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The Happiest Holidays & the Wild Equity Institute

Here at the Wild Equity Institute we spend most of our time concerned about the fate of our communities and the fate of our Earth—and we wield every fiber of our collective being to create a healthier and more sustainable global community for all. But the holiday season is the perfect time to reflect on the beauty and joy we still find in the world. We have much to be thankful for: the successful launch of our organization, the rediscovery of the Franciscan manzanita, and we’re even thankful for our strange bedfellows!


Franciscan manzanita, Arctostaphylos franciscana

We foresee great opportunities in 2010, but we also face great challenges: from climate change to callous public officials to a body politic so distressed that it’s difficult to focus public attention on our obligation to others. This holiday season, consider how you can partner with the Wild Equity Institute to overcome these obstacles and create a world you’ll be proud to leave behind for the next generation to enjoy. Contact us if you’d like to loan us your skills and help us accomplish our mission, and please consider supporting our work by making a contribution today on-line or through the mail. We can’t do it without you: thank you so much for your continued support!

Onward to a Restored Sharp Park!

Despite thousands of letters and 60% of the public testimony in favor of restoring Sharp Park, the San Francisco Recreation and Park Commission rubber-stamped the Recreation and Park Department’s all-golf vision of the future for Sharp Park last week. The vote wasn’t unexpected, and now the campaign really begins: San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors will have an opportunity to weigh-in on Sharp Park. In fact, the day before the Commission’s vote the Board of Supervisors’ Government Audit and Oversight Committee heard testimony about Sharp Park, and at the close of public comment the Committee expressed reservations about the sustainability of golf at Sharp Park and the controversial nature of the Department’s proposed plan. Expect to hear more from the Board of Supervisors in the coming months, and keep an eye on wildequity.org for updates on our legal claims against the golf course & for opportunities to participate in our ultimate trump-card: a formal, science-based environmental review of the Department’s fatally flawed plan.

More Legal Violations at Sharp Park Unearthed

December 15, 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: BRENT PLATER, WILD EQUITY INSTITUTE, 415-572-6989

MORE LEGAL VIOLATIONS AT SHARP PARK UNEARTHED
GOLF COURSE HAS UNPERMITTED POLLUTANTS IN WATER
ALL GOLF ALTERNATIVE WOULD VIOLATE ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT

SAN FRANCISCO— E. coli, fecal coliform, ammonia, phosphates, zinc, mercury, selenium, copper: these are just some of the pollutants found in the aquatic habitats for two endangered species at Sharp Park Golf Course, and two new legal notices filed by the Wild Equity Institute demand that the City clean-up its act.

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Attend an Important Sharp Park Hearing Wednesday, December 16, 1pm, San Francisco City Hall Room 263

The Recreation and Parks Department released its controversial report about the future of Sharp Park last month. Now the San Francisco Board of Supervisor’s Government Audit & Oversight Committee will have an opportunity to hear from the Department—and from you—about the future we desire on this land. Please attend this important hearing on Wednesday, December 16th, 1pm at San Francisco City Hall room 263 and tell the Board of Supervisors that we deserve a better public park at Sharp Park!

Ecologists, biologists, coastal engineers, & restoration and recreation advocates have criticized the report because it has several fatal flaws: it fails to consider the impacts of climate change and sea level rise on Sharp Park; it fails to consider sensible restoration alternatives at Sharp Park; and it proposes that we manage Sharp Park like a zoological exhibit for the two imperiled species on the property, the San Francisco garter snake and the California red-legged frog, by surrounding the habitat with golf and a reinforced sea wall to keep picnickers away from the land. You read that right: the report suggests that picnickers are a more significant and widespread threat to the endangered species than the golf course, even though the golf course has killed many of the animals and picnickers have never been accused of harming a single one.

A Restoration Vision for Sharp Park

At this hearing, you will hear an impassioned defense of the report from paid biological consultants who will earnestly insist that surrounding the endangered species with threats and uninhabitable space will ultimately be good for the species because it will allow us to grow snakes and frogs like any other agricultural product and encourage future generations of endangered species to migrate away from Sharp Park altogether.

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John McCain Condemns Government Waste at Sharp Park Golf Course

In a new report released Tuesday, fiscal conservatives on Capitol Hill, led by Senator John McCain, highlight a $2.2 million dollar federal stimulus bailout for Sharp Park Golf Course—owned by the City and County of San Francisco but located in Pacifica, California—as one of one-hundred projects that benefit private interests over the public good and make improvements where they are not necessary.

“Sharp Park is not too big to fail, and we all deserve better than a multi-million dollar bailout of a money-losing, endangered species-killing golf course,” said Brent Plater, Executive Director of the Wild Equity Institute. “If federal dollars are spent on Sharp Park the American people deserve an asset in return, and the best asset would be a new National Park unit on the property that provides recreational opportunities everyone can enjoy, not just golfers.”

Currently Sharp Park Golf Course uses over 400,000 gallons of drinking water daily to irrigate fairways and greens during peak demand periods, but as California’s drought continues the Public Utilities Commission has capped sales of water from the Tuolumne River—The San Francisco Peninsula’s most important freshwater source—sending wasteful water users like Sharp Park Golf Course in search of alternative water supplies.

The golf course’s proposed solution would have federal, state, and San Francisco taxpayers fund an $8.8 million dollar recycled water project that would deliver 42 million gallons of recycled water to Sharp Park annually. One-third of the funding would come from federal taxpayers, but three-quarters of the water would go solely to the golf course.

