Mayor Lee, Sharp Park, and Gavin Newsom


So Ed Lee's going to veto the Board of Supervisors resolution on Sharp Park. Of course he is. And there's more than snakes and frogs at issue here.

The veto, I think, sets the tone for what we're going to see over the next four years, which is: Gavin Newsom.

For four years, the progressive bloc on the board -- that is, the shaky sometimes-majority that can pull together six votes on an issue -- is going to run slam into a mayoral veto a good deal of the time.

In this case, John Avalos, David Campos, David Chiu, Jane Kim, Eric Mar and Ross Mirkarimi -- that's the list of the six -- all supported a plan to negotiate with the National Park Service to take over the property, which would probably mean the end of the golf course. It's an environmental issue, mostly, and also a public-resource issue -- but the main thing is that it's an issue that split the board along the left-center/right lines that we'll see again and again over Lee's term. And Lee is siding with the right.

That's what we came to expect from Newsom -- every progressive initiative was a struggle; often, bill sponsors had to line up eight votes, not six, because there was always the threat that Newsom would shoot it down. And I'm getting the feeling that we'll be facing the same thing with Mayor Lee.



Well, um,....maybe Lee has a point? It isn't all just about agreeing or disagreeing with the Progressive block. Sometime's it's also about doing what's right for the city.

I never play golf. Don't understand the attraction and never will. But I do understand that a significant amount of people feel strongly that it enhances their enjoyment of life. So I don't begrudge them a place to play and it's inconceivable that we'll be building any new golf courses nearby.

So do we need to shut this one down because of wildlife issues? Apparently not, some feel. There is a way to reconfigure the course so that duffers, snakes, and frogs can all get along. Well, the snakes will eat the frogs but 2 out of 3 ain't bad.

Yep, sometimes you have to do the best thing for all involved EVEN if it goes against the wishes of the Progressive block.

Posted by District 3 Vet on Dec. 19, 2011 @ 12:35 pm

These are endangered species we are talking about.

It is in fact, against federal law not to protect them properly, and for very good reasons.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Dec. 19, 2011 @ 12:54 pm

Yes but, perhaps there is a way to protect the snakes and NOT close the golf course?? I think that is Lee's point.

This is a great example that highlights a difference between Progressive and non-progressive thinking. Progressives hear that a species is endangered and they follow their knee jerk reaction - close the golf course. And anyway who doesn't go along is uncaring and insensitive to the plight of the struggling species.

Meanwhile, the Ed Lee types tries to find a solution that maximizes the welfare of all involved, human and otherwise. He's not an uncaring dolt, he just wants to find an adult solution if there is one, and in this case the huge golf course can be reconfigured to provide a safe habitat for the snakes.

Posted by District 3 Vet on Dec. 19, 2011 @ 2:25 pm

Indeed, golf provides a benign habitat for many species and plants.

And I agree Lee is looking for a balanced solution rather than the satisfaction of a narrow, single-issue perspective. And that's his job.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 19, 2011 @ 2:44 pm

As anyone who has studied biology in grade school knows.

And when a species is endangered it is illegal to take any action which can threaten even one individual of that species - unless you have specifically applied for and received a permit to do so. There is no such permit for Sharp Park. A listed species is in such a precarious state, that anything, including a golf course, can be the straw that breaks, and tips it into extinction. (Since I'm guessing neither of you yayhoos has a backround in species survival, it is safe to assume that you don't know what the hell you are talking about.)

Individual snakes and frogs have indeed been killed by golf course maintenance activities, and it is therefore illegal to continue golf at Sharp Park.

Even if Lee vetoes the measure, the golf course and the sea wall protecting it will eventually be removed by court order.

So if Lee vetoes, he will be pulling an empty disrespectful and potentially hazardous gesture, which won't uphold the endangered species act, and will be disingenuous to the golfers, giving them hope, where in the end there is none.

Furthermore, if Lee delays protection to the snakes and frogs with a veto, he will also be subjecting San Francisco to potential liability should it be proven that the delay was responsible for a further take in the species.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 19, 2011 @ 5:27 pm

San Francisco. November 29.

Federal Judge Susan Illston today issued an Order Denying Plaintiffs' Motion for a Preliminary Injunction at Sharp Park Golf Course. The plaintiffs, "a collection of non-profit conservation groups" led by the Tucson-based Center for Biological Diversity, had sought an order to halt mowing on Holes 9-18 and to halt winter flood-relief pumping at the 80-year-old golf course. Noted architect Robert Trent Jones, Jr. submitted a declaration to Court, saying that if granted, the relief sought by the plaintiffs would effectively mean destruction of the Alister MacKenzie-designed course.

