Congresswoman Jackie Speier’s Orwellian Turn at Sharp Park

Thanks to your support, Congresswoman Jackie Speier sent this constituent letter to Wild Equity Institute members and supporters on December 4, 2009, announcing that there is “no federal money available” to bailout Sharp Park Golf Course, and stating that Sharp Park’s “frog and snake habitat could eventually become federal property and/or be managed by the National Park Service.” We were proud to see our Congresswoman make such a profound commitment to restore Sharp Park.

A Restoration Vision for Sharp Park.

But recently released documents paint a different picture of the Congresswoman’s position. The documents show that on December 1, 2009, the Congresswoman submitted a $5,000,000 funding request for a federal financial bailout of the golf course. The request, presented to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, would fund the controversial and fatally flawed all-golf alternative at Sharp Park. The request’s purposes include protecting “recreational golfing in a scenic setting” and “protecting the golf course [to] increase revenue generated on site due to reduced flooding.”

So how can the bailout request and the constituent letter be reconciled? Through the use of doublespeak. The Congresswoman calls the all-golf alternative the “Sharp Park San Francisco Garter Snake Recovery Effort,” ignoring the heavy criticism of the plan by ecologists, biologists, and coastal engineers who have explained that the all-golf alternative will actually harm endangered species recovery efforts. Even the National Park Service has raised concerns about the all-golf alternative, stating that the alternative may have negative impacts on endangered species at both Sharp Park and the federally-owned adjacent land, Mori Point. But if the Congresswoman re-frames the all-golf alternative as a recovery action for endangered species, she can give her constituents cake and eat it too.

We all deserve better than a federal bailout of an endangered species-killing golf course: we don’t pay polluters to not pollute, and similarly the golf course, not federal taxpayers, should pay for the golf course’s compliance with environmental laws. If federal dollars are going to be part of the solution at Sharp Park, we deserve a federal asset in return, and there would be no better asset than a National Park property that everyone can enjoy, not just golfers. Contact Congresswoman Jackie Speier today at (202) 225-3531 and ask her to support a better public park at Sharp Park, and contact the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee at (202) 225-4472 and ask them to fund a true restoration option at Sharp Park, not the all-golf alternative.

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