Beach Chalet Field Plan

The Coalition to Protect Golden Gate Park has filed a notice of intent to start gathering signatures in support of a November ballot measure to ensure “voters have a voice in deciding the future of Golden Gate Park.”

More specifically, the proposed “Golden Gate Park Recreational Fields Renovation Act” would require that all athletic fields in Golden Gate Park west of Crossover Drive be maintained as natural grass and without any nighttime lighting.

And in other words, the proposed ballot measure would block the approved renovation of the Beach Chalet Athletic Fields, a project which is slated to break ground this year and convert the four grass fields to synthetic turf and light them for evening use.

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by R

    The cat is out of the bag. We now get to have ballot measures for every anything anyone wants to do or not do. Just waiting for the ‘Save Polk Street’ ballot measure and the ‘Keep Castro the Castro” ballot measure and on and on and on.

  2. Posted by anon

    I’m generally not a fan at all of the ballot initiative process. But this is actually an appropriate use of it. I couldn’t care less about the outcome, but I do know that the process to approve these turf fields was a complete charade (coaches parading kids in front of the various panels to tout the turf, without even informing the kids’ parents). The initiative process was designed to correct just this type of thing. And the character of a sizable portion of parkland is certainly worthy of having the city voters weigh in. If the turf project is worthy on its merits, this initiative should go down in flames.

  3. Posted by CH

    As Andres Cantor would say: Noooooooooooooooooooooo!

  4. Posted by Homes R Us

    I will be introducing a ballot measure to return Golden Gate Park to its original sand dune condition.
    And then I will introduce an initiative to return San Francisco to its original non-settled condition.
    Then let’s bring back the cavemen.

  5. Posted by gentrified is a dirty word for clean

    Stop this nonsense now! What does it take (in terms of legal process) to put the smack down on these pathetic losers once and for all? If the US Senate can change their filibuster rules, then we can do away with this BS too.

  6. Posted by zig

    couldn’t disagree more with anon. The process is broken

  7. Posted by zig

    perhaps we should outlaw paid signature gathers? Is this an option? We would immediately see the number drop by 90% I would predict.

  8. Posted by DanRH

    couldn’t disagree more with anon as well.
    We pay city gov’t officials to help make these choices for the people. We don’t need ballot measures for everything. This project was vetted a million times already and was approved.
    Coalition to Protect Golden Gate Park…give me a break. I hope I see some of you folks out there asking for signatures because I will be sure to let you know what I think of your group.

  9. Posted by lol

    There seems to be a sizable core of anti-everything busybodies in SF. I am pretty certain that they will manage to gather enough signatures, since Nimbys do seem to support each other, whatever the cause.
    I think it pertains to the nature of the progressive demographics in SF. People who moved to SF came here for the lifestyle, the politics, the latent anti-mainstream-USA we all love or hate.
    And SF has indeed built itself a nice and wonderful progressive bubble, replicated only in a few other locales in America.
    Now that everyone enjoys his Shangri-La, we should all be living happy ever after and stuff, right?
    Nope. One problem with fighting (and winning), be it in a war, for a cause, for your rights, etc…, is that it changes you so deeply that it becomes very hard to give up your weapons and go back to a peaceful boring bliss.
    Activists, just like warriors need the rush. One day it’s a waterfront “wall” (lol), another day it’s blocking gentrifying Google buses, another it’s hanging out in the buff, etc… It never ends.

  10. Posted by Jake

    Over the past 50+ years SF has averaged almost 20 ballot initiatives per year and about 60% have been approved. That’s just the way we undo it around here.
    You can’t outlaw paid signature collectors but you could propose a ballot initiative to increase the number of signatures required. Good luck getting that passed.
    There’s a list of all them going back to 1961:
    http://www.sfgov2.org/index.aspx?page=1485

  11. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    What exactly is the beef that the people have against this project? Is it using an artificial surface and the nighttime lighting? If so then they should turn their attention to state Hwy 1 just on the other side of the fence with its impermeable surface and all-night flickering lights.

  12. Posted by slohand

    How about a ballot initiative to do away with the ballot initiatives?

