Coit Tower battle: How do we fund the parks?


The emerging battle over whether San Francisco should allow private parties at Coit Tower is really part of a much larger political debate: How do we fund public parks? Is public space something that resources are put into, something that's paid for by tax money and preserved and made available for everyone -- or should part of the role of parks be to generate cash?

The Republicans in Congress, with the help of San Francisco's own Rep. Nancy Pelosi, came down clearly on the side of self-funding around the Presidio, and it's been a disaster.

I have friends who work at Rec-Park, and they tell me that at least the new revenue initiatives have prevented layoffs and kept some programs going. Which is true. But it's the wrong question.

Parks are public commons. They're not supposed to be private space (yeah, they rent out space for weddings in the park, but that's a pretty minor deal). The city ought to be funding the parks. The city ought to be raising taxes enough to do it. Yeah, I know -- you're bored. I'm tired of saying it, too.



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