PARK, RECREATION AND
OPEN SPACE ADVISORY COMMITTEE
McLAREN LODGE, GOLDEN GATE PARK, 501 STANYAN STREET
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA 94117
Tel: 415-831-2708 Fax: 415-831-2096
Gavin Newsom Philip A. Ginsburg
Mayor General Manager
PARK, RECREATION AND OPEN SPACE ADVISORY COMMITTEE
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
City Hall - 1 Carlton B. Goodlett Place, Room 278
San Francisco, CA
ROLL CALL at 6:45 P.M.
Members Present: Lani Battiste, Nick Belloni, Bill Carlin, Sharon Eberhardt, Jason Fried, Les Hilger,
Mary Lipian, Ancel Martinez, Jeanne McKinney, Anderson Pugash, Linda Shaffer,
Frank Triska, Tom Valtin, Nancy Wuerfel, Felicia Zeiger, Anne Zelinsky
Members Absent: Tan Chow, Pat Delgado, Lisa Fisher, Austin Phillips, Bill Wilson
Staff Present: Rhoda Parhams, Dawn Kamalanathan, Lisa Wayne, and Melinda Stockmann.
ROLL CALL/CALL TO ORDER/AGENDA CHANGES
There were no agenda changes.
1. REVIEW OF THE MINUTES
Motion accepted to approve minutes for September, October, and November meetings, with changes made
to October 6 meetings, to capture an additional comment made on Item 5, Bond Forestry Program, as
suggested by Ms. Nancy Wuerfel.
2. CAPITAL PROGRAM MONTHLY UPDATE
Ms. Rhoda Parhams was looking forward to giving a report on the second bond sale; however, some issues
have delayed that so she will have a report for review next month. Ms. Parhams gave an overview of the
number of projects the Capital Improvement Division is working on and what stage they are in. She
reviewed the status of 2008 Bond projects. She stated that there have been no new grants or infusion of
philanthropic funds. She pointed out that pgs. 1-4 of the Monthly Expenditure Report show projects and
what phase they are in. Ms. Parhams also pointed out that this report was updated as of October 31, 2009
and that the Capital Improvement Division is usually about 30 days behind in terms of publishing.
Upcoming reopenings include Midtown Terrace and Sunnyside Conservatory (December 5, 2009) and
Buena Vista (tentatively set for December 12). The Capital projects and monthly reports can be viewed
Ms. Wuerfel requested a clarification on the difference between park renovation field rehabilitation and
playfield replacement. She also asked how the Capital Improvement Division gets a list of places for this
and who does the work. Ms. Parhams explained that park renovation field rehabilitation funds go in
annually for maintenance work on natural turf fields and that this is open space money for capital projects.
These funds allow for replanting when necessary. RPD Operations staff members approach the Capital
Improvement Division with a list of places that need work. Operations staff generally completes the work.
3. SHARP PARK ALTERNATIVES REPORT
Ms. Dawn Kamalanathan, together with project consultants, gave a report on the development of three
conceptual alternatives for Sharp Park that focus on the restoration of the Laguna Salada habitat for the
San Francisco Garter Snake (thus forward referred to as the SFGS) and the California Red-Legged Frog
(thus forward referred to as the CRLF). Ms. Kamalanathan noted that a similar presentation was given to
the Recreation and Park Commission two weeks ago and that tonight’s meeting would be an opportunity for
PROSAC members to ask questions and get answers directly from the consultants.
Mr. David Munro, Project Consultant, Restoration Ecologist and Lead Author from Tetra Tech, presented
Sharp Park general features, background and project scope, general problems, restoration objectives, and
alternatives development, including assumptions and constraints. He emphasized that all three alternatives
had to result in viable, high-quality habitat for the SFGS and CRLF, minimize the chance of take, and be
viable for the long-term planning horizon time frame. He reviewed features common to all three alternatives
and then described Concept A-18 (which retains an 18-hole golf course), Concept A-9 (which retains a 9-
hole golf course) and Concept A0 (which eliminates golf), and their features. Mr.Munro reviewed estimated
costs for each of the three alternatives with offsite disposal versus with re-use.
Ms. Kamalanathan reviewed the concept of mitigation banking and the conclusions from the Sharp Park
Mitigation Bank Financial Viability Analysis.
Ms. Karen Swaim, Project Consultant and Lead Wildlife Biologist, Swaim Biological, gave a presentation on
the Sharp Park Wildlife Surveys and on the status of the SFGS and the CRLF. Ms. Swaim’s presentation
included slides on her survey experience, her experience on adjacent lands, and research projects with
which she has been involved. Ms. Swaim presented Swaim Biological’s goal as being to gather and
analyze data to support a science-based recommendation on the development and selection of the best
alternative for recovery of the SFGS and CRLF populations at the Laguna Salada wetlands complex.
