Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Who Cares About Sharp Park Golf?

It looks like the San Francisco Golf War is about to enter a new chapter. Late last year, the Center for WEBLEEDU (Wild Equity Biodiversity Litigation for Ecological Extortion and Deep Untruths) failed to secure the destruction of the course and force the city to give away valuable coastal park land by using legal intimidation and bad science. Now, the advocates for the destruction of this historic landmark course are soliciting new allies and have turned to bad accounting as the new field of battle. There is no more merit to this new line of attack than any that have gone before. The sad thing is that the "protesters" don't seem to realize that green fees from Sharp Park golfers subsidize San Francisco Rec & Park overhead costs as well as other San Francisco services and not the other way around. If Sharp Park were to be closed, taxes would have be raised or more San Francisco services would need to be cut.

I have participated in the Sharp Park golf kerfuffle over the last year or so, posting both here and on my blog. I don't like to personalize the debate, as doing so detracts from the argument when simple truth, logic, and common sense support keeping the course. But this Plater character, this self anointed crusader for the destruction of the course, sure makes it hard to keep to the high road.

Brent Plater and his Big Brass Brent Buckle.

Consider this Platerism from a recent column in the SF Weekly:
"Nobody in San Francisco cares about Sharp Park," says environmentalist Brent Plater, executive director of the nonprofit Wild Equity Institute, who has spearheaded the campaign to close the course. "If that golf course were to fall into the ocean tomorrow, nobody would blink an eye... If Spock were in charge of these things, or the social insects, who deal with these collective problems a little bit better than we do, there's no doubt" that Sharp Park would be shut down, he says."
Really. Read it again. It's all there in this quote - The arrogant elitism: I Brent"Spock" Plater, Oakland resident, know what is best for you San Francisco and Pacifica plebeians; The slavish admiration for a hive mentality; The assertion that individual rights and needs are unimportant and must be subjugated to the will of the collective - particularly those collective needs as defined by the smarter and wiser Spock Brent Plater of course. This is a world view where unsupported pronouncements are reality and actual facts in direct contradiction to fabulist inventions are simply ignored. It is a lawyer's conceit - the conceit that one can paint a verbal picture so compelling the jury will not notice that the fantasy does not comport with actual reality.

Perhaps Brent Plater is right. Perhaps - despite Abe Lincoln's homily - you can fool most of the people most of the time. Based on the way that local fawning "journalists" in both the mainstream and independent media unquestioningly report anything he says, you'd think he was Moses delivering the Ten Commandments. They function as his personal PR firm and swallow the selfless environmental crusader bait - hook, line and sinker. And so the contributions come rolling in to the Brent Institute - or not - I have no idea. What the hell. I'll leave the links to Brent and the Brent Plater Institute in the referenced quote. For anyone who has so little respect for their hard earned dollars that they would give money to a guy who can say stuff like this with a straight face, well - you deserve each other. I am sure you will get exactly what you paid for. Maybe he'll send you a Brent Buckle.

That said, this particular absurdity:
"Nobody in San Francisco cares about Sharp Park... if that golf course were to fall into the ocean tomorrow, nobody would blink an eye."
- cannot be left unchallenged.

So permit me to offer a dose of reality. Compiled here are a few video clips of the people who care about Sharp Park. And a few of the people who will be hurt if Brent Plater gets his way.

I've attended a number of SF government committee meetings on Sharp Park over the last year. They have all been well attended by people who care a great deal about Sharp Park golf, with meetings lasting for many hours to accommodate all who want to voice their opinion to our tone deaf Board of Supervisors. My observation is the Sharp Park supporters always outnumber those who would destroy the course. These first three video clips are from one of these meetings.

San Francisco Laborers Union Local 261 Support Sharp Park Golf:

"Our organization is foursquare behind the preservation of the historic Alister MacKenzie golf course at Sharp Park."
- Zack Salem

The Sierra Club supports the Sharp Park Golf plan to enhance the snake and frog habitat:

Recommended enhancements are consistent with Sierra Club resolution to protect the snake and frog.

Karen Swaim, biologist and noted expert on the endangered frog and snake supports the recommendation to continue but modify the Sharp Park golf course:
"Golf is not what is responsible for the decline of the San Francisco garter snake." - Karen Swaim

Of course, the women, men, elderly retirees, students, and diverse golfers from all over the bay area who pay for the 55,000 rounds per year per that go into the City coffers and subsidize city services also care about the affordable golf course they love:

"This is a workingman's golf course."

Even from across the pond, they care about landmark Sharp Park Golf Course. The Alister MacKenzie Society:

Finally, as an indicator of the depth and breadth of support for the course, a few clips I shot at a fundraiser and rally for the course last October. These were shot using a little point-and-shoot camera - so the quality is not great. But there were sure a lot of people and pols who care a great deal about Sharp Park Golf in attendance:

So given the obvious nonsense that he spouts, what is one to make of Brent Plater and his inane pronouncements?

Is he willfully ignorant? -or- just another tool?

You decide.

Cross posted from MW Mobile Blog


mw said...

Haven't posted here in a while, but have been lurking and watching the always entertaining Pacifica follies here on Fix Pacifica.

