"The Academy supports the closure of JFK Drive on Saturdays once the efforts of Saturday closure have been studied, alternative transportation measures are in place, and the voter-approved, privately funded parking facility is built under the Music Concourse," one statement read.
At the hearing, McGoldrick asked Wilsey why she is reneging on her promise. Wilsey said that she wrote her statement in 1998 while her husband and dog were still alive, before she had raised $202 million for the museum renovation, and back when "we were not in a war against terrorism. Almost nothing that was true in 1998 is true today."
Wilsey did not respond to our request to clarify her response or explain other aspects of what appears to be a calculated campaign of misinformation. For example, she and other museum spokespeople have been saying publicly that museum attendance on Saturdays is far higher than on Sundays because of the road closure.
When we spoke with museum spokesperson Barbara Traisman, she said the de Young receives 15 to 20 percent more visitors on Saturdays than on Sundays. Yet she refused our request to provide the attendance data to support her statement — just as museum officials have ignored requests by McGoldrick for that data for the last three weeks — telling us: "That's too onerous to ask someone to do that."
So on April 13, the Guardian made an immediate disclosure request for those records under the Sunshine Ordinance. The next day, just as the hearing was getting under way, Wilsey turned those records over to McGoldrick.
The documents showed that on 10 of the 23 weekends that the de Young has been open, attendance on Sundays was actually higher than on Saturdays. By the end of the hearing, even committee chair Sup. Sophie Maxwell — who had voiced concerns about Saturday closure and was not considered a supporter — voted for Healthy Saturdays, joining the board's progressive majority of six that has already signed on as cosponsors. SFBG