Ms. Swaim reviewed project tasks and results, including existing conditions, her assessment of the status
of the CRLF and SFGS at Sharp Park, and limiting factors. She showed a series of aerial photos of Sharp
Park, beginning with 1928. She then shared her restoration recommendations and her support of the A-18
It was also mentioned that Doug Nichols of Nichols Golf Group (not present for tonight’s meeting) helped to
prepare realignments for the various alternatives.
A copy of the full presentation can be provided to PROSAC members if they would like one.
(Presentation ended at 7:55)
Mr. Valtin asked for verification that the findings were that neither the 9-hole nor the no-golf alternative
would appreciably advance the chances for increasing the numbers for the SFGS and CRLF over the 18-
hole alternative. Ms. Swaim verified.
There was some discussion on the subject of pumping water from Laguna Salada. Why can’t the water
level be kept fairly consistent? Mr. Munro clarified that the challenge is not a complex technology as much
as it is CRLF breeding constraints. Ms. Lisa Wayne added that the volume of water coming down through
the watershed is so large that the pumps can only handle a percentage of the water. Whether with a pump
or a pipe, if you can’t keep up with the flow, you’re going to get a big surge.
Mr. Martinez asked where Sharp Park fits in with other northern California restoration projects Ms. Swaim
has consulted on in terms of scope and scale. Ms. Swaim answered that this is definitely the largest in
terms of how much sediment would be removed. The scope is similar in terms of the San Francisco
International Airport, the San Bruno Jail, and some PUC properties.
Mr. Martinez inquired about a general cost per acre. Mr. Munro responded that the restoration of the
lagoon part is right in the same ballpark as other restorations in the Bay Area: $50,000-$250,000/acre. The
wetland complex is 28 acres, so there would be about 4 million dollars of expenses associated with just the
wetland component. The entire project area for A-18 would be in the ballpark of 50 acres if you include
upland area. Cost is in the 6 million dollar range, so about $120,000/acre.
Ms. Battiste asked whether the commission had made some kind of determination/vote on Sharp Park at
the last hearing. Ms. Kamalanathan clarified that the Commission continued the item until December 17, at
which time they may take some action. Ms. Battiste asked her fellow PROSAC members if PROSAC was
going to take action.
Ms. Wuerfel asked for clarification about the sea wall- how it works and when it was built? The sea wall in
its present condition was built in 1989 or 1990. Before that, there were other partial barriers. The current
sea wall has never been breached. The last significant breach that the Department is aware of was in
1983. Ms. Kamalanathan offered to provide a more detailed chronology for PROSAC if requested.
Mr. Fried initiated a discussion on the proposed PUC recycled water pipeline. Ms. Kamalanathan clarified
that the golf course does not need the pipeline. The Department is currently buying water. The golf course
could be a good place for recycled water. The Department is not considering the pipeline cost. It is not a
foregone conclusion that if the Department goes forward with one of these plans that the recycled water will
Mr. Belloni asked how badly the sea wall needs to be fixed. Ms. Kamalanathan mentioned that the
Department has contracted with an engineering firm and that they are working on a condition assessment
of the sea wall in order to make recommendations for improvements if needed. The goal is to have this
report available to the public next week.
Ms. Shaffer asked for clarification on why flooding would be a problem with only the no-golf alternative.
Discussion ensued about the combination of existing flood risk and sea level rise predictions.
Mr. Mike Wallack, Golfer, expressed that the presenters addressed several of his concerns- in terms of
protecting the habitat. He commended RPD staff and consultants for doing an extraordinary job with a
reasonable compromise, and also commented that this was his second time hearing the presentation.
Mr. Ray Clemons, Golfer, does not see having the golf course as a detriment to the environment of the
SFGS or CRLF- Compromise can be made in these economic times. Where is the money going to come
from? More bond projects? He expressed that the staff and consultants did an admirable job on the
compromise. According to Mr. Clemons, the golf course can certainly exist, and there are other courses
around the country making similar improvements, such as at Stanford University. It’s important to be
fiscally responsible as we move forward. Thank you for your time and your wonderful report.
Mr. Jack Scott, representing San Francisco Public Golf Alliance, has been around golf in San Francisco for
about 15 years. Mr. Scott claimed that the report was fabulous and clear. He pointed out that youth
leadership training through golf has been at Sharp Park. A-18 option is a win-win situation: helps the golfer,
keeps the revenue stream at the golf course.
