Fake Turf Wars
While other cities have turned away from artificial turf, SF is making a big play for fake grass
It’s Sunday morning, 5 a.m., on the ragged fringes of San Francisco, California. It is strangely quiet. Where once birdsong emanated from the underbrush, there are now signs posting the use of glyphosate (the soil toxin found in Roundup and Aquamaster), and much of the avian habitat has been removed. Where once there was an open meadow behind Golden Gate Park’s Beach Chalet, there is an imposing chain link fence that surrounds the field. Inside the enclosure is seven acres of grass – forage grounds for wildlife, and fields of play – a pastoral setting for recreation in the wilder-by-design far west end of Golden Gate Park and, now, the site of intense controversy.
How Green is Your Supervisor?
This is a report card for the 2013 Supervisors. It shows the most important votes in 2013, from a Green Party perspective, and whether each supervisor supported or opposed our position. Some of the votes are on amendments to legislation.
It was difficult for us to pick legislation to score this year, because the Supervisors were unanimous in the vast majority of their votes. All too often, the Board served as nothing more than a rubber stamp for Mayor Lee. For example, in one boondoggle revealed by Weekly reporter Joe Eskenazi in a recent article, Mayor Lee ordered $38 million in failure-prone hybrid buses, which were paid for and arrived in Alameda weeks before an oblivious Board of Supervisors voted (unanimously, as usual) to authorize the purchase order.
While several Supervisors scored well this year, a Greener Board of Supervisors would be much more proactive about pushing for things that benefit working people, such as passing a Living Wage mandate, creating a municipal Bank of San Francisco, fixing Muni, building truly affordable housing, and creating more municipal utilities (e.g., public power, internet, and cable TV departments). As demonstrated by Matt Gonzalez in 2000, or Kshama Sawant in Seattle several months ago, the election of just one radical to a legislative body can really shift the political spectrum. We hope such people will step forward to run for office in SF this November!
|Supported Green Party position|
|Opposed Green Party position|
|Not yet appointed|
|D 1: Eric Mar||D 2: Mark Farrell||D 3: David Chiu||D 4: Katy Tang||D 5: London Breed||D 6: Jane Kim||D 7: Norman Yee||D 8: Scott Wiener||D 9: David Campos||D 10: Malia Cohen||D 11: John Avalos|
|Fund Public K-12 Education||Y||N||Y||-||N||Y||Y||N||Y||Y||Y|
|Appoint Corrupt Commissioner to Port Commission||N||Y||N||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||N||Y||N|
|Expose Influence Buying at DA's Office||Y||N||N||N||N||N||N||N||Y||N||Y|
|Appoint Ethical Candidate to Ethics Commission||Y||N||N||N||N||Y||N||N||Y||N||Y|
|Non-resident fees at Botanical Garden||N||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||N||Y||N|
|Enable Raid on Retiree Health Care Funds||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Close Parks at Midnight||N||Y||Y||Y||N||N||Y||Y||N||Y||N|
Fund Public K-12 Education (1/15/13). In 2012, due to state and federal cuts to public education, around 2000 SF high school students were not on pace to complete all the classes they needed to graduate. Supervisor Kim wanted to allocate $2.2 million from the City budget to give to the school district in order to add more after school and summer classes. $1.4 million would come from a voter-created school fund, and the other $840,000 would come from City reserve funds. Four Supervisors wanted to raid the schools' "rainy day fund" (against the wishes of its creator, Tom Ammiano) instead of using City reserve funds. A final vote on the proposal took place in 2013, after which Mayor Lee used a line item veto to avoid spending the $840,000. Supervisor Tang had not yet taken office, but her predecessor, Supervisor Chu, voted against the proposal;
Appoint Corrupt Commissioner to Port Commission (3/26/13). Mayor Lee appointed Mel Murphy, a developer with a long and corrupt history, to the Port Commission, which would empower him to direct taxpayer funds to other cronies of Mayor Lee as Port properties are developed. This is the same Mel Murphy whose house mysteriously collapsed last December after he was denied a demolition permit. After the collapse, evidence came to light that Murphy had avoided paying fees to build on the property through his connections at the corrupt Department of Building Inspection. Seven of the Supervisors rubber-stamped Mayor Lee's crony appointment.
Expose Influence Buying at DA's Office (5/14/13). In order to prevent public officials from taking bribes, the City has a law that prevents them from taking large gifts without having the Board of Supervisors approve the gift in advance. District Attorney George Gascon was caught receiving $26,000 in furniture for his office from a number of donors who were involved in the "Run Ed Run" campaign for Mayor Ed Lee, which also flouted laws regarding campaign contribution limits. Although there were many questions about the connection between the D.A.'s failure to investigate the funding of "Run Ed Run," the Board of Supervisors overwhelmingly passed a measure retroactively approving the donation. The Board even shot down Supervisor Avalos' proposed amendment to require Gascon to file the usual Ethics forms that report the identities of all the "donors" (some, but not all of whom were reported by the press, and many of those had contributed money to the same Supervisors). The latter amendment is the vote we scored.
