Current Action Items

Park Scores Continue Improvement; Disparities Remain Between Districts

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

Report ImageIn a report released March 16th, 2010, the Controller’s Office City Services Auditor (CSA) has identified an overall increase in park standards from 87.3% last year to 90.8% this year. Both CSA and Recreation and Park Department (PRD) staff evaluated each park or open space citywide using the San Francisco Park Maintenance Standards Manual. With a majority of parks scoring over 90%, the scores show marked improvement in the condition of our city’s parks.

However, still troubling are the disparities that exist between Supervisorial Districts and neighborhoods. Overall, District 2 scored the highest with a 95.3% rating and District 10 the lowest at 83.1%. While it is extremely encouraging that our parks are increasingly well-maintained (particularly with limited staffing), yet keeping an eye towards equity remains especially important. Please take a moment to read

the report, and check how your park or District performed. Click here to download the full report.

RPD Budget Process Update: Important Innovation and Tough Choices

Friday, February 19th, 2010

RPD LogoFebruary 19, 2010: Now that the Recreation and Park Commission has approved the Department’s plan for accommodating the 30% reduction ($12.4 million) in support from the City’s General Fund, the lengthy process begins for the Mayor’s Office and Board of Supervisors to build out San Francisco’s Budget. Over the next several months, the City will be working to tackle and immense budget shortfall of more than $450 million, and their choices will affect parks. NPC will be engaging in this process and we will keep you in the loop.

The good news is that there are a number of innovative solutions proposed by the Recreation and Park Department (RPD) that will deal with the budget shortfall, and could change the way that RPD operates for the better.

While NPC does not support every aspect of the proposed budget cuts and revenue generation ideas put forth by RPD (more on that below), there are several key initiatives that we are very excited about.  You can view the two presentations from RPD on the budget and changes to recreation here (Full Commission Presentation | Recreation Changes Presentation). Once you have read this post and review these presentations, please let us know what you think. Send emails to

NPC Supports the Following Key Elements:

1. RPD connected the budget process directly to the mission and principals of the Department. NPC feels strongly that all revenue generation and expenditure cuts must be made within the context of RPD’s mission, and must be as responsive to neighborhood park and recreation needs as possible. While conversations will continue for several months about the details of the budget, park advocates can see how RPD linked the proposed plan to the mission in the budget presentation.

2. RPD and Local 261 are establishing the first Gardener Apprentice Program in the state of California.  This means career-track development of horticultural professionals who will hone their skills both in the field and in the classroom. The move to employ apprentices allows RPD to save on labor costs while hiring new staff.

3. RPD is restructuring recreation in a manner that will result in more program hours and allow recreation professionals to focus on their areas of expertise: sports and athletics, community services (like tiny tots), cultural arts, and leisure services (like waterfront sports). While there will be reductions in recreation staff, the goal with the new recreation model is to increase what RPD can offer and position the Department for growth when funding becomes more stable. RPD has also committed to ensure that the ability to pay is never a barrier to participation. It is worth looking at the Recreation Changes Presentation and sharing this new model, a national best practice, with your park group.

4. RPD, Local 261 and NPC are working to pilot a partnership to maintain mini parks in San Francisco, a move that would increase the overall maintenance of the mini parks and leverage additional support of the surrounding communities. (This is a revenue-neutral, but community- positive, budget element.)

5. New amenities and programs that will generate revenue and activate park space. NPC believes there are opportunities to generate revenue in appropriate ways in our parks. Many people enjoy the ability to get a bite to eat and a cup of coffee while at Crissy Field, and that concept can be adapted for our city parks. Additionally, there are many types of adult recreation that San Franciscans enjoy that are not currently being offered by RPD.

NPC Does Not Support:

  1. The sale or long-term lease of parkland for non-park uses. Parkland is too precious and hard to come by to sell as a one-time solution to a budget problem.
  2. Using fees to solve the budget crisis. Fees directed at park users should be a last resort for solving a budget crisis.
  1. Generating revenue in a manner that does not compliment or enhance neighborhood park character.

As our past updates have told you, NPC is committed to helping RPD build a more stable finance package to avoid the severe cuts faced by the Department over the last several years.

Again, we would like to know what you think. Please email your thoughts to and stay tuned for more information on the budget, especially for opportunities to participate.

For information on the proposed non-resident entrance fees to the Botanical Garden, please click here.

Thank you for loving your parks!

We Need 90 Days: Extend public comment on Shipyard Environmental Impact Report

Friday, December 11th, 2009

The Candlestick Point Hunters Point Shipyard Environmental Impact Report is a once in a lifetime opportunity to help shape the future of the BVHP Community. NPC is joining a coalition to call for the extension of the Public Comment Period for the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) to 90 days until February 12, 2010.

We urge you to contact Mayor Newsom and support this extension. Releasing the Report for public review over the Thanksgiving, Christmas, Kwanza holiday and ending the comment period on December 28, 2009 deliberately undermines public review. Call Mayor Newsom today: 554 6141.

