Whose park?

Proposal to build a large artificial turf soccer complex in Golden Gate Park sparks controversy

A rendering of the proposed soccer complex


Golden Gate Park and Ocean Beach have long been destinations for locals and tourists to take in natural beauty within an urban setting, but a controversial plan to build a complex of artificial turf soccer fields at their intersection is drawing opposition from neighbors and environmentalists.

The project seems to belie the original intent of Golden Gate Park as a uniquely wild setting. The Master Plan for Golden Gate Park, drafted in 1995, emphasizes environmental stewardship and maintaining the park in a natural, multi-use way. Among its provisions are "major meadows and lawns should be adaptable to host a wide variety of activities, rather than designed for a specific use."

But the Recreation and Park Department (RPD) and sports advocates are pushing a plan to install seven acres of synthetic turf fields, complete with 60-foot, 150,000-watt lighting that will shine until 10 p.m. year-round.

The project will have its first major public hearing before the Planning Commission on Dec. 1 at 5 p.m. in Room 400 at City Hall. Public comments on the project's Draft Environmental Impact Report, which was released in October, will be accepted at the Planning Department until 5 p.m. on Dec. 12.

Critics of the plan, including the Ocean Edge Steering Committee, have been distributing educational materials and trying to energize people to oppose a project that the group says runs counter to the park's purpose and which will harm wildlife and cause other negative impacts.

The fields are slated to be installed over the four existing run-down grass fields in the Western Edge of Golden Gate Park, which sits directly across from Ocean Beach and next to the Beach Chalet historical building and restaurant. The project is projected to cost up to $48 million, about $20 million of which comes from the Clean and Safe Neighborhood Parks bond measure approved by city voters in 2008.

Advocates for the synthetic fields — most notably the City Fields Foundation, the main proponent of converting grass to turf in city parks (see "Turf wars," 10/13/09) — say that this project will only take up a fraction of the natural space in the park, and that turf has many benefits over natural parkland.

"You can put a grass field in, but then you have to limit public access," said Patrick Hannan, communications director for the City Fields Foundation. "If you want to have grass, there's only so much sports play that can happen."

Hannan says that this project is a response to the high demand for usable athletic fields and the limited play provisions of grass fields and availability of usable fields also limits the number of adults and children able to play sports.

RPD spokesperson Connie Chan was not responsive to Guardian questions about the project's consistency with the Master Plan, and on the main project, she referred to a statement on the RPD website: "We are proposing to renovate the dilapidated Beach Chalet Athletic Fields in the western end of Golden Gate Park with synthetic turf, field lights and other amenities because Beach Chalet is one of three primary ground sports fields in San Francisco but unfortunately, these fields are in abysmal condition, often closed, and lacking spectator seating."

But activists say the RPD shouldn't disregard its own planning documents. "It took a long time to draft the Master Plan," said Shawna McGrew, an activist who worked at RPD for 30 years. "They have no legal obligation, but a moral obligation to uphold the Master Plan."

The grass soccer fields have been run down due to lack of maintenance and a continuing gopher problem. But environmental advocates argue that installing the planned light fixtures and synthetic turf will interfere with the wildlife, particularly the nesting birds.


@Autonomous I notice you produced no study of your own in rebuttal. That dearth effectively sums you up.

Posted by Estel on Dec. 01, 2011 @ 5:51 pm

Is it the CO2 issue? The issue of birds being able to eat worms from natural turf? Neighborhood issues?

Eric makes a good case for the issue of CO2. But there have been a lot of comments from members or leaders of non-profit athletic organizations which operate in less privileged parts of SF noting why this development is needed. So far their input seems to have been discarded in this debate. Isn't the ultimate decision supposed to be based on the whole of the impact of the project vs. splitting it into constituent objections and the focusing on those?

Posted by anonymous on Dec. 01, 2011 @ 6:12 pm

Pretty basic. Getting extra playing time and income out of a field is not worth making people sick, destroying habitat, and amplifying the climate crisis when it is already so incredibly precarious.

