ACTION ALERT JULY 22, 2014
COALITION TO PROTECT GOLDEN GATE PARK BALLOT INITIATIVE CERTIFIED BY DEPARTMENT OF ELECTIONS
On July 22, 2014 the San Francisco Department of Elections certified petitions submitted by the Coalition to Protect Golden Gate Park and qualified their Citizen’s Ballot Measure Initiative for the November, 2014 election. The initiative provides that all athletic fields west of Crossover Drive in Golden Gate Park would be renovated with natural grass and high-intensity sports lighting would not be permitted.
This Citizens’ Ballot Measure action is the culmination of years of work by many San Franciscans who have worked to stop the replacement of the Beach Chalet soccer fields at the western edge of Golden Gate Park with plastic artificial turf, rubber tire crumb padding, and high intensity sports lights. Despite evidence that the fields pose significant health and environmental risks, concerns that significant light pollution from night sports lights will impact wildlife and make it impossible to enjoy a starry night in this area, and a law suit that is currently in the California Court of Appeal, the City continues to insist on installing these fields.
In response to this initiative effort, five members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors signed off on a counter measure to permit the Recreation and Parks Department to build the industrial sports complex. But the City’s vague measure does not just target the Beach Chalet fields, it would increase the Recreation and Parks Department’s administrative authority to build anywhere in the City, and subvert existing legal processes to do so. Their proposal raises many unanswered questions about the Recreation and Parks Department’s commercialization of public space and disenfranchisement of the City’s voters.
ACTION ALERT JULY 7, 2014
COALITION TO PROTECT GOLDEN GATE PARK TO FILES BALLOT INITIATIVE
A Ballot Initiative has been filed to protect the western end of Golden Gate Park by requiring that the renovation of the Beach Chalet Soccer Fields be done using natural grass not toxic turf and prohibiting tall stadium lighting. Supporters believe they have submitted more than enough signatures on petitions to qualify for the November 2014 ballot but now have to wait for the Department of Elections to validate these signatures. They believe this issue must be taken to the voters because the decision-makers in the City and the California Coastal Commission disregarded a wealth of information about the harmful effects of artificial turf, night lighting, and the inappropriateness of a sports stadium in the naturalistic western end of Golden Gate Park. Thousands of concerned residents signed petitions, wrote letters, testified at hearings, and publically protested the Beach Chalet project. Nevertheless, the decision-makers turned a deaf ear to this outcry and are allowing the project to go forward.
The Coalition to Protect Golden Gate Park is the grassroots organization that is putting this ballot initiative forward. They are dedicated to keeping Golden Gate Park safe, naturalistic, and free of toxic materials. This initiative will allow voters to decide whether a 7+ acre grass playing field at the Beach Chalet Fields should be bulldozed and replaced with artificial turf pavement, lighted every night of the year with tall stadium lighting, or whether the fields will be maintained as natural grass and host sporting events in a natural context as they have been since the 1930′s. This initiative would also affect any future project at the Polo Fields.
Coalition members have numerous concerns about the negative impacts of the proposed Beach Chalet project. These concerns include:
• environmental and human health threats posed by toxic chemicals in plastic turf and the rubber tire crumb infill;
• the impact of high intensity sports lighting which would add significant light pollution that would impact birds and other wildlife that use the Park’s open spaces;
• adverse impacts on the natural aquifer that underlies these fields which will soon be used to supplement the City’s potable water supply;
• adverse impacts on water discharged into the Pacific Ocean at Ocean Beach;
• impact of the Beach Chalet project on the Golden Gate Park historic district, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places; and,
• the precedent for the rest of the California Coast set by the California Coastal Commission’s ruling approving the plan.
The November 2014 Ballot Measure.
GOLDEN GATE PARK RECREATIONAL FIELDS RENOVATION ACT
Be it ordained by the People of the City and County of San Francisco:
SECTION 1. Title
This measure shall be known and may be cited as the “Golden Gate Park Recreational Fields Renovation Act”
SECTION 2. Findings and Declarations
The People of the City and County of San Francisco declare their findings and purposes in enacting this Initiative to be as follows:
Whereas, San Francisco maintains an extensive system of parks for the benefit of all the People of San Francisco;
Whereas, Golden Gate Park is the centerpiece of San Francisco’s world-renowned park system;
Whereas, 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”;
Whereas, the mission of the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department includes maintaining safe recreational playing fields which also preserve the natural environment for the well-being of San Francisco’s diverse community;
Whereas, there is a large body of scientific evidence that artificial turf fields such as those proposed for Golden Gate Park pose an environmental and health threat;
Whereas, light pollution produced by nighttime sports field lighting negatively impacts human health, wildlife activity, and the surrounding environment;
Therefore, the people of the City and County of San Francisco declare that:
All athletic fields in Golden Gate Park in the area west of Crossover Drive shall be maintained as natural grass. The City shall not permit nighttime sports field lighting in these areas.
SECTION 3. Golden Gate Park Recreational Fields Renovation Act Requirement
Appendix 103 is added to the San Francisco Administrative Code as follows: All athletic fields in Golden Gate Park in the area west of Crossover Drive shall be maintained as natural grass. The City shall not permit nighttime sports field lighting in these areas.
SECTION 4. Effective Date
In accordance with the provisions of California Elections Code section 9217, if a majority of the voters vote in favor of the Initiative, the Initiative shall go into effect 10 days after the vote is declared by the Board of Supervisors.
SECTION 5. Severability
If any provision of this Initiative or any application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, such invalidity shall not affect any provision or application of this Initiative that can be given effect without the invalid provision or application. To this end, the provisions of this Initiative are severable. Continue reading