Posts Tagged ‘San Francisco Botanical Garden’

Admission Fee Protest at Strybing Arboretum: A Large Crowd Gathered at the Main Gate of the Botanical Garden Today

Saturday, April 2nd, 2011

Let’s call it a crowd of 150 today that gathered at the Main Gate of Strybing Arboretum to protest the permanent imposition of admission fees.

See it for yourself – you can catch Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi offering his thoughts:

Quintin Mecke was on hand representing Assemblymember Tom Ammiano’s office and somebody else spoke for Supervisor John Avalos. Noticed Aaron Peskin in the audience as well.

All the while, there was absolutely nobody on or near the Main Lawn just inside the admission gate. Presenting your empty Strybing Arboretum:

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But that’s the way the San Francisco Botanical Garden Society likes it.

You see, they love plants but they hate people.

Oh well.

Arboretum Fees Don’t Even Pay the Bills

Keep the Arboretum Free

Keep the Strybing Arboretum (Botanical Gardens in Golden Gate Park) Free!

Debate Over the Garden Fee


Rally to Tear Down Pay Wall at Strybing Arboretum Today at 1:00 PM: Protest at the San Francisco Botanical Garden

Saturday, April 2nd, 2011

It’s on at San Francisco’s Arbo today.

Deets below. See you there!

Do any of these people approve of the new fees at Strybing Arboretum? A few, the gardeners mostly:

Saturday April 2nd, 2011
1:00PM – 2:00PM
Arboretum Main Gate
(9th Avenue & Lincoln)


On April 6th, 2011, the Budget Committee of the Board of Supervisors will be making a crucial decision on the future of the fee, either free admissions for all or a permanent non-resident fee.

SUPPORT- Ordinance 110113 sponsored by Supervisors Avalos, Campos, Kim, Mar and Mirkarimi to use Prop N tax revenues as a sustainable solution to support a free public garden.

OPPOSE- Ordinance 110225 sponsored by the Mayor for a permanent fee.

After 7 months the fee has been a failure. Only $54,800 out of a promised $250,000 has been collected. Attendance, based on Rec & Park figures, has declined sharply with non-resident visitors down 70% vs. estimates and resident visitors down 36%. RPD’s strategy is to market Strybing Arboretum as the new Japanese Tea Garden.


Attend the Budget Committee Hearing on Wed. April 6 (time TBA)

Call (by far most effective), e-mail and write potential swing-vote Supervisors to eliminate the fee:
David Chiu – 554 -7450
Malia Cohen – 554- 7670
Scott Weiner – 554- 6968

Join The Rally To Remove The Fee ! Saturday April 2nd between 1:00PM – 2:00PM at the Arboretum Main Gate


A Red-Eared Slider Gets Totally Pwned by a Great Blue Heron in Golden Gate Park

Monday, March 7th, 2011

First it was all like this:

But then it was all like this:

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See what I mean? Pwned!

How wude, huh?

Strybing Arboretum Goes GroupOn! Now Foreigners Can Get SF Botanical Garden Tickets Two-for-One

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

Boy, if there’s anything I hate it’s got to be all them foreigners what come to my City and County of San Francisco to empty their pockets and then leave. You know? I’m talking about the hordes from Belgium and Sicily and Marin County and the goddam East Bay coming here and just sucking up all the oxygen and walking around like they own the place.

So I was overjoyed when RPD started charging admission at the San Francisco Botanical Garden (fka Helene Strybing Arboretum, but she got old and died so nobody cares about her anymore, you know, the lady what paid for the place) cause I live here in the 415 so I can walk in just by showing my ID. I love that, it makes me feel special, I just walk past those loosers and I say something like, “Suck-eeeeers!” Or, “I’m a Neighbor, I’m a Res-I-Dent, bi-atches. Respect!” You know, something clever like that.

So imagine my shock when I first saw this GroupOn-style deal. See that? The SFBG is now half-off for auslanders!

I don’t know, but won’t this encourage visits? I mean, aren’t we trying to empty the arbo of people and starve out the squirrels and the Canada Geese in order to become “world-class” ‘n stuff?

