Letters to the Editor

While driving to work the other day, I noticed how nice Cabrillo Street looked as a result of recent tree plantings.

Kudos to the volunteers, the property owners who granted permission, and Friends of the Urban Forest for their efforts in improving Cabrillo and other Richmond District streets.

Great job!

Curt Cournale

Congratulations on some great journalism in your story "New Problems with Fake Turf," which I am sure will spur some productive dialogue about the state of the athletic fields in the City. I agree with you that while well-intentioned, the City has been shortsighted in considering environmental impacts and the potential harm to our youth. Thank you for opening our eyes to the problems, some of which are shocking.

As a youth baseball coach in the City, I am not a fan of the synthetic turf. Being that most of the athletic fields in the City are in desperate shape, I hope that the City and the SF Recreation and Park Department will consider ideas equally revolutionary to fake turf, but far less damaging to the environment, to solve budget crunches.

Perhaps the City should open bidding to private contractors who can be held accountable, as opposed to unions which oftentimes are not, for quality field maintenance. Or, maybe it should turn over maintenance or improvement costs of some fields to the very organizations which use them most in exchange for exclusive permissions.

Let's hope that those well-intentioned City decision-makers return to a pro-environment position while putting the health, safety and overall sporting experience of our youth first.

Ron Campbell

Thanks so much for your informative article on the fake turf being installed throughout the City. You were ahead of the game as I just read an AP story today on MSNBC online entitled "Officials Probe Hazards of Lead in Artificial Turf," where high levels of lead were discovered in some New Jersey fields. Here's the first few paragraphs:

"The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is looking into the possible health hazards of lead in artificial turf installed at schools, parks and stadiums across the country.

"Two fields in New Jersey were closed this week after state health officials detected what they said were unexpectedly high levels of lead in the synthetic turf and raised fears that athletes could swallow or inhale fibers or dust from the playing surface.

" Thank you again for putting our city officials on notice that this may be a very dangerous thing to have done or to consider doing in the future. Also, Michael Pollan's books on sustainability would support our need for real grass in our environments, both for our physical and mental health.

I appreciate your contributing quality articles to the Richmond Review.

Jan Haniffy