news, gossip and scenes

Dolores Park Progress Report

In Community, Crime, Dolores Heights, Dolores Park, Mission Dolores, Renovation, Scenes, Up Coming Events on September 4, 2009 at 1:04 pm

I am posting a copy of the SafeCleanGreen Mission Dolores progress report that was published by MissionMission almost as soon as Gideon Kramer, sent it out to the group on August 28. Within a week, the on-line shouting  this little list caused has engendered two news reports, missionlocal and the examiner.

The tone of the report and maybe the realization that the neighborhood is capable of organizing itself and getting some city action, got the pot boiling.  Let’s be clear, we don’t want to end the scene, stop all major events and ban off-leash dog access in Dolores.  We just believe that the popularity of Dolores has exceeded the attention she receives from the City and  her neighbors. We intend to change that.

Early next year, Rec and Park will host a series of  public meetings asking for input into how the 14 million dollars of park revitilization money will be spent. And by Spring, the playground will close for it’s rebuild. We need a Dolores Park advocacy group in place now.

On September  16, 7 pm at the Dolores Park Church, 455 Dolores Street, the coalition of park supporters that meet in Bevan Dufty’s office,  August 7th will meet again to form goals and to strategize.  I am calling for a sustainable and focused  park stewardship group that will fight for preserving Dolores Park for everyone’s use.

Please let me know if you can to be a part of this effort or if you would like to be added to our e-mail list.


Many of you attended our Friday, August 7th meeting in Sup. Bevan Dufty’s office. I’ve already sent a synopsis of the meeting, but want to give you an update on a number of developments and commitments that Rec&Park and others have made since then:

1. Police presence in the park. You may have noticed a substantial increase in police presence in the park. Last weekend, SFPD had a van parked in the middle of the park and 3 bicycle officers riding around the park. There had also been press coverage talking of a “crackdown” at DP. While this is overstated (it’s more presence than enforcement of park codes, but it’s a great start), the combined effect has been to dampen the spirits of those who are inclined to come to DP for unfettered drinking and carousing. We have a long way to go, but I hope this is the beginning of setting a new climate. Thank you, Captain Tacchini.

2. Amplified sound events with a permit. Rec&Park has promised that once the current permits issued last year are fulfilled, it is greatly reducing the number of permits issued for future large events in DP.  Thank you, Bob Palacio!

3. Amplified sound events WITHOUT a permit. We have agreement from Capt. Tacchini of Mission Police Station that all officers working in or around DP will have a list of all permitted events in the park. Rec&Park has agreed to provide this info on a regular basis to SFPD. The idea ultimately, is for officers to take a proactive approach: if they hear amped sound, they simply consult their list, and if not on the list, they can take action, thus eliminating the need for residents to always complain before a loud unpermitted event is shut down. We’re far from having this new policy solidly in place, but it’s a start, and in the meantime, I encourage you to always call the non-emerg. number 553-0123 whenever you hear amplified sound that is going on without a permit. Contact Bob Palacio, DP manager, at and he can supply you with a current list of permitted events (i.e., if it’s on the list, it ain’t legal!). It’s really important that we keep SFPD informed of what’s going on in the park, and don’t allow things to return to the way they were before. Let’s keep the momentum going.

4. New and improved signage (see example att’d): Rec&Park will soon install large park rules signs at each corner of the park (similar to ones in Duboce Park), reminding people that there are in fact regulations regarding permits, amplified sound, alcohol, drugs, trash and litter, etc. It is also working on other signs as well, (hopefully ones like “LEAVE NO TRACE” , ‘PACK IT IN, PACK IT OUT!”) Rec&Park recognizes the need to set a new tone in the park. Signage is a basic component of the public education and consciousness-raising campaign we are advocating.

5. Trash receptacles: Clearly, there are not enough trash bins in the park, and nobody really likes the ugly graffiti-laden black and blue toters. In the near future, RPD will install 4 new 4×8′ concrete foundation pads on the side strip of Dolores from 18th to 20th, each holding 4 concrete trash receptacles (total 16 bins). The black and blue toters now chained to the regular receptacles will be removed. In addition, each concrete pad on which the bins will sit will be accompanied by an 8′ red no parking strip on the adjoining curb to enable Sunset Scavenger to easily access the bins, something that has heretofore been a real problem. RPD is still mulling over how to deal with recyclables. We are lobbying for theft (bear)-proof bins, but due to cost that may have to wait for the renovation. Theft of recyclables and the mess created by dumpster divers is a serious problem begging for a solution.

6 Broken irrigation: Everyone agrees: the grass throughout the park looks really bad. By October, all the irrigation in the park will be fixed so that the turf throughout the park can start turning green again. Let’s hope this comes to fruition.

