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What People Said at the RPD Commission Meeting on 10/19/2023

Public Comments at Rec & Parks Commission 10/19/23

Transcribed By Patsy Fergusson, San Francisco Resident


Here is a transcript of what people said on October 19, during the public comment section of the Recreation and Parks Commission meeting at City Hall.


John Mar, general manager of the St. Francis Yacht Club: (1:46:57)

Our club has been a key tenant in yacht harbor since 1927. We are a major stakeholder in the harbor’s proper design and operation… The club needs a functioning and viable harbor…At this time the St. Francis Yacht Club is not able to fully support the plan as currently presented for several reasons.


First) we are concerned over the long-term dredging needs, since the sheet pile breakwater plan as presented contemplates no need or allowance for maintenance dredging…


Second) will have a starkly negative impact on our community outreach and junior sailing programs, given the loss of the protected area now east of the jetty. Our ability to teach novices the sport of sailing in relatively calm protected waters will be completely lost.


Third) we are concerned the plan’s partial toxic remediation in the East Harbor reflects a half measure and question whether this is really a safe public health approach. Consultant_____’s so called alternative 2 “rebuilding with capping” resulting in a full re-use of East Harbor should be better explained and explored. It is unclear whether some of the compromise of this approach might eliminate the need for outside slips. To this point, we still have not been presented with the budget or financials on how this project will remain sustainable in the future. We hope to better understand Rec & Park’s thinking on this specific plan before it moves forward.



I don’t live in the Marina…I grew up in a little apartment with no view above chinatown. As a kid I spent a lot of time at Marina Green. We were flying kites and fishing with my dad…just to relax and breathe that beautiful fresh air and see that beautiful view…this was my joyful connection with nature. These open spaces are vital to those living in the inner city—those with no penthouse views. These are the people who need this wide open, sacred open space. Please do not destroy it with new boat slips that will only benefit a few privileged boat owners and take away from the rest of us. Please clean up Gashouse Cove, but do not ruin the treasure that is Marina Green.


Hunter Cutting, speaking on behalf of the Sierra Club

…the club is deeply concerned about the proposal that is on the table today. It has significant flaws, and it should not be the basis for moving forward. This plan does need to go back for further review before it goes forward. There are numerous issues but three [sic] in particular that the club would like to highlight.


1-There’s no element in the plan to accommodate sea level rise. This is an astonishing and wholly inappropriate omission. I was happy to hear today that staff was talking with BCDC about the issue, but it should be in the plan. It goes against state policy, goes against BCDC policy, goes against City policy and it’s wholly inappropriate. 


2. RPD plans to double berthing fees after the development will dramatically reduce public access to the Bay. Club does not find the analysis of views today to be robust. We don’t have the information. This plan does need to go back…


Kimball Livingston, as Commodore of the Pacific Coast Yachting Association

“Yachting” referring to anything that floats from San Diego to Vancouver, friends, I am not here to advocate for more boat parking. In fact, I’m here on behalf of the hundreds of SF school kids, who learn to sail on the SF city front, in the only place where we can train beginners, the so-called cove, and the only place where we can reliably train intermediates, the so-called cove, that indentation on the SF city front between the wave organ and Ft. Mason which gives us just enough cover, just enough protection from the current, just enough protection from the wind, that we can put kids on the water… SF was not built by cowboys. We were built from the sea. That’s our heritage…that heritage is mostly lost to most of the citizens of SF…but every year we introduce a few hundred kids to that heritage…. We are not in need of more boat parking on the SF city front. The community at large is not in favor of expanding the marina as it exists. I appreciate the comments (about watching kids practicing sailing there) that we are part of their entertainment, but most of all we’re contributing and we’ll be cut off at the knees without the cove.



Very disappointed by this presentation…plan is an extension of a previous plan that did not work, with the breakwaters in for the dredging. This is not just a view issue. This is a tourism, economic vitality of the greater city, and this does not work. With this plan we are denying the non-rich public the right to come with a view of Fleet Week, Blue Angels, 4th of July, the big and small yacht regattas…the little regattas that happen every day. They’re the ones that cause us economic vitality for our neighborhood. .. They come with their families, go to the shops on Chestnut St. You’re denying our neighborhood the right for economic vitality. Something better must  be done. This plan must be changed. I’m very disappointed we weren’t brought into the plan at an earlier stage, and I’m particularly disturbed by the fact that with the new technology a better plan was not formed.


