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'” <Dana.Ketcham@sfgov.org>
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
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.