In a 15-page ruling, Judge Illston said she denied the motion because she found that the plaintiffs "failed to establish the likelihood of irreparable harm" to the California red-legged frog or the San Francisco garter snake. Judge Illston, a veteran Federal Judge who last year presided at the Barry Bonds case, heard oral arguments in the Sharp Park case on November 18. Trial in the case is scheduled for July 16, 2012.

To read a copy of Judge Illston's opinion, click here.

Posted by matlock on Dec. 19, 2011 @ 5:46 pm

of the snakes and frogs, not the question of their their long term viability.

That is a completely different issue and will in the end result in the removal of the golf course.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Dec. 19, 2011 @ 7:18 pm

You hate golf courses because you associate them with wealthy people.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 19, 2011 @ 7:57 pm

My grandfather played golf, was a fine human being, and was not wealthy.

This has nothing to do with hating golf, hating the wealthy, or even loving frogs. This has to do with saving our planet by protecting species diversity.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Dec. 19, 2011 @ 10:11 pm

Which retains the course and helps preserve the couple of species. Seems like a better idea to me.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 20, 2011 @ 7:29 am

As I mention above, the snake is in such deep crisis, and in so much need of more habitat, that the so called compromise will not work. I say 'so called' because only the golf side has proposed or wants the 'compromise'. The environmental groups have rightly informed them that we can't compromise because retaining the course would put the snake in serious jeopardy.

We considered a 9 hole course compromise, but the golfers rightly responded that a 9 hole course in that location would not be financially viable.

So there simply is no compromise. It's either the snake or the golf course. We can't save both. And since there are plenty of other places to golf, and only one place for those snakes, the choice we need to make is obvious.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Dec. 20, 2011 @ 8:47 am

who cana rgue either way. Lee's idea of handing the matter to San Mateo County to handle looks preferable to me. Let them make the difficult decision between golfers and snakes.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 20, 2011 @ 8:59 am

and having the guts to do what's right ourselves.

As to 'expert' witnesses. The -one- witness for the golf side is lying her ass off, and the -many- environmental experts (who have not been hand picked by a bunch of selfish golfers who want to keep playing with their toy) have said overwhelmingly that the golf course must be removed.

So eventually will the courts.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Dec. 20, 2011 @ 9:16 am

80 + years of golf course and all of a sudden the lemmings are in uproar.

Posted by matlock on Dec. 20, 2011 @ 9:17 am

is that the course has been there for 80 years. And if it had not been there all this time, it would be tract housing, and you would be rote complaining about something else.

See you on FOX news complaining about the war on Christmas.

Posted by matlock on Dec. 19, 2011 @ 9:06 pm

Here is a wiki which shows quite well the impacts that a golf course can have on an endangered species.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Dec. 19, 2011 @ 5:40 pm

been concreted over for development decades ago. So ironically the golf course has actually help preserve whatever lifeforms have a habitat there.

I'm all for cute amphibians too, but we can't make a single species an over-riding consideration over all other issues. Species have been coming and going for millions of years. In the grand scheme of things, I suspect that most voters have higher priorities.

But of course because golf is perceived as a sport played by the rich, it becomes a political football.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 19, 2011 @ 6:14 pm

That is exactly what the Endangered Species Act was written to accomplish.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Dec. 19, 2011 @ 7:15 pm
Posted by Guest on Dec. 19, 2011 @ 7:56 pm

It leads to saving crucial ecosystems because endangered species are 'indicator species' that are a warning bell for the overall health of a habitat.

Without the Endangered Species Act, California would be a bombed out wasteland now.

That Act has been essentially the only barrier to rampant destruction of natural areas and ancient habitats in the U.S.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Dec. 19, 2011 @ 10:15 pm

species by providing at least a quasi-natural landscape, rather than housing, strip malls or office parks.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 20, 2011 @ 7:30 am

The simple fact is that ever since Agnos, the Mayor has been a centrist. (And, BTW, saying Lee sides with the "Right" is ridiculous: there is no "Right" in SF politics - it's left versus moderates).

But of course back in the Agnos days, the Supes were themselves moderate so you still had a balance of power, just like now with a left-wing BofS and a centrist Mayor.

So what you're really complaining about here is that an at-best tenuous left-wing majority on the Board (which will vanish with the new D5 appointment anyway) can't cram down or railroad their own agenda over a city-wide elected Mayor. To which I reply, duh, what else would you expect?