Greg Blaine

…This is London Breed’s Willie Brown Embarcadero Freeway moment. We all look at the Embarcadero now and say well of course that was the right thing to do, but at the time Willie Brown faced a lot of pressure and had to make a big decision. It’s a hard thing to go against the advice of your staff but sometimes you have to do that…this is your Embarcadero moment…10 or 20 years from now, would I be proud of myself if someone said “Your grandpa was one of the people who voted to build this big boat parking lot here?" Or, would I be proud if they said, "Your grandpa was one of the people who voted to stop them from building a big boat parking lot here, so everyone can walk along here and enjoy the spectacular, spiritually uplifting, uniquely San Francisco vista forever.”


Another Patricia:

This project just isn’t the right project for the waterfront. While the plan they laid out sounds good on paper, having that big dock, where you have to walk out, really cuts the access for people who have disabilities or can’t walk or over residents. I see them drive down to the Bay and they’re able to sit there and look out at the Bay. I’ve known older people who can’t get out of the car. But they’re able to be part of this natural environment…Appreciate that RPD needs to be earning income, but the direct trade off of the public good of access to the Bay for people who have boats, a couple hundred people, really is selling out SF and all the residents of SF. That’s the public good that we want.


Deanne Delbridge:

RPD’s own limited input from a biased survey provided at community meetings showed 97% of those attending valued nature views above all else. The most popular choice was natural habitat. Not a parking lot for boats. We’ve attended all of your meetings and no one was in favor of this plan… Man standing on the edge of the water…stood there for 15 minutes. That man, was the president of the United States….he would ask you, what would you leave as a legacy to this beautiful city?


Diane Walton, president of the Dolphin Club

We have concerns about the readiness of the project going forward; we also have lots of things we want to contribute to making this project work…we offer the dolphin club support for re-think and we’ll do what we can to help



I am in support of not doing anything to Marina Green. If there needs to be consideration for the space…I would like to recommend that you investigate making it a memorial to Dianne Feinstein. Use that iconic spot to represent her legacy, her commitment to both the city , the state, and the country, as well as her involvement in establishing Fleet Week, etc. … {also) Those benches are memorials. There are plaques on them. They represent families and loved ones. What is the plan for those? When they were placed, and i imagine at some expense, I imagine people expected them to remain where they are…



In just a few weeks we’ve collected about 6,000 data points showing people don’t want a harbor in front of Marina Green and it’s especially egregious since the money is coming out of remediation. I don’t know why every bit of information you are getting is so biased towards building a new boat harbor…(presentation Monica Scott just gave contained a bald-faced lie—timeline for option 2, rebuild, is 4-5 years not 7-8) Nobody wants this plan.



We are being told the marina is not sustainable. In the 21-22 budget, on a revenue of $4.4 million, the marina is going to lose $6,000. So the budget is balanced. So I don’t know what the problem really is. And, if the Marina was operating at capacity, you’d actually have a surplus. So tell me where the problem is. … $68 mill for renovation. $52 for building a new harbor and renovate East Harbor. $23.9 million slated for renovation East Harbor. Interestingly, in 2016, RPD issued plan for renovation of East Harbor at $6.7 million. So in six years, went from $6.7 million to $23.9 million dollars. Why are you spending $52 million dollars for a revenue of $4.4? Is RPD a Silicon Valley startup with unlimited funding? I don’t think so.


Jamie Michaels,

I live in the Haight and weekly walk along and swim in the Bay. For over 25 years I worked for BCDC. When BCDC looked at this project a decade ago it was problematic and still is. I want you to consider the following. Why can’t the contaminated basin be fully cleaned up by PG&E? Cost should not be a dictating reason. This kind of cleanup is feasible and it’s been done all over the Bay, including at Treasure Island, and many of our regional ports and former military and industrial sites.


Also, if you have no option but to make the water smaller, the state will require you to mitigate by opening the Bay elsewhere, so you have to consider that in your total project costs. Impact to marine mammals and birds should be considered also. How will current tenants be accommodated at affordable rates at the relocated slips? A full 3D analysis to understand the view impact, and that should be shown from the perspective of those walking, sitting, driving along the water…dredging and disposal needs at this relocated area will likely be as high as they are at the adjacent area. This is an area that has historically high sedimentation rates and you really need to understand what those will be.