San Francisco has adopted the precautionary principle as law, and we need to follow it.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Dec. 02, 2011 @ 2:05 am

I didn't say one world about "unmasking" you to anyone, did I?

I was going to cut you some slack, if you stopped your asshole troll bullshit. But you're not stopping.

It sucks to be you.

Posted by anonymous on Dec. 01, 2011 @ 4:53 pm
Posted by Autonomous on Dec. 01, 2011 @ 5:33 pm

That was rude.

Posted by Andrew Solow, MYSL Co-Founder and Past President on Dec. 03, 2011 @ 3:02 am

LOL - yeah Eric.

Opposed to using recycled surfaces and all in favor of massive amounts of wasted water, herbicides and feeders. You are SOME environmentalist Eric.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 30, 2011 @ 9:00 pm

He's not an environmentalist, hes a poorly socialized oppositionalist

Posted by Guest on Nov. 30, 2011 @ 9:17 pm

all the clovers of the world.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 30, 2011 @ 9:42 pm

The proposal to install turf soccer fields as replacements to the existing dreadfully maintained grass fields has overwhelming support of the city's youth and adult soccer, field hockey and lacrosse players.
The Beach Chalet fields have been used as SOCCER fields for more than 75 years. They were designed as soccer fields, and I'll bet that if the developers back then had the capability to install articifial turf fields, they would have.
There are many positive things that will result from installation of the turf fields:
1. Security: By eliminating some of the "hide-outs" in the groves surrounding the fields, it would reduce or eliminate the activities of the creepy men who lurk in those groves.
2.Cost savings: Over the long haul (20 years) the city's cost to maintain the Beach Chalet fields will be reduced by a total of approximately $200,000. After 20 years, the savings would be ablout $80,000 a years.
3.Income: The Rec & Park charges from $25/hr to $75/hr for the use of its soccer fields depending on whether the group is youth, adult,non-profit, etc. Because the city has to close its grass fields every year to reseed, repair or replace irrigation systems, it loses revenue for 2 or 3 months for each grass field. (The Beach Chalet Fields are closed at this time for these very reasons). The artificial fields would have no down time and their maintenance would require and employee with a leaf blower and a hose.
4. Safety: The artificial surface provides alevel, consistent and dependable surface for play. There have been thousands of ankle and knee injuries because of gopher holes, divots and irregular field surfaces cused by over use or poorly maintained grass fields.

Posted by Guest RICHARD CROSS on Nov. 30, 2011 @ 5:52 pm

1) Follow the money and it leads to Don Fisher's City Fields Foundation. Fisher focused on ways to gain access and control over public facilities, including schools and playfields. Rec & Park has pushed revenue generation to its top priority. So this proposal is marriage of financial interests. Not the interest of preserving GGP.

(2) More importantly, if the Beach Chalet fields are replaced with artificial turf, it will set a precedent that will be difficult to oppose. How would folks be able to stop artificial turf in the Polo Fields? How about Big Rec? What about Kezar?

(3) The issue of whether City residents or out of town players are using the fields more is not a hate based issue. GGP is first an SF park, and was built to provide relief from urban congestion for City dwellers. City residents pay most of the taxes to support the park. Out of town teams undoubtedly pay a rental fee. But if RPD is proposing basically in a deal with City Fields Foundation, and Parks Trust I believe, to violate the GGP Master Plan and change the west end of the Park from wild and natural to artificial and lit, then put it on the ballot, and let the people vote on it. In my view it is wrong.

(4) Under the expected expansion of soccer play if the artificial turf is installed, the fields will last 5 - 8 years at best. They will then cost the City in today's dollars $5 - $8/square foot to replace, and the City will be responsible to dispose of 300,000 sf
of rubber etc.

(5) Even the initial cost of installing the artificial turf is millions more than the cost of repairing the drainage of the fields and installing a strong grass. I believe it cost about $500,000 to install new grass recently in the Polo Fields. And why is $20 Million from the 2008 Neighborhood Parks Bond being spent on GGP, if this is true? If accurate, that $20M is over 13% of the $150M we voted to spend on neighborhood parks. (The other $35 M of the $851 M bond went to the Port.)

