Letters to the editor

Re: Initiative to halt Beach Chalet artificial turf fields qualifies for November ballot.

On July 22, the SF Department of Elections certified petitions submitted by the Coalition to Protect Golden Gate Park and proponent Mike Murphy qualifying their citizen's ballot initiative for the November 2014 ballot. The initiative provides that all athletic fields west of Crossover Drive in Golden Gate Park would be renovated with natural grass and would not permit high-intensity sports lighting. More than 16,000 signatures in support of this initiative were collected.

This ballot initiative is the culmination of years of effort by many San Franciscans who have worked to stop the replacement of the Beach Chalet soccer fields at the western edge of Golden Gate Park with plastic artificial turf, rubber tire crumb padding, and high intensity sports lights. Fields of plastic grass and ground up rubber tires are not appropriate for world famous Golden Gate Park, the crown jewel of the city's urban parks.

Additionally, there is evidence that the fields pose significant health and environmental risks and that significant light pollution from night sports lights will impact wildlife and make it impossible to enjoy a starry night in this area. Nevertheless, the City and its partner CityFields Foundation insist on installing these fields.

This issue must be taken to the voters because elected and appointed city officials and the California Coastal Commission disregarded a wealth of information about the inappropriateness of an artificial turf sports stadium in the naturalistic western end of Golden Gate Park, and the harmful effects of artificial turf and night lighting. This ballot initiative will finally allow all San Francisco voters to weigh in on this misguided project and bring it to a halt.

In response to this initiative, five members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors signed off on a counter measure to permit the Recreation and Park Department to build this industrial sports complex. But the city's vague measure not only targets the Beach Chalet fields, it would increase the Recreation and Park Department's authority to build anywhere in the City, and subvert existing legal processes to do so. Their proposal raises many unanswered questions about the Recreation and Park Department's commercialization of public space and disenfranchisement of the city's voters

The coalition is now organizing its campaign. We welcome everyone's support and encourage you to contact us. Go to the website at www.protectggp.org or e-mail [email protected] for more information.
Jean Barish
Coalition to Protect Golden Gate Park

We were surprised to see that only Boy Scouts were recognized for placing flags on the graves in the Presidio Cemetery for Memorial Day.

We are in Girl Scout Troop 32567 and this was our third year working with the Boy Scouts to place the flags. We are very careful and respectful in what we do and, in fact, we sometimes fix the flags that the boys place. We take the task very seriously and this year we researched some Medal of Honor recipients who are buried in the cemetery so that we would have more understanding of what we were doing.

In all, there were 20 Girl Scouts there that day and we hope those numbers will grow over the coming years.

We hope this helps you correct the facts.
Girl Scouts of Troop 32567

Recent incidents suggest someone may be targeting barking dogs by leaving poisoned meatballs throughout San Francisco. Excessive barking is a very common reason for relationship issues between neighbors, or negative feelings toward dogs, and preventing it is crucial for the safety and well-being of dogs and neighbor relationships alike. Here are some tips when dealing with a barking dog:

Stay calm - If you react to aggressive behavior with equal frustration, the dog might follow your lead and continue to bark;

Use proven tools - For some dogs, a look or verbal command may be enough - but other dogs may need extra reinforcement. Consider finding a bark training device that is safe and effective (look for ones with ultrasonic technology);

Release the energy - Barking can be caused by pent-up energy. Make sure your dog is getting enough exercise and playtime;

Go pro - If your dog will not stop barking no matter what you try, it may be time to seek help from a professional trainer.

Certainly, there is absolutely no excuse for this heinous act being committed toward dogs - which are a part of many people's families. But, if we take steps to prevent dog behavior that may antagonize those with bad intentions, we can hope to prevent similar situations from occurring.
Juliana Campos
Product Manager
First Alert for Pets

I'm responding to last month's article regarding the removal of the recycling center located at the La Playa Safeway. Supervisor Eric Mar stated in the article he's heard from many of his constituents who are upset that the recycling center is gone. What Mar and Richmond Review readers should know is that there are many of his constituents - Outer Richmond District residents who voted for Mar in a tight race for his supervisor seat in the last election - who are happy and relieved at the removal of the recycling center.

For too many years the residents living near the recycling center had to put up with what the recycling center attracted to its immediate vicinity: drug dealing, public drunkenness, broken bottles, and all kinds of assorted trash left on the streets and doorsteps of residents. Since the recycling center shut down, all these problems have decreased significantly. The recycling center acted as a magnet for this type of bad behavior and it's a welcome relief to residents in this area and one that was a long time in coming.

