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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Dispatch from The Golf War: People of SF win another Sharp Park battle

The Wildly Equitable Biodiverse Litigants for Ecological Extortion and Deep Untruths (WEBLEEDU) just lost another battle in the Sharp Park Golf War.

The San Francisco Public Golf Alliance has the story:

"Federal Judge Susan Illston today issued an Order Denying Plaintiffs' Motion for a Preliminary Injunction at Sharp Park Golf Course. The plaintiffs, "a collection of non-profit conservation groups" led by the Tucson-based Center for Biological Diversity, had sought an order to halt mowing on Holes 9-18 and to halt winter flood-relief pumping at the 80-year-old golf course. Noted architect Robert Trent Jones, Jr. submitted a declaration to Court, saying that if granted, the relief sought by the plaintiffs would effectively mean destruction of the Alister MacKenzie-designed course.

In a 15-page ruling, Judge Illston said she denied the motion because she found that the plaintiffs "failed to establish the likelihood of irreparable harm" to the California red-legged frog or the San Francisco garter snake. Judge Illston, a veteran Federal Judge who last year presided at the Barry Bonds case, heard oral arguments in the Sharp Park case on November 18. Trial in the case is scheduled for July 16, 2012.

To read a copy of Judge Illston's opinion, click here [PDF].
For those keeping score:
By my count, the current score:
People of San Francisco - 6

Of course, this latest decision is only the most recent skirmish in a series of legal battles. That's ok. We may have a lot of problems in the City, but a shortage of really good lawyers is not one of them. No judge is going to rule to close a historically important landmark golf course in the face of a good faith plan to enhance the habitat for protected species that is sponsored by the most environmentally progressive City government in the country. It is purely an intimidation and EAJA compensation ploy. That's what WEBLEEDU does - environmental bullying of cash strapped municipalities. The City must stand up to them, and so far we have done exactly that.

They will lose the legal battle. Less predictable in San Francisco is what happens on the political front. The next political battle starts Monday December 5th in a public hearing with the City Operations & Neighborhood Services Committee to discuss Supervisor Avalos' ordinance to give away Sharp Park.

The WEBLEEDU's will be there in force. Any San Franciscan interested in protecting this landmark city treasure should be there too. As I've said before
"John Avalos is advocating giving Sharp Park away to the federal government. This is political suicide, or should be. Where else in the world could a politician run for mayor on a platform of giving away 400 acres of incredibly valuable and beautiful coastal park land that contributes millions in revenue to the city and belongs to the people of that city?

Sharp Park is a unique gem that belongs to the people of San Francisco. We choose to share our park with the Bay Area and the world.

The 80-acre golf course was designed and built by Alister MacKenzie, the game's most important architect. The 400-acre park itself was landscaped by John McLaren, the godfather of San Francisco parks. The park was a gift to the city in 1917 and represents a historic legacy entrusted to the people of San Francisco. The park and golf course are important historic landmarks by any standard.

This civic jewel of a park is a treasure that is our common San Francisco heritage and is a legacy for us to leave to future generations of San Franciscans.

Unless some clueless politician manages to give it away."

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