Turf plan criticism is misinformed

? “Beach Chalet soccer field plan panned by state agency,” Local News, Thursday

Turf plan criticism is misinformed


I support the installation of artificial turf fields at the Beach Chalet site. And I personally take issue with the California Coastal Commission’s staff summary recommendation to stop the proposed Beach Chalet field renovation project.

Translated into English, the staff recommendation says:

1) Cancel the artificial turf project at the Beach Chalet and build it somewhere else.

2) Restore the natural grass at the Beach Chalet so that it can either be eaten by gophers or destroyed by too many soccer players in less than two years.

I contend that the subject recommendation as written is replete with intentional misrepresentations and misstatements of fact, is fatally flawed, and must be corrected before it is formally heard by the commission Thursday.

Specifically, the commission repeatedly refers to the Beach Chalet as a pastoral, natural area. All one need do is look at historical imagery available on Google Earth and on the Internet to see that the Beach Chalet has been an athletic field complex for more than 75 years.

Prior to the construction of Golden Gate Park by people with bulldozers, the Beach Chalet was covered by sand dunes. At no time was the Beach Chalet ever a pastoral meadow. Characterizing it as such is patently false and misleading. That’s one of many reasons why I vehemently disagree with the Coastal Commission staff recommendation as written. It should be revised before its formal presentation to the commission.

Andrew Solow
Past president and co-founder, Mission Youth Soccer League Inc.
San Francisco

Natural choice for park

In your article about the Beach Chalet soccer fields, it was noted that, “The long-awaited and much-debated plan to change the shabby grass of the Beach Chalet soccer fields into artificial turf could be derailed by a state agency that oversees development along the coastline.”

My hope is that the California Coastal Commission’s tentative ruling will become final and the grass fields will be preserved.

I’m all in favor of keeping existing soccer fields — and I’m in favor of baseball, basketball, football, tennis, pingpong and just about any sport you can name — but let people play soccer on real grass and in the sunlight. Don’t pave over more natural areas — which stops natural drainage and makes the park more “unnatural” — and don’t set up industrial lights.  

I lived near Golden Gate Park for many years. I still live in The City and I still love spending time in and around Golden Gate Park. Play soccer, but play it on grass and in the sunlight, the way God intended it to be played. If the grass turns “shabby,” reseed it, roll it, water it and let it come back.

Jim Musselman
San Francisco

? “Haight Street neighbors want parklet removed,” Local News, Wednesday

Parklets are all business

I would take issue with reporter Andrea Koskey’s characterization of parklets as “wildly popular.”  

A quick survey of the first 50 people to pass by Noe Valley’s 24th street parklet found 37 wanted it removed and parking restored, five didn’t care, and only eight liked it and used it. The Haight Street parklet discussed in the article was particularly ill-advised, as it is only five doors up from another parklet.  

Such spaces are useful to restaurants, coffee shops and carry-out food establishments because they increase the seating available, and thus sales, at primarily public expense. The loss of parking negatively impacts the rest of us. Parklets are commercial rather than public spaces, so of course businesses that can benefit want them. But do San Franciscans want to provide this subsidy?  

Mindy Kershner
San Francisco

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