Saturday, October 25, 2014

Electoral selfishness: YES on H; NO on I and L

Is it ethical citizenship to decide how to vote based on preserving a not-entirely-necessary amenity you happen to enjoy? On some matters, I think so.

Yesterday for my precinct photography project I was wandering in a bit of San Francisco near Ocean Beach and encountered a classic election season war among dueling signs for several measures on the city ballot.

Measure H would halt replacement of existing soccer fields at the Ocean Beach end of Golden Gate Park with artificial turf and the addition of 150,000 watts of sports lighting that will shine every day of the year. That is, Parks and Rec and the City authorities want to transform the quite wild trails and byways of the park's west end into just one more mid-city style urban recreation area. According to the folks who put Prop. H on the ballot,

the Golden Gate Master Plan states that Golden Gate Park is naturalistic in character, “designed and managed to afford opportunities for all to experience beauty, tranquility, recreation, and relief from urban pressures ...”

The existing west end of the park does just that. On the east end, the section that adjoins the city, we have the De Young Museum, the Conservatory of Flowers, Kezar Stadium, the kind of developments that draw San Franciscans and tourists. At the west end has some recreation areas including the mammoth Polo Fields, but much of it is still quite undeveloped.

I run those west end trails often; I come down YES on H. I want to preserve that open space, those odd nooks and crannies. If Park and Rec can find the money to do some development, I think they can put their artificial turf and light pollution somewhere else and leave a little wildness in an area where I've seen raccoons and coyotes within the past year.

A few houses displayed this sign: Measure. I is Park and Rec's poison pill. If it passes and gets more votes than Measure H, it would throw out the vote on the other one and enable Park and Rec to avoid any more of these tortuous planning processes that have impeded their Ocean Beach soccer fields. A vote for I is a vote for artificial turf anywhere bureaucrats decide we must have it. Just Say NO.

I only saw one of these. Measure L seems to be an aggrieved car owners' manifesto against city policies that aim to reduce automobile use. It would end the city's attempt to activate metered parking on Sundays and holidays, would require neighborhood approval for addition of new meters, and would require construction of parking garages.

I'm a car owner. I drive a disabled friend to church on Sundays and I've been threatened by Sunday metering though I've managed to dodge tickets. If meters were added on my street (and there have been initiatives in that direction), this would be a major inconvenience to me. I try hard not to drive in the most congested areas of the city; we actually have somewhat usable public transit. So I'm not so interested in more parking garages.

But come on, it is dead obvious that if we hope to have liveable cities and a liveable planet, we have to get over our addiction to polluting private cars. NO on L. It will be telling how the city goes on this one.

3 comments:

ellen kirkendall said...

I think anything requiring the building of parking garages is just heinous. That said, I live on Cape Cod where parking is mostly a non issue. When I do drive into Boston I can either pay huge garage fees or (my preference) pick up the T south of town where parking is cheaper and ride in. Boston is like San Francisco in that it is incredibly densely populated. Parking garages are not the best use of space.

Rain Trueax said...

I think people should vote their own interests. Our problem right now is too many don't seem to think through what that would be. Preserving open ground sounds good to me even if I didn't use it. Once it's gone to concrete or brick and mortar, it's gone

Hattie said...

It's city dwellers who need open and "unimproved" spaces. The trend is toward sports arenas for (mostly) male dominated sports activities.

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