SFForest Endorsements for Supervisor Candidates

The San Francisco Forest Alliance has worked hard to elevate maintaining access to public parks and preserving our forest areas as important issues in district campaigns. We surveyed candidates for supervisor on their viewpoints about parks, open space and urban forests management. In a broad field of candidates we feel that several stand out and we endorse them for Supervisoron November 6.

District 5

  1. Hope Johnson
  2. Christina Olague

District 7

  1.  Joel Engardio
  2. Francis Xavier (F.X.) Crowley
  3. Andrew Bley

In 2013 the Board of Supervisors may decide if the Natural Areas Program gets to significantly expand its wholesale restoration ecology grip on parkland by cutting down 18,500+ healthy trees — simply because they’re nonnative – using repeated doses of herbicides, closing 9.2 miles of trails and 19.3 acres of dog play areas, and restricting public access to these areas. The program already controls 1/4 of city parkland and Sharp Park in Pacifica.

NAP supplants existing habitat with its ideological preference for native grasses and scrub absent for centuries that cannot be sustained naturally–toxic pesticides and 1000s of volunteer hours are required on an ongoing basis for even modest gains, if any.

Some of the candidates are not fully aware of these issues and we encourage them to do their homework about the significant impacts this plan will have on communities and wildlife that share our city forests. This is not about hazardous or unhealthy trees. The city is obligated to remove those that are truly hazardous, yet currently spends twice as much on native gardens than forestry maintenance.

The following are excerpts from the candidates we have endorsed:

“I do not support additional fencing off of trails or removal of non-native trees. Our parks are intended for public use and the public has been expected to pay for their maintenance.” –Hope Johnson, District 5 (http://hopejohnson.nationbuilder.com)

“When people are using our parks with their families, the maintenance needs are properly addressed and our natural resources are protected, yet accessible, to our neighborhoods. –Christina Olague, District 5 (http://www.christinaolague.com)

“Tax dollars should be used for tree maintenance. We can and should cut down dangerous and ill trees. But I do not believe trees should be removed simply because they are not native.” –Joel Engardio, District 7 (http://www.engardio.com)

“I do not favor an agenda that would take our community back to a time before people arrived in San Francisco. We need to strike a balance between preserving plant life and providing recreational opportunities for our residents and our children.” –Francis Xavier F.X. Crowley, District 7 (http://fxcrowley.com)

I feel that the plan needs to be heavily altered so that no healthy trees are removed. Re-introducing native plants is a noble thought but not at the expense of existing trees and not with the use of toxic pesticides and herbicides. –Andrew Bley, District 7 (http://andrewbley.com)

You can read all of the completed candidate surveys here: SFFA_Candidate_Survey_Responses_9.22.12_FINAL

The San Francisco Forest Alliance is a 501c4 nonprofit organization that cares deeply about the stewardship of our urban forests in areas like Glen Canyon Park, Mount Davidson, Mount Sutro and McLaren Park.

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3 Responses to SFForest Endorsements for Supervisor Candidates

  1. Postr says:

    While I really appreciate and support the work that this organization has done and believe strongly in maintaining access to public parks and preserving our forest areas, it bugs me that an organization that by definition should be non-partisisan, regularly endorses candidates that they claim “support” the group’s agenda. It would be irresponsible for someone to vote based on a single issue and by providing an “endorsement” instead of a candidate analysis, it dilutes the efforts of the individuals that have been working so hard to maintain this access to public parks and risks disenfranchising would-be supports of this worthy cause.

    • Thanks for your comment. After a long discussion within the organization, we concluded that SFForest can be more effective in its mission by being politically engaged. This is why we are a 501c4 organization, rather than a 501c3 (which is not permitted to endorse candidates). We’re partisan only in the sense of supporting candidates who will, we think, assist in preserving our parks. We’d like to suggest that we’re not asking for anyone to be a single issue voter – but if this issue is important to you, then here are our endorsements. We really like your idea of a candidate analysis, and we’ll consider doing that too.

  2. Dave says:

    The endorsement is an analysis and, in fact, the only one on this subject that offers any deep view of what that candidates believe about managing open spaces SFFA_Candidate_Survey_Responses_9.22.12_FINAL. You won’t find questions about herbicide use on the Park Alliance survey and unless you ask the question at their forum it won’t come up. Yet toxins being sprayed in parks about skyrocketed 300%.