(6) According to the DEIR as I understand it, at least 55 trees that are part of the western windbreak will be cut down.

(7) So, this proposal permanently alters the west end of the Park, which is intended to be wild, lights the night 365/year, costs a fortune, changes the natural nature of the west end, will cost a fortune to replace, and produces unknown tons of waste every five or so years, and all this should be on the ballot so we can all vote on it.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 30, 2011 @ 7:19 pm

Why should we even allow people who don't live in SF to use the park? And the issue about the west end being allowed to be "wild and natural" .. Clearly the west end of the park has been the way it is now for centuries. Isn't it amazing that 250 years ago, the west end of the park was a park, with non native trees and grasses? Artificially irrigated with man made lakes.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 30, 2011 @ 8:21 pm

Every single tree in Golden Gate Park is an invasive, non-native species. SF has NO native trees and was a scrubby, sandy coastal area with riparian areas along the bay. This strange idea that ANY part of the park is "wild and natural" is absolutely ridiculous.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 30, 2011 @ 9:34 pm

Let's talk about Don Fisher and following the money. He was a very wealthy man and most of that lives on through his family. While you may not like where the Fishers choose to give away their money, you must respect that they do choose to give away large chunks of money to the benefit of the City of San Francisco and its residents. Hopefully there are some of those SF residents that can appreciate the Fishers contibutions rather than simply dismissing their efforts as a "marriage of financial interests". If I was Don Fisher I would be roling over in my grave right now wishing I could tell the rest of my family to just give up giving out money because there is a large quantity of SF residents that don't appreciate it and actually bash them for doing it.

Posted by Guest - Magnum on Nov. 30, 2011 @ 10:39 pm

Don Fisher hated unions. He hated public schools (he put millions of his money to put initiatives on the statewide ballot to channel $ from public schools to private charter schools). He was SF's own version of the Koch brothers. Of course he was a huge financial supporter of the truly disastrous George W Bush - giving over $300,000 in 2004 to Bush and other rightwing Republican politicians.

So why would he push for the replacement of natural living grass with dead artificial turf? Several reasons:

* To eliminate the number of public employees since he hated unions and really hated public unions
* To get big construction jobs for friends (there exists a Fisher Construction Co - don't know if they have ties to him or benefit from this project in any way).
* To privatize public assets - get this: the City Fields Foundation, which is run by his three sons, WOULD GET TO CHOOSE THE CONTRACTOR AND SET THE TERMS OF THE CONSTRUCTION AS IF THEY OWNED THAT PORTION OF GG PARK!
* It privatizes public assets in a second way - instead of being able to use this big chunk of GG Park land, now you will need to pay a big permit fee for it. The consultants working with Ginsburg is trying to get you all to think this is "for the children." Nope - the soccer players who will benefit from it are adults in adult soccer leagues.

And it only lasts 10 years at most. So 7 acres of artificial turf and possibly over 300 tons of very small tire particles will have to be taken out and dumped somewhere to be replaced with new artificial turf and possibly new ground up tires.

Geez who's getting THAT CONTRACT??? Probably some connection to the late Don Fisher or his three billionaire sons.

That's how chummy SF govt has gotten with Donald Fisher and his three heirs. He was a big financial supporter of Newsom so Newsom did what he wanted. Phil Ginsburg, Newsom's Chief of Staff, was appointed Rec and Park General Manager by Newsom and, no doubt following Newsom's orders to do what Fisher wanted, has pushed this idiotic scheme to dump 300 tons of tiny tire particles into Golden Gate Park.

This is one of the largest grass areas in the park - probably the Polo Fields is the only one bigger. They want to put 2 - 3 lbs of very small tire particles per square foot. When you add that over 7 acres, it's over 300 tons of tire particles that will spread all over the area, damaging the eco-system there.

Come out to the Planning Commission meeting today (Thursday) at 5 pm to express your opposition to the scheme of the late rightwing Republican billionaire Donald Fisher and his three billionaire sons (who are the "City Fields Foundation") to ruin a big chunk of Golden Gate Park - a scheme that will set a precedent to turn more of GG Park from living natural grass to dead plastic artificial turf packed with hundreds of tons of oil-based, tire particles.

