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Opinion: Wild Equity on Sharp Park Golf Funding

Building a healthy and sustainable global community for people and the plants and animals that accompany us on Earth.
PRESS RELEASE: Contact Brent Plater, Wild Equity Institute, 415-572-6989
John McCain Condemns Government Waste at Sharp Park Golf Course
In a new report released Tuesday, fiscal conservatives on Capitol Hill, led by Senator John McCain, highlight a $2.2 million federal stimulus bailout for Sharp Park Golf Course—owned by the City and County of San Francisco but located in Pacifica, California—as one of 100 projects that benefit private interests over the public good and make improvements where they are not necessary.

“Sharp Park is not too big to fail, and we all deserve better than a multimillion-dollar bailout of a money-losing, endangered-species-killing golf course,” said Brent Plater, executive director of Wild Equity Institute. “If federal dollars are spent on Sharp Park, the American people deserve an asset in return, and the best asset would be a new National Park unit on the property that provides recreational opportunities everyone can enjoy, not just golfers.”
Sharp Park Golf Course uses more than 400,000 gallons of drinking water daily to irrigate fairways and greens during peak demand periods, but as California’s drought continues, the Public Utilities Commission has capped sales of water from the Tuolumne River—the San Francisco Peninsula’s most important freshwater source—sending wasteful water users such as Sharp Park Golf Course in search of alternative water supplies.
The golf course’s proposed solution would have federal, state, and San Francisco taxpayers fund an $8.8 million recycled-water project that would deliver 42 million gallons of recycled water to Sharp Park annually. One-third of the funding would come from federal taxpayers, but three-quarters of the water would go solely to the golf course.
But Sharp Park Golf Course, the report notes, is losing money, harming the environment, and is likely to be closed even if the water project is built. The report states that a great public outcry has stalled a controversial proposal to invest an additional $11 million in Sharp Park Golf Course to improve playing conditions—above and beyond the money spent on the water project—at the golf course’s current, unsustainable configuration and location.
“Throwing good money after bad on Sharp Park Golf Course is not only environmentally unsound, it is also unjust,” said Plater. “When San Francisco is cutting services to community centers and neighborhood parks by 20% to 30%, it is inequitable to spend millions on golf in suburban San Mateo County. The time is right to partner with the National Park Service to create a better public park at Sharp Park, and return the money San Francisco saves back where it belongs: invested in our neighborhood parks and community centers.
For more information about restoring Sharp Park, visit WILD EQUITY


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Wow, politics truly makes strange bedfellows. Now Brent Plater is in bed with Senator Coburn and Senator McCain??? Who saw that coming? This whole statement proves once again that Plater will say and do anything to make his case, even if what he says is not accurate.

One would think that Plater would be in favor of using reclaimed water to irrigate any park. I would like to know where he gets his figure of 400,000 gallons of water a day used at Sharp Park. I play there regularly and rarely see the sprinklers on. This is not to say they never water there, but because Sharp Park is a seaside, links-style course, it does not require much water.

Thankfully our climate here in Pacifica is the best source of irrigation for the course, with the fog we get most days during the summer turning to wetness and dew on the ground.

And Plater, stop the rallying cry of Sharp Park losing money. Even the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department now says that is not true. Sharp Park will be in the black for FY 2009 to the tune of more than $99,000.

The Center for Biological Diversity and Plater's group of the month, Wild Equity, are hanging on for dear life here. Heck, even the head snake habitat restoration person in charge, Karen Swaim at Mori Point, says Sharp Park should remain a golf course. "According to Swaim, new habitats in that area would become an 'attractive nuisance' for the species, drawing colonization away from the GGNRA's ongoing San Francisco Garter Snake restoration project at Mori Point and thusly creating an unsustainable habitat."

And by the way, SF Mayor Gavin Newsom on KNBR this morning stated that Sharp Park will remain a golf course.

December 10, 2009 9:46 AM

So now Brent Plater wants John McCain to make decisions about the golf course, and he objects to the use of recycled water there? Is he listening to himself on playback at all?

Read Julia Scott's report in the San Mateo County Times

Hey, if you need to quote John McCain to support your failing cause, it's time to reassess and admit defeat.

Brent had a great opportunity to declare victory with the results of the study but got greedy. He still wants it all.

Brent has now made the issue about him, and him alone, unfortunately for all involved.

This is a very deceptive press release from Brent Plater that gives the impression McCain is in favor of shutting down the golf course. Senators McCain and Coburn were complaining about the $2.2 million in stimulus money allocated by the Obama Administration for the recycled-water project at the golf course.

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