letter to the editor

Letter to the Editor: ‘You’re Going the Wrong Way’


I confess to surprise verging on shock that the January issues of the Richmond Review and Sunset Beacon newspapers would abuse its public trust by marshaling its reporting staff to manipulate public opinion on a subject on which the public has diverse views.

You jumped headlong into an attempt to open up the road closures on JFK Drive through Golden Gate Park and the Upper Great Highway, not through the normal editorial process, but in your news reporting! This is an abdication of journalistic responsibility that I did not expect from your trusted publications. It casts a shadow that I will find hard to overcome.

The front-page story by reporter Thomas Pendergast is tendentious about a lawsuit against the Recreation and Park Department and Commission. It quotes one-sided opinions only, followed by similarly loading the letters-to-the-editor section. Paul Kozackiewicz adds his heated commentary.

Will this suffice? You even bring in the Dahlia Society! (And does it rate a full page?)

These roads are under the jurisdiction of the Recreation and Park Commission, not DPW, and it is not obligated to provide commute lanes, so Rec. and Park is acting responsibly in its mission to provide safe and healthy recreation to all segments of our community – which, btw, includes underserved racial groups. That, sir, is what the world needs more than cars, which are a major contributor to climate warming.  

Go back – you are going the wrong way!

Jake Sigg

8 replies »

  1. Oh, you want balanced reporting like Heather Knight and the SF Chronicle? At least the Richmond review represents what many in the Richmond and Sunset district feel. If you look at the D4 mobility study, 75% of Richmond district residents wanted the GH to remain open to cars.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Christina. The nerve of someone to call out Richmond Sunset Beacon and its shameless editorializing and pandering to The Entitled. It must come as a surprise to find articulate well spoken people who will push back HARD against The Entitled. There are lots more of us out there as I have been writing for month. We will continue to fight for the future in which The Entitled do not dominate the conversation. We will prevailing and We will prevail. In the event this “Reply” is rejected by the in house censors it will find its way along with an explanatory note into other social media forums. A strategy already being utilized as needed.


  2. There are people who need access to the museums in the park that cannot walk 4-5 blocks. As Said in a previous comment I may drop my membership to the museums if access id denied thru road closures. Exercise yes is good, however, there are many of us who are limited thru age or disability. Stop thinking of only the able bodied as there are many who cannot take advantage of those opportunities.


  3. Life is finite. When it reaches the time when I can no longer visit those sites which car free areas require some mobility to reach I will happily and without one iota of complaint acknowledge a certain reality. I no longer will be able to partake in certain activities. That’s a small price to pay so that future generations can enjoy a few venues which are unencumbered and unpolluted by The Car. The disabilities and senior community is doing itself no favors in the long term by this myopic incessant whining. Stop it. Deal with It.


    • I guess you don’t understand the ADA requirements. Those with disabilities do not give up and have a right to equal access. The city needs to recognize this.


      • I totally understand the 1991 ADA signed by President Bush. Seniors, of which I am one, have sufficient means of access to JFK Drive and The Great Walkway. I am thinking of the future generations. Not my own self interest


    • This is so insensitive! Of course people with disabilities expect to have access in our society and we have ADA laws that enforce inclusivity.


  4. I have never had a problem with Mr. Pendergast’s reporting over my decade-plus as reading him. I found this particular article to be fair.

    How does Mr.Sigg believe that closing roads and streets makes for fewer cars?

    What it does is create more air pollution as cars are detoured!

    Before he retired, Mr. Sigg used to be employed at the Strybing Arboretum. The San Francisco Botanical Garden Society, both now and in the past, uses taxpayer resources and gardeners for the support of commercial gain in activities such as their “plant sale,” which has been a great way to greenwash the image of what is an organization that has taken over 55 ares and turned them into a corporate theme park.

    When JFK was closed for “recreation,” both the Arboretum and the Tea Garden remained closed for months. The likely reasons? Shakespeare Garden could not be rented for weddings, and the San Francisco Botanical Garden Society was not able to open their taxpayer-funded ticket booths so they could rip people off.

    I remember discussing the plan for the new fortress that the San Francisco Botanical Garden Society spent hundreds of thousands to have Sam Lauter coerce the Supervisors to support privatization and build a new nursery.

    Just as Mr. Sigg has pushed for spending countless thousands of dollars to have trees removed from Mt. Sutro (to be replaced with “native” saplings, so did he tell me that the fortress, to be built at the top of the hill, was necessary because “plants freeze in the nursery.” That structure would have removed 50 trees (!) and created a new parking lot, which could have been expanded by the stroke of the pen.

    Since then, the San Francisco Botanical Garden Society cut down trees and paved the Demonstration Garden, turning it into the “Celebration Garden,” and decided NOT to build the nursery.

    Rather than go through public process to discuss a completely different building, the San Francisco Botanical Garden Society negotiated a revised contract to put a huge, to-be-permanent fence along the redwood grove and, tragically, destroyed numerous trees, both within the complex and, for some reason, near the bottom of a hill near the main entrance.

    No letter to the editor from Mr. Sigg appeared when a polluting diesel generator and an anti-environmental ferris wheel was installed. Nor did he complain about the hideous LED light installations and projections that the corrupt Parks Alliance has brought to our parks.

    Nothing was said by Mr. Sigg when soccer fields were covered with toxic astroturf, nor has he campaigned about the egregious tree removal at Stow Lake.

    Making an undemocratic decision permanent just because it empowers elitists who want to ride their $6,000 bikes down JFK (while also empowering RPD to monetize the space, which they have already started to do) sets a bad precedent.

    And it shows how little individuals such as Mr. Sigg truly care about nature and the environment when they remain silent about deforestation by RPD and other agencies while trees are cut down en masse and rapacious entry fees stifle the enjoyment of Golden Gate Park by anyone who either can not prove poverty (people from the “in need” zip codes according to our sneering elites) or can not prove residency.

    Everything in that park used to be free. Sad, truly sad!

    This is not the first time that Mr. Sigg has been wrong. Here is a rebuttal about his claims about the need for Mt. Sutro deforestation:



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