And won’t this cut into revenue? Aren’t there some days already when the total gross doesn’t even cover expenses to charge people to get in? You know, talking about those $11-an-hour-no-benefits toll-takers. (Hey, shouldn’t the people who sell tickets  in those boxes be in a union too? Couldn’t they have a vote, you know, get the NLRB in here to monitor a little election? Why not?)

On It Goes…

San Francisco’s Attempt at a “World-Class” Arboretum Has Us Getting Mocked in the New Yawk Times Today

Friday, February 4th, 2011

The New York Times, The Bay Citizen – you pick ’em:

Charging Fees to See Trees at Golden Gate Park’s Arboretum Doesn’t Even Pay the Bills

Arboretum Fees Don’t Even Pay the Bills

Yep and yep.

Is Phil Ginsburg the new village idiot now that the old Mayor has blown town? Does Phil Ginsburg have a “Life Coach” too, you know, someone to tell him how he’s always right and how he can See The Future better than anyone else? Tony Robbins, here we come.

Anyway, for some reason, our Strybing Arboretum needs to impress people on the East Coast, people in Boston, New York, and D.C. You know, an “Our arbo is better than your arbo” kind of deal. That’s what drives the Great Fencing Off of Strybing. And you taxpayers, you visitors, you foreigners, you auslanders, well you can just go to Hell.

Oh well.

The Moon-Viewing Garden as it looked before the Botanical Garden Boycott of 2010 to whenever:

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So many koi, so little time….

Disaster! How Charging Admission at Strybing Arboretum Actually Loses Money Some Days – Avalos Solution?

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

All right, imagine you are in charge of running the paid admissions program at San Francisco Botanical Garden in Golden Gate Park. (Now, I’m going to make things hard on you by picking December 8th, 2010 to run this exercise, so brace yourself.)

Of course, you can only charge people who can’t prove they live in San Francisco and you have two gates to worry about so it’s tough. Your Main Gate got six paid visitors on Dec 8th so you took in $42 at $7 per. And the Friend Gate (that was dude’s last name, but apparently RPD will take your name off of whatever they used your money to fund after you die (like Strybing Arboretum, the former name of the whole joint)), aka North Gate, well, three teens came in that day so that’s $15 at $5 per head.

Your gross for the day is $57. The question is how much should you pay the two ticket seller/SF resident ID checkers in your employ to make the program to charge admission to non-residents sustainable?

Maybe one dollar per hour? Check it:

Well actually, the non-unionized toll-booth collectors make $11 an hour (since the minimum is $9.92, no benefits of course) so that the Arboretum can make enough scratch to fund three (3) unionized gardeners who make a lot more and, of course, get benefits.

Here are all the deets that I have about the paid admissions program:

Click to expand.

Now, what about San Francisco residents? How is that boycott coming along? Well, you make the call:

Free Admissions- Arboretum 2010

Hey, what if we charged everybody, residents and non-residents alike, money to get in? Wouldn’t that cut down on visitors even more?

Well, sure. Its all has to do with the elasticity of demand – how many people will just forget about the arbo (as I’ve already done) when they start having to pay.

Keep in mind that you taxpayers are still giving a ton of money each year to the San Francisco Botanical Gardens. Maybe they should just go private? You know, could just raise money to buy the land and then the new owners could run the place as they see fit? Why not? It would save San Franciscans a lot of money every year, right?

Now, Supervisor John Avalos has a solution to all this – he has an idea to take down the pay gates.

We should all listen to him.

But guess what, the Arbo is working on newer, betterer toll gates to replace the temporary boxes on wheels they use now.

This should be quite a fight…

Remembering Strybing Arboretum Before They Put Guards at the Gates – Boycott of Botanical Garden Enters Third Month

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

I remember our former Strybing Arboretum (home to red foxes, pink berriesorange hummingbirds,  yellow poppiesgreen beer cans, or rather, green heronsblue heronsindigo blue jays, and violet flowers – I think that’s pretty close to Roy G. Biv, that rainbow mnemonic I learned in junior high school back in the 80’s, back before you were born).

I remember Strybing, currently known as the “world-class” San Francisco Botanical Garden, back before the boycott started a couple months ago. It was a colorful place.

