Saturday, September 27, 2008

Neighborhood Parks Council's questionnaire

Neighborhood Parks Council

2008 Board of Supervisors Candidate Questionnaire

Candidates, please complete each question to the best of your ability in order for NPC to assess your “Park Friendly” rating. All responses will be posted on our website for the public to view. Text boxes expand to accommodate longer responses. Thank you.

Name: Rob Anderson
Email Address:
Mailing address:
District: 5

Return to Sunya Ojure electronically at by Friday, September 19th

1. In what ways do you feel parks contribute to the quality of life of San Francisco residents?
I’m going to go out on a limb on this one: Parks are Good. I like parks.

2. What park in your district do you use most and tell us what you like most about it.
I don’t use any of the parks much, though sometimes I cut through Alamo Square---aka Dogshit Park---when I go out to breakfast on lower Haight Street.

3. Which park in your district appears to need the most help and what do you propose to do about it?
They look okay to me.

4. From your observations, what are the 3 most important issues facing recreation and parks in San Francisco? How will you begin to address these issues if you are elected?
You’re the park people. You tell me.

5. NPC’s ParkScan program indicates that the majority of problems reported by the public relate to misuse of parks by city residents. These conditions cost the City millions of dollars in staff time to address. Would you support NPC’s proposal for the city to fund a public education campaign aimed at reducing misuse such as littering, graffiti and vandalism in our parks?
Maybe. The biggest “misuse” of the parks seems to be by the homeless and by those huge concerts that bring thousands of people into Golden Gate Park while screwing up traffic and parking in the neighborhoods. Anyone who is “park friendly"---and neighborhood friendly---should oppose those concerts.

6. The Recreation and Parks Department estimates that we are 200 gardeners short to keep our parks to a good standard. Also, many common complaints from park users have to do with deferred maintenance such as broken irrigation parts and hazardous trees, largely the result of too few maintenance personnel and far too little funding. The Controllers City Survey 2007 indicates many residents continue to be dissatisfied with park maintenance. What do you propose to improve park maintenance?
Every city department thinks it should have more money. For openers maybe we could transfer the 10 people who are now working full-time in the city’s Bicycle Program to Rec and Park.

7. RPD has just developed work plans for each park but the plans do not clearly outline the tasks that volunteers can assist with. At the same time, efforts to reduce staff overtime require volunteer work parties (which usually take place on Saturday) to involve 15 or more---effectively eliminating many possible hours of volunteer assistance. With our parks being understaffed, volunteers are a critical way to bridge the maintenance gap. Do you support adding to the current work plans the specific tasks that volunteers can assist with? Also, in an effort to reduce staff overtime, would you support the creation of a program that would certify community members to volunteer in the parks without direct staff oversight, similar to DPW’s adopt a street program?
This is insider stuff, and I’m sure Mirkarimi will promise to give you whatever you want.

8. is a public portal that enables park users to report maintenance concerns to the Recreation and Park Department (and even include a photo!). Please ParkScan a park near you and describe the maintenance issue that needed attention in your park. If elected, would you like to receive regular reports on the conditions of parks reported in your district?
I'm not scanning anything. Yes, I'd like to receive the reports.

9. More than two dozen San Francisco playgrounds received failing grades in NPC’s bi-annual Playground Report Card this year. Would you be available to participate in a workday to raise the grade of a failed playground?
No, but I bet Ross and Owen will be happy to help.

10. NPC’s Green Envy study identified many neighborhoods that lack playgrounds and neighborhood parks. (see enclosed map). Another survey by a national consultant indicates that San Francisco is deficient in soccer fields and opportunities for hiking on trails or community gardening. Do you have ideas to address these deficiencies?

11. The City provides start-up funds to establish Community Benefit Districts. Would you support additional funds in the city budget to establish Park Improvement Districts (PIDs) to supplement park maintenance and provide funds for some ongoing capital needs in our parks such as irrigation systems and repairng playgrounds?

12. Are you aware that over 700 acres of park land is dedicated to gold in San Francisco (6 public golf courses) even though it has been identified as a low priority recreation in the 2004 Recreation Assessment and that each golf course requires 250,000 gallons of water a day? The Rec and Park Department is proposing to lease our 4 of these courses for 30 years, despite the need for more than sixty new baseball, softball and soccer fields just to meet current demand in these sports. What is your position on retaining so much golf land at the expense of other recreation needs?
I don’t have a position.

13. San Francisco currently has no citywide open space requirement for new development. In areas such as the Eastern Neighborhoods, which are already deficient in open space and could see a tripling in residential density in the near future, this oversight could create unlivable communities severely deficient in parks. Would you support a citywide open space requirement for all new residential development so that every neighborhood can have green space for play, exercise, and respite from urban life?
Maybe. While you're getting Supervisor Mirkarimi to commit to giving Park and Rec more money, you should ask him about open space in his Market/Octavia Plan. There is none, even though that misguided plan will bring 10,000 more residents into that area. Mirkarimi's claim that he "fought very hard for the inclusion of open space" in UC's plan to ripoff the old extension property for a massive housing development is preposterous. UC is going to put 450 housing units on a six-acre property, which won't leave room for any significant open space.