The meeting is at 5 pm at City Hall, Room 400.

Just read the Golden Gate Park Master Plan (GGPMP) to get an idea of how badly this opposes that well-thought out document that took 10 years to complete (it was finished in 1998 - not too long ago).

Here are some blatant violations of the GGPMP by Phil Ginsburg and R&P:
* (pg 4-5) “It is important to maintain the rural character in the western park.”
* (pg 6-1) “The demands for recreation need to be balanced with the objectives of preserving the original intent and purpose of the park as a ‘sylvan and pastoral’ retreat.”
* (pg 9-5) “Lighting is for safety purposes and is not intended to increase night use.”

Here's a link to the GGPMP - read it and you'll see that this scheme to ruin Golden Gate Park runs in complete opposition to the GGPMP (the sections of it are on the left - each section title is a link to that section):


Don't let anti-union, anti-public school, rightwing Republican billionaires like the late Donald Fisher ruin YOUR Golden Gate Park!!! See you at 5 pm at City Hall today.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 01, 2011 @ 12:02 pm

Omg. we sure do have some NIMBY lunatics in SF.

Don Fisher donated his entire UNPARALLELED the world over modern art collection to the MOMA.
To say this was a massive win for SF would not even come close to reality.

Hysterical hyperbole and hand-wringing. 4 soccer fields does not an entire GG park make.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 01, 2011 @ 12:12 pm

Just how does donating an art collection to a museum, negate the laundry list of profound damage which Fisher and his offspring have inflicted on this City and on the world...?

Posted by anonymous on Dec. 01, 2011 @ 1:26 pm

It's very strange that a dead man is being dragged into this debate. While most of the city looks forward progressives seem to spend a whole lot of their time staring back in the past.

I guess I'd do that too if my best memories were all of 30 years ago. But it's a sure sign of a sclerotic political movement, dying on the vine, when the person it uses to vilify this project is a man who died over two years ago.

Perhaps Progressives can reenact the Cadaver Synod of 897 and exhume Fisher's body for a trial of the people!

Posted by Guest on Dec. 01, 2011 @ 2:18 pm

They still run the Fisher empire and pursue the same fucked up bullshit that their daddy did...

Posted by anonymous on Dec. 01, 2011 @ 2:40 pm

I'd prefer we practice the policies of the late, great Kim Il-Sung of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and imprison the relatives of class traitors, starting with their children and then going back 3 generations to include their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. That way we can ensure revisionist thinking is eliminated and continue forward in our march towards building a great people's democracy.

Posted by Autonomous on Dec. 01, 2011 @ 3:19 pm

not going to debate your reaching points one by one. If adding 4 astroturf soccer fields for kids to play in means that Don Fisher was Satan, then so be it.

My god, you need to get out and take a walk. Life is not this bad.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 01, 2011 @ 2:26 pm

Why is park & wreck paying lobbyists to develop GGP? Who will gain from this?

Posted by Guest on Nov. 30, 2011 @ 7:23 pm

I'm getting sick and tired of Phil Ginsburg making decisions for all of San Francisco as though he's the voice of the city. Why isn't this something we're voting on? Ginsburg seems to think the park belongs to him, and it's happening over and over again. SF needs to get rid of this guy, he's bad news.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 30, 2011 @ 8:02 pm

Why don't we convert one of SF's nine golf courses to soccer fields?

Posted by Guest on Nov. 30, 2011 @ 9:39 pm

The new turf fields will allow more playing time and more access to fields all over the city and this will have a positive impact on children from low-income neighborhoods who spend most of their days playing on pavement.

For ten years I have been Executive Director of America SCORES Bay Area. We provide soccer and creative writing enrichment activities to public school students -- 79% from families who qualify for free and reduced price lunch. We work with nearly 1,000 children and families six-days-a-week from Bayview, Mission, Excelsior, Western Addition -- places far from Beach Chalet. From Monday through Friday our teams play on pavement and school-yard black top. On Saturdays we play games at Crocker Amazon Park, a wonderful park with turf and grass play spaces.

