SF Weekly Letters

Sharp Park Tug-of-War
Keep it: Only in San Francisco would city government “representatives” seriously consider giving away 400 acres of extremely valuable coastal parkland to the feds [“Bleeding Green,” Peter Jamison, Feature, 6/2]. In any rational universe (i.e., any other city in the U.S.), these clowns would be laughed out of office for even mentioning anything so ludicrous. Most cities want to expand their parkland, especially parkland that includes 54,000 green fees per year that flow into the city coffers.

Only in S.F. would the possibility exist that we would give this gem away. This park was a gift to the people of San Francisco. It is a legacy of the people of San Francisco for the last 100 years, a legacy we choose to share with the entire Bay Area and a legacy that should be passed to future generations. It is not in the supervisors' purview to piss away that legacy. The unmitigated gall and arrogance of city supervisors for even suggesting such an option simply astounds me.

Even for San Francisco, this is beyond the pale.


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Give it away: Turning over the Sharp Park property to the National Park Service is is the best option. It will pay for the full cost of a full ecological restoration. It will provide recreational opportunities that align with what Bay Area residents want, such as hiking and birdwatching. It will provide educational opportunities in the ecology and human history of the area. It will provide internships and volunteer opportunities. It will help stimulate the economy in the area, as national parks usually do. And it will free up the needed financial resources for San Francisco communities.

The Sharp Park Golf Course has many ecological and economic problems. Giving the Sharp Park property to the NPS is not giving it away. Yes, the owner on paper will change, but Bay Area residents still have it, because they can still use it. Like Crissy Field and Mori Point, Sharp Park will be in line with the needed trend of habitat restoration and species protection, and will be a wonderful park for everyone to use.

Even if we give the Sharp Park property to the NPS, the Bay Area still has it — but it will be in much better condition and provide more uses for people, while protecting habitat and species. San Francisco will then have more money to spend on San Francisco communities in need.

Barbara Beth

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Secrecy or Privacy?
Priests not the only ones exposed when records go public: I was the assistant district attorney under District Attorney Terrence Hallinan, who investigated and prosecuted the clergy employed by the San Francisco archdiocese who were suspected of child sexual abuse [“A Secrecy Fetish,” Matt Smith, Column, 6/2]. I am still employed by the District Attorney's office, and was involved in our response to inquiries by SF Weekly for these files. It was my advice that the information not be disclosed. The principle for not turning over these files was the same under Hallinan's administration: the need to protect the privacy of the victims.

I can attest that the overwhelming majority of victims did not want their past disclosed. This is why we proceeded by nonpublic grand juries. It was also my experience in prosecuting this case that for a majority of victims, who were almost all male, I was the first person and often the first male to whom they disclosed the abuse.

The investigation of the archdiocese ended years ago under the Hallinan administration, after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled California's statute-of-limitations law was unconstitutional. When the U.S. Supreme Court made its ruling, we were forced to end the investigation and release indicted priests. I am surprised by Hallinan's reported statement that the information we acquired during the course of this investigation should be released. He declined to do so after the ruling. I believe that he acted ethically and correctly.

It is wrong for SF Weekly to accuse District Attorney Kamala Harris (and thereby this office) of “protecting Catholic pedophiles.” I have known Harris since she worked as a line assistant district attorney in this office under Hallinan. I am also very familiar with the assistant district attorneys she employs. Neither District Attorney Harris nor any prosecutors in this office have any tolerance for people who hurt or sexually abuse children.

Elliot Beckelman

Assistant District Attorney

San Francisco

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