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Golfers, Enviros Respond to S.F. Mayor's Veto of Sharp Park Ordinance

Golfers say the move saves middle class sport, while environmentalists say it favors back-room, elite dealing.

Golfers and environmentalists responded to San Francisco last week of legislation that could have lead to a transfer of the to the National Parks Service.

Each group, in press releases Wednesday and Thursday, characterized the mayor’s move. The San Francisco Public Golf Alliance, which supports golf at Sharp Park, called it a veto of legislation that would “have expressly stigmatized golf as the antithesis of ‘modern recreation’. The Wild Equity Institute, a regional environmental advocacy organization, on the other hand, said Lee “snubbed” policy makers and deprived “residents an opportunity to consider a partnership between the City and the National Park Service for long-term management of Sharp Park before a multi-million dollar bailout of the Bay Area's most controversial golf course is consummated.”

The vetoed legislation, introduced by San Francisco John Avalos in September, would cause the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department to offer a long-term management agreement to the National Park Service that would likely involve the closure of the course, which takes up the majority of the 417 acres at Sharp Park.

Both golfers and environmentalists claimed, in their respective press release responses, to have the interest of working people in mind.

Golfers cited the course’s accessibility to high school students, seniors, ethnic minorities and the middle class as reason to keep it operating.

“With his veto, the Mayor speaks up for working-class, public recreation, in both San Francisco and San Mateo County, and we thank him for that,” said San Francisco Public Golf Alliance spokeswoman and Sharp Park Women’s Club member Lauren Barr. “The Ordinance would have effectively deprived ethnic minorities, the middle class, seniors, and high school golfers of a treasured and affordable home. Public golf is an important part of the City’s recreational mix, and Sharp Park’s historic course makes the sport accessible to men and women across the ethnic and economic spectrums.” 

Environmentalists, on the other hand, said Lee’s veto is a sign that an elite class scored a point in the debate about what to do with Sharp Park.

“Until now the City has been pursuing a back-room deal with San Mateo County to socialize Sharp Park Golf Course's costs and privatize the revenue stream so an elite golf development can be constructed on California's coast,” the Wild Equity Institute wrote in a press release. “The legislation the Mayor vetoed would have allowed these negotiations to continue, but required the City to also review a partnership option with the National Parks Service, which already manages several properties near Sharp Park.”

The Wild Equity Institute also states in its press release that Mayor Ed Lee refused to meet with environmental groups following his veto. 