Unfortunately, even at Crocker we don't get enough playing time for our kids. Half our teams play on the grass and nearly one quarter of their games get cancelled. On the turf, we sometimes have three games with 60 kids on a field made for 22 players.

The new all-weather playing surface at Beach Chalet will relieve pressure on the city's playing fields and open more options for all players young and old for more weeks of the year. It will allow more people to use and enjoy Golden Gate Park and all other fields. it will allow more children to play and enjoy the outdoors in our great city.

Posted by Colin Schmidt on Nov. 30, 2011 @ 10:04 pm

Our family has experienced the positive effects of field renovation projects like this sponsored by City Fields/Rec. and Park at many other locations such as Crocker Amazon, Kimbell, and South Sunset. These projects have had a positive tranformative effect on these neighborhoods and this project will turn a dumpy, poorly-lit, unsafe, and under-utilized Beach Chalet Field into a vibrant, well-lit, and safe sports field where kids and adults of all ages and ethnic backgrounds can come together to celebrate sports and the benefits of an active lifestyle. These projects have a proven track record of public good and the positives significantly outweigh any downsides!

Posted by Guest - Magnum on Nov. 30, 2011 @ 10:58 pm

Is poorer people coming into their neighborhood. We've had a number of really great comments here exhibiting exactly why a project like this is so important - but they ignore the fact that for all the paeans paid to "diversity" in San Francisco people in wealthier neighborhoods do not at all want to poorer, browner people in their neighborhoods. They'll find every other ostensible reason for opposing this kind of project but underlying it is the same NIMBY, racist bullshit we always see from these kinds of people.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 30, 2011 @ 11:17 pm

We tend to think that our time is the only time we have to deal with. The fact is, our children will be playing soccer in other venues besides Beach Chalet. They will play on artficial surfaces at Lincoln, Lowell, Washington, Balboa, Saint Ignatius, Riordan, and Sacred Heart (and maybe more), in college they may play at City College, Skyline, Cal-Berkeley, St. Mary's and even Stanford. All of these venues have gone through extensive EIR and community reviews and have been approved overwhelmingly to provide a better, safe, predictable playing surface. Our children deserve the opportunity to be able to compete with other communities without having to go outside of the city in order to have enough playing time.

Posted by Guest RICHARD CROSS on Nov. 30, 2011 @ 11:47 pm

Just because others have done it, doesn't make it safe or wise!

Information is powerful and all the environmental concerns on this for humans and wildlife can't be ignored...unless you think cancer is a good thing for your kids.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 01, 2011 @ 10:53 am

First, i live close to the area that will be torn up and paved over in Golden gate park. Looking at the plans, once developers have destroyed this huge, grassy field for tony parceled out soccer fields, the city will then charge families and students to use it. Much like charging for the arboretum, it will then be necessary to charge schools and families to use what is already their for free use. If this very expensive destruction of public land happens, then the plan is to develop a waste disposal area in the name of jobs. Thanks for giving away the strategy before today's meeting. Using our kids is disgusting. I take care of kids in pediatrics and that's just exploitation to me.

Don't be fooled. The new meme coming from the supporters of this very expensive project will be kids have no place to play soccer. But if this expensive destruction and astro turfing of GG park goes through, the kids will come up short having to find the cash to pay to play until 10pm. Only the private schools will get to play leaving many out of this great sport.

Golden Gate Park is free and open space for all. City officials can't stop themselves from selling what is not theirs alone to sell. One can still play soccer in an open field without the astro turf crowd coming in to profit once this bad idea occurs. As you say, Lincoln, Lowell, Washington, Balboa and multiple other sites are already there. Stop using our kids to make money. They are not for sale either.

This is about city officials who can't stop the give away of what is left of our public spaces now free to use, including our kids who can use this open, grassy space to play, run, fly a kite and multiple other things most of us did when we were their age. This is about making a buck and then turning around and selling it back to us.

