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.