letter to the editor

Letter to the Editor: Save our Park From Becoming Disneyland at the Beach


Anyone who would put Doggie Diner heads in Golden Gate Park is unclear on the concept of what a park is.

The continuing privatization of our parks by Phil Ginsburg  is just plain wrong and has been done without full disclosure to the public. Who voted for Doggie Diner heads in our green space? Were all the residents and visitors polled? Using non-profits like Illuminate the Arts to co-opt our public space and push their brand is not a good thing for our parks. Illuminate has no interest in protecting and preserving nature. 

The City has public art, museums, installations, happenings, street art, galleries, you name it.  The de Young has a beautiful sculpture garden on the south side with plenty of benches and the sculpture garden adjacent to the de Young cafe is open to everyone. We don’t need garish street murals to enjoy art in the park. The street murals crowd the space and detract from our park environment. 

But that is not enough for Rec. and Park and Illuminate; they want to take over Golden Gate Park. SF Parks Alliance, another private non-profit that thinks it owns our parks, is part of the cabal that brought the SkyStar Wheel, a carnival ride, to the Music Concourse.  

Phil Ginsburg can not be trusted to take care of our parks. To quote another commentator, “This is why it is so very important that we vote “yes” on I and “no” on J! Save our park from becoming a Disneyland by the Beach!”

David Romano

9 replies »

  1. Thank you, David Romano, for speaking truth to power. Converting Golden Gate Park from an urban refuge into Disneyland is unacceptable. And closing JFK Drive to close without providing adequate access for seniors and people with disabilities is intolerable. Please vote Yes on Prop I and No on Prop J.

    Liked by 2 people

    • We would not even be engaging in this discussion were it not for the FAMSF which has dumped nearly 800K into its profit drive campaign. The City has bent over backwards to accommodate those who would destroy Car Free areas all in the name of having a place to Park their cars. There are Shuttles. An entire area adjacent to the Japanese Tea Garden was destroyed so that People can Park their cars. The 800 space parking garage has refined its price structure. All this fatuous whining is going to come for naught. The People United Will Never be Defeated. Yes on J for JFK Promenade. No on I The Dede Wilsey Destruction Derby


    • WHAT? You don’t like public art – so you prefer traffic, smog, noise on JFK Drive?

      The Doggie Diner heads are part of SF nostalgia – and adopted as an official landmark in 2006.

      Closing the streets to cars is NOT limiting seniors and people with disabilities. There are other routes for your gas guzzling car. There is handicap parking.
      The street is much safer for seniors, kiddos, people with disabilities – and four-legged pets!

      Who voted for your poopy editorial comments?

      Street murals don’t crowd the space. It is paint. On the ground. People walk or bike on it.

      But cars don’t crowd the space? Wha?

      Park attendance has grown since the street was closed. People are enjoying the park and not getting run over by cars. The art is lovely. The exhibits are temporary (I hope some become permanent). They are a welcome addition to a former busy smoggy, noisy, dangerous thoroughfare. For heaven’s sake – go to another part of the park.

      Apparently, someone needs to add a “grumpy old man” section to GG Park. If you really miss bumper-to-bumper traffic, noise and pollution – go hang out on Hwy 101.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Agree 100%. Thank you for this clear statement. We cherish the park as a place of quiet and natural textures in the middle of the city. If Doggie Diner statues and yellow chairs and bright street art and sky wheels are going to colonize this space, there should be a public process to see if those changes are consistent with residents’ preferences.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What privatization? Doggie Diner hasn’t served a hot dog since 1986, so I think it would be far-fetched to see the heads as advertising. A non-profit inviting local artists to paint temporary murals seems like a lovely idea (the many people I saw stopping to enjoy them this weekend seem to agree), and I’m genuinely struggling to comprehend the logic of this author’s suggestion that the murals are unnatural so we should vote to replace them with car exhaust and yet another literal parking lot in the heart of Golden Gate Park.

    Those looking for a more natural respite can find it just a short walk away from the murals in GGP’s Oak Woodlands, one of the only truly natural areas in the park with old-growth coast live oaks that are hundreds of years old. It’s a beautiful area that feels totally isolated from the hustle and bustle of the city around it. There’s also the quiet contemplation of the Shakespeare Garden or the AIDS Memorial Grove a few minutes away. Or one could visit the many trails and forests of the placid western half of the park, which nobody could possibly confuse with Disneyland. It’s a huge park with something for everyone (including lots of areas for driving cars and some places for not driving), and if one part isn’t to your personal taste, I’m confident there are plenty of other areas to suit your mood.

    I’ll be voting Yes on J and No on I. This change has made the park immeasurably better, and there are still tons of other roads to drive on in the park anytime I want to do that.


  4. Found the guy who hates fun. Maybe you’re a recent transplant but back in the day we had playland at the beach. It’s good that we’re returning to this.


  5. I don’t think Daschunds from a quirky local hotdog spot is a corporate takeover.

    Parks and Rec is doing an awesome job. Our parks are just about the only part of the city that seems to be high functioning and enjoyable for families.

    I’m not even sure what this has to do with I/J except that even the uggliest installation is still probably nier to look at than David Romano’s parked car on JFK.


  6. Awesome letter David!

    The letter below it is amazingly uninformed.

    He must be one of those profiting from the closure.

    The parking lot was there before. Someone got an outrageously overpriced contract to turn some of the spaces into disabled spaces.

    It is incredible that these people never mention the ferris wheel, never mention the outrageous destruction all over the park, never mention the new banners, never mention the lack of democracy in this process.

    Nobody is on JFK much of the time. It is a total joke and farce!

    It is all about entitled, spoiled techies with too much money and high-end bikes.

    And about commercializing public space!

    Liked by 1 person

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