It looks like the Sharp Park Golf haters are having another go during the city budget process. As always, there is no predicting how this will play with the SF Supes, so I thought I'd reprise a few videos of the people who support the course.

Unknown said...

Lord have mercy on Pacifica and protect her from the idiocy of Brent Plater and those of his character.

Jeffrey W Simons said...

Thanks for staying on top of this issue, Mike. It does seem odd how Brent's arguments shift like the wind, first it is about the frogs and snakes until the frog and snake expert proves him wrong. Then it is about money, until the money people prove him wrong. Then it is about what is "best for the citizens of San Francisco" until that lie is disproved. Then it is about maintaining social services. Tomorrow it will be about something else.

People need to realize its really all just about Brent, and his little lapdogs Ian Butler and "Kathy Jana". No person with a shred of integrity buys or supports their arguments. And think of all the time and energy that has been wasted fighting their immoral and unjust land grab, only for the greater good of Brent Plater.

Houdini said...

Plater is creepy. He looks like that magician David something who makes stuff disappear. Wish he would cast a spell in the mirror. Poof! No more plater.

Brent's Boys said...

We feel kinda like the Hollywood Hills - ya know, with that BIG Hollywood sign above us...

Winter Roads said...

I love my Brenty-poo. You blue meanies better stop talking bad about my honey-bunny.

"BP" doesn't seem to stand for anything good anymore said...

"social insects in charge"?

Okay, I knew this guy was uber-creepy and hated humans, and maybe it's only me, but I was kinda expecting that maybe BP (no, not British Petroleum - although i'm sure he loves their jelly) would prefer a higher life form to be in charge of affairs here on Mama Earth than a common ant. Ya know, maybe a panda bear or somethin'...

British Petroleum said...

To the previous commenter: We will not tolerate your sullying our name and reputation by associating our initials with Brent Plater. If you do not Cease and Desist immediately, you will be hearing from our lawyers (just as soon they finish with a little problem down south that is keeping them busy right now).

Gordon Gekko Productions said...

Smoking hot ad campaign for the newly merged global conglomerate BP & BP:

You get where you need to go with our motor oil.
You keep your home warm with our heating oil.
Now you can "Save Endangered Species" and in turn "Save the Planet" with our newly released San Francisco Garter Snake Oil.

We are BP & BP. We destroy oceans, beaches, wildlife and golf courses and no one even blinks an eye.

British Petroleum and Brent Plater: Earth to the Power of Two!

Anonymous said...

Possibly a(nother) new low in commentary from "fix pacifican's".

I support the Sharp Park Golf Course as I listened to and supported the scientists that stated that "at this time" the golf course is the best alternative to protecting the SF Garter Snake and frog, and I believe it adds value to the community. However, I also recognize and encourage people who are calling out that we need to consider our human impact on species we share this planet with.

With the belittling commentary above (not the original post, but the comments) that offer no facts, just mean and childish personal comment, you are not doing anything to support the cause for the golf course.

Sonny Boy said...

@Anonymous@1:23 PM:

Mommy, is that you?

Kathy Meeh said...

Anonymous @1:23PM this is a blog where the public posts. My first thought was you're right because the commentary on this one is a bit over-the-top, some of it funny.

On the other hand, these reactions to article comments by Brent Plater are also well deserved, therefore make complete sense. Civic value, deeds, and Plater's original false and twisted commentary matter. People have been trying to save this golf course for a long time now, with more to go. Call this one "letting-off-steam".

MW has put together a fine article.

P-Town Golfer said...

@Anonymous@1:23 PM

Let's not forget that Plater has accused the present management at Sharp Park of under reporting rounds & stealing. This guy and his followers have proved that they will say anything to make their point. Whenever challenged, they coil up in their shell like a turtle!!!! I for one find it laughable that Plater is now using the SF Taxpayer mantra to try to shut down Sharp Park. He lives in Oakland and has no financial stake in this whatsoever!!!

mw said...

Wow. I have a fan. I can't handle that pressure. Sorry F.O.MW, but you are destined for disillusionment.

Anon specifically said he/she was not criticizing my post, although I'll admit, as I do in the post, that it was more personality focused than I like. Trying to shape the tone of comments on a public political blog is an exercise in futility. Look at the comments any major political blog - Huffington, Kos, etc. I found the comments humorous, which is always a big plus.

The problem is that the more I thought about what Plater was saying, the more pissed off I got. Anybody who has been involved in this issue over the last couple years knows the depth and breadth of passion on the part of those who support the golf course - including Plater. As I said, it is clear that the people who support keeping the course while protecting the species far outnumber those advocate its destruction. Plater's technique is to take the biggest weakness of his own position and loudly project it on his opposition. So... criticize our support when he has very little, attack the finances of a golf course that is financially contributing to and subsidizing SF services, when there has never been an explanation of where the enormous amount of money need to "restore" (destroy) Sharp Park will come from.

It is disingenuous, it is cynical, it is disrespectful, it is dishonest, and it is calculated. And it still pisses me off.

Kathy Meeh said...

MW, you deserve praise. Sharp Park Golf Course concessions produce the 27th highest tax revenue in Pacifica, so the "it doesn't pay its way" argument fails here in under-productive frog city.