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Important Sharp Park Hearing December 16, 1pm San Francisco City Hall

The Government Audit and Oversight Subcommittee of the San Francisco Board of Supervisor’s will hear a report on the Recreation and Parks Department’s fatally-flawed alternative report on the future of Sharp Park December 16, 1pm at San Francisco’s City Hall. The report has been heavily criticized by scientists, geologists, and biologists because it fails to even discuss how sea level rise will impact Sharp Park in the coming decades and because it bizarrely suggests that picnicking—that’s right, picnicking—is too great of a threat to endangered species to seriously consider restoration options on the property. 60% of the folks who attended the last hearing, including the vast majority of Pacificans, rejected the fatally-flawed report and supported building a better public park at Sharp Park. We need your support again: please attend this hearing and help build a better public park at Sharp Park!

Wild Equity Institute Meets with Congresswoman Speier

Thanks to the thousands of calls, letters, and email messages sent by all of you, Congresswoman Jackie Speier met with a delegation of people working to build a better public park at Sharp Park on Monday, November 30. The Congresswoman heard our voice, but is continuing to chair behind-the-scenes meetings with the golf lobby—and without us—to reduce public access to Sharp Park, privatize course management, and force taxpayers to foot the bill for the environmental problems the golf course has created. It is simply not just to privatize our public spaces while taxpayers foot the bill for golf’s environmental harms. Contact the Congresswoman and thank her for meeting with us, but let her know we need her help finding solutions for everyone at Sharp Park, not just the golf lobby.

Big Year Kicks-Off; Big Victory at Sharp Park!

Folks,

Mark your calendars! The 2010 Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year kick-off celebration will begin January 9, 2010, 1pm at the Sports Basement in the Presidio, San Francisco. The GGNP has more endangered species than any other National Park in continental North America. The Endangered Species Big Year is a race against time to see and save each of these endangered species, with guided recovery expeditions and park explorations all year long! At the kick-off celebration, we’ll have free prizes, drinks and snacks, a short presentation about the GGNP’s endangered species, and then we’ll head outside to search for the Western Snowy Plover, an imperiled shorebird clinging to existence at Crissy Field. At the end of 2010, the person who has seen and helped save the most endangered species will win the Big Year and a cash prize!

Victory for Sharp Park! Thank you to everyone who wrote messages and attended the Recreation and Park Commission hearing last Thursday. About 60% of the numerous speakers came to support a new national park at Sharp Park, and we convinced the Commission to table Phil Ginsburg’s preposterous and unjust all-golf alternative: for now. We also successfully demanded that a scientific peer review be conducted on Ginsburg’s alternative. This was a major step forward in creating a better public park at Sharp Park, a park that protects the environment, protects our communities from climate change, and provides recreational opportunities everyone can enjoy. If you haven’t taken action yet, you can do so here.

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Attend The Hearing on Sharp Park Thursday Nov. 19, 2pm San Francisco City Hall!

Thank you for your help creating a new national park at Sharp Park!

If you do one thing this month to build a new national park at Sharp Park, make it this: attend the Recreation and Parks Commission hearing tomorrow, Thursday November 19, 2pm, at San Francisco’s City Hall, Room 416.

At this hearing, the Recreation and Parks Department’s General Manager Phil Ginsburg will recommend that San Francisco move forward with an all-golf alternative at Sharp Park. This alternative would reduce recreational access to the site, divert millions of taxpayer dollars from our neighborhood parks and the recreational activities Bay Area residents actually demand, and ensure that the endangered species on the property are lost forever. We can stop this proposal from being adopted, but only if you stand up for the “underfrog” by attending this hearing and telling the Commission that we deserve a better, more sustainable future at Sharp Park.

And we can do better: if we restore Sharp Park in partnership with the National Park Service, we can provide recreational opportunities everyone can enjoy, protect the environment, defend our coastal communities from the impacts of climate change, and ensure that San Francisco’s neighborhood parks no longer face cutbacks because the City subsidizes golf in San Mateo County.

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Time to Standup for the Underfrog!

Restore Sharp Park!

Folks,

Thank you for your interest in creating a new National Park at Sharp Park! We’ve got three important actions for you to take ASAP in this message: two from your chair, and one very much out of it.

  1. E-mail the Recreation and Parks Commission and demand that they reject the Recreation and Parks Department’s Proposal to move forward with an all-golf alternative at Sharp Park. Send an E-mail now to recpark.commission@sfgov.org.
  2. Call Congresswoman Jackie Speier and tell her Sharp Park isn’t too big to fail: no federal bailout for an endangered species-killing golf course! If we are going to get federal dollars involved, we deserve to gain an asset in return, and the best asset would be a new National Park at Sharp Park! Call 650-342-0300.
  3. Attend the Recreation and Parks Commission hearing on November 19, 2pm at San Francisco’s City Hall, Room 416, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, in San Francisco. Tell the Commission we deserve better than the all-golf alternative proposed by the Recreation and Parks Department!

Read on:

Last week San Francisco’s Recreation and Parks Department released its long-delayed report on alternative visions for a future Sharp Park. But rather than use the best scientific evidence to create a new vision for Sharp Park, the Recreation and Parks Department’s General Manager Phil Ginsburg recommended selecting an all-golf alternative at Sharp Park, and relegating the endangered species on the site to the portions of Sharp Park we know will be underwater as climate change occurs and sea levels rise.

If this alternative is selected by San Francisco, the endangered species on the property will be lost forever, as will the opportunity to build a better public park with recreational amenities everyone can enjoy. You can hear Restore Sharp Park supporters debate this issue on KQED’s Forum.

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