Why the parks bond could lose

nice -- unless you get kicked out for lack of $7

A general obligation bond to improve San Francisco parks ought to be a slam dunk, particularly when it's getting pushed by Sup. Scott Wiener, who isn't exactly a pro-tax kind of guy. The left always votes for these things. Wiener's lining up the moderates. Proposition B would, in normal circumstances, get 70 percent of the vote.

But there's an awful lot of pent-up anger at the Rec-Park department, and if you want to know why, just check this out. A group of mostly immigrant soccer players, who've been using a park in the Mission for pickup games for more than a decade, are now getting kicked out two nights a week -- because Rec-Park has turned the place over to a private outfit that charges money to enter the games.

Oh, and you have to register on your smartphone.

So the young white techies who want to play soccer and can afford $7 for a game on parkland our taxes paid for get to play, and the Latino immigrants -- who, by the way, were there first -- lose out.

You like that? It's the direction Rec-Park is going under the direction of Phil Ginsburg.

Even the Guardian, which has never opposed a GO bond for anything except prisons, had a lot of trouble with Prop. B. And while Wiener, in a meeting with us, dismissed most of the opposition as marginal, it doesn't take much to prevent a bond from getting a two-thirds vote. Here's the question Ginsburg needs to think about:

Would he rather have his park bond -- or evict the Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Council recycling center? Would he rather have his $195 million for badly needed capital projects -- or privatize recreation facilities? Will he do anything, anything at all, to show some good faith that he's heard the message from his critics?

Ginsburg and Wiener both support the idea of coming up with a new (tax-based) revenue source for Rec-Park. And we went along with the park bond, reluctantly. But if doesn't show us any reason to believe there's hope for the Latino immigrants to play soccer without paying $7, if he isn't changing his tune at all, he may not get his two-thirds vote Nov. 6. And he's going to have a hell of a time convincing any of us to give him any more money in the future.




I've never voted no on any public facilties bond ever in my life. Why? Privatization.

I live in Civic Center, and Parks & Rec sold the whole plaza for a week for a private party for some tech company -- Salesforce.com -- whose billionaire owner is an SF resident. No member of the public could set foot there, for a week. We plebes just had to walk around, and find sun and open space elsewhere.

The worst was the weeknight rock show that blasted my building with unbearable noise until 10pm -- a 16 story building filled with immigrant families with babies and school-age children, only one of many such buildings within earsplitting distance of this abuse.

I get noise from other events, like Pride, too, but that's an open community event anyone can go to, and it shuts up by 7pm, and I'm happy to say I live in a city that's lively and open and noisy and filled with community events like that.

This was a bunch of overpaid tech guys having a private schoolnight concert by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Their bad taste in music was the least of the misery this tech selfishness inflicted on me and my neighbors. For this I pay taxes?

No more bonds for a privatized park system.

Posted by puntiaguda on Oct. 07, 2012 @ 4:54 pm

I have a question mark on my ballot right now. The Guardian made its best case for a yes vote. But more and more, I'm leaning no. All that money is going to Phil Ginsburg and his cronies anyway. I'm fine with money for the parks, but I don't want to spend my money on some shitty capitalists who already have plenty of my money.

Posted by Greg on Oct. 08, 2012 @ 9:36 pm

"City family" pension payments and retired health care benefits will rise about $400 million this year, according to Phil Ginsburg.

The city family has to be fed, folks. Park & Rec has to raise revenue somehow to help cover the costs.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 07, 2012 @ 8:18 pm

The entire editorial is a rather obvious advance set-up to pin any possible loss at the polls for the park bond on one of the old bogey men the Guardian loves to drag out when it isn't running a tired rant against high-rises, the "Downtown mafia," etc.

There is no wide-spread anger or annoyance about supposed "privatization" of the parks system. San Francisco has a very open public parks system, and any private events it allows are far and few between, and this is especially so when compared to many municipal parks system across the country.

If the parks bond loses, it will not be because of any fear or resentment over supposed privatization of the system, rather it will reflect the growing anti-tax sentiment in California and the country, especially when it comes to taxes that hit more middle-class individuals. It is always easy to support a tax aimed at multi-millionaires and billionaires that you will never have to pay, but most people are much less enthusiastic about taxes that will be imposed on them. And, I think San Franciscans who are asked almost every year to tax themselves an extra amount to fund normal government services they already pay a large amount of taxes to support are finally begin to wonder what exactly they are getting in return. There is always the same old line of "pass this proposition and the city will be able to _____," but after the measure passes, it also seems that it just requires another vote to approve an additional $500 million or so to complete ______.

So, yes, the parks bond may very well fail this election, and the city may be forced to make due with current funding or find additional non-tax sources of revenue, which means the Guardian may have to get used to seeing some real privatization occur in the parks department instead of the imaginary privatization it loves to rail against.

Posted by Chris on Oct. 07, 2012 @ 10:47 pm

The 2.3 hurdle is (rightfully) high, and many such tax initiatives, either at the state or city level routinely fail. As Chris says, voters are sick and tired of being nickled and dimed on all these local taxes, who many see as indirectly going straight to hopelessly generous health and pensions benefits for the city bureaucracy.

I vote NO on all tax propr but, if anything, I might vote yes on this one just to annoy Tim,

Posted by Guest on Oct. 07, 2012 @ 11:04 pm

Don't you believe in democracy?

Posted by Greg on Oct. 08, 2012 @ 9:33 pm

If this bond fails, it will be as a coalition between the Republicans who always vote against bonds and taxes on one hand, and progressives who oppose park privatization and the use of bond proceeds as political chits to further screw San Franciscans by this corrupt government.

Posted by marcos on Oct. 08, 2012 @ 7:49 am

Vote No on B! Stop the clear cutting of trees in Glen Park and Mount Davidson!

Posted by Guest on Oct. 08, 2012 @ 9:51 am

Sure sounds like flim flam to me. We pay for parks with the proposed bond and then have to pay to use the same parks we just paid for.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 08, 2012 @ 1:53 pm

We've already paid for park maintenance via property taxes. This money was deliberately redirected so that the parks would deteriorate and we'd have to fund maintenance by another means.

SFBG wrote:
"...Wiener, in a meeting with us, dismissed most of the opposition as marginal..."
Coalition for San Francisco Neighborhoods is "marginal"?
Thank again. We're an organization of 48 neighborhood associations from all throughout the City. We represent thousands of residents - and voters!

- Judy Berkowitz, President
Coalition for San Francisco Neighborhoods, www.csfn.net

Posted by Judy Berkowitz on Oct. 08, 2012 @ 10:14 pm

All tax revenues should go to the general fund, and the the city should decide how to allocate those funds. This whole "but it's for the parks" and "but it's for sick children" BS is just politicking.

Posted by Anonymous on Oct. 09, 2012 @ 3:19 am

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