Appoint Ethical Candidate to Ethics Commission (6/4/13). The Ethics Commission is the City commission that levies fines against local campaigns and candidates (mostly grassroots campaigns that make minor mistakes on their paperwork, while ignoring serious violations by Machine candidates). Mayor Lee nominated Brett Andrews to fill a vacancy, despite conflicts of interest pointed out by the Friends of Ethics. More ethical parties recommended a different applicant, Hulda Garfolo. However, when the vote was called the question of sending Andrews' application back to committee for further review (and possible substitution), the majority of the Supervisors decided instead to rubber-stamp the Lee appointment.
Non-resident fees at Botanical Garden (7/16/13). In 2010, the Board of Supervisors voted 8-3 to support partial privatization of Golden Gate Park by allowing a "nonprofit" controlled by rich supporters of Mayor Newsom to build a wall with a toll booth around the Botanical Gardens (aka Arboretum), and to charge non-residents $7 to enter. Supervisors Alioto-Pier, Avalos, Campos, Chiu, Chu, Daly, Elsbernd, and Maxwell supported this sellout legislation, with only Supervisors Dufty, Mar and Mirkarimi opposed. As the Green Party predicted, Supervisors have enthusiastically supported extending this "temporary" fee again and again when faced with budget deficits. This time, the Board extended the fee for another 10 years, essentially handing off the 55 acres of Golden Gate Park to the rich.
Enable Raid on Retiree Health Care Funds (7/16/13). Supervisors voted unanimously to place Prop A on the ballot. Prop A was Supervisor Farrell's measure that enables elected or appointed officials to raid retiree health care funds to pay for their pet projects, as we said in our endorsement statement opposing Prop A.
CleanPowerSF (9/17/13). This was a symbolic vote, skewering Mayor Lee for his undemocratic blocking of the launch of CleanPowerSF. Although this vote alone wasn't critical, it caps a long series of supermajority votes at the Board in favor of giving PG&E customers a cleaner alternative for buying their electricity. In this vote, Supervisors Farrell and Tang, by siding with Mayor Lee and PG&E, showed how out of touch they are with working San Franciscans.
Close Parks at Midnight (11/5/13). As part of the Lee administration's push to privatize our parks, Supervisor Wiener led the charge to criminalize public use of City parks after midnight. Despite a number of objections by people who routinely enjoy using our parks at night, Supervisors snuck this vote in the night of the 2013 election, when few were paying attention.
How Green is Your Supervisor?
This is a report card for the 2012 Board of Supervisors. It shows the most important votes in 2012, from a Green Party perspective, and whether each Supervisor supported or opposed our position on legislation. Some of the votes are on amendments to legislation.
We plan to release a report card every year on key Supervisorial votes.
If you don't know which district you live in, click here for a map.
|Supported Green Party position|
|Opposed Green Party position|
|Sharp Park Restoration||Y||N||Y||N||Y||Y||N||N||Y||N||Y|
|Sunshine Task Force Purge||N||Y||Y||Y||N||N||Y||Y||N||Y||N|
|Wall on the Waterfront||Y||Y||N||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||N||Y||N|
|Stop Beach Chalet Soccer Fields||N||N||N||N||Y||N||N||N||N||N||N|
|Free Muni for Low-income Youth||Y||N||Y||N||Y||Y||N||N||Y||Y||Y|
Sharp Park Restoration (1/10/12) - did the Supervisor vote to override the Mayor's veto of a proposal to transfer Sharp Park to the National Park Service? SF currently spends hundreds of thousands of dollars annually to maintain Sharp Park, a golf course on the coast of San Mateo county. The park is home to several endangered species, and maintenance will cost more in the future as climate change causes sea levels to rise. This proposal would have transfered the park to the National Park Service, who would have paid to convert the park to be used for recreational purposes (such as hiking and camping) that would not require expensive maintenance or further endanger the wildlife. This proposal required 8 votes to pass, so it failed.
Sunshine Task Force Purge (5/22/12) - did the Supervisor vote to purge progressives from the Sunshine Task Force? Conservatives on the Board removed Bruce Wolfe and other long-time members of the Sunshine Task Force, after the Task Force blew the whistle on the Board of Supervisors' violations of open meeting laws during their approval of Parkmerced redevelopment in 2011.
Wall on the Waterfront (6/12/12) - did the Supervisor vote to build more luxury condos for the super-rich along San Francisco's waterfront? The developers of this project got an exemption from the area's height limit, and plan to build a wall of high-rise luxury condos that will provide great views for their residents but create a canyon-like experience for those of us stuck at ground level.
