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.

But Sharp Park Golf Course, the report notes, is losing money, harming the environment, and is likely to be closed even if the water project is built: the report states that a great public outcry has stalled a controversial proposal to invest an additional $11 million dollars—above and beyond the money spent on the water project—in Sharp Park Golf Course to improve playing conditions at the golf course’s current, unsustainable configuration and location.

“Throwing good money after bad on Sharp Park Golf Course is not only environmentally unsound, it is also unjust,” said Mr. Plater. “When San Francisco is cutting services to community centers and neighborhood parks by 20-30%, it is inequitable to spend millions on golf in suburban San Mateo County. The time is right to partner with the National Park Service to create a better public park at Sharp Park, and return the money San Francisco saves back where it belongs: invested in our neighborhood parks and community centers.”

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