Ms. Janet Breger, Pacifica resident for 30 years, questioned the legitimacy of the historic aerial
photographs shown in the presentation. Ms. Breger also claimed that the efforts to protect the SFGS and
CRLF made her feel like a hostage in a terrorist situation (“They’re selling us a zoo and we’re supposed to
Mr. Riley Jameson, 87 years old, representing Save Sharp Park, emphasized that Sharp Park is a great
place for seniors. Mr. Jameson spoke in support of maintaining an 18-hole golf course and pointed out that
senior citizens like the course because it’s flat and affordable. He asked the committee to “remember the
old citizens” and said that he approves of A-18.
Mr. Jack Rauch, Pacifica resident, representing San Francisco Archers, Archery Range, commended staff
and consultants for doing a good job. The report has dispelled many myths. According to Mr. Rauch, the
archers support the 18-hole golf recommendation because they are in favor of the recreational use of that
land and also the environment- animal as well as plant life.
Mr. Grant Ewald, golfer, at Sharp Park almost every day, claimed that he sees tons of frogs and hears them
all the time [at the park] and that he has never seen a SFGS there. Mr. Ewald pointed out that there are 40
or 50 other specific places in Pacifica to hike or walk, but only one golf course. He pointed out that “it’s not
a golf course for fat cats,” that all kinds of people are playing there, and that it would be a shame to close
the golf course.
Mr. Richard Harris, San Francisco resident, representing the SF Public Golf Alliance, told the committee
that the SF Public Golf Alliance had submitted comments in two letters- November 19 and December 1,
asking that the golf course be retained and supporting improvements. Mr. Harris also expressed that the
Golf Alliance thinks some small modifications to A-18 can be made at less monetary cost and greater
environmental benefit and that the Alliance would be happy to discuss that. He pointed out widespread
opinion that the Sharp Park Golf Course is a special resource and sent regards from the Mayor of Pacifica.
Ms. Barbara Arietta commended the report and the people who did the work. Ms. Arietta acknowledged
that the information was ringing more true now than what she had heard in the past. She expressed her
opinion that a win-win situation for the frogs, the snakes and the golf is to move forward with the A-18
Ms. Robine Runneals lives near Sharp Park and expressed appreciation for the report that TetraTech did.
Ms. Runneals clarified that she is not a golfer as well as the fact that in 1982 the levy flooded. She claimed
that the golf course has been an excellent neighbor, as has San Francisco, and she urged RPD and
PROSAC to “remember us residents.”
There was some discussion as to whether the Department should keep ownership of Sharp Park or pursue
other options, including transferring the property to another agency. Ms. McKinney suggested that if there
was going to be any resolution on Sharp Park tonight, that it should focus on the report that was presented.
She did inquire, however, as to the status of the report as to whether any other agencies would be
interested in Sharp Park. Ms. Kamalanathan said that the GGNRA, San Mateo County, and the City of
Pacifica wanted to see this report come out and that the sea wall inspection is the last piece of information
that agencies are waiting on. San Mateo County and the GGNRA have both expressed interest. Ms.
McKinney clarified that more detailed information on different options for property ownership and
management in the future would not be available until later and urged the Committee that it was in their
interest to address the report and three alternatives presented this evening.
Mr. Frank Triska proposed the following resolution:
PROSAC supports retention of an 18 hole golf course, Alternative A-18, at Sharp Park, Pacifica, California
in conjunction with rehabilitation of habitat in the western end of the property including Laguna Salada and
Horse Stable Pond for the benefit of the red-legged frog (Rana aurora draytoni) and the San Francisco
Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis tetrataenia). PROSAC further requests progress updates during
development of the rehabilitation plan for the above species for the purpose of comment and input.
The resolution was seconded.
Mr. Martinez expressed support for the resolution but asked who would bear the economic expenses
related to the proposal this resolution supports. Ms. Kamalanathan responded that things are a little murky
in terms of resources and tradeoffs. No general funds would be pursued for the capital costs. The
Department is pursuing federal fund appropriations, philanthropic investments, and potential partnerships.
She stressed the importance of understanding that these are capital costs. The tradeoffs are around
annual operating budgets. In terms of tradeoffs, recreation centers are not going to close because of what
we’re doing at Sharp Park. They are separate funding streams. For this project, funding sources that are
not typically pursued for other projects. Ms. Wayne added that in her opinion this is a highly fundable
Mr. Fried expressed that he would vote against the resolution because he needs to know who’s going to do
the management. If, for example, the GGNRA takes over, golf may not be able to be retained. He
expressed that he doesn’t want to see a lot of money spent for a resource that generally benefits a
community other than San Francisco, and that he wants to see all of the financials.