Beach Chalet Soccer Fields (7/10/12) - did the Supervisor vote to support an appeal of the project's Environmental Impact Report (EIR)? The SF Rec & Park department is planning to replace a natural field on the west side of Golden Gate Park with artificial turf fields made from toxic recycled tires. The fields will be lit up at night with bright lights that will be visible from the beach. The complex will be rented to for-profit soccer teams, including many from outside of SF. The appeal of the EIR would have helped to stop this project.
CleanPowerSF (9/18/12) - did the Supervisor vote to challenge the PG&E monopoly by giving residents a choice to buy renewable power? This proposal required 8 votes to forestall a threatened Mayoral veto, and passed 8-3.
Mirkarimi Removal (10/9/12) - did the Supervisor vote to support Lee and Gascon's attempt to overturn the Sheriff's election and install another Mayor-appointed puppet? See the SF Green Party's statement on why we supported Mirkarimi remaining in office. This proposal required 8 votes to pass, so it failed.
Nudity Ban (11/20/12) - did the Supervisor support legislation that allows police to selectively ticket people (even children as young as 5 years old) for public nudity? Why are the supervisors who voted for this so concerned about naked children? Do they want the SFPD to take even more resources away from solving violent crimes and instead patrol City playgrounds looking for children mooning each other?
Free Muni for Low-income Youth (11/20/12) - did the Supervisor back a pilot program to provide free Muni passes to youth from low-income families?
While the web was swarmed this week with climate change articles, the message boards were swamped with comments from an active group who seem to honestly and truly believe that there is nothing wrong with burning as much fuel and creating as much waste as possible.
This very noisy minority has done a great job, thus far, in obfuscating the fact that climate change is a very important issue according to the federal government and that the scientific community has come to a consensus regarding the pressing nature of changing the way our species burns fuel and creates waste.
Where are our leaders in Congress? Why aren’t they leading us to change?
Two reasons: First, wealthy interests have spent tons of money confusing people about the real impact of climate change. Second: Big businesses and rich individuals profiting from the use of fossil fuels are bribing our congresspeople at an alarming rate.
These are important things to consider as President Obama weighs arguments on the permit decision for the Keystone XL Pipeline. Proponents of the pipeline argue that it will not spill very often and will create jobs, even though most scientists agree that tar sands oil will be a huge problem for the global environment.
What about the Keytstone I pipeline? The one they started using in 2010 and claimed would spill only once every 7 years? Oh yeah, it spilled 12 times in 12 months.
But just look at how much money backers of the pipeline are spending!
The SF Green Party endorsed the SF Labor Council's resolution regarding the murder of Alan Blueford at our Jan 23 meeting, by consensus:
Whereas a Black person is killed by law enforcement once every 36 hours, per the Malcolm X Grass Roots Movement’s study;
Whereas the federal report monitoring the Oakland Police Department states that the Oakland Police Department pulls guns on Black and Latino people disproportionately to the number of times guns are pulled on whites;
Whereas two new reports by a federal monitor, criticized the OPD’s handling of officer-involved shootings and Occupy Oakland protests;
Whereas Alan Blueford, an 18 year old Black youth, who was about to graduate from Skyline H.S., was killed by OPD Officer Masso on May 6.
Whereas OPD has provided at least four versions of what happened the night Alan Blueford was killed, including the claim that the Officer Masso was shot in a gun battle with Alan Blueford, when he later admitted that he shot himself in the foot;
Whereas the OPD:
A. Engaged in racial profiling and violated numerous OPD policies;
B. Engaged in a cover-up (Made numerous false statements and repeatedly changed their story);
C. Showed complete disregard for the life of Alan Blueford and the dignity of the family;
D. Had the coroner’s report withheld from the family for 3 months, and the police report for5 months;
Whereas, the Coroner’s Report reveals that Alan Blueford had no gun residue on his hands, no alcohol or drugs in his system, and implies that Alan Blueford was shot while lying on his back;
Whereas Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley declared she will not charge Officer Masso for the killing of Alan Blueford. Her report shows strong bias as, for example, relying on Masso’s statement that Alan was standing when he first shot him, despite 11 out of 12 witness statements to the contrary;
Therefore, be it resolved that the San Francisco Labor Council pass a resolution seeking Justice For Alan Blueford and demand that the Federal Monitor take strong action against OPD including:
1. Stopping the OPD from racial and ethnic profiling and violence against people of color;
2. Instituting stricter background checks, training, apprehension and gun use policies within the OPD;
3. The firing of Officer Masso;
Further be it resolved that the San Francisco Labor Council demand that the Alameda County District Attorney immediately charge Officer Masso with murder.