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Erika Rigling December 21, 2011 at 04:30 PM
Elitist??? Those "environmentalists " have it backwards... What is more elite than restricting the use of public lands to those who would tear out our trees and grass, disallow cars and pets, don't stick to handicapped accsss rules??? Yes, the GGNRA has other lands in the area... 51% of Pacifica is already restricted to those who can walk and hike for miles...Many of the areas I used to be able to DRIVE to to see our scenic beauty are now off limits. At least now I can sit and have a meal at Sharp Park and enjoy the wonderful view of irrigated landscape. (I understand the "environmentalists" wanted to turn the restaurant into their exclusive office) This beautiful jewel of 400 acres right in the middle of our city is paid for by the ones who use it...it is cared for, watered, groomed, etc... If allowed to be taken over by the GGNRA, the costs would be borne by the public...(taxes).... Local control would allow the funds generated by the golfing public to be used to improve the golf course, and not have some of it skimmed off to enrich San Francisco... They say they are loosing money...let them give us the golf course and they won't have to worry about it any more. Dragging environmental study students in to pack the hearing room by telling them lies! tsk tsk.. Thanks Mayor Lee for your veto of the ill considered bill...
mw December 21, 2011 at 06:02 PM
I just read that WEI release. Wow. Plater is really reaching on this one. We're used to seeing exaggerations, half-truths and outright falsehoods from this organization, but now they are really pulling out the stops. WEI is in full "throw everything at the wall and see what sticks" mode. Same ol' stuff, but now they have crossed the line into "birther" style conspiracy theory territory. Plater invokes "back room" deals between two of the most open municipal governments on the planet - SF and San Mateo. "Back room"??? This deal has been well documented and discussed in every meeting and every story I have seen on the subject for the last two years. The best is a new flight of pure fabulist fantasy - Apparently the new bogeyman is the secret attempt to " privatize the revenue stream so an elite golf development can be constructed". What??? This struggle has always been about protecting public golf on a historic landmark course in a public park that was a gift to the people of San Francisco. No one at any time has ever talked about privatizing Sharp Park. Quite the opposite. This release is so disconnected from reality that I have got to believe that is intended purely for internal consumption to keep the acolytes on board. It is kind of like "Baghdad Bob" holding press conferences on the streets of Baghdad and claiming to have won the war while American tanks are practically rolling into scene over his shoulder. Yeah. That's it. "Baghdad Brent".
Bhatman December 21, 2011 at 08:00 PM
Mike Wallach's snide "Baghdad Brent" comment is racist.
Steve Sinai December 21, 2011 at 08:29 PM
LOL, Hallman.
mw December 21, 2011 at 08:53 PM
Holy Cow Bhatman! You do realize that I am referencing the Iraqi Information Minister during early days of the Iraq war. Right? Just comparing one absurd and laughable propagandist to another. Race has nothing to do with it. http://politicalhumor.about.com/library/jokes/bljoke-iraqinfominister.htm http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s27Oq5ot0ZI
Dogbert December 21, 2011 at 09:56 PM
Not to worry MW. Plater/Bhatman learned his lessons well while attending the Kennedy School of Government and Spin. Most notably, he was head of the class in "Misdirection 101" where he received the exemplary grade of A+. It was here that he mastered the all important lesson that when losing a debate on the facts and truths, and when you have absolutely nothing left, change its course through the introduction of the "race card", the "anti environment card" or pretty much anything, including the "kitchen sink card", in order to marginalize your opposition, no matter how vile it may seem. Nowhere is this practice more evident than on his own blog, "SF Dog Blog - a blog for responsible dog owners in SF". It is here, under the guise of being a responsible dog owner, Plater relentlessly attacks anyone who dare opt to recreate with their canine companions in ANY public open space in lieu of a small pen or cage. For example, one would be hard pressed to find a nicer, more caring, more environmentally conscious person than SFDOG's CEO Sally Stephens. But that means nada to Plater. When Sally dared to champion the retention of Sharp Park Golf Course, Plater sicked his digital attack dogs on her, maliciously alligning her with the uber racist organization the Klu Klux Klan. I reluctantly provide the link: http://sfdogblog.blogspot.com/2009/05/dog-hypocrisy-highlighted-by-board-of.html Please keep in mind that this has been confirmed as Plater's blog.
Butch Larroche December 21, 2011 at 10:25 PM
Does Plater have a Dog? As for his latest rant regarding Sharp Park, Plater has changed his tune on this issue so often my head is spinning!!! First it's the frogs & snakes. Then it's revenue. then it's recycle water, not just for the course as he would have you believe, but for much more. Now it's supposed back room deals. Poor Brent's feelings are hurt that he lost and he can't take it. Avalos' legislation was aimed at closing the course only. Brent knows it and so do we!!
mw December 22, 2011 at 02:10 AM
Despicable. Right up there with misrepresenting the financial reality of Sharp Park to SF social service organizations tp secure their support. He tells them that their budgets are being cut because the City is subsidizing Sharp. The reality is that if the Sharp Park golf course were to close, over $200,000 a year of overhead payments skimmed from the green fees to the City would be lost, and more cuts in city services would result. I don't know how he sleeps at nigh
Dogbert December 22, 2011 at 02:39 AM
"I don't know how he sleeps at nigh[t]" I don't know either with all of the frogs and snakes in his bed...

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