7. 18th and Dolores gateway: This abused corner where the grass has been worn bare, will very soon be landscaped with drought-tolerant ornamentals, bordered by a low (not for sitting) retaining wall of pressure-treated timber. The area around the sidewalk corner will be decomposed granite, anticipating that people will still want to round out the corner by taking a shortcut.

8. Gardeners/laborers in the park: During the next 6 weeks, Rec&Park will deploy work crews in the park M-F from 9-11 am fixing the irrigation system, weeding the planter beds and dealing with other issues that need attention.

9. Embracing park volunteers: At our August 7 meeting, we made it clear that we wanted RPD to take a new attitude about volunteers and embrace their role in keeping the park clean. We are planning a meeting on Wed., Sept. 16, 7pm at Dolores Park Church Community Building, 65 Dorland, to talk about the formation of a new group (working tltle “Dolores Park Stewards.”) Forming this group is in recognition of the fact that RPD simply cannot do the job alone, and if we as citizens want real and sustainable improvement, we’re going to have to get personally involved.

10. The BIG DP renovation: Of course, the most important change we anticipate is the bond measure renovation of Dolores Park—over $15 million including the renovation of the children’s playground. Fundamental issues like the disgusting bathrooms, the turf, recycle bins, the soccer field, designated off-leash areas for dogs, etc. will have to wait until then, but we will all want to give our feedback in neighborhood meetings when they start.

11. Our next meeting with Bevan et al. Supervisor Dufty rightly commented at our last meeting that we don’t meet with him and other city officials often enough, and tend to wait until we’re in “crisis mode”. Fair enough. So, we are having another meeting with him in October (not yet scheduled) and will continue to do so on some regular basis. This future meeting will follow up on some of the promised improvements in the park and will report on our own Sept. 16 meeting to discuss formation of the volunteer group. That about sums in up for now. Any comments you might have are most welcome. And anyone who wishes to be part of our new group, Dolores Park Stewards, and is willing to come to meetings and or volunteer toward this effort, please let me know and you’re invited to our Sept. 16 meeting.

Gideon Kramer, SafeCleanGreen Mission Dolores

  1. I’ve lived right on Dolores Park since 1991. The big problems today are noise, trash, illegal overnight use, and urination/defecation by people and dogs. I hope the signs to be posted will also advise that the Park closes at 11 pm (there used to be such signs). It’s great to see people using the Park (unlike its early 1990s days when mostly drug dealers used it and gunfire from their turf wars was not uncommon), but the 2 am loud drunken parties have got to stop. If people want to get wasted in the park I don’t care except when they shout at the top of their lungs and leave their trash and human waste. Most of those people just seem to want to party with no consideration for the park environment or the fact that many residences border the park and can hear everything they say.

  2. Paul, thanks for the comment. You are not alone in these concerns. Mission Station says they are patrolling the park more often. (for about a month now) and are enforcing a 10 pm closure. We, a coalition of park advocates and neighbors, are trying to moniter the police’s progress and we could use your input.
    The party needs to end at 10 pm. “you don’t have to go home, but ya can’t stay here.” And please take all your bottle caps and cigi buts with you.

  3. The people who live in the neighborhood of the park have some very valid points.
    As residents of the city who come to the park, we need to police ourselves. Meaning:
    ->Pick up our dog’s poop.
    ->Not pee anywhere other than in the bathrooms (regardless of the lines).
    ->Make sure we take out all of our gabage, including butts & bottle caps.
    ->Respect ourselves, our friends, the neighborood (and the neighbors!), & those around us in the park as regards acceptable social behaviour re: excessive substance abuse, littering, public urination/defecation outside the park, etc.
    ->Politely (yeah, really politely…none of us want to start a fight) remind all of us who have the privelidge of enjoying the Park to respect the park and the neighborhood.
    ->Go to the Wed., Sept. 16, 7pm at Dolores Park Church Community Building, at 65 Dorland to not just voice our concerns about the changes that might be coming, but to also state that the immediate neighbors of Dolores Park are entitled to both our respect & concern.
    ->Push for the creation of facilities at Dolores Park that will make it easier to keep it a great place for all of us; eg. permanent bathrooms that can accomodate more than two users, a set of dumpster stations at each corner of the park that make it inexcusable to not pack out trash, a really large fenced off dog area (where people can also picnic) where the mutts can be off leash.
    ->Some signs that remind people of acceptable behaviour.
    ->We have a fantastic jewel in Dolores Park. It would be tragic if we allow the minority of Park appreciators to ruin it for all of us.

  4. 1. Police presence in the park: Kind of annoying, but I suspect it will lessen as do the complaints and as the cops realize that they are not really doing anything constructive.

