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SFOE will post the URL for the website for the Coalition to Protect Golden Gate Park as soon as it is available.  Meanwhile,  if you'd like to sign the petition in support of the Ballot Initiative, or if you'd like copies of the petition to circulate, please contact Mike Murphy or Shawna McGrew.

Shawna McGrew (h) 415-681-3544; (cell) 415-310-1490 email: sunsetfog@aol.com

Mike Murphy (cell) 415-823-9743 email: info@protectggp.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE APRIL 19, 2014 

BALLOT INITIATIVE FILED TO PROTECT GOLDEN GATE PARK FILED BY THE COALITION TO PROTECT GOLDEN GATE PARK

On April 17, 2014, a Ballot Initiative was filed with the San Francisco Board of Elections for the November, 2014 election that would permit renovation of the sports playing fields in the western part of Golden Gate Park with natural grass only.  The ballot measure, entitled “Golden Gate Park Athletic Fields Renovation Act” will require the City’s Recreation and Parks Department to maintain all sports fields in the pastoral portion of the Park west of Crossover Drive as natural grass, and would prohibit night sports lighting in this part of the Park.  The ballot measure was filed by the Coalition to Protect Golden Gate Park, a citizen’s group made up of individuals, community associations and environmental organizations dedicated to keeping Golden Gate Park free of toxic materials.  Voters will have the opportunity to decide whether a 7+ acre grass playing field at the Beach Chalet Fields should be bulldozed and replaced with an artificial turf pavement, lighted every night of the year with tall stadium lighting, or whether the fields will be maintained as natural grass and host sporting events in a natural context as they have been since the 1930's.  This initiative would affect any future project at the Polo Fields as well. 

Coalition members have numerous concerns about the negative impacts of the proposed Beach Chalet project. These concerns include:

       Environmental and human health threats posed by toxic chemicals in plastic turf and the rubber tire crumb infill;

       The impact of high intensity sports lighting which would add significant light pollution that would impact birds and other wildlife that use the Park's open spaces;

       Adverse impacts on the natural aquifer that underlies these fields which will soon be used to supplement the City’s potable water supply;

       Diverse impacts on water discharged into the Pacific Ocean at Ocean Beach;

       Impact of the Beach Chalet project on the Golden Gate Park historic district, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places; and,

       The precedent for the rest of the California Coast set by the California Coastal Commission's ruling approving the plan.

  Supporters of the initiative believe this issue must be taken to the voters because the decision-makers in the City and the California Coastal Commission disregarded a wealth of information about the harmful effects of artificial turf, night lighting, and the inappropriateness of a sports stadium in the naturalistic western end of Golden Gate Park.  Thousands of concerned residents signed petitions, wrote letters, testified at hearings, and publically protested the Beach Chalet project. Nevertheless, the decision-makers turned a deaf ear to this outcry and are allowing the project to go forward.

Supporters of this ballot initiative believe that a renovation of the Beach Chalet playing fields must ensure the safety and health of children and adults who play on them as well as maintain the naturalistic quality of the western portion of Golden Gate Park.  Much has been made of the City’s need to provide safe, updated playing fields for children.  But the renovation material chosen by the City is not safe.  The Beach Chalet project will use the most toxic type of artificial turf infill called SBR, which is a finely ground powder of used rubber tires.  This material contains a large array of harmful chemicals including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, phthalates, heavy metals, formaldehyde, among others.  The US Environmental Protection Agency has recently retracted its assurances that SBR is safe, posting new cautions about 30 compounds found in shredded tire turf, including lead, mercury and arsenic.  This toxic rubber is placed on top of, not underneath, the artificial grass to cushion the turf.  Children and others playing on the fields come in direct contact with the rubber particles, which commonly get on their skin and into their mouths, eyes, ears and hair.  It also coats shoes and clothing and is then tracked into cars and homes.

Supporters also object to the addition of 150,000 watts of lighting shining from 60 foot high light standards, creating light pollution, a serious environmental problem.  Light pollution causes harm to human and animal health, disrupts ecosystems, interferes with astronomical observations, and spoils views from scenic overlooks and Ocean Beach. 
To renovate the fields and still protect Golden Gate Park, the Coalition urges the City to adopt a win-win alternative, which would renovate Golden Gate Park with natural grass and no sports lights and would install safe, non-toxic turf in West Sunset Playground.  Time and time again the City has refused to consider this win-win alternative. 