  13. Posted by Brad

    “How about a ballot initiative to do away with the ballot initiatives?”
    +1,000,000

  14. Posted by SFHelmut

    If a vocal minority wants to jump through the hoops to get this voted on fine. I hope everyone here considers voting against the so called “Coalition to Protect Golden Gate Park”. Installing turf and lights at the Beach Chalet Fields is best for the community,will save maintenance dollars and is a great way to improve Golden Gate Park for the kids.

  15. Posted by Sierrajeff

    Oh good lord. I’m 100% against the artificial turf, but the decision’s been through the legit administrative processes and is done.
    We have seriously got to rein in the referndum and initiative process. This is just ridiculous, and adds wasteful and unnecessary costs to every project both the city and private developers undertake. Think of what we could do with the $$ wasted on fighting these measures and NIMBY appeals.

  16. Posted by Jake

    The initiative is a vital part of our compact with the Mayor and BOS: we pretend to vote and they pretend to govern

  17. Posted by badlydrawnbear

    @MOD
    While I don’t know for sure, I can pretty much guarantee you that the issue is the lighting and the night time use.
    The residents will surely claim that the night use will impact parking, increase crime because more kids will be in the neighborhood at night etc.
    As with almost all NIMBY initiatives (whether it’s new condo’s, new public transit, or increased hours of use/access) it comes down to restricting who and when can be in ‘their’ neighborhood and use ‘their’ stuff.
    Rarely are the excuses they use (like the lights will distrub migratory birds or the artificial turf will increase runoff/pollution) anything they truly care about.
    It almost always about the perceived right to park (on a public street) directly in front of their home and have no one else around to disturb them or their routine.

  18. Posted by Stucco_Sux

    Artificial turf is the issue.
    Rec and park is obsessed with taking the easy way out of their own longstanding failure to properly care for our parks.
    They want to remove trees and replace grass with plastic.
    Next thing you know, residents and businesses will be responsible for filling potholes in the street in front of their homes.
    I will support this ballot measure and every ballot measure that puts the brakes on the bizarre agenda-ism that has overtaken so many of our city departments.

  19. Posted by Joe

    So embarassing. We are so provincial with our heads so far up our own behinds that its a wonder we don’t all asphyxiate.
    San Francisco is a sand dune. All of it is artificial. Golden gate park is perhaps the greatest example of this.
    The whole idea of keeping GGpark undeveloped is profoundly misguided. The park itself is a development.

  20. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    I had a similar hunch badlydrawnbear. No-one goes this far for a little rain runoff.
    Almost every development in the city is going to put additional pressure on parking. That’s because development is essentially an improvement and improvements attract people, some of whom drive.
    I’ve heard the crime fear story before in different scenarios: establishing new pedestrian connections. For some reason we have a natural inclination to think of “those” people, the new strangers that an improvement will attract, are somehow criminal. The irony is that because people are overwhelming not criminals their presence places more eyes on the street to call the police when something criminal really does occur. Plus the mere presence of people tends to deter crime.

  21. Posted by SFHelmut

    Turf is a good option for the Chalet Fields because it needs no water, is uniformly flat and reduces the likelihood of injuries do to things like gopher holes, and lets what few gardeners that park has concentrate on maintaining the Park.

  22. Posted by Bill W

    What a relief – Can’t wait to vote for this! Produce less plastic!

  23. Posted by Jackson

    I agree with Badlydrawnbear when he writes about NIMBYs not wanting to share their street parking and park features with families from outside their neighborhood.
    Every time I drive by the multi-use synthetic turf playing grounds at Steiner and Webster, I am amazed with the consistent use they receive and I’m proud we, as a City, have provided such. Parents have made their choice of what’s best for their children. The fields are packed with various sport activity from morning’s dawn to late at night.
    And yes, the lights at night do shine in my windows but I can easily see the greater good is for the kids of San Francisco.
    The arguments against the Beach Chalet Athletic Fields are ridiculous!
    Is their one couple behind the signature campaign as in 8 Washington? I hope those behind the campaign are exposed and pilloried.

  24. Posted by spencer

    i prefer to play on turf. easier to play in winter. the fields as is are in constant state of crap.

  25. Posted by anon

    I’m going to run a ballot measure that will authorize a $1,000 fine to each person complains about ballot measures.

  26. Posted by Mark

    Interesting…lights, noise and crowds weren’t an issue when Playland was up and running years ago. Also, the fields are surrounded by trees which will block a lot of the light.
    I personally prefer grass to artificial turf, but the fact of the matter is that this area of the park is constantly wet and muddy. Spencer is right…they are in a constant state of crap.

