Coit Tower advocates won voter backing Tuesday for restoration of the historic landmark with the famous Depression-era murals, but it is far from clear what their victory will look like.
Despite being greatly outspent by opponents of the ballot measure, neighborhood groups narrowly succeeded
in urging San Francisco to “prioritize” funds raised at the tower for its ongoing maintenance, and to “strictly limit” private fundraisers sporadically held by The City’s Recreation and Park Department. But what those vague statements really mean isn’t exactly clear.
Jon Golinger — head of the Protect Coit Tower Committee, which spearheaded Proposition B — said that he’d like to see funds flow to the 210-foot-high landmark as they are needed, and he believes The City should nix a plan to hold monthly fundraisers there.
Recreation and Park Department General Manager Phil Ginsburg had opposed the measure by claiming that it would unduly restrict the overall parks budget and could even force the closure of some city parks, particularly those in poor areas.
But Wednesday, Rec and Park officials could provide no specifics about what Prop. B will mean in reality, saying that its actual impact is out of the department’s control. The tower nets $600,000 to $700,000 per year, but how much of that revenue actually goes back into the tower isn’t well-defined.
“Our budget, and this policy, are ultimately in the hands of the Board of Supervisors,” spokeswoman Sarah Ballard said.
Mayor Ed Lee — who also opposed the proposition — announced just days before Tuesday’s election that he would dedicate $1.7 million to fix the tower’s problems. On Wednesday, mayoral spokeswoman Christine Falvey
said those plans have not changed as a result of the new policy.