Letters to the Editor

Letter to the Editor – Botanical Garden Changes are Making it Worse

Editor:

A gem of the Inner Sunset is gone, never to be seen again. The demonstration gardens, a lovely and secluded area, could once be entered to the right ftom the main entrance to Strybing Arboretum.

Then the San Francisco Botanical Garden Society (which had changed its name from the less-commercial Strybing Arboretum Society) paid lobbyist Sam Lauter of BMWL and Partners $300,000 to privatize the grounds.

A wall went up, and we were denied access unless we showed proof of residency, and we had to pay for our guests.

Now the lovely gardens — which offered secluded, serene arbors and accessible sojurn from urban frenzy — are gone, bulldozed. What will emerge, apparently, is a food-truck court. I say “apparently” as the elitist San Francisco Botanical Garden Society held no meetings about this change, despite the fact that hundreds of thousands of dollars of public funds are going into this project, one of a number of ways the Society has made the Strybing Arboretum worse while enhancing its value as a cash cow.

When will this end?

A year before he jumped ship to support a “temporary” entrance charge, John Avalos quoted Joni Mitchell: “They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.” But these days it is more like they paved paradise and put in a food truck court!

It is time to change the laws so that all nonprofits doing business, in any form, with the city have their books open, have their trustee meetings open, have notes from these meetings available and hold regular public meetings.

Elitism is a cancer destroying San Francisco. Open government and regulation of “nonprofits” is the cure.

Harry S. Pariser 

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