YES! YES YES YES. AND IT’LL BE PHIL GINSBURG’S FAULT.

Can You Legally Drink Alcohol While Sitting on the Street in a Parklet? The Surprisingly Complicated Answer is …?

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

I don’t know.

But today Camden Avery of UpperCasing (The Upper Haight Blog) has the deets on this issue.

Presenting the Martin Macks Gastro Pub Parklet, as seen at Haight Street – don’t try stealing this one, you know, the way other people have stolen parklets:

Click to expand

I’m stumped on this issue – I can’t even hazard a guess as to the answer.

But I’ll tell you, I appreciate the way this particular parklet doesn’t block traffic the way the poorly-designed and overly wide Mojo Bicycle Cafe Parklet does block traffic

We’re Already Well Into May 2012, So Whatever Happened to that Long-Promised Lawsuit over the Stow Lake Boathouse?

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

I haven’t heard word one about the long-promised lawsuit what was going to overturn SFGov and re-install the old tenant as the operator.

The civil lawsuit begins March 2012 and will expose the truth about all the many laws that Rec & Park broke in order to bring in an out-of-state chain, with no boating experience to take over this historic boating recreation site.”

Oh well.

Just saying.

Ah, Stow Lake:

Click to expand

Oh, and the early reviews are in. And they’re pretty good, those reviews.

Leave us close this chapter of wealthy, white, real-estate-obsessed, dingbat, millionaire homeowner Preservationists vs. the Boathouse at Stow.

Public No-Shows Public Meeting Regarding the Future of the Stow Lake Boathouse – Plus, Spurious Lead Paint Issue

Monday, January 30th, 2012

I don’t know, when you have like just one member of the public show up at a meeting hosted by Rec and Park, would you call that a successful joint?

This was the scene for last Thursday night’s big PowerPoint presentation. You had people there from the new tenant and the new tenant’s Marin operation and RPD and etc.

Is this low turnout due to the fact that grand battle has already been won by the new tenant, or is it due to the fact that there was zero publicity for this particular meeting,* or maybe a combination of both reasons?

Click to expand

Anyway, the latest developments at Stow are detailed here by Rachel Gordon.

And oh, the lawsuit against the City from the old tenant should have some activity soon, maybe something is scheduled for Superior Court in March 2012.

And the latest from the absurdly-named Save Stow Lake Coalition has to do with paint with lead in it, which, Gentle Reader, I’m sitting two yards from right now. And, this is true for you too, G.R. You know, ’cause paint with some amount of lead in it is everywhere. Simply everywhere. (If it turns out that this coalition is some long-running anti-NIMBY performance art project, I won’t be surprised…)

Not with a bang, but with a whimper.

Enjoy your upcoming rain-free, vernal paddle-boating season, everybody…

*I don’t know, was this meeting posted on the internet anywhere at all? NTMK.

The Next Big Public Meeting for the Stow Lake Boathouse is on January 26th, But, Shhhhhh, It’s a Secret

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

Here’s the word on the street:

“The Recreation and Park Department and Ortega Family Enterprises are hosting a community meeting to discuss the upcoming renovations of the Stow Lake Boathouse. The work will include creating an indoor seating area so that the building is open to the public for the first time, adding an accessible bathroom, upgrading the building systems as well as upgrading the general condition of the building.

Date: January 26, 2012
Time: 7PM
Location: Hall of Flowers (County Fair Building)”

But, am I getting punk’d here? ‘Cause I can’t find any evidence of this meeting online.

Now, I can find the Save Stow Lake insanity* webpage, right here.

And, I can find the Official Twitter for Stow Lake Boathouse LLC, right here.

But, to review, I can’t find any evidence of this meeting online.

Oh hey, look, it’s Ortega Family Enterprises’ Armand Ortega hisself, at the last big Boathouse meeting (the last one that I know of, anyway) at the Hall of Flowers.**

Click to expand

Oh well.

*Uh, Ortega Family Enterprises has “boating experience” now, doesn’t it? You might want to change that. And do you want the City and County poking about buildings in your real estate empire looking for paint with lead in it? I’d bet they’d find some. Oh no! And shrillness-wise, you’re giving us a 9. How about giving us a 3 instead? All right, take two, roll film, action.

**Yes, that’s the actual color of the interior of the Hall of Flowers. I call it indescribable green.