Dear Mr. Mayor,

•Releasing a six volume, 4,400 page document a week and a half before Thanksgiving and restricting public comment to just 45 days forces the public and community based organizations choose between civic duty, prearranged vacation time, and obligations to family and faith.

•The holidays consume a minimum of ten days reducing the time most people might reasonably devote to DEIR review to 35 days — assuming work through the weekends.

•Holding public hearings in a little over a month from the document’s release shortens even that prep time to just 25 days!

•Furthermore the public comment period ends December 28th, just 3 days after Christmas.

•By releasing the EIR over the holiday period, the City has hobbled even an extension of the review period to 60 days because the New Year’s holiday falls within that time compromising 4-5 days out of the added two weeks.

We are not opposed to the project, Lennar, or your administration. We are not against expeditious development. We are however pro public engagement and transparency

in government. A forty-five day public review period for a document as complex and lengthy as the DEIR is simply inadequate. We recognize that some in the community, Lennar, and members of your staff are of the opinion that far too much time has already been spent discussing this issue. But why is it that the City of Santa Clara, whose recent DEIR evaluated the impacts of just a stadium project, was able to provide a longer public review period without the complication of the holidays?

The DEIR is completely different.

•No prior discussion or committee action since the Phase 1 agreement in 2003, not even Prop G, carried with it the force of law of this Phase 2 DEIR.

•An Environmental Impact Report is an administrative decision document.

•This DEIR is the part of the official process where ideas become concrete plans to be approved in a lawful process.

•The Shipyard Candlestick Project cannot be approved without an EIR. No prior discussion required City or Agency staff to present pros and cons or fully report the project’s impacts.

•All of the conceptual conversations, presentations, and meetings conducted by the City and Agency to this point do not equal the importance of giving the public adequate time to evaluate whether the DEIR fully and fairly reports and assesses the impacts of this project and proposes responsible mitigations.

Transparency in government is not just a matter of letting the public see information. The capacity to act upon what one sees is critical to transparency. The Shipyard Candlestick project will nearly double the population of Bayview Hunters Point. The EIR was nearly two years in the making. The City’s project staff reasonably took the time to provide what in their opinion is an adequate review of the project. The public similarly deserves twelve weeks to examine and comment on your work. The City has just granted Lennar a six month delay in the timetable for Phase 1 housing construction to allow time for the market to improve and prices to rise. With Phase 1 delayed, construction for Phase 2 not expected to start until 2015, and project completion not expected before 2035, you have the time to provide the citizens of our City with a responsible period to review this once in a lifetime DEIR.

Bayview Hunters Point and San Francisco need and deserve ninety days to review
the DEIR.

–Signed by: Sierra Club, India Basin Neighborhood Association, Golden Gate Audubon Society, Literacy for Environmental Justice, Potrero Hill Democratic Club, Urban Strategies Council, Neighborhood Parks Council, Arc Ecology, California Native Plant Society

RPD Commission Provides More Time to Review Sharp Park Alternatives Report

Sunday, November 22nd, 2009

After a lengthy presentation by RPD staff and the Tetra Tech team on the Sharp Park Conceptual Restoration Alternative Report, and several hours of public comment, the RPD Commission continued the Sharp Park item to the December 17th Commission hearing. This continuation will allow more time for stakeholders to review the report, ask questions and provide RPD feedback. In addition, the Board of Supervisor’ GAO Committee will discuss this topic at their December 16th meeting at 1pm in City Hall.

NPC is currently setting up a panel discussion in the next few weeks about this report. This will provide an important forum on the issue, as well as an opportunity for the public to ask questions. NPC will let our coalition know about the date and time of the meeting as soon as it is set.

To view a copy of the report, click here.
To provide input to the Recreation and Park Commission, email

Vote Yes on Proposition C: Rename Candlestick

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

NPC says YES to Proposition C on the November 3rd 2009 ballot, and we urge our coalition to do the same.

Proposition C would allow the Recreation and Park Department and the San Francisco 49ers to find a sponsor for Candlestick Park Stadium, and to rename the stadium for that sponsor.  At least half of the net revenue from the naming agreement would go toward rehiring recreation center directors who were recently laid off during the city’s budget crisis.

This ballot measure would amend a previous measure (Proposition H) that limited potential names for Candlestick to a list of five that were previously approved by the Board of Supervisors.

Neighborhood Parks Council urges you to support Proposition C on November 3rd with a YES! vote, because it will bring desperately needed resources to the Recreation and Park Department.  Generating new revenue to supplement RPD’s General Fund dollars is crucial during this financial crisis.

For an informative ballot analysis written by SPUR, visit

RPD Clubhouse Leasing Survey Now Open

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

Prompted by the current economic downturn and city budget shortfall, the Recreation and Park Department is looking to lease four clubhouses in the city to private recreation providers who would use the space to offer programming to the public for an enrollment fee.

