Thursday, October 17, 2013

Rewriting history on the Concourse garage

Concourse in Golden Gate Park

From the current SF Weekly, comparing billionaires Warren Hellman and Larry Ellison:

Warren Hellman was not a saint. A politically involved billionaire---and registered Republican---will butt heads with his share of San Franciscans. There are still those upset about his shoe-horning of a parking garage into Golden Gate Park.

No dice on rewriting this bit of city history. Hellman "shoehorned" that garage into Golden Gate Park? Recall that city voters passed Proposition J in 1998 authorizing the garage under the Concourse. 104,069 voted for it, and only 74,985 voted against it. The city's bike people of course opposed the garage.

Warren Hellman raised the $55 million in construction costs. It didn't cost the city a thing. Once the construction bonds are paid off, all the parking fees will flow into the city's coffers forever.

How Hellman became progressives' favorite billionaire: He gave the Bicycle Coalition money and he paid for the annual free concert in the park.

See my interview in 2005 with Mike Ellzey, who got the garage built.

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