Posts Tagged ‘yuppification’

Stow Lake Boathouse Endgame: The Looming Eviction in Golden Gate Park

Monday, June 6th, 2011

Simple-minded Susan Dyer Reynolds weighs in, once again, on the Boathouse at Stow:

“At a hearing last month, Judge Loretta Giorgi seemed to be leaning the same way, chastising Recreation and Park officials for not turning over e-mail correspondence, and awarding a temporary restraining order allowing current leaseholder Bruce McLellan to stay put, stating that the awarding of the contract to the Ortegas “didn’t pass the smell test.” But at a hearing held May 17, Giorgi did a 180, saying there “is no evidence of favoritism, fraud or corruption.’’

Uh no, Judge Giorgo didn’t seem to be leaning the same way, actually. (TRO’s are easy to get, of course.) And no, Judge Giorgi didn’t say that “awarding the contract” didn’t pass the smell test. So no, Judge Giorgi didn’t do a 180. She looked into things and decided that the Stow Lake Corporation probably won’t win at trial.

(Geez, how simple are you?)

Anyway, I’ll post again when the Sheriff comes by to pick up the boats.

Here’s an update for the meantime…

A somewhat rainy Saturday afternoon in June:

Click to expand

And these were the sole customers to be seen on Sunday:

On It Goes…

Stow Lake Boat House Renderporn – OMG, Swan Paddle Boats Coming to Golden Gate Park!

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

[UPDATE: Suzie, the self-appointed head cheerleader for the current boathouse tenant, thinks she’s treed the fox – see the comments. Woof woof:

“We always thought “SFCitizen” was a paid media operative right out of City Hall… this story proves it. There is information here that no one else has, in spite of directives from the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force for Rec & Park to reveal it.” Suzanne Dumont

Moving on…]

Stow Lake Boat House Renderporn! Stow Lake Boat House Renderporn! It’s here, it’s finally here.

Now I’ll tell you, there’s some law or something that says there needs to be a hearing before a new tenant comes in at the Boat House at Stow, so there’ll be a meeting on August 19th to let the full board of Rec and Park vote on the new tenant.

Word on the street is that Ortega Family Enterprises will bring in San Francisco food celebrity Frank Klein (the “helper of dreams“(!) per Eater SF) to lend a hand getting a locally-sourced food program set up the way he done recently at the cafe over there in Muir Woods. [Update: Paolo Lucchesi has the full Inside Scoop on the proposed menu – a $3.95 Boat House Hot Dog – well, that’s a lot cheaper than what some people were worried about, that’s a lot less than the much-discussed $8.50 figure that was being bandied about, is what I’m saying…] 

Anyway, do you see a lot of difference in the building as it is today and the building as it might be?


Click to expand

Possible future, assuming the Board votes in the Ortega family as tenant, and assuming The Community gives a positive response. This proposal is not set in stone:



Future. Note swan boats:

So there you have it.

Actually, that was the windup, now here’s the pitch, or a pitch, anyway, written by somebody wants the OFE bid to get approved on August 19th. (That meeting could get emotional, as elements of at least one hysterical society are sure to attend. Aint that America?)

In closing, swan boats!

The deets, proposed:

“Benefits of Stow Lake Revitalization Project

Conditions of today’s Stow Lake:

The wooden boathouse has undergone few renovations since it was built in 1946.

The building is in need of a paint job. Mold is growing in the windows, sills and awnings. Broken wood panels need replacement. The building seal (roof, windows, walls, and doors) is compromised and is allowing the building interior to become damaged. The roof eventually needs to be replaced and re-shingled.

The building interior is highly compromised through rough use (tools, oils, machinery), non-historic intrusions, storage overload, and lack of maintenance.

An old, metal fleet of pedal and rowboats are available for rent at $19 per hour (pedal) and $14 per hour (row) plus a $1 ticket deposit.

A vintage walk-up concession counter sells basics, including hot dogs, pink popcorn, soda and other packaged snacks.

The new Stow Lake will feature:

A renovated and stabilized boathouse while re-claiming its historic charm with the help of a $233,000 investment from Ortega Family Enterprises for interior and exterior renovations.

Ortega has further committed 2% of annual revenues (more than $18,000) toward regular maintenance and repair.

An improved exterior will NOT change the building’s character – retaining, for example, the walk-up concession counter — but WILL make the building a safe place to work and visit.

The improved interior will convert the current boat repair area into a simple café space. Natural fixtures, light fixtures and decorations from old boats and furniture made from reclaimed wood, including mostly fallen piers and boats, will pay homage to the building’s seafaring theme.