I remember thinking that if people temporarily stopped going to Strybing during the 12 month trial period, then the workers getting paid $11 an hour to collect your $7 admission / scrutinize your photo ID would have the chance to find new jobs instead huddling in a wooden pillbox on caster wheels all the live long day. And then, once again, anyone could enter, just the way it was for the past 65 years.

I remember.

I think these trees are the ones atop Heidelberg Hill – they’re whichever ones you can see looking south from the Waterfowl (Wildfowl?) Pond. (300mm lens plus a lot of digital zoom.) Click to expand

Hundreds Turned Away from Strybing Arboretum – Admission Charged for the First Time

Monday, August 9th, 2010

For the first time in its seven-decade history, Strybing Arboretum is now charging admission.

Here are the new rules – they kicked in on Saturday:

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(They were supposed to start earlier (note the altered number “7”) but oh well.)

And, oh yes, the number of hours that you can enter the joint has gone down. You’ll have to get there by 4:00 PM during the winter months:

So this is the scene – gates are mostly closed now and you’ll get confronted by a lonely sentry and a lonely tolltaker upon entry:

That was the Friend Gate, here’s the Main Gate. See the toll booth back there?

Here it is up close:

Now personally, I’m boycotting the place, at least until they’re forced to make changes next year, but that didn’t stop me from taking a peek inside Strybing on Saturday:

That’s your Great Meadow, right by the Main Gate – more geese (a couple dozen) than people (zero), actually. It was a ghost town.

And guess what, there was a small protest on Saturday morning. See a few of the happy warriors?


The protesters don’t want any fees for any body and they don’t want to have to have their IDs checked to prove residency. That’s what this woman was signing for:

Now the new rules talk about requiring PG&E bills and whatnot to prove residency, but all the gatekeepers have been asking for the past couple of days is your zip code. (When I wanted to pop in and check to see how many lazy sunbathers were lollygagging on the Great Meadow, I told them 94123, the whitest first zip code I could think of, and that was it, no problem.)

Now, did they really advertise these ticket-selling jobs on the craigslist for $11 an hour? (That’s my understanding.) I’ll tell you, that’s less what In-and-Out burger workers make and it’s way less than what nearby workers doing substantially the same work make. And I’m guessing that’s a pay-rate of about a quarter of what a gardener costs Park and Rec to employ.

And here’s the kicker – being a gardener is a better gig to boot. I’d much rather be out there taking care of business in the gardens than be cooped up in a little wheeled shack, personally.

Anyway, this whole fiasco comes down to what you think the mission of Strybing Arboretum is. If you think its mission is to serve people, then it looks like Strybing’s just given up on about half of its mission.

But if you think the place should be considered a museum of plants, then having more money (I assume, I mean I assume that the gatekeepers will pull their weight and gross more than $22 per hour or whatever the marginal hourly cost is for this whole program) and fewer people is a double bonus.

Regardless, this German family doesn’t get counted in the stats. They shared a chuckle over a nearby Sign of Nine Noes and then started scrutinizing this notice, the one that tells them they are now zweite Klasse at best.

Then they just shuffled along, among the hundreds turned away by the new rules this weekend.

Oh well…

Strybing Arboretum Starts Charging $7 Admission Today – “A Sad Day for Many Families”

Saturday, August 7th, 2010

A small group of protesters was on hand this AM at the main entrance of Strybing Arboretum (aka San Francisco Botanical Garden) in Golden Gate Park.

This woman’s been coming to Strybing since 1970 and she has a photo of her with baby Nell to prove it. And at the lower right of this poster, she has a shot from ought-three when Nell got married in the Main Meadow. But Nell’s off in the East Bay now, so it’d be $15 for Nell and her fam to come visit these days.  

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Oh well.

A Modest Proposal for Strybing Arboretum: No Fees on Locals for Ten Years

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

I’m not sure when the final vote is on charging fees on Outsiders at San Francisco’s Strybing Arboretum, but how about this for an amendment:

“Yes, charge people living outside of San Francisco $7 per capita or whatever, but, in exchange for that, you may not charge San Francisco residents at all over the next ten years.”

See how that works? Do you think the Society people would go for that?

I don’t.

The friendly California quail of Strybing will soon be lonely, it would seem. Do you think their famously sensitive ears can hear Helene Strybing rolling over in her grave?

I do.