I do not live in the Marina…It pains me now to see RP set off on a misguided course—one that would tragically destroy not only a view but to many, including me, what would embody the heart and soul of the city that I love… Please preserve our city’s treasure.



Outrageous, RPD has positioned this opposition as a NIMBY complaint…. RPD does not seem to be motivated by the public’s best interest…Outrageous I have to be here to plead with …a priceless, irreplaceable gem and we should regard it and protect it as such for its inherent significance.



If this happens Marina Green will be viewed as an accessory to the boat harbor. Was the public ever asked if it was okay to divert funds from the PG&E settlement off of cleaning the harbor to building a new marina? Never. Was the public ever asked if they wanted the very unique views…obstructed? Never. Under no circumstances should the open water off of Marina Green be used for a parking lot for boats and use the money instead of cleaning up the East Harbor.



Dispute idea this project is only going to impact people living in the Marina. I live on Nob Hill at the intersection of Polk and Jackson and I’m just one of the hundreds of people who use this space to exercise on a daily basis. It’s impossible to be on the Marina Green and not see residents and visitors creating community while they picnic or play soccer and sharing this sense of awe while looking at the Golden Gate Bridge and north bay. There actually is a science of awe…direct health benefits. Marina Green also belongs to those 26 million visitors come each year



This plan is advertised to improve and remediate existing contamination but actually doing the opposite: doing a minimal clean up and actually creating a visual contamination for that area. Wave Organ…lose the 360 degree of that place…West Harbor as is absolutely iconic place. Yesterday was a newscaster out there with the Golden Gate Bridge as a background and it’s a huge centerpiece for the city and just for the beauty that represents this area…besides the fact that the residents are the ones paying the most for those views, not the boat owners or the people using the area, contaminating those amenities will have a huge impact. To go lunches, meals, wine…being in the city with area to sit. No people sit on the benches where the boats are. All people sit on the West side where there’s unobstructed view. … Please keep that space open…


Chrissy Kaplan

Area of Gashouse Cove designated as shallow water has not been carefully considered. Cove also home of Laguna Outfall, a six-foot diameter pipe. When it rains, all sorts of nastiness comes out of that pipe. and straight into the bay. the really big storms we had at the start of the year, raw sewage comes out of that pipe, and it has always been that way and always will remain that way. Today with this warm weather if you were down at gas house cove you would see a haze coming out of that pipe and you would smell something awful…


The area they’ve designated to move the fuel dock has not been carefully considered either. For 54 years we’ve been in the south corner of gas house cove. It is isolated from other structures, from other boats, from the public, and considering the type of service that we do, that is exactly as it should be. Also, it is the closest place that a boat can access an ambulance. If you move it to what they have projected it will be three times the distance for an injured person to get land help. I’ve got 54 years of proof that that fuel dock is located exactly where it needs to stay.



Proposed use of Gashouse cove…for kayakers and paddle boarders doesn’t make any sense. First it’s too small. Second most of the toxic substances are there…The path by the water was built in 1915 by the best architects in the country. It was meant to provide respite from the hustle bustle of the fair, and it’s been doing just that for more than 100 years. Please don’t destroy our history. Please use your power to stop this overwhelmingly unpopular and boneheaded plan.



Please venerate the 1918 creation of the Marina and honor the community consensus commitment that was made 3 years ago.


Don Persky

I’m at the Marina Green virtually every day. There’s literally 29 benches literally 8 or 9 feet from the water’s edge. I often sit there and have my lunches. It’s not just the views, it’s the wildlife…This is not rocket science. As a boat owner and fisherman, those pelicans, their life is about to change if you move forward with this disaster. (Feed in front of open water, not in front of the boat harbor area).



This project needs to go back to the drawing board…it’s a tourist destination, a family gathering place, a place to see the vista of the Bay. What this project does is takes away about 390 meters of waterfront that today are open to the public to enjoy…I submit to you that if you decide to go ahead with this project as it is you have A) stifled the community and B) you will likely face a ballot measure asking everyone in San Francisco to vote on this matter, not just the seven of you.



