It trailed among absentee voters but ended up less than five points above the 66.6 percent threshold it needed to pass.
"I don't know if this would have passed or not if it had not been for the Obama push at the end," Latterman said.
Stearns agreed, saying, "In some ways, we should name every park in the city Obama Park."
At the measure's election-night party at Boudin Bakery on Fisherman's Wharf (where some of the bond money will renovate Pier 43), Yes on A campaign consultant Patrick Hannan told us he was worried as the initial results came in.
"That is a high threshold to hit," he said of the two-thirds approval requirement for bond measures.
But as the crowd nibbled on crab balls and sourdough bread, the results moved toward the more comfortable level of around 72 percent support, prompting great joyful whoops of victory.
Recreation and Park Department executive director Yomi Agunbiade acknowledged that the decision to place the measure on the February ballot rather than June's was a leap of faith made in the hopes that the presidential election would cause a high turnout of Democrats.
"We're excited," Agunbiade said at the party. "This was a hard-fought race that involved getting a lot of people out in the field and letting folks know what this was about and we're definitely riding the wave of high voter turnout."
The strong turnout helped Obama win half of the Bay Area counties, Sacramento, and much of the coast, including both the liberal north coast and the more conservative Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties.
But Clinton's advantages of socking away early absentee votes and her popularity with certain identity groups notably Latino, Asian, and LGBT helped her win California.
Yet Obama's appeal reaches beyond Democratic Party voters. He got some late support from prominent local Green Party leaders, even though their party's candidates include former Georgia congressional representative Cynthia McKinney and maybe Ralph Nader (see "Life of the Party," 1/16/08).
Sup. Ross Mirkarimi, a founder of the California Green Party who also worked on Nader's 2000 presidential campaign, announced his endorsement of Obama at the candidate's Super Fat Tuesday event at the Fairmont San Francisco. Mirkarimi also noted the support of Greens Mark Sanchez, president of the San Francisco Board of Education, and Jane Kim, the highest vote getter in the school board's last race.
"I registered Green because I felt their values were closer to mine," Kim, who left the Democratic Party in 2004, later told the Guardian. "But I've always endorsed whoever I thought was the best candidate for any office.... I saw Obama as a candidate taking politics in a different direction that I hadn't seen a national candidate take things before."
If Obama's campaign can continue to develop as a growing movement running against the status quo, he could roll all the way into the White House. But it's equally possible to imagine the Clintons using their deep connections with party elders to muscle the superdelegates into making Hillary the nominee.
Stearns said this scenario could hurt the party and the country: "I can't imagine a worse outcome for the Democratic Party than to have Obama go into the convention ahead on delegates he's won and have Hillary Clinton win on superdelegates."
Amanda Witherell and David Carini contributed to this report.