This Amendment Would Potentially Allow Any Event Permit to Be Appealed by Any Member of the Public

In an email circulated this morning by Dana Ketchum of the SF Recreation & Parks Department, it is revealed that the Board of Supervisors will hear a proposal tomorrow that would allow ANY member of the public to appeal ANY event permit at ANY time.

This means that if one group was planning to screen, say, The Royal Tenenbaums one night in the park, another group could tie them up in appeals for weeks or months just because they think Wes Anderson sucks.

This reeks of improbability, like it could never possibly be approved, because the Parks Department itself would be forever tied up in appeals, like they’d have to hire an army of appeals processors to keep up with demand. Still, Ketchum’s email expresses urgency and concern, so maybe there’s a chance this thing actually goes through.

Read Ketchum’s email in full after the jump:

From: “Dana Ketcham”
Date: June 17, 2010 8:25:39 AM PDT
To: “‘Dana Ketcham'” <>
Subject: IMPORTANT – Proposed Charter Amendment to Allow All SFRPD Permits to Be Appealed – Hearing Friday!

Dear Special Event Facilitators and Sponsors

I want to alert you to a proposed charter amendment that the Board of Supervisors will be considering in a hearing at 10 am on Friday on the 2nd Floor of City Hall. I apologize for the late notice but I just learned about the hearing.

This amendment would potentially allow any event permit issue by SFRPD to be appealed by any member of the public that opposes the permit. The appeal would go to the Board of Appeals (a lengthy process). This amendment could make it extremely difficult to do events because:

1. Any permit could be appealed by anyone. Basically every park in this city has at least one vocal neighbor that does not want events at the park. This includes Justin Hermann, Union Square, Golden Gate Park, Dolores and many others.  In addition, there are other park groups who oppose events in parks in general.

2. There is no time frame on the appeal process so you would have an appeal pending making it impossible to plan for your event. If the Board of Appeals does not hear the appeal, you can proceed with it but it would be uncertain if it would get to your appeal. We know the months of planning that goes into the events.

We believe that all of you do valuable work on a number of types of events ranging from fun events in our parks to fund-raisers for not for profit organizations to cultural celebrations.  These would be curtailed.

As part of the permit process with SFRPD, SFRPD works hard with each of you to be responsive to members of the community and their concerns and ask each of you to do community outreach as part of the permit process to address their concerns. If there are significant issues SFRPD tries to resolve them and if necessary takes the permit to the Recreation and Park Commission.

I urge you or the organizations you represent to appear at this hearing to learn about this proposal and to express your views. The meeting is at 10 am on Friday in the 2nd Floor of City Hall. The best thing is if you can appear in person . If you can not, I urge you to email the members of the Board of Supervisors who are on the Committee that are hearing this appeal. They are

Michela Alioto-Pier

Eric Mar

David Campos

If this proceeds it will be a ballot initiative on the November ballot. It would also provide the members of the Recreation and Park Commission would be appointed in part by the Board of Supervisors.

I know that it can be hard to attend these hearings but I wanted to give you an opportunity for your voice to be heard. If you have any questions, let me know.


Dana Ketcham

7 thoughts on “This Amendment Would Potentially Allow Any Event Permit to Be Appealed by Any Member of the Public”

  1. Haven’t you ever been to these meetings? This is no different from how it works now in San Francisco.

    Every meeting, some loudmouth asshole gets up and starts yelling at the top of his lungs about how this plan/event/whatever is ruining his life and yeah it only cost him ten cents but it’s the principal of the thing, BLAH BLAH BLAH.

    Then the community “leaders” let him dominate the entire discussion because they don’t have the balls to tell him to shut up or throw him out.

    tl;dr: NIMBYS ruin shit in SF.

  2. Mr. Ginsburg, Rec & Parks general manager, denied knowing about the over-the-top scare tactic memo from his dept. which dragged out event people on Friday for no reason. Just one indicator of how Rec & Parks works…either in disarray or with deception. Rec & Parks claim that donors won’t give to a dept. that seeks balance, transparency and is more responsive to the people is very insulting to all. We need to take back OUR parks from a small group of Newsom appointed insiders who vote in unison so frequently that they sometimes don’t bother to ask for the “nay” votes! Their goal is to commercialize and privatize our parks. Any San Franciscan knows that a commission voting in unison nearly 95% of the time is not representing the diversity of San Francisco. The Mirkarimi Rec & Parks Charter Amendment would provide balance, transparency and respect for park users that is sorely missing with the current Commission. Vote yes in Nov. to save our parks from privatization.

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