The clubhouses are:

• Cow Hollow – Miley Alley (near Baker and Filbert)
• Laurel Hill – Euclid and Collins
• Louis Sutter – University and Wayland
• Merced Heights – Byxbee and Shields

To assist the Department in determining the future use of these four facilities, we are inviting you to take part in a short survey.

Click here to take the survey!

The RFQ for bidders is also now available. The Recreation and Park Department is extending the deadline for replying to the RFQ until Monday, November 30th. More information here.

BOS Hearings on Rec and Park Budget: June 24th

Monday, June 1st, 2009

It’s budget season again, which means it’s time to make our civic leaders aware of how important parks are to our city. Rec and Park has had to take a 21% reduction in the General Fund support. Some of these cuts could be offset with revenue-generating ideas such as parking fees (aimed at reducing the use of the Eastern end of Golden Gate Park as an unpaid parking lot), and naming rights to Candlestick, but unless electeds hear from you that you’d rather see revenue generation than staff cuts, we will continue to lose staff. Please send an email to your Supervisor today!

Remaining hearing date:

  • Second Hearing: Wednesday, June 24th (public comment on proposed fees only)–City Hall, room 250, at 11:00 AM.

General Budget Hearing

There will be a hearing on the City’s budget in general on Monday, June 22nd at 5 PM in room 250.

Click here to view the 2009-2010 Budget.

Update about California State Parks

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

From the California State Parks Foundation:

Give the gift of state parks this holiday season!  California State Parks Foundation (CSPF) has some affordable gifts that anyone in your family will find useful!  All proceeds from the sale of picnic blankets will go to California State Parks Foundation’s mission of protecting, preserving and advocating for state parks. To purchase a 2010 calendar, or a water resistant picnic blanket, or a gift membership to the Foundation before the holidays, click here.

Right now, CSPF is organizing volunteers to gather signatures to help qualify the State Park Access Pass for the November 2010 ballot – and you can help by talking to your friends and family about this exciting opportunity over the holidays.

On November 3rd, along with several other environmental partners, CSPF took the first step of filing potential ballot language for the “California State Parks and Wildlife Conservation Trust Fund Act of 2010.” Not only are park supporters the most passionate voices on this issue, but using volunteers will be a great cost-savings for the campaign.

You’ve demonstrated your support for state parks over the last year, can you help take it one step further and help us gather signatures in your community? If you’re willing to commit to helping put the State Park Access Pass on the ballot, please join CSPF’s team and find out more on their website.

And while you spend time with friends and family during the holiday season, why not let them know about this exciting new way to help save state parks?

Since early 2008 we’ve tried to work with the Legislature and Governor to Save Our State Parks. Although we prevented the closure of 80% of the system, and elimination of all core state funding for state parks, it’s clear that the powers that be in Sacramento aren’t riding to the rescue.

CSPF is done trying to convince them. They are taking their case to YOU! CSPF is actively working to put the State Park Access Pass on the ballot in November 2010 and they need your help. They will be working hard this Fall and Winter to gather public support.

RPD Releases Community Opportunity Fund Survey

Friday, May 8th, 2009

Hello Park People,

As many of you know, with the passage of the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department Clean and Safe Neighborhood Parks Bond in 2008, a $5-million Community Opportunity Fund was established to fund small-scale, community nominated park improvement projects across the city of San Francisco. In other words, community members like YOU will be able to apply for small grants to drive capital improvements in your park.

The Recreation and Parks Department and the Community Opportunity Fund Task Force are now beginning to design this program, and they would like your feedback on this initial stage of the process. Please take a moment to fill out the survey they’ve created, and be sure to take advantage of open-ended questions to give specific information about your park. Please note, this survey is only intended to solicit feedback on the design of the program, and is NOT an application for the grants themselves. We’ll make sure to let you know about future opportunities for feedback and participation as this process moves forward. In the meantime, if you have any questions about the Community Opportunity Fund, please contact Dawn Kamalanathan, Planning Director at the Recreation and Parks Department at or (415) 831-2743.

Survey Link:

Thank you!

Support the Isabel Wade Advocacy Fund

Saturday, May 2nd, 2009

 After 13 years of dedicated and passionate service, Isabel Wade will step down as Executive Director of the Neighborhood Parks Council on July 1st. Isabel’s energy has propelled NPC to a leadership role in park advocacy in San Francisco.  Most notably she worked to pass two parks bonds as well as Proposition C, which ensures park maintenance standards.

In her honor, NPC staff has established the Isabel Wade Advocacy Fund to support our advocacy work which currently goes largely unfunded. Through this special fund, NPC will be able to continue advocating for a superior, equitable and sustainable park and recreation system. Please consider making a donation to support our important advocacy work, and to help us honor Isabel’s legacy.

To make a donation by check:

Please mail checks to: Neighborhood Parks Council, 451 Hayes Street, 2nd floor, San Francisco, CA 94102.  Please write “Isabel Wade Advocacy Fund” on the check memo.

To make an online donation with a credit card:

Click here