    2. Amplified sound events with a permit: Yes please reduce the amount or at least the size or volume.

    3. Amplified sound events WITHOUT a permit: These spontaneous events are far less of a problem then the scheduled, permitted events. Small bands playing through battery-powered amps should be encouraged. The noise pollution to neighbors is negligible and the ass-kicking cool factor is high. Fortunately, most of the cops are sensible and realize this and have not made a stink.

    4. New and improved signage (see example att’d): well…if it makes you feel better.

    5. Trash receptacles: Great….so four months of periodic litter means that the worst parking in the city just got worse year-round. Thanks a lot complaining homeowners…what? you didn’t really consider the repercussions for those of us scummy car owners without off-street parking? no shit. Really, there had to be a better way. Maybe you don’t realize how bad parking is for us folks who live on the park and are not eligible for the coveted ‘S’ permit. …and before some anti-car bike activist snot chimes in…I guarantee you I spend more time pedaling and commuting by bike than you.

  5. the problem with this aggressive standpoint is that y’all didn’t consult with the rest of the neighborhood before laying out your 10 point plan. i certainly didn’t get a memo. in fact, i got harassed out of the park at 10:16pm as a i sat on a bench reading a book (Nabokov, Pale Fire). the cop said, “the neighbors are complaining, you have to leave.” thanks for that neighbors. i feel so much safer and cleaner now.

    had i been given a voice, i would have gladly organized my punk-ass friends to spend a day a week picking up trash. and i would have recommended that you fancy pants organizers find other ways to protect your park that didn’t include “demanding that the police do something”.

    oh, and while i’m at it, i would also recommend that if y’all love your park so much, how about you advocate for a more sustainable greenery than grass. do you know how useless grass is?

    it’s self-righteous, narcissistic people like y’all that make people like me irritated.

  6. You should organize your punk-ass friends to spend a day a week picking up trash, Mr Kinbote

  7. am a local blogger and until yesterday was a huge friend of Blue Bottle coffee. An employee from Blue Bottle asked me to show up very last minute up for a hearing they were having regarding permitting in Dolores Park.
    I quietly sat in the back of the room watching many of the employees I see on a daily business roll in.
    There was opposition in the room from various businesses owners on 18th street and a few of their supporters as well.
    I went into City Hall to hear the process and to support Blue Bottle coffee. After hearing both sides I came out realizing that Blue Bottle is slowly becoming the next franchised bully on the block. San Francisco Parks and Recreation were the dominating advocates for Blue Bottle coffee. So much so it felt as though we were sitting in a room of bullies pummeling the kids on the playground.
    The opposition came very prepared with reasonable concerns about their businesses. Much to my surprise and contrary to what I was told they were not in opposition of small businesses going into the park. They were in opposition of Blue Bottle which would compete with already existing coffee businesses on the block.
    Katie Boozer, the general manager of Blue Bottle stood up to state her case. Her speech was ill prepared and focused on the jobs that the Blue Bottle cart would provide for the people of San Francisco. Blue Bottle coffee brought in an employee with her new born baby. As she stood up attempting to pull at the heart strings of the committee she stated that her family depended on the cart in Dolores Park!
    This was followed by a gentlemen who sang a song about Blue Bottle at the meeting creating a mockery of the process although very entertaining for those snoozing in the back row. The precession of Blue Bottle fans and employees continued.
    Lastly, the owner of Blue Bottle stood up. I hung around specifically to hear his argument. His speech advocated that Blue Bottle was known for going into communities and revitalizing areas as well as creating jobs. A weak speech overall but he came across as the humble business owner. I can only assume it helps having Phil Ginsberg as a friend and also on the board of Parks and Rec!
    Nick McKinsey of Parks and Recreation stated that he wanted Blue Bottle to be in the middle of the park where the crumbling bathrooms now exist. The Park and Rec commissioners who were hearing the case recommended that they place their cart away from the businesses on 18th street and serve their products at the corridor on 20th and Church. It seemed like a fair compromise to me.
    Again, Nick McKinsey of Parks and Recreation opposed that idea stating it would block the view of San Francisco for picnic’ers in the park!
    As I sat in the back room listening to all of the speeches I realized I was sitting in a pile of bullshit!
    I had never been in City Hall much less listened to the political process of getting a permit. Fascinating and politics as usual!
    The commissioners came up with a compromise.
    Apparently a 5 year lease was set in place for a Blue Bottle cart in Dolores Park with a factored estimate of Blue Bottle generating revenue of 60k a month and the park receiving a 10% commission. The commissioners recommended a 2 year lease. They recommended reconvening in two weeks when San Francisco parks and recreation could refigure the blueprint plans and place Blue Bottle at the “South West” corridor of Dolores Park. I assume that is 20th and Church.
    This morning I had my first cup of coffee at Four Barrel. Delicioso!

  8. […] K3 September 2010 at 9am “am a local blogger and until yesterday was a huge friend of Blue Bottle coffee. An […]

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