Bevan Dufty: M.I.A. on the UC proposal
Actually, I wasn't among the 1000 who emailed you about the parrots and the trees, though I think saving birds and trees is a worthy endeavor. Besides, aren't those trees/birds in Peskin's district? Speaking of "habitat" and preserving San Francisco's "assets," have you formulated a position on the UC proposal for the old Extension site on lower Haight St.? I'm now told that the entire 5.8 acre site is in your district. Allowing UC to take this property out of its Public Use zoning and turn it into a large, for-profit housing development would mean the loss of a great asset to the city. Allowing 400-500 new housing units on that property means at least 1000 more people in that part of town, with all the congestion and traffic that would entail. As you know, that neighborhood is already trying to absorb the 45,000 vehicles a day that are now traveling through the neighborhood on the new, unimproved Octavia Blvd. Also, 900 new housing units are already planned for the old freeway parcels, not to mention the appalling Market/Octavia Plan initiated by the Planning Department that calls for thousands more new housing units in the area, including residential highrises in the South Van Ness area. The last thing that neighborhood needs is still another large housing development, especially on a precious piece of property that has been reserved for public purposes for 150 years. The Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association is going to vote on a resolution in opposition to the UC proposal on Jan. 26. It would be helpful if you would issue a statement in support of keeping that property zoned Public Use before the vote. (Ross is already on record as opposing the UC plan.) Even better, why not come to the meeting yourself and make the statement? Hope to see you there.
Bevan Dufty wrote:
Thank you for taking the time to e-mail me regarding the protection of the Cypress Tees that the Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill use for roosting. I have received close to 1,000 e-mails from San Franciscans and individuals around the United States and the world about the Wild Parrots. These are more e-mails than I have received on any issue since becoming a Supervisor in 2003. It is a testament to the power of the documentary in capturing our collective imagination; Wild Parrots can thrive in our beautiful City. Our Mayor, Gavin Newsom, has been facilitating negotiations between the Property Owner and a neighbor conservation organization to address these Cypress Trees---trees that have provided such an excellent perch and protection when the Parrots visit Mark Bittner, author of the book "The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill." City Arborists/Urban Foresters have visited the backyard and determined that the existing trees have reached an age and condition where they may not be viable and, in fact, could fall causing tremendous damage and even loss of life in neighboring homes. Unfortunately, protection alone for these trees would not serve the best interests of the public or the Parrots, as the trees are likely to naturally fail in the near future. However, through the Mayor's stewardship, the Property Owner and conservation organization will work cooperatively on a program to plant new trees that, within three years, would approximate the size and habitat value of the existing trees. These new trees would provide for structural support for the existing trees in the short term and eventually would replace the existing trees as alternate roosting habitat for the Parrots. Within days, I anticipate finalization of an agreement between the Property Owner and conservation organization addressing care and maintenance of the existing Cypress Trees and replacement plantings. Unquestionably the world's attention has motivated our City to participate in the forging of an unprecedented agreement that will lead to the protection of an important habitat for these Wild Parrots. In January, our Board of Supervisors will consider tree legislation providing for the designation and protection of landmark trees as well as significant trees on private property. The Cypress Trees would not qualify for this designation because of their poor condition and the fact that they are not within 10 feet of the public right-of-way. But this agreement between the Property Owner and conservation organization is far more important in terms of ensuring the continued viability of the Wild Parrots than this legislation could be. As a result of your contact, I am in frequent contact with all interested parties to ensure that something unique is done to preserve the Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill. I also have watched the video about these Parrots and have been moved, as you have, to explore all available opportunities to protect these beautiful and wild assets of San Francisco. I will provide an update when the agreement is finalized. Warm regards and best wishes for an outstanding 2006.
San Francisco Board of Supervisors