[UPDATE: Disappointingly, despite what we were told was a deluge of emails and phone calls, the Board of Supervisors passed the ROSE – including Policy 4.2. Details are available here: The ROSE disappointment.]
Two weeks ago, we explained why we oppose the ROSE (Recreation and Open Space Element of the General Plan for the city of San Francisco), and asked San Franciscans to write to the Land Use Committee of the Board of Supervisors. The main issue is that the draft ROSE includes Policy 4.2, which potentially could extend the same principles as the Natural Areas Program (i.e. cutting down trees, restricting access, using toxic herbicides, all to favor Native Plant museums) to all the city’s Open Spaces.
Here’s an update.
- The Land Use Committee decided not to decide. Thanks to your emails and phone calls, the three Supervisors on the Land Use Committee grew concerned about the issue. Though they did not vote NO on the ROSE, they did not vote yes either. Instead, they passed it on to the full Board of Supervisors without a recommendation. The Board was expected to vote on June 24th, 2014.
- The Full Board postponed the vote to July 8th, 2014. Because of the uproar against the ROSE, the Board decided to postpone the vote for two weeks, until July 8. Supervisor Scott Wiener (District 8) said that some of his colleagues had not been “briefed” on the ROSE. We are not sure if that means briefed by one of the city departments that is hoping to push the ROSE through with the egregious Policy 4.2 still included; or if they wish to take the time to understand the concerns of those so vehemently opposed.
The good news is this gives us more time to get even more people to ask them to Vote NO on the ROSE. The West of Twin Peaks Central Council voted this week to send a letter urging the Supervisors to Vote NO on the ROSE. Others are trying to visit the supervisors to brief them from our point of view. We encourage you to write (e-mail) and/or call your Supervisor to urge him/her to enter a no vote on July 8th.
The Natural Areas Program is a really bad model to extend all over the city. Even within its current bounds, it generates enormous controversy, quite disproportionate to its size. There is no reason to use the same principles elsewhere.
Watch our video on Youtube, (where you can also sign up for the SF Forest Alliance Youtube channel):
OUR MESSAGE TO SAN FRANCISCO’s BOARD OF SUPERVISORS AND SFRPD
What we stand for can be summarized in four key areas: Trees, Access, Toxins, Taxes.
- TREES: Stop destroying city park trees and the surrounding thickets and habitat. We support hazardous tree removal, but we’re beginning to see “hazard” used as an excuse for removing any large tree. The probability of death by tree-failure is half the probability of being struck by lightning. By contrast, trees save a life every two years in San Francisco by fighting pollution and sequestering carbon.
- ACCESS: Open public access to trails and natural areas for people and their families, including children and pets. NAP plans to eliminate 9 miles of trails, and close some areas to dogs. As SFRPD moves into Natural Areas, the first thing that goes up is signage restricting users to designated trails. The only acceptable activity in a “Natural Area” is walking along that trail. No exploration or climbing or games or picnics.
- TOXINS: Eliminate use of toxic pesticides in the Natural Areas. Last year, NAP was the single largest user of “Tier I” (most hazardous) herbicides within SFRPD, (aside from TPC Harding Park, which is a golf course managed by PGA Tour, and effectively outside SFRPD’s control).
- TAXES: Manage public funds to actually benefit the park-users and align with their priorities. Redeploy resouces wasted in the natural areas. NAP’s experienced gardeners would be a blessing to city parks that have lost their gardeners to budget cuts. The money spent rebuilding trails that don’t need it could pay for fixing some of the rest-rooms that didn’t get funded. (An SF Weekly report showed that instead of the 35 restroom renovations voters had expected, only 21 actually got done.) Money paid for herbicide spraying could pay for a rec center program.
This is an opportunity for the Supervisors to stop something that would be bad for our city, for residents and families, and wildlife. It would build conflict into the General Plan, possibly for decades.
The San Francisco Forest Alliance asks the Supervisors to vote NO on the ROSE, to send it back to Planning until Policy 4.2 is removed. We’re a grass-roots organization of people who love nature and the environment, pay taxes responsibly, and want access to our parks and wild places – with our families.
Citizens care about their city Parks, and want to keep healthy trees and to open access to natural areas. Citizens expect city management to act responsibly and in the public trust.