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
Categories: letter to the editor