  27. Posted by JWS

    Patently ridiculous. “Let’s improve communal sports facilities that are open to everybody in ways that have been proven work for other sports fields in the city so that children and rec leagues can be active, enjoy the city, and use an underutilized plot of land in our signature park.”
    “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!! YOU’RE KILLING OUR CITYYYYYYY”
    So tired of these selfish, misguided, shortsighted ballot measures. But realistically I know they aren’t going anywhere…and, in fact, will probably only continue to rise in use and popularity.

  28. Posted by Rillion

    I live next to Kimbel field which got the artifical turf upgrade a while back. It was a great improvement. The field gets used almost every day and night now, even when its rainy. The increased use has improved the neighborhood, it feels safer when there are people around, compared to a dark empty block. Yes, there are times in the evenings or on weekends when I can’t park right in front of my condo because the field is being used, but the streets and parks belong to us all.

  29. Posted by Alvin

    This ballot measure is gonna cause OBESITY! Where’s Eric Mar when you need him!

  30. Posted by anon

    That is the beauty of this process. If it really just is a loud, vocal minority of NIMBYs and the arguments against the turf and lighting are “ridiculous,” then this measure will easily go down in flames.
    I suspect the outcry flows from the concern that a majority of city voters (i.e. democracy in action) will prefer real grass in GG Park without lot of artificial lighting. We will see. The answer surely is not to set up a process where the will of the majority never even gets a chance to be determined. This is a great use of the initiative process (there are some horrible ones). Let’s see if this was an unpopular and misguided decision imposed by an unelected few against the will of the people — or not.

  31. Posted by Rillion

    Yes, because all initiatives are determined by the will of the people and are never influenced by who just wants to spend more money buying the result they desire.
    Was voting 3 different times with 3 different results on the central freeway an accurate reflection of the “will of the majority”?

  32. Posted by lol

    Why do we even bother to vote for our representatives if we are going to micro-manage everything they do?
    Plus as I said earlier, this is a city of rebels without a cause.
    The minute they see something that could bring them back to the good old fights of the 60s and 70s, their lives becomes meaningful again. F the system and its artificial turf, F yeah!

  33. Posted by Niamh

    @anon
    Would you still support a ballot proposal if non-votes were assigned to whichever position the Mayor or the Board of Supervisors supports?

  34. Posted by Rocco

    Who plays futbol? Mexicans. That’s the primary reason people living near this part of the park object to improvements.

  35. Posted by lol

    Nah. Many kids also play soccer and I think it’s more the number of people than who they are.
    A bit of background for my comment.
    This objection reminds me the fight that the bay view Marina owners are fighting to prevent the old degaussing station from being converted into a seafood shack. Clients of this shack would be kids who just played soccer and their families. In short, people enjoying a public space who would stay an hour more in the line of sight of people who paid a few millions for location, location, location.
    Space and quiet are valuable in SF, and once people have found it, they’ll fight very hard to keep it. Plus there’s the rebel-without-a-cause mentality of people who are just born to whine.

  36. Posted by tj

    Perhaps all measures which seek to constrain development in one particular place should be required to be provide for alternative activities elsewhere. If you don’t like soccer filed being improved in Golden Gate Park, tie its approval to another ballot measure that finances a soccer facility somewhere else.
    A good example would be any downzoning along the Embarcadero be tied to up zoning along the edges of Golden Gate Park…

  37. Posted by Joseph A

    I like the idea of maintaining the area as is , BUT , I think its silly to stand in the way of the park being more fully used by those living on San Francisco ,

  38. Posted by formidable doer of the nasty

    The “as is” situation here is that there are grass soccer fields which are in very poor conditions and of course closed whenever it has rained just a little bit. It’s not like they are turning a meadow into soccer fields, they are simply upgrading what is already there for the benefit of soccer players of all ages and abilities. The opposition to this project is frivolous, obnoxious and mean-spirited.

  39. Posted by woolie

    Surprise! There are awful people out there who do things for selfish reasons!

  40. Posted by kathleen

    I like grass under my toes and fuzzy stars in the foggy night sky.

  41. Posted by Fishchum

    kathleen – going barefoot and staring up at the night sky will go over well when playing soccer.

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