A revamped menu of organic and seasonal-ingredient sandwiches and saladsalong with tasty baked goods, quick-to-prepare hot dishes, eco-friendly boxed lunches and café beverages. Favorites — pink popcorn and animal crackers included— will still be available.

Menu items will range from $1.00 to $11.75 with the majority of items available for $4.95 to $8.95.

A comfortable indoor space where visits can relax and take refuge.

The heated indoor area will include a coffee house lounge with soft seating, and a meeting space for small gatherings.

For visitors’ convenience, the indoor space will also feature a single-stall bathroom, free wireless Internet and extended hours. Proposed hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the fall, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the winter, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the spring and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the summer months.

A new fleet of 50 boats that will include , pontoon, swan-themed pedal and rowboats. Ortega will invest $152,000 in the new fleet with plans to reduce rental rates in coming years.”

The Great Stow Lake Boat House Brouhaha of 2009-2010 Finally Resolved

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

I’ve had my say about who runs the the boathouse at Stow Lakehere it is, scroll down. Anyway, news comes from Kamala Kelkar this morning about the resolution to all the fuss. Read all about it.

So, what have we learned from all this?

1. Some people in town have too much time on their hands.

2. Grass roots groups should consider using a free blog, as opposed to paying for a blank website and then starting up with the HTML.  


Follow the death throes of the GSLBHB09-10 at the colorful, hysterically-named

On It Goes…

The Reason Why the Save the Stow Lake Boathouse Petition is Somewhat Fraudulent

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

This was the scene on Saturday, February 13th, 2010 in Golden Gate Park, where the Save the Stow Lake Boathouse Coalition traded raffle tickets, cookies and, yes, pink popcorn for signatures to “save” the Boat House at Stow Lake. Get up to speed on this campaign here and here.

It was quite the affair, with hundreds on hand. KCBS All News 740 /106.9 had a vehicle there, but it’s tough to see if they reported on the event, AFAICS. (Oddly, an entry for “Save Stow Lake” is on the KCBS home page under “KCBS NEWS LINKS.”)

From the Yelp:

FREE Organic Coffee! FREE Popcorn! FREE Raffle with great prizes! Other surprises! Come celebrate the historic Stow Lake Boathouse that has provided affordable recreation for generations.    Sat. Feb. 13th, 11am-1pm.  Stow Lake Boathouse, GG Park.  We’ll have petitions for signing and art work for the kids so they can let the City know they don’t want the Boathouse turned into a restaurant/cafe.

“Save the Stow Lake Boathouse Coalition (STSLBC) organized in response to a proposal by Rec & Parks to take over the entire top floor of the boathouse for an indoor restaurant/cafe. STSLBC wants to see the boathouse restored and improved without losing the quaint, old style snack bar and historic boat repair shop. STSLBC considers the restaurant concept in the building, as inappropriate and economically unfeasible, adding little, if any additional revenue, that would change the historic character and primary usage of the property, which for years has served as a boathouse offering a calm respite from city life for generations of San Franciscans and tourists.”

Now, do I begrudge these people when they collude with the current operator of the boathouse to hold a picnic to further their political cause? No.

And are they allowed to giveaway stuff “FOR FREE!” and then immediately hit you up for your signature on a petition? Yes, this is America.

But the problems include:

1. What park visitors were told just before they signed the petition while munching on their cookies, and;

2. The fact that the Recreation and Park Department’s plans for this area won’t “destroy” the boathouse, or for that matter, Stow Lake.

Will there be “room for kids and old people” at the Stow Lake Boathouse if a sit-down cafe opens up on the upper floor? Yes, of course. Will the old boathouse look substantially the same as before, no matter what happens? Yes.

Now, I’ll give you this, the people behind the STSLBC are doing better than before in articulating a basis for their cause. The problem is that their cause appears to be simply supporting the existing franchise holder at a time when others are bidding on a five or ten year contract to run the boathouse. Here are the bullet points from the online petition:

> The current tenant has never had a boating accident

> The current tenant has a long-standing, excellent relationship with their customers

> The current tenant has employees that have worked there for over ten years

> The current tenant has added healthy food options to the snack bar menu

> The current tenant is interested in adding additional items to sell to increase revenue

> The current tenant is open to improving the facility once a lease is in place

O.K., but the rules say that RPD has the right to open up bidding for a new tenant. Is that so bad?

Am I saying that there’s something wrong with avuncular Bruce McLellan, the current tenant who runs the place? No. But having a new tenant wouldn’t “destroy” Stow Lake neither, nor even the boathouse, right?  

Obviously, RPD is looking for new sources of money. Will having a new cafe help to make more money for RPD and the tenant such that the price of paddle boat rentals could be lowered from the current $24? We’ll see.

