Parks bond faces powerful foes

Mike Koozmin/The S.F. ExaminerRead to take it outside: Proponents of Prop. B say problems at playgrounds and other sites will only get costlier as time goes by

Mike Koozmin/The S.F. ExaminerRead to take it outside: Proponents of Prop. B say problems at playgrounds and other sites will only get costlier as time goes by

The Recreation and Park Department is placing a massive bond measure before voters for the second time in four years, but unlike the last occasion, this proposition is facing opposition from a high-profile coalition.

The department is asking voters to approve a $195 million general obligation bond in November — on the ballot as Proposition B — that will go toward repairing and rehabilitating a network of aging and historically underfunded facilities. The proposition, which requires two-thirds approval, follows a similar $185 million measure that passed with more than 71 percent of the vote in 2008.

#link_box { width: 150px; height: auto; margin: 0; padding: 0; margin: 10px 20px 10px 0px; padding: 10px; background-color: #fbfade; /* ecru – light yellow */ border: 1px solid #343a25; /* green – for summer arts */ float: left; font-family: arial, sans serif; font-size: 11px; } #link_box img, #link_box a { border 0px; border-style: none; outline: none; } #link_box h1 { margin: 0; padding: 5px; border-bottom: 1px solid #ddd; text-transform: none; color: #8A0808; font-family: arial, sans serif; font-weight: bold; font-size: 12px; text-align: left; } #link_box h2 { margin: 0; padding: 5px; border-bottom: 1px solid #ddd; text-transform: none; color: #000; font-family: arial, sans serif; font-weight: bold; font-size: 10px; text-align: center; } #link_box ul { list-style: none; margin: 0; padding: 0; border: none; } #link_box li { margin: 0px padding: 0px; border-bottom: 1px solid #ddd; border-bottom-width: 1px; } #link_box li a { display: block; padding: 5px 5px 5px 15px; /* Padding for bullet */ /* border-bottom: 1px solid #ddd; border-bottom-width: 1px; */ color: #000; width: 100%; width: auto; /* height: auto; */ /* border: 1px solid blue; */ margin: 0px; font-family: arial, sans serif; font-size: 11px; line-height: 14px; text-decoration: none; } #link_box li a: before { /* background-position: top left; */ } #link_box li a:hover { background-color: #ddd; color: #000; }

The funds will go to community centers and neighborhood parks, swimming pool repairs, department programs and Port of San Francisco projects.

“Our park system is old and it’s vast, and it’s in need of repair,” said Rec and Park General Manager Phil Ginsburg.

The bond measure, which will help address the department’s $1.4 billion in deferred maintenance needs, has the backing of all 11 members of the Board of Supervisors and Mayor Ed Lee.

Unlike past parks bond measures, this year’s proposition has serious opposition, which is spearheaded by Aaron Peskin, Matt Gonzalez and Quentin Kopp, all former presidents of the Board of Supervisors. It’s also opposed by the Coalition for San Francisco Neighborhoods and the San Francisco Tenants Coalition.

Peskin, who co-authored the 2008 parks bond measure, said the department, which has shed staff in recent years, doesn’t have the means to maintain newly refurbished facilities. He pointed to the J.P. Murphy Clubhouse in the Inner Sunset, which received $3.9 million from the 2008 bond measure but has been closed since it was renovated because the department cannot afford to pay for employees at the site.

More acutely, Peskin said, there is growing concern among city residents about Rec and Park increasingly leasing out public facilities to private vendors.

“It is my belief that, if this bond passes, the Recreation and Park Department will take that as an affirmation of their privatization and monetization policies,” Peskin said. “And it will be open season after that.”

Mark Buell, president of the Recreation and Park Commission, said opposition to the bond is based on personal slights, and not on the content of the measure.

“The fact of the matter is that there are people who didn’t get what they wanted from the department and they’re coalescing around this measure,” said Buell. He said that due to The City’s capital priorities and the upcoming election schedule, another parks bond measure wouldn’t be realistic until 2020. Peskin said the parks bond was originally scheduled for 2014, and could easily be placed on a ballot before 2020.

Supervisor Scott Wiener said any criticism against the bond measure would be short-sighted, particularly given the immense needs of the department. Shifting management of facilities to outside groups has kept them open to the public at a time when other municipalities are shutting down park resources, Wiener said.

“I think the opposition to this is incredibly cynical and irresponsible, because they are taking the position that, ‘We don’t like Phil Ginsburg, we don’t like some of these operational decisions,” Wiener said. “‘So therefore kids should continue to play on broken-down playgrounds, people should continue to sit in puddles even when it is dry out because the irrigation systems in these parks are broken, we should continue to have substandard pools.’”

Bay Area NewsLocalPhil GinsburgSan Francisco Board of SupervisorsTransittransportation

Just Posted

San Francisco supervisors are considering plans to replace trash cans — a “Renaissance” garbage can is pictured on Market Street — with pricey, unnecessary upgrades. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
San Francisco must end ridiculous and expensive quest for ‘pretty’ trash cans

SF’s unique and pricey garbage bins a dream of disgraced former Public Works director

Pachama, a Bay Area startup, is using technology to study forests and harness the carbon-consuming power of trees. (Courtesy Agustina Perretta/Pachama)
Golden Gate Park visitors may take a survey about options regarding private car access on John F. Kennedy Drive, which has been the subject of controversy during the pandemic.<ins> (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Your chance to weigh in: Should JFK remain closed to cars?

Host of mobility improvements for Golden Gate Park proposed

Dreamforce returned to San Francisco in person this week – but with a tiny sliver of past attendance. (Courtesy Salesforce)
Dreamforce returns with hundreds on hand, down from 170,000 in the past

High hopes for a larger Salesforce conference shriveled during the summer

The Hotel Whitcomb on Market Street was one of many hotels that took in homeless people as part of The City’s shelter-in-place hotel program during the pandemic.<ins> (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)</ins>
Closing hotels could disconnect hundreds from critical health care services

‘That baseline of humanity and dignity goes a long way’

Most Read