Posted by Guest lucretiamott on Dec. 01, 2011 @ 5:47 am

The worst of San Francisco on display here folks.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 01, 2011 @ 2:03 pm

(Not In My Capitalist Fantasy)

Posted by NIMCFY on Dec. 03, 2011 @ 9:54 am

Lisa, bless you for your great piece! Please note that Matt Smith, a 14 year journalist at the SF Weekly was "laid off" days after his cover story on Rec and Park ran.
http://www.sfweekly.com/2011-09-21/news/marcus-santiago-sf-park-patrol-o... Witnesses have heard Rec and Park's Public Affairs Director, Sara Ballard bragging about getting him fired for that story. Rec and Park's corruption and control of the mainstream (corporate) media is the real story here.

Without looking at the environmental reports Rec and Park is jamming this down our throats because Gap founder, Donald Fisher Foundation money wants it. Sara and her boss, Phil Ginsburg, are 2 over paid public employees, who are always working deals for political buddies: Wee Willy Brown, Feinstein and her husband, Richard Blum, Newsom (ugh), Getty, Fisher, Mark Buell married to Esprit founder, Susie Tompkins, Larry Ellison and his American Land Grab Cup. Follow the SF 1%... they are just like the 1% scum everywhere else...feeding off the backs of the 99% at every opportunity.

Call or write Mayor Lee today and tell him to clean up the corruption at Rec & Park.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 01, 2011 @ 10:49 am

Seems to be a lot of emotion around this issue, but the bottom line is this space is already dedicated to soccer. It is not a natural environment, it is not set aside as part of the serene landscaping of the western edge of the park - this small piece of the total park acreage set aside specifically for athletics. The park is amazingly designed with hidden spots and something new around every corner, but when you turn this particular corner, what you find is soccer fields. Unfortunately for large parts of the year these soccer fields are closed. Go out there right now and you will see a chain link fence and a sign that says you can't play. Even if the park had the budget for maintenance, the only way to make grass fields viable in the city is to close them for large chunks of time so they can rehab, and then close them again every time there is a substantial rain. That means games and practices are regularly cancelled and the thousands of kids and adults who use these fields each week are out of luck. It happens all the time - even if its sunny outside, if the fields are wet, they are closed. Turf fields may not satisfy everyone, but they are a very good a and logical solution for a city that has a huge shortage of playing fields, wants to promote exercise and has a major problem keeping families in the city. All we are talking about is maximizing the use of space that has already been allocated to playfields. This one should not be that hard. Someone is trying to give the city money for this. The project has been delayed for several years as activist insist on throwing up new hurdles, but its time to let everyone playball.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 01, 2011 @ 11:06 am

Instead of Soccer Fields there, lets rebuild Playland!

Posted by Guest on Dec. 01, 2011 @ 11:23 am

Can't you already hear all the bile spewing from the twisted mouths of anonymouse trolls and guests.

Posted by Patrick Monk. RN on Dec. 02, 2011 @ 2:22 am

As noted by one of the Planning Commissioners at this evening's meeting, the Beach Chalet Soccer Fields have been present at the western end of Golden Gate Park for about 75 years. Further, the Golden Gate Park Master Plan specifically describes the Beach Chalet fields as "Soccer Fields" and includes provisions for improving and expanding those fields to provide additional recreational opportunities for the residents of San Francisco.

I also utterly reject the NIMBY alternative of building the Beach Chalet Soccer Field complex in another location.
If there is another location in San Francisco where a soccer field complex could be built, we need to build a soccer complex at that location IN ADDITION to renovating Beach Chalet with artificial turf and field lights, NOT instead.

Golden Gate Park is man-made, not natural. If we really want to make Golden Gate Park a "natural area", we should turn off all irrigation, let all of the trees and shrubs die, and let sand dunes reclaim the entire park.

I have personally visited Beach Chalet hundreds of times since I moved to San Francisco in 1983. And, the Beach Chalet fields have always been in extremely poor and dangerous condition. The Beach Chalet soccer fields were built on top of a sandy swamp that doesn't drain. It's been a lake or a mud bog four months out of every year since it was built.