Is this a message that comes from the grass roots? Really? Or in other words, “Bidder A is great, Bidders B and C are not.”

The site of the coming cafe. That’s the boat hoist that the City is trying to “heist.” “Don’t heist the hoist”is a slogan they’re using. Srsly.

All agree of the desirability of a long term contract, which would allow a new tenant, or the existing one, to upgrade aging equipment.

The oar your $19 rental fee gets you – it does the job, I s’pose:

Leave us now depart the Boathouse at Stow, home to the most ridiculous grass roots effort to come down the pike in a good long time. (And I’ve seen plenty.)

Only In San Francisco.

To Be Continued.

Pink Popcorn Forever at the Stow Lake Boat House – The Lowdown on the Throwdown

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

About 110 souls showed up yesterday for the two meetings our Department of Recreation and Park hosted to air out the whole Stow Lake Boat House issue.

Get up to speed here, and let’s begin.

Here it is, the boathouse at Stow. Click to expand to see the mechanism used to carry paddle and row boats into the boathouse. It’s a bone of contention these days:

Another contentious dealio is the continued availability of Wright’s Pink Popcorn Bars, straight out of 150 Potrero. (The secret to the pinkness? Delicious red dye #40, baby. Natch.) See it?

Well hold on to your hats – Rec and Park property manager Nick Kinsey promised all that pink popcorn would forever be on the menu at the boat house. This requirement will be burned into future consignment contracts. See? It was on the PowerPoint:

Anyway, here’s what the first session looked like:

If you want ever to feel young, just show up to a San Francisco NIMBY meeting at 2:00 in the afternoon.

The aforementioned Nick Kinsey (doesn’t he look like an actor or something?) represented the RPD:

Can you read these slides?

Fundamentally, the building will stay the same.

Will there be a change as to how the boats get into the boat house for repair? Yes. Is that anything for San Francisco’s seniors to worry about?* No, not actually.

Will the proposed covered lunching area be as upscale as those at the nearby de Young Museum or the California Academy of Sciences? No.  

So, preservationists, college-boy Nick Kinsey just dealt you three aces yesterday. We’re not playing poker here so that means You Got Served and your score stands at love-40. You all need to articulate yourselves better. In reaction to yesterday’s PowerPoint, what is your beef? (Don’t tell us where you born and how long you lived here – it doesn’t matter. And don’t tell us how you don’t trust The City in light of X, Y, or Z. Just respond to the presentation, if you would.)

There will be a bunch more meetings before any changes get made – Archangel Gabriel hasn’t even begun to warm up his trumpet, so I’m not too worried about the old-school boat house right now. 

Wake me up on judgment day in about a half a year or so.   

*You want something to get upset about? How about this fake, Yoko-approved John Lennon voiceover for One Laptop Per Child? I’m still gobsmacked.

Stow Lake Boat House Showdown Today – The Brawl at the Hall (of Flowers)

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

Those crazy* preservationists are at it again – this time they want to save the “historic” boat house at Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park. In response, the oddly-named San Francisco Department of Recreation and Park is holding two meetings today at the Hall of Flowers, San Francisco’s mothership of out-of control public meetings.

Round One begins at 2:00 PM and Round Two begins at 6:00 PM at the Brawl of Flowers / County Fair Building** (just go to 9th Avenue and Lincoln in the Inner Sunset and then proceed into the Park 100 feet and then hang a left for another 100 feet).

Consult this bit from Chuckles Nevius and then choose sides. (Actually, C.W. occupies the field of MSM boat house coverage at this point.) Check out BeyondChron for an alternative view from Suzanne R. Dumont and Sandy Weil.

Now, if I know my Rec and Park, the simple idea of keeping things the way they are at this popular venue will be portrayed as an unworkable, unviable option.

From the Haight Ashbury Voice:

I don’t have a dog in this particular fight myself, but I’ll tell you it seems a little absurd to yuppify the whole shebang because the old metal rowboats are dented up. It’s possible that taking the boathouse upscale will end up being seen as a fiasco twenty years from now. Hard to tell at this point, though.

Prediction: A Grand Compromise will be hashed out and we’ll end up with a partial yuppification.

See you there today! 

Artist Ashley Wolff, for one, supports the Save the Stow Lake Boat House Coalition:

(Pink popcorn substituted for white)

*The gold standard of crazy preservationism has got to be the movement to keep the cable cars rolling back in 1947. Those people, like lunch lady Friedel Klussmann don’t seem all that crazy now, right?

**The gold standard of intense boathouse-related whiteboard meetings has got to be this scene from Robert De Niro in Ronin (1998). (Come for the lovely Irish redhead Deidre, stay for the remarkable car chases – authorities gave Frankenheimer carte blanche to shut down half of France for filming.