letter to the editor

Letter to the Editor: SF Botanical Garden Society Using GG Park as ‘Cash Cow’


Anyone who believes in the mythology of the social equity, efficiency and verisimilitude of our “public private partnerships” needs to poke their head through the brand new taxpayer-funded fence at 14th Avenue and Lincoln Way and see the substantial acreage denuded at the behest of the San Francisco Botanical Garden Society without any public process whatsoever. 

A new complex is going in here, instead of on the hill as promised. No public discussions were held. But then, the San Francisco Botanical Garden Society has never held a neighborhood meeting. They just hire lobbyists and use their money and influence to get whatever they want.

This huge area is to be permanently fenced off, and one can see a scenario where tours are given at added entry cost. The Society already uses the 55 acres as a cash cow, charging an atrocious $50 for outdoor concerts. Entry hours have been limited and gates shut. The once lovely Demonstration Garden is now a sterile corporate events space. We pay $12 for our guests on weekends, while Society members can enter the Tea Garden for free (but both we and our guests have to pay). The parking lot behind the Hall of Flowers, formerly for everyone, is now reserved for our conniving cognoscenti, while people who have lived immediately proximate for decades are forced to show ID or pay. Acres of precious parkland bordering 19th Avenue and Lincoln Way remain fenced off yet disused.

Unbelievably, further indignities are on the way. “Surge pricing” (a total ripoff) is likely to become permanent. A new multi-million-dollar entrance to Golden Gate Park, one which will also benefit the Society, is on the way.

How many more egregious abuses are people going to take from an autocratic, manipulative bureaucracy – one which only serves the interests of our elites while turning our public spaces into an exclusionary cash cow for the wealthy? What will it take?

Harry S. Pariser

1 reply »

  1. Thank you to Harry S. Pariser for bringing to our attention what is happening in the park. My most recent visit was to see the poster display at the Hall of Flowers and the Botanical Gardens were just closing for the day so I missed my chance to visit after months away. I do not believe any one or any organization should be utilizing one of our City’s greatest resources for their own purposes. When Park & Rec let Hellman use the park for a FREE TO ALL music festival I agreed although the park does get a bit trampled. When they let Outside Lands fence off the park and charge outrageous prices for shows, I object. They say they need the revenue. Seems to me, the more income you have your expenses rise accordingly. The park is for the people. That was the intention and purpose. It isn’t a concert venue or a stage. It is a living Being and we should all respect and enjoy it and have equal access.


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