Even with the addition of a leach field drainage system, there is no natural grass that I am aware of that can possibly survive the amount of use that the Beach Chalet Athletic Fields get, even without field lights.

The proposed undertaking is to build new Beach Chalet fields that can provide increased playing time, not more natural grass fields full of gofer holes, pot holes and ruts that are impossible to maintain even when they are fenced and closed 4 months a year. {FYI: It's hard to kill gofers without poison or lethal traps.}

The only question I have about the proposed Beach Chalet Renovation project is exactly how tall the field light poles have to be to properly illuminate the new artificial field complex. Shorter would be better if an adequate amount of illumination can still be achieved.

Andrew Solow
Past President and Co-Founder
Mission Youth Soccer League, Inc. (MYSL)
San Francisco, CA 94131
Cell 415-722-3047

Posted by Andrew Solow, MYSL Co-Founder and Past President on Dec. 02, 2011 @ 4:02 am

I have lived near (that is, a mile away from) stadium lights. It was a small college town where until then we had been able to see the stars at night, but not after the lights went in. Stadium lighting's glare fill up the sky for quite some distance around. And my guess is that the soccer players might not be any better about turning off the lights than the football players were, so the lights might be on all night.

Those of us who have chosen to live out by the ocean have had to give up a lot to do so. Mostly access. We have no access to BART (though our taxes pay for it!). Those of us on the Richmond side of the park have no Metro service either To get to meetings downtown, or to go to the Mission or Castro or other 'hip' spots takes about an hour each way.

What we get in return is: The beauty of the ocean and the parks (GGP, Sutro, Land's End), and a quiet place with dark skies. It's not a perfect trade, of course. Bay-to-Breakers, the various triathlons and marathons, Outside Lands, Hardly Strictly, and the like all eat in this quiet. And of course, every sunny weekend, the rest of San Francisco comes out to visit. So, we do get to share our assets with the rest of you.

But the Beach Chalet project goes way beyond all this, creating a permanent traffic-filled, light-filled, trash-filled, noise-filled cancer in the heart of our neighborhood. We will continue to oppose it.

Posted by Guest Gabriel Lampert on Dec. 02, 2011 @ 1:19 pm

Textbook example of an SF NIMBY right here.

Posted by anonymous on Dec. 02, 2011 @ 1:34 pm

Good thing that the whole of the city is represented in its access to public parks and not the needs/desires of the greedy few who seek to limit access to their own personal shangri la.

I have news for you: "your assets", are not yours. they dont belong to you any more than they belong to me or any other individual san franciscans.

So keep on with your NIMBY hyperbole: "permanent traffic filled, light filled, trash filled, noise filled cancer"

If you want such severe control of your environment, try living in a gated community.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 02, 2011 @ 1:35 pm

and that the park should be run according to his wishes, as it is one of his "assets" along with Sutro Park and Lands End. He resents having to share these "assets" with the lowlifes who participate in Bay-to-Breakers, marathons and triathlons and the various festivals which have the audacity to assemble in the park - and "of course, every sunny weekend, the rest of San Francisco comes to visit." How repulsive it must be for Gabriel to have to share a public park with "the rest of San Francisco."

A more revealing statement has never before been written. This is how the 1% feel about the rest of us - we're trash, invaders, lowlifes who threaten their "assets." They consider public property to be theirs and theirs alone and they highly resent having to share it.

What is strange about Gabriel's comment is that various "progressives" on this site share his views - Eric Brooks, Lisa etc... They all look with disdain on the unwashed masses who dare to hope that they too can enjoy the "assets" of people like Gabriel Lampert.

Posted by anonymous on Dec. 02, 2011 @ 4:37 pm

you sound like more like Lucretia Snapples than 'anonymous'. bet you are, too

Posted by Guest on Dec. 03, 2011 @ 1:00 pm

which deeply harms both the environment, and the lower classes you are so busy falsely crowing that we somehow don't care about; while cloaking yourself in the sheep's clothing of shallowly feigning concern for the 99%.

