In this compact and dense city, parks and open spaces are the backyards that many San Franciscans do not have. The City has a responsibility to keep these spaces in good condition for the residents who use them — particularly children. For that reason, the Nov. 6 parks bond, Proposition B, deserves a resounding yes vote.
This $195 million general obligation bond, which requires two-thirds approval of voters, will go toward projects at parks, community centers, swimming pools and waterfront programs for the Port of San Francisco. The bond is along the same lines as the $185 million bond approved by 71 percent of the voters in 2008.
The difference this time around is that opposition has emerged. A coalition of neighborhood and park advocacy groups, led by former Board of Supervisors Presidents Aaron Peskin and Quentin Kopp, are opposing the parks bond as a way to send a message to the leaders of the Recreation and Park Department. Opponents of the bond say the alleged fiscal mismanagement of the department and so-called privatization of facilities, such as clubhouses being rented out to outside groups, is the reason for their opposition.
These arguments are misguided and deceptive. Rec and Park has long been underfunded, and department management is just being smart about finding other ways to fund its operations. But even if these arguments were true, a quarrel with department management is not a compelling reason to oppose the repair of our city’s parks, especially sites serving low-income neighborhoods. Opponents of the department could find other ways to address these issues without penalizing the children and families who depend upon city open space.
Prop. B is needed to fix crumbling infrastructure overseen by a historically underfunded department. Political disdain for current department management is a poor reason to deprive the citizens of San Francisco of the parks they deserve. Vote yes on Prop. B.