Tuesday, March 27, 2007

"Compromising" away the will of city voters

According to a story in the SF Examiner, there's an effort underway to arrive at some kind of compromise on the Healthy Saturdays issue. But how do you "compromise" when the city's voters have already spoken clearly on the issue, rejecting the idea soundly twice on the same ballot in 2000? What we're going to get is some kind of split-the-difference deal brokered by the mayor with some insiders that ignores the expressed will of city voters, who have already clearly said that they don't want Golden Gate Park closed to motor vehicles on Saturdays. The park is either going to be closed on Saturdays or it isn't. How do you compromise that?

The Examiner reporter gives a flawed account of what happened in 2000:

In 2000, the battle over closing the park roads went to the ballot box with two competing measures: one supported by 18,000 signatures asking for an immediate trial closure and another asking that the roads remain open on at least one weekend day until a new 800-car underground garage could be built. With votes for the closure split between the measures, both lost.

There was no "split" between competing propositions because of a vote-for-only-one requirement. Voters were allowed to vote on both Proposition F and Proposition G. Both propositions meant closing the park to autos on Saturdays, and both propositions lost by wide margins, though the "progressive" Prop. F didn't lose by as much as Prop. G (F lost by 36,087 and G lost by 68,181).

Voters evidently didn't care about either the trial closure or the garage issues: They simply rejected both propositions. Closing Golden Gate Park to autos---and thus restricting access---affects the interests of everyone in the city. It's not right for the mayor to in effect dismiss the clearly expressed will of city voters by making a deal with a handful of insiders. The Healthy Saturdays issue should be put on the ballot, so that the voters can express that will again.

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4 Comments:

At 12:38 PM, Anonymous Ulloa Sam said...

I've heard that DeYoung attendance is highest on Sundays. That makes sense to me as it's much more pleasant to go there when there isn't so much car traffic.

I don't understand why they won't agree to at least a 6 week trial. My money says car-free Saturdays actually raise attendance at the museum. I challenge them to prove me wrong! If I am wrong, I'll eat my words.

- U.sam

 
At 2:03 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Museum attendance is at most a minor issue. It's really about access for everyone, especially people with children, the elderly, and the handicapped, all of whom really need the option of driving or being driven into the park on Saturdays.

 
At 10:51 AM, Anonymous Ulloa Sam said...

"people with children, the elderly, and the handicapped"

All these people can drive straight to the front door of most of the park's attractions and be dropped off at any time during a car-free Sunday.

Kids, especially, love to bike and run around on JFK drive when it's car-free and safe to do so. There's no question the park is better for the m and their families on a car free day!

Anyway, I believe the DeYoung was the primary opponent to car-free Saturdays, claiming that it would hurt museum access and that they masterminded the opposition raising a bunch of nonsense that old ladies wouldn't be able to get to the museam, which was frankly quite dishonest!

With straight facts and a 6 week test, I've no doubt most people would want to keep Saturday car-free!

 
At 11:06 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

City voters voted down two proposals to close that part of the park twice on the same ballot in 2000. De Young attendance was not an issue then, since it was being rebuilt. In fact, Proposition F in 2000 proposed closing the park on a trial basis, and voters rejected it soundly. Why not put it on the ballot again to let the city's voters decide? We both know the answer to that question, don't we?

 

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