If you want to see diversity you should come to Marina Green, especially 4th of July, Fleet Week, on weekends. People from rental apartments come to Marina Green because it has nice access for open space so their kids can run, play soccer, play volleyball, and older people have a trail to walk. It’s flat. Mostly for not in shape people. Rec and Park wants to take this magnificent place from the public and give it to the rich yacht owners…destroying this magnificent place is like putting a hot dog stand on Half Dome. Not just people of the Marina. People of the whole world come to Marina Green. It has such a healing effect, just to sit by the water….Sit on a bench by the water for hours and hours…Please help us. Don’t take it away from us.



[The brochure for the 1915 fair says]…long after the exposition is over this esplanade, or marina, will remain to grace and enhance the natural beauties of the San Francisco Bay … the historical importance of Marina Green…should be recognized as a vital exhibition artifact. The Green should remain intact without the intrusion of a new boat harbor to nullify its area-defining relationship to the Bay. A 2004 Planning Department EIR references a potential future historic district or cultural landscape for the Marina Green facility.



this room would be triple packed if there was more outreach…we implore you to vote no on this issue. a deal was made with the devil behind closed doors during covid…there's no question that PG&E needs to clean up their mess, but how in the world did that turn into ‘we’re going to build a boat harbor that nobody needs in front of Marina Green? And you’re going to love it and we’re going to shove it down your throats…’ this is a spin job…everyone stood up at these crowded meetings and said leave the Marina Green alone. Please stop monetizing the Marina Green. Phil Ginsberg we remember you tried to put a restaurant on the Green. That was a terrible idea.


Anne Harvey

I only found out about this whole project on Sunday when I was walking home from the farmer’s market and this woman gave me a flyer. It’s shocking to me that I never heard anything about this whole thing going on…it has not been publicized, this project. At all. It’s awful…visual pollution to have these boats parking there.



I go running every morning by that view. An iconic view not only to the city of SF but also the state of CA. When you have the president of the united states, when he used to come in on the certain special helicopter, and walk out there, he used to take in that view. …



…I went to one of the meetings in August. And the description of that was kind of antiseptic here. I was there and there were a lot of vociferous people and it got at times rude, but it showed the ferocity and the feelings people have for this. The project team addressed that by saying we can’t unbundle the harbor, the new slips, from the remediation. These two things [the new harbor and the clean-up] need to be unbundled.



No one mentioned that in Monica’s presentation there was a picture and if you noticed, they’re all white…Your frame of reference is wrong. It’s not a local thing. This is a destination for the whole city. You need to expand your reach and reach out to people of color, and other types of organization…the Marina Green is like a ride on the Peloton so you are reaching out to millions of people worldwide.



John Rivlin

I have had boats in the small craft boat harbor since 1982, and I’m dead set against this project as currently proposed. Much of the motivation for the current proposal is driven by the desire to make the marina self-sustaining. this will probably require an additional breakwater to resolve the dredging problems of west harbor but it does not require the addition of slips.


Many marinas in the area of equivalent size to ours are financially viable. If we need to raise the rents, then we should do so…I would love to see some detailed financials for the marina. this would allow us to make more concrete suggestions.


Rather than being called a remediation project it should be called an abandonment project as it proposes to abandon parts of East Harbor. We cannot afford to abandon slices of our precious waterfront. Our waterfront is a wounded resource and we need to be good stewards of it for generations. Moreover, it’s disingenuous to use money targeted at cleanup to build completely new facilities.


Dimitri Kazinski

I walk on Marina Green 4-5 times a week with my dog and also with my now 1 year old son…I look forward to the day when he can play soccer on Marina Green. i don’t think this is a good plan; i don’t think enough outreach was done; I urge you not to go ahead with the EIR.


Risley Sams

Born and raised in SF. President of the SF Marina Yacht Harbor Association. And I am a sailor and have been basically sailing boats since I was a kid…sailing is a part of our bay…we have a great harbor, we’ve had a great harbor, we need to continue to keep slips here…We support this remediation project…



Here to speak on behalf of SF outrigger canoe club. Shallow basin will afford us the ability to develop a better youth club… better serve our wheelchair, amputee, para-paddlers.



for the project, on behalf of the sf outrigger canoe club… (I’m not copying the whole thing down since we won’t use her quotes)




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