Ms. Wuerfel presented a chart she had made of financial information, based on a previous meeting with
Ms. Kamalanathan. Ms. Kamalanathan emphasized that the Department has lots of recreational uses that
are heavily subsidized and that serve not just San Francisco residents but the region. She suggested
steering away from discussions of losing money or not losing money.
Ms. McKinney called the vote. Seconded. Mr. Triska repeated the above stated resolution.
The resolution passed with 15 yes votes, 1 no vote (Mr. Fried).
Ms. Shaffer advanced the following resolution: PROSAC recommends that the Recreation and Park
Commission and the Dept. of Parks and Recreation continue pursuing cooperation with San Mateo County
and the City of Pacific about Sharp Park. Seconded.
Attempts were made to clarify/specify the resolution. Mr. Fried proposed a friendly amendment that the
GGNRA be added to the resolution. Ms. Wuerfel disagreed with this suggestion. Mr. Fried then made an
unfriendly amendment. No second. Motion failed. Call to vote. Seconded. The resolution was read aloud
one more time and passed with 13 yes votes, 2 no votes (Mr. Fried and Ms. Lipian) (Mr. Martinez was not
present for this vote).
A motion was made that Ms. Kamalanathan commend presenters. The motion was unanimously accepted
4. FINANCIAL GOLF FUND REPORT: FINANCIAL ANALYSIS AND CRITIQUE
When Chair Hilger raised this agenda item, Ms. Wuerfel pointed out that RPD staff have not presented on
this item. Ms. Wuerfel read the following resolution, which was seconded by Mr. Fried:
Because of PROSAC’s long association with the Golf Fund since its inception in 2002 and its active
participation in crafting the fund’s priorities, PROSAC wishes to convey to the Recreation and Park
Commission its concerns about the failure of the Department to follow the accounting procedures set forth
in the Golf Fund Ordinance 51-02, Administrative Code section 10.100-256, and to urge the Commission to
provide the appropriate oversight to ensure that the Ordinance is duly implemented, immediately.
Mr. Triska stated that a letter from the General Manager had said that there were extraordinary
circumstances and that the Department was following what the Comptroller’s Office had advised. Mr.
Triska expressed uncertainty as to whether the administrative code takes precedence over the
Comptroller’s Office advice.
Ms. Battiste suggested a friendly amendment to change faithfully to duly to eliminate the subjectivity.
Ms. Wuerfel accepted this amendment.
Chair Hilger then opened the resolution discussion to public comment. One gentleman said that he would
like to see the law followed as it should be followed. Mr. Richard Harris stated that there were probably
some questions of municipal law involved.
(Further committee comments):
Ms. Jeanne McKinney expressed concerns that through this resolution, PROSAC might be asking the
Department to not follow the law instead of following the law. Ms. Wuerfel responded that the Golf Fund
Ordinance must first be implemented by the Department as written in the law, before it could subsequently
be set aside by the Board of Supervisors, if they decided to do so through the annual budget.
The resolution was unanimously approved by PROSAC.
Ms. Shaffer announced that the Draft EIR for the Candlestick Point…Redevelopment Project was released
on Nov 10th [11 ?], with a 45-day comment period. There is a movement to try to get the comment period
extended to 90 days. Contact Stanley Muruoka, SF Planning, to advocate for this extension. The 4,000
page report is available on the SF Planning website. SB 792 did pass both houses and was signed into law
by the Governor. The acreage in the state recreation area that could possibly be sold to the developer was
reduced from 42 acres to 23 acres.
Mr. Fried expressed concern about how the agenda came together and was finalized. An agenda item that
was requested by him at the last meeting seems to have been removed by staff. Adding to the agenda is
understandable, but removing items and notifying PROSAC members via the final agenda does not leave
time for correction in time for the meeting. Mr. Fried stated that it is disappointing to be told that PROSAC
is going to get a presentation by staff on something and that it doesn’t happen.
Chair Hilger asked members to submit any agenda items to him directly by e-mail. He will communicate
with RPD staff and discuss how to get said agenda items on the agenda and to establish time tables for
draft and final agendas.
Discussion ensued on whether all PROSAC members should be copied on e-mails from the RPD to the
Chair and on Sunshine Ordinance/legal questions around e-mail correspondence among PROSAC
Ms. Wuerfel asked how the resolutions passed tonight will be communicated to the Commission and Chair
Hilger agreed to present the resolutions to the Commission at the December 4, 2009 hearing.
6. PUBLIC COMMENT ON ITEMS NOT ON AGENDA
No public comment
ADJOURNMENT at 9:50 pm.