The San Francisco Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, July 20 adopted a $6.5 billion final 2010-2011 budget that leaves intact funding for Sharp Park Golf Course. The vote was 10-1 to adopt the budget, with only Supervisor Chris Daly objecting. The Sharp Park issue was not publicly mentioned by any board member in the full board's public deliberations. Golf opponents, led by the Center for Biological Diversity, argued in Budget Committee hearings in May and June leading up to the full board's action that the golf course should be closed to free up money for parks, arts, and social welfare services; the argument was supported by a coalition of social services providers and some environmental organizations. But San Francisco Public Golf Alliance members defended their turf, with a letter-writing campaign and public testimony at the Budget Committee's June 21 public hearing, including extensive testimony from Sharp Park's racially diverse and low-income golfing population, and financial documents from the Controller's Office and the Rec & Park Department, showing that golf revenues at Sharp Park exceed operating expenses. At the end of the day, the Supervisors chose not to close the course.
In April 2009, San Francisco Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, a co-founder of the California Green Party, opened the Sharp Park campaign by introducing legislation directing the Rec & Park Department to study possible closure of Sharp Park, a 78-year-old Alister MacKenzie-designed municipal golf links owned by San Francisco but located in Pacifica, on the San Mateo County Coast about 10 miles south of the San Francisco line. That legislation was supported by the Committee for Biological Diversity, an endangered species litigation specialist, which contended that golf was incompatible at the site with two federally protected species, the California Red-Legged Frog and the San Francisco Garter Snake, which live in and around lakes and wetlands at the western edge of the golf course. But since that time, the Save Sharp Park Golf Course campaign has won the support of the Cultural Landscape Foundation, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Northern California Golf Association, World Golf Foundation, the Pacifica City Council, San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, Sons-in-Retirement, Pacifica Chamber of Commerce, The Sierra Club's Loma Prieta Chapter, Laborers' Local 261, and 4,500 new members of the Public Golf Alliance.
In December 2009, the San Francisco Recreation and Park Commission and its Park, Recreation and Open Space Advisory Committee both approved the Rec and Park Department's six-month Sharp Park Study, which found that continued golf operations at Sharp Park would be compatible with restoration of habitat for the endangered species, and recommended restoration of both the natural habitat and the golf course. With its July 19 budget vote, the Board of Supervisors joins the list of San Francisco governmental bodies that have heard and rejected the close-the-golf-course arguments of the Center for Biological Diversity and its allies.
San Francisco Public Golf Alliance
415-392-5431, ext. 203