Supporters maintain that Golden Gate Park is a priceless urban oasis in one of the most densely populated cities in the country.  It must be kept safe and free of environmental toxins, as well as remain naturalistic, with real grass and healthy habitat for wildlife. Supporters of the renovation of these fields with natural grass have filed this Ballot Initiative.

If you'd like to sign the petition, or if you'd like copies of the petition to circulate, please contact Mike Murphy or Shawna McGrew at addresses given at the top of this release.

RECREATION AND PARK COMMISSION APPROVES CONSTRUCTION CONTRACT.

The SF Recreation and Park Commission voted to approve the Beach Chalet construction contract at their full meeting on April 17th, 2014.  The Commission refused to take this item off of the Consent Calendar and voted with no consideration of issues raised by the public, including possible toxicity of artificial turf, problems with project funding, the pending Sierra Club appeal, and the lack of any reports made available to the public on wildlife or nesting birds.

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CALIFORNIA COASTAL COMMISSION APPROVES FINDINGS ON BEACH CHALET PROJECT AT APRIL 9TH, 2014 MEETING IN SANTA BARBARA -- CCC REFUSES TO POSTPONE DECISION ONE MONTH TO NORTHERN CALIFORNIA LOCATION TO ALLOW FOR LOCAL PUBLIC COMMENT.

The CCC voted on April 9th to approve the final Staff Report for the Beach Chalet project.  The Commission had directed the Staff to completely reverse the original Staff recommendations for protecting Golden Gate Park.  (You can read the wonderful, original  staff report and see how it was gutted by the political powers-that-be.  It is now loaded on Slideshare at :  http://www.slideshare.net/SFOceanEdge/w155a-42014  

Our thanks to everyone who wrote over 25 letters to the Coastal Commissioners and asked them to postpone this hearing to May, when they will be in Northern California!  Only ONE PERSON WROTE IN FAVOR OF THE PROJECT.  

Here are the reasons that this hearing should have been postponed:

    Rec and Park (RPD) is proposing mitigations and impact monitoring programs to satisfy concerns of residents.    These mitigations should be discussed in a meeting held near where everyone lives who will be impacted by this project!  Therefore, the topic should be discussed in Northern California.

    Last May most of the project opponents were denied the right to speak -- at least this time, the proposed mitigations report should be discussed at a meeting in Northern California, so that those folks can have the right to speak to the issues. 

    Rec and Park's own schedule shows the construction starting in late June -- therefore, there is plenty of time for the CCC to hear the topics and issues in May and to issue the permits that RPD needs.

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CALIFORNIA COMMONWEALTH CLUB Panel Discussion on

Parks and Privatization

Watch above or click here to go to Youtube to view the Commonwealth Club Panel on privatization and our parks. Go to minute 25:00 to learn more from Tim Redmond about the Beach Chalet and other artificial field projects.

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Read the

WESTSIDE OBSERVER

Frontpage article on artificial turf in SF:

"Turf Burn" by Susan Gerhard

Read it and join our Soccer Players and Parents for Green Grass in Golden Gate Park group!

Remember, in San Francisco it is not over until it is over -- and even then it is not over!

(Note:  This group will keep your name confidential, unless you choose to share it publicly.)

Contact us at sfoceanedge@earthlink.net to learn more.

Please go to our newspaper links page for this dynamite article.

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Click below to see the new powerpoint explaining the various city planning documents which support keeping Golden Gate Park and Ocean Beach free of artificial turf and 150,000 watts of stadium lighting

Watch our new video -- click below or go to the video page.

Video/audio links

Great outreach at Sunday Streets and Gay Pride! 

Thank you everyone for helping out -- lots of people learned about the project, lots of new people signed up!

Click here for photos on Flickr

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Attorneys and outreach cost money! Click here to DONATE TODAY!

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THERE IS A VIABLE ALTERNATIVE TO THIS PROJECT!

Learn about the win-win solution! The Hybrid Alternative.

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Join us to help protect Golden Gate Park for today and for future generations.  There is only one Golden Gate Park!


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SF Ocean Edge - Where Golden Gate Park meets Ocean Beach
 
SAVE GOLDEN GATE PARK  visitors have been referred to this website.
See also:  www.goldengateparkpreservation.org for information on other GGP issues

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Save Golden Gate Park (c)  and  SF Ocean Edge (c) 2090, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014  K. Howard