Saturday, May 9, 2009

Wanna stop and smell the roses? It'll cost ya....


Over the years, one of the most unsettling truths about the City I love is that it no longer loves me. Nor does it seem to care much for the hundreds of thousands of us that either grew up there, or even still can afford to call it home.

Seems every day, more and more San Franciscans are fighting tooth and nail to hold on to those seemingly small, yet VERY significant, pieces of their culture. It wasn't always this way. Frankly, it never should have been.

Such is the case regarding the SF Botanical Gardens (i.e. Strybing Arboretum). A recent city meeting was held to try and convince locals that it is absolutely a GRAND idea to start charging upwards of $7.00 to stroll through a public garden that otherwise has been FREE since 1940. For 70 years, maintaining these gardens was possible, but somebody finally figured out that they weren't turning a profit, and realized that in today's San Francisco, that's ILLEGAL!! The Dept of Parks & Rec claim the gardens as they sit now aren't good enough. Seems we must "Disney" ourselves up to compete with the rest of the nation, or the world, or the universe, or some other ridiculous argument that only serves to show, yet again, just how greedy and clueless our city officials have truly become.

Nancy McNally of San Francisco recently shared some disturbing photos with me regarding the upcoming King Tut exhibit at the California Academy of Sciences. I was confused. Was it a museum exhibit, or the newest ride at Six Flags??? So hard to tell!! And while we are on the subject, since when did good ol' Great America become SIX FLAGS? (I know it was owned by Marriott, but still). And am I the only one that became outraged when the new Giants ballpark was called PAC BELL PARK? 3 COM? ORACLE Arena (aka the old Oakland Coliseum)??!?!?!? What's next, Microsoft Gardens???

Okay, so here's the next question: What can I do?

Well, you can start by visiting THIS ONLINE PETITION to make your voice heard. Residents want to live in a city - not an amusement park.

Seems its working. Check out this recent post from Livin' in the Loin. (Great blog by the way!!!) Never underestimate the power of angry inner Sunset residents!!

The city of my youth was a city of character; bold and stunning uniqueness that stood out among other major U.S. cities. We never required a corporate sponsor. Since when does it cost money to stroll through a public garden? Before long, photgraphing our landmarks will require a permit and an ALL SEASON PASS!

To live here is/was an honor, a birthright, not an award to the highest bidder!!! ARGH!!

It's only noon, and I need a drink...

1 comment:

  1. Heather.

    Great post! (However, change "it's" to "its"). The fee is actually going to be $7 for non-residents (or those who are unable to prove residency) and (possibly; after protest) free for those who can show residency. This means that all but two of the five entrances will be closed and that everyone will have to show ID or a $70 pass (which will also get you into the once-upon-a-time-free tea gardens and the once-upon-a-time-free Conservatory of Flowers. Yikes!

    The reason for this is simple: the SF Park Botanical Gardens Director (a recent SF transplant from Ohio;salary $120 K), the Society Development Director (salary $120 K) and the Society Director (a wealthy Marin socialite; salary $150 K+ ?) want a nice line-item for their resume, so they can get even more ridiculous salaries in the future. In addition, they get to pass a guard who will kowtow to them each and every time they enter the gardens..... The neoliberal Mayor is also behind this as are his toadies.
    It will not make money, but that does not matter!


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