Sharp Park vista from the 16th tee, looking toward the 17th fairway - originally Alister MacKenzie's 5th hole. Photographed from a recent round at the course.
(click to enlarge)
(click to enlarge)
A lot has happened on the Sharp Park front of the San Francisco Golf Wars since your loyal blogger last contributed his two cents with two posts in August: Common Sense and the Sharp Park Golf Course and Dispatches from the Sharp Park front of the SF Golf Wars.
Things are coming to a head with the recent release of the long-awaited SF Rec and Parks Department Report and a scheduled SF Rec and Parks Commission meeting to vote on the report (This Thursday 11/18 at 2pm Room 416 at SF City Hall - hat tip - Fix Pacifica Blog). I'll be there. If you care about Sharp Park Golf, you will be too. The report recommends that Sharp Park continue as an 18 hole golf course, but be modified to further protect the frog and snake habitat. This has stirred up a lot of media coverage and I'll have more to say about recent twists and turns in this saga. But first, we need to catch up on a few of the significant skirmishes over the last couple months.
What may ultimately prove to be the most significant single shot fired in the the Sharp Park fire fight, was the perfectly targeted sniper shot fired by Nancy Wuerfel in a San Francisco Chronicle Open Forum piece last month - "The Case for keeping Sharp Park":
"The course and the endangered frogs and snakes have co-existed for years. Sensitive management practices will allow golf (or other recreational uses) to continue while also supporting these rare species. Other cities manage to do both. We can, too. Claims that city golf courses lose money are just not true. I analyzed the financial information for the first six years of the city's Golf Fund. The Recreation and Park Department's accounting practices have created the appearance that Sharp Park golf course is losing money when it is not. These findings were submitted to the Recreation and Park Commission and the Recreation and Park Department."
"The advocates of destroying or giving away the course place enormous weight on the representation that the course is losing money. The recent exhaustive letter/report from Nancy Wuerfel to The City indicates that this representation is completely false. Obviously it would be terrible mistake for the city to make a decision to destroy or give away the course if it is in fact operationally revenue positive as Nancy represents. I think everyone can agree that this question of fact should be absolutely settled by an impartial and unimpeachable third party before a decision is rendered."
We'll see if David does his required reading.
Brent Plater and the rest of his "Center for Biological Diversity" cohorts disingenuously continue to parrot provably false and dated data on the revenue positive contribution of Sharp Park golf. Honest to god, they sound like Birthers still claiming that Obama was born in Kenya despite all evidence to the contrary. The clear evidence from Nancy's report is that the course does make money for The City. If the course was dragged out of the impenetrable SF accounting fog into a regional responsibility or even just a shared responsibility with Pacifica, everyone would understand that Sharp Park is a moneymaker. If and when that happens, Ross Mirkarimi is going to look like a complete idiot for falling under the influence of the Plater reality distortion field and advocating that this treasure of a course pass from city hands.
In general, I subscribe to Hanlon's Razor “Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity” or more specifically Wallach's Corollary to Hanlon's Razor - “Never attribute to government conspiracy that which can be adequately explained by government incompetence.”
That said, Nancy shows the level of incompetence is so deep, so widespread, required so much dereliction of duty and willful ignorance by so many public and elected officials of their public commitments and obligations under the law in order to maintain the fiction that the golf courses lose money, that you just have to wonder about motivation.
If not incompetence, a real interesting and unresolved question remains - Who benefits from years of cooking the books to pretend that our money making golf courses are losing money?
But I digress. The water recycling project is a side show. In the center ring of this circus is the accounting malfeasance exhibited by the handling of the San Francisco golf fund by representatives and employees in our city over the last six years. Nancy Wuerfel backed up her assertions with a comprehensive, detailed 39 page report submitted to the department. I've read the report. It is authoritative, well documented, completely convincing and utterly damning. It should be required reading for the Mayor and every Supervisor. Some excerpts:
From The Golf Fund Report - A Financial Analysis and Report
by Nancy Wuerfel