While it is understood that the shuttering of the recycling center does place an unexpected hardship on individuals who relied on its income, Outer Richmond District residents should not be expected to continue to bear the burden of what it costs - a clean and safe neighborhood. Has this part of the neighborhood done its part in the good cause of recycling for many, many years? I think it has. Residents in other neighborhoods have successfully lobbied to have the recycling centers moved from their area because they experienced the same issues as the Outer Richmond location, and clearly it had come to a point where the problems overwhelmingly outweighed the benefits.

I think not only Mar but Safeway would find that any attempt to replace the vacated vendor with a new one would be met with strong vocal opposition from the residents most affected by the problems it brings with it.
Jason Stephens

I don't know if you ever print anything like this, but even if you don't, you should be aware. Twice in the last month I've seen a guy going up and down 18th Avenue checking car doors, looking for an unlocked car to get into. On Friday night I caught the guy in my neighbor's Volvo station wagon in their driveway.

I went to the police station and told the police about it the next day.

So, be sure your car doors are locked if you have a car on the street or in your driveway. You might want to tell your neighbors.
Tom Shymanski

I just read an article from Ron Gutierrez about the responsibility of safety also lying with the driver of the vehicle. I totally agree, however ... I live one block from Clement Street and am up there shopping quite often. I think pedestrians must follow the laws also. Do not cross against a red light, and do not pop out from behind a parked car in the middle of the street to cross and expect the driver of a car to stop on a dime ... the car often weighs more than a ton.

On the part of the auto driver, making a U-turn at a signal light is not really legal. While making a U-turn, you are supposed to stop at all corners. If you make a U-turn at a signal you are going through a red light at some point, and going through a red light is against the law.

What we really need are police who are not afraid to give tickets to jaywalkers and illegal U-turners. These errors will stop if the people involved are given citations, not warnings. This was supposed to be in the works a year or so ago, but I haven't really seen anything change.

Bike riders are another story!
Barbara Sinelnikoff

I am writing to inform your readers who might know someone with high blood pressure about an opportunity that just became available at the UCSF Osher Center. The Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at UCSF offers a dynamic approach to health, healing and prevention by integrating modern medicine with established practices from around the world. In addition to our outpatient clinic, we also conduct research to better understand how practices, like meditation, impacts health.

Project INSPIRE, a National Institutes of Health funded study, investigates the effects of different breathing techniques (mindful breathing and biofeedback training) on blood pressure in women with elevated blood pressure. This study is for women who are otherwise healthy, more than 50 years of age, and have elevated blood pressure. The study is designed for women who have been told that their blood pressure is elevated and whose physicians are considering placing them on medication. Based on previous research showing that breath-holding or inhibited breathing can lead to elevated blood pressure, we are investigating the effects of different breathing techniques on lowering blood pressure. 

We hope the results of the study will serve to promote the use of breathing interventions as stand-alone or adjunctive therapies in the treatment of elevated blood pressure, and also for maintenance of healthy blood pressure. 

Thus far, recruitment for the study has been limited to patients from UCSF and Kaiser Permanente of Northern California. We couldn't be happier that we are now offering the study to women in the local community. If you are interested in participating in the study or know someone who is, please give the study coordinator a call at (415) 353- 4090.
Margaret A. Chesney, Ph.D.
Professor of Medicine
Director, Osher Center for Integrative Medicine
Chair, Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine

I was disturbed to read Marisa Lagos's article in the SF Chronicle concerning legislation introduced by SF Supervisor London Breed and co-sponsored by SF Supervisor Scott Weiner, which would effectively bring pinball machines back into convenience stores and the nuisance of loitering and rowdy teens to residential neighborhoods. 

The 7-Eleven at Geary Boulevard and 15th Avenue had several of these machines and the attracted nuisance a number of years ago, which turned away neighboring customers until the owner finally got rid of them. Since then the 7-Eleven has not reintroduced the machines, primarily because their business has done quite well serving (returning) neighborhood customers without them.

These machines may boost the bottom line for some businesses; but really, what is the benefit to their young patrons and the community from this kind of activity? This is a classic case of business interests trumping community and family interests.

I contend that if these machines are acceptable by the parents of the kids that use them, then why not have schools provide them (instead of businesses) as part of after-school program activities and have the profits go toward improving those programs - what a win-win proposition! But alas, what might PTAs think of this idea? - it would at least bring this issue into focus with parents whose voices otherwise are not likely to be heard in any debate over the subject legislation.
Bill Pearson