It is precisely to defend those working classes and others, that we oppose this plan, which would threaten everyone's health, harm the environment, and lead to high priced exclusive ticket access to those playing fields, thereby locking the 99% OUT of them.

Which of course, is exactly the endgame that you are playing for...

Posted by Eric Brooks on Dec. 03, 2011 @ 1:16 pm

Those who surround the park shall own the park!!! Eric stands with those lower classes against the bourgeois pigs from places like the Excelsior and Bayview - the working classes in the Richmond (average property value: $700,000) will not be bulldozed by the elitist landowners of the Excelsior (average property value: $390,000)!!

We stand with the property owners of the outer-Richmond and the outer-Sunset!! Accelerating property values now! Accelerating property values forever!! Keep out the bourgeois piggies from the Excelsior!!!

Those who surround the park - OWN the park!!!!

Posted by anonymous on Dec. 04, 2011 @ 1:42 am

mr. colen's consistent effort to displace working families, promote housing and spur policies, ignores the natual environmental issues and housing concerns of people needing flexible housing areas, access to transit, and open-space UNPROGRAMMED!

The beach chalet areas as natural grass should be a simple solution, and he and those requesting more "play-space" can play in the sand at ocean beach, or take transit to geneva ave near the cow-palace and use those large new astro-turf fields there.

affecting the migrating bird areas of the western side of the city through the demolition of the open-space @ parkmerced, and the proposed elimination of more areas in the lake merced, and beach challette proposals reeks of SPUR, as in SPUR your profit margins....

mr. colen you are the small lobbyist with a smaller nimbyistic mind par excellance.

buid some housing in arden wood and st. francis woods, flip the field over in St. Francis Woods park to an astro-turf site, with large lights adjacent to million dollar homes, they have the money to sue back...

the birds and aviary features of the western edge of the park do not have attorney fee's.

Posted by goodmaab50 on Dec. 02, 2011 @ 6:38 pm

Here is Tim Colen's house:


Tim Colen is the chief lobbyist for fly by night developers who expect for San Franciscans to subsidize their highly profitable ventures by diverting city services and infrastructure from existing San Franciscans to the new, upper scale, San Franciscans to whom developers cater.

Tim Colen whines that NIMBYs fear new housing development, that people should live car free in dense urban settings, yet he himself lives in a single family detached home with a two car garage in San Francisco's suburban-like regions. He drives to City Hall and his lobbyist headquarters more than he walks and takes transit.

The Housing Action Coalition which Colen claims is a community organization is funded by banks, developers, their attorneys, architects and consultants. In 2008, the HAC(k) actually held a housing summit that was sponsored by thinly capitalized, highly leveraged Citibank.

Colen and SPUR are winning, we are losing, because they successfully got progressives to stand down on any significant land use questions in exchange for tiny crumbs of affordable housing. This, more than anything, is the reason why progressive politics in San Francisco have collapsed.

Posted by marcos on Dec. 03, 2011 @ 8:58 am

Creeper: party of one.

Arent there laws regarding online stalking ?

Why dont you post the google maps overhead of your house Marc?

Posted by Guest on Dec. 03, 2011 @ 9:48 am

"The earth is not dying, she is being killed. And those who are killing her have names and addresses."

~ Utah Phillips

Posted by anonymous on Dec. 03, 2011 @ 10:08 am

If someone offered Colen more money to say the opposite, he'd take it and say it too.

Posted by marcos on Dec. 03, 2011 @ 11:37 am

Though I don't have children, I still think that children should come first. Children from the other side of town who participate in organized sports like soccer usually don't join street gangs, don't do drugs, and are required as a prerequisite of membership on their soccer teams to make passing grades in school.

Sports fields make healthy children. But, I guess progressives care more about birds, pastoral views and star light than they do about children. If we listened to you guys, there would be a couple of thousand more young street gang members in San Francisco and the place would be uninhabitable.

You progressives should go watch a soccer game and watch the children having a good time instead of worrying about how many stars you can see in the night sky in the middle of an urban area.

Posted by Andrew Solow, MYSL Co-Founder and Past President on Dec. 03, 2011 @ 3:19 am