I don't give a rat's ass about this golf course or the odd frog, and I suspect you don't either. But using that topic to complain that the city charter allows for checks and balances, and avoids an over-concentration of power, is hardly a problem. Quite the opposite.

Conclusion? The BofS needs to adopt policies that have a broad city-wide appeal. And if they want to know what that comprises, then check the platform that Lee stood on and easily won on. That's what the people want, not what the left wants.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 19, 2011 @ 12:44 pm

this is not an environmental issue. The frogs are fine and will always be there is ever increasing numbers. Its just a bunch of phoney polititions selling themselves to get elected. The enviro orgs are just trying to hold municipalities hostage for money. so they can keep their phoney jobs.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 19, 2011 @ 1:40 pm

Really quite simple.

The "environmentalists" are now the far lefts answer to the rights Jerry Fallwells.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 19, 2011 @ 2:28 pm

Veto, veto, veto. Either way the extreme enviros will get the publicity they are craving. Had they cared about frogs a workable compromise would have been made long ago. Said like commenters above me, this is not about endangered species unless you are referring to the "progressive bloc" on the board.

Posted by Ted on Dec. 19, 2011 @ 4:06 pm

Not too many voters think a frog is more important than a lot of other issues. But the frogs are a red herring here. The real issue is Tim's lament that a "progressive" minority cannot force through their agenda past a moderate majority.

And on Tim's planet, that's a problem even though most people would interpret that as being the system working the way it should. Apparently, an election where Lee got more than 50% more votes than his "progressive" rival doesn't count for anything.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 19, 2011 @ 4:20 pm

The park has been home to generations of San Franciscans who play at the park. Many of these people have paid taxes in the city and are now retired, or still pay taxes in the city as we type away.

These are the people that kept the seat warm here in SF so that in the late 20th century the city could start filling up with carpet baggers that know best how we should all be living.

It's not right wing to know that the enviro angle is a red herring, the equal of the rights crazy "war on Christmas" non sense.

It's not right wing to want to want to save something that generations have used and will use, we hope? While it seems to be left wing to want to show up and remake things downward and tell people whats best for them.

The class and race theory arguments one sees around the park are creepy and weird.

Watching the public access "environmentalists" and progressives repeat the same debunked talking before points before Mirkirimi's board was amazing. These people are probably spouting the same saws today.

So in reality what Redmond's specific complaint about the vote is that it's left wing to hold the same uni-mind about this situation, and right wing to not knuckle under to the true believer red herrings.

The progressive position is that you can support the infrastructure your entire life in SF, and when the carpet baggers show up you are SOL.

The progressive position is that the population of the frogs and snake are growing, but "so what." Being a progressive is being reflexively "environmentalist," the progressives will not tolerate being outflanked to the left.

The issue isn't left right, but why progressives are so doctrinaire?

Posted by matlock on Dec. 19, 2011 @ 5:43 pm

Have questions here. The red legged frog seems to pop up here and there, if that is the case why is it endangered. The snake I remember seeing these in jr high back in the late 70's. If a golf course can cause harm to animals what about people and their dogs, cats or anykind of other human interaction.

Posted by garrett on Dec. 19, 2011 @ 8:54 pm

The frog is 'threatened' see:

The snake is 'endangered' (and is in very serious decline) see:

The snake is dependent on the frog population for survival as a food source.

The main problem with the golf course in relation to these species is its large expanse eliminating huge swaths of the natural habitat of the snakes and frogs, and the dramatic problems in water management that it creates for these species, especially the frogs (the snake's preferred food source).

Draining water out of the course area, and other water management problems frequently kills the the frogs' eggs and prevents the frogs from becoming more prolific. The sea wall also makes the interface between the ocean and the habitat problematic and can hold salt water from storm events too long inside the habitat after it floods inland and this also endangers the frogs. This problem will become dramatically worse as sea rise progresses throughout this century.

If the habitat were turned into national park the huge expanse of the golf course would revert back to habitat for the frogs and snakes, the serious water issues would cease because the water cycle would be allowed to return to normal, and the sea wall could be removed, helping eliminate the salt water retention problem, especially as coastal wetland and natural beach once again forms a natural living barrier to the sea instead of the artificial wall.

Humans and their animal companions keeping largely to trails and designated areas would cause -far- less damage.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Dec. 19, 2011 @ 10:50 pm

Funny how nobody is raising an outcry over the plan by the San Francisco Botanical Garden Society to put in a new office building on what is endangered red-legged frog habitat!

Posted by Richard on Dec. 19, 2011 @ 11:39 pm

Hand the course back to San Mateo County and let them manage it, since it is their land that surrounds the course anyway.

