As I pack for my annual exodus to the East Bay in order to avoid the environmentally-destructive Outside Lands imbroglio, I learn that two of my favorite events will no longer be held thanks to fee and cost increases spearheaded by our rapacious Recreation and Park Department (RPD).
This year would have marked the 13th year of the always free Power To The Peaceful Festival, but they can no longer afford to keep it free and put it on. This event has always catered to locals and has actively promoted local bands.
Similarly, RPD Führer Philip A. Ginsburg has been forcing the organizers of the always peaceful Anarchist Book Fair to pay an insane $14,000 for two days of park patrol presence at the Hall of Flowers, so they can no longer use this site. Other groups, such as the Rose Society, have been having a hard time paying the excessive fees to use a facility originally designed not for an evangelical church, which rents it every Sunday, but for such neighborhood activities.
We need new leadership for the Recreation and Park Department and a thorough audit of this incompetently managed department.
Harry S. Pariser
Your story "Synthetic turf, lights for GG Park get OK" (August 2012) omits a very important failure on the part of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors that will likely doom the astroturf/light tower soccer project. As has been repeatedly pointed out, by lawyers, activists and Coastal Commission staff analysts, the project location is squarely within the California Coastal Zone and therefore the site enjoys legal protections under the California Coastal Act. The SF Supervisors, and their planning commissions and staff, all failed to acknowledge or abide by these environmental protections.
The most disappointing aspect of the SF Supervisors' consideration of the project was the hostility toward coastal resources displayed by Supervisors Eric Mar and Carmen Chu, who both have coastal areas within their districts and who should presumably know better, or they could have at least displayed minimal understanding of the legal mandate and need to protect coastal resources.
Regardless, the Coastal Commission has already informed San Francisco that it seriously misled the public in its process of approving the soccer development. Based on similar cases in Los Angeles and Malibu, it is very likely the Coastal Commission will immediately accept appeal of SF's approval of the project and ultimately deny, for a variety of reasons, SF's approval of astroturf and light towers at the west end of Golden Gate Park.
While coastal advocates can be relieved, it is a shame that the SF Supervisors displayed such a profound and disingenuous disregard for coastal protection, and were so willing to waste taxpayers dollars and resources in pursuit of a project unlikely to ever be approved.
Mark A. Massara