Hands Off My Grass - May 25, 2016 - SF Weekly
SF Weekly

Hands Off My Grass

A near-crisis emerged on Monday after SFist discovered that the Recreation and Park Department was charging Dolores Park–goers up to a few hundred dollars to “reserve” spaces on the grass.

Rightly fearful of another Dropbox debacle — in which soccer players in the employ of the tech company tried to boot a group of Mission neighborhood kids off of a field long used for pick-up games — Rec & Park reversed itself less than half a day after the news broke and canceled the grass reservation scheme, with Supervisor Scott Wiener taking credit for the fix on a Medium post.

Some park hoi polloi took that as a victory — but reserving spaces for a fee at many other parks and “public” open spaces around San Francisco is still standard Rec & Park policy, as Supervisor Aaron Peskin pointed out. If not the grass at DoPa — which reopened in January after a $20 million (taxpayer-funded) renovation — than grass somewhere else is definitely for rent.

“It's not OK, and it has not been OK for quite some time,” says Peskin, who is now pushing for a law outlawing the requirement of permits and attendant fees for the right to picnic or frolic on city-owned grass. “We all have the right to enjoy the city's precious open space and picnic without having every square foot and blade of grass privatized and micro-managed.”