No reason for SF or the Feds to be involved at all.

And there is a compromise plan which can work for both the frogs and the golfers.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 20, 2011 @ 7:32 am

Eventually, when the court case reaches completion, the Endangered Species Act will overrule the golf course no matter who is running it. Putting San Mateo in control is just shifting deck chairs on the Titanic.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Dec. 20, 2011 @ 8:51 am

difficult decision. The land is in San Mateo so we can duck by letting them make the call.

Court cases are fickle so I wouldn't rely on that.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 20, 2011 @ 9:07 am

Endangered species nearly always prevail in such cases.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Dec. 20, 2011 @ 9:19 am

People care more about the economy than about the odd frog or snake.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 20, 2011 @ 11:02 am

It doesn't matter what people care about. The Endangered Species Act is so clear and strict that the courts have no choice. They almost -always- find in favor of species protection. Period.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Dec. 21, 2011 @ 8:18 am

And juries are ordinary people, most of whom wouldn't know a frog from a toad or a snake from a lizard.

I suspect a compromise will be worked out.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 21, 2011 @ 8:33 am

Endangered Species Act habitat cases are decided by judges.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Dec. 21, 2011 @ 8:58 am

NORAHG Responds to the SIEGE OF ENVIRONMENTAL TERROR Against Sharp Park Golf Course, San Francisco, California.


The Mayor of San Francisco, Ed Lee, must be CONGRATULATED for SAVING Sharp Park Golf Course.

This golf facility has been under a SIEGE OF ENVIRONMENTAL TERROR under the PRETEXT of somehow protecting obscure and insignificant species.

In fact, Sharp Park Golf Course is NOT harming ANY animal species.

As usual, Enviro-Lunatics DESPISE the Game of Golf.

Anti-Golf Organizations like National Parks Conservation Association and Wild Equity Institute have TERRORIZED the City of San Francisco for years over the future of Sharp Park Golf Course.


The habitat that Enviro-Lunatics are trying to « recover » was originally created when the golf course was built along with a sea wall, isolating the Laguna Sal from ocean waves.

IF the golf course had NEVER BEEN BUILT, there would be no habitat for the endangered species.

Anti-Golf Enviro-Lunatics seek the DESTRUCTION of the Golf Industry.

These terrorists ATTACK the Golf Industry under the PRETEXT of ALLEGED ill-effects on the habitats of obscure and insignificant species like Garter Snakes and Tadpoles.

The Golf Industry Should Tell Anti-Golf Activists to Get OFF Our grASS and Roast In Hell.

For more information, please go to the following link ...

We are living in the DARK AGE OF ANTI PESTICIDE TERRORISM where sound science is trumped by FAKE SCIENTISTS, JUNK SCIENCE and UNVERIFIABLE SECRET EVIDENCE through FABRICATION, INNUENDO, and INTERNET RUMOUR ― scientific research PROVES that pest control products CAUSE NO HARM and can be USED SAFELY.


NORAHG is the National Organization Responding Against HUJE that seek to harm the Green space industry.

NORAHG morally represents the VAST SILENT MAJORITY of people associated with turf and ornamental plant maintenance who are OPPOSED to Anti Pesticide PROHIBITION and the CLOSURE of green spaces under the RIDICULOUS PRETEXT of somehow « saving » the environment.

NORAHG is a NATIONAL NON PROFIT NON PARTISAN organization that does not accept money from corporations or governments, and represents NO VESTED INTERESTS WHATSOEVER.


Posted by WILLIAM H. GATHERCOLE AND NORAH G on Dec. 20, 2011 @ 8:15 pm


Posted by marke on Dec. 20, 2011 @ 10:26 pm

I figure the post above is so nutty that people basically get that it is also utterly inaccurate. Indeed it is so.

For example the claim that there was no endangered species habitat before the golf course was installed is ridiculous, and is just one of the many lies put forward by the golf course proponents to trick people into taking their side.

The Carl Rovesque nature of the rhetoric on the pro golf course side of this debate is truly un-American and even more profoundly un-Californian.

The actual truth about Sharp Park compiled in a peer reviewed scientific review, can be read at:

Posted by Eric Brooks on Dec. 21, 2011 @ 8:34 am

Of an occupy release, that so many SF progressives eat up.

Posted by matlock on Dec. 21, 2011 @ 9:17 am

Their genius political guy spends all his time on blog comments like it matters when to the voting public they could give a sh*t.

Keep on speaking and keep on failing and claiming victory all the while downtown laughs!

Posted by Not Eric Brooks on Dec. 25, 2011 @ 8:14 pm

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