Supervisor Mark Farrell to Introduce June 2016 Ballot Initiative to Ensure Clean and Safe Parks

SAN FRANCISCO – At today’s meeting of the Board of Supervisors, Supervisor Mark Farrell will introduce a Charter Amendment for the June 2016 election that would guarantee approximately $200 million in net new funding for the Recreation and Parks Department over the next 15 years to address a structural budget shortfall that exists and to ensure clean and safe parks and open spaces across San Francisco.

Supervisor Mark Farrell to Introduce June 2016 Ballot Initiative to Ensure Clean and Safe Parks

 

SAN FRANCISCO – At today’s meeting of the Board of Supervisors, Supervisor Mark Farrell will introduce a Charter Amendment for the June 2016 election that would guarantee approximately $200 million in net new funding for the Recreation and Parks Department over the next 15 years to address a structural budget shortfall that exists and to ensure clean and safe parks and open spaces across San Francisco.

 

“San Francisco parks drive the high quality of life that we enjoy in San Francisco, and I want to ensure that future generations of San Franciscans continue to enjoy a world-class park system throughout the City,” said Supervisor Farrell.

 

In the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association’s (SPUR) 2011 report “Seeking Green,” SPUR’s taskforce found in 2011 that the Department needed additional resources in order to retain 24-hour park patrol, maintain the health of park trees and plants, and keep facilities open and programs operating. The needs for the Department have grown since 2011.

Recent analysis from the San Francisco Parks Alliance that builds on SPUR’s 2011 report shows how the overall funding for the Recreation and Parks Department has not kept pace even during a period when San Francisco’s local economy is strong and showing further signs of growth. In 2000, the Recreation and Parks Department received 2.1 percent of the General Fund, and in fiscal year 2014-15, the Department only received 1.3 percent of the General Fund. Over the last 15-years, San Francisco’s budget has grown by 45 percent, but the Department’s budget has only grown by 30 percent.

 

“Funding for our park system has not kept up with the demand from residents,” said Supervisor Mark Farrell. “Our parks and open spaces deserve a sustainable funding source to make badly needed improvements and upgrades from everything to fixing the broken swings to providing additional programming in our clubhouses.”

 

New analysis from the Controller’s Office also clearly shows the issues that needs to be addressed in San Francisco’s parks and open spaces system. The Recreation and Parks Department maintenance program is nearly entirely request or emergency driven, with 99% of work orders in fiscal year 2013-14 devoted to completing over 15,000 individual requests and emergency driven jobs. Graffiti, plumbing, and equipment requests are the most common request types for this year. Additionally, less than 1% of structural maintenance staff time was available in this year for preventative maintenance work. The report found that this imbalance between request/emergency and preventative maintenance work is out of line with recommended practices, and will degrade the condition of the department’s assets over time

 

“San Franciscans are using their parks more than ever, and we are so pleased that the Mayor and Supervisor Farrell are taking this step to meet the open space and recreation needs of our growing City,” said Phil Ginsburg, General Manager of the Recreation and Parks Department.

 “Our analysis in our “Still Seeking Green” report shows hard data that the Recreation and Parks Department budget has not kept pace with its needs,” said Matt O’Grady, CEO of the San Francisco Parks Alliance. “The Parks Alliance is proud to support Supervisor Farrell’s initiative, and we look forward helping the measure pass this June.”

 

 Over the past three months, in conjunction with San Francisco Parks Alliance staff, Supervisor Farrell has gained input directly from residents about the needs they would like to see addressed by the ballot initiative in their neighborhood parks by attending neighborhood association meetings in every Supervisorial District across the City in order to craft a community-driven ballot initiative that will earn broad support. Overwhelmingly, City residents want the sustainable revenue source created through the ballot initiative to address everyday infrastructure needs and improvements in their parks and open spaces that will enhance the user experience and quality of our parks and open spaces for residents and visitors.

 

 “In neighborhood meeting after neighborhood meeting, I have heard overwhelmingly from residents that they want the nuts and bolts issues addressed in their neighborhood parks and open spaces,” said Supervisor Mark Farrell. “Parks and open spaces provide numerous economic and health benefits for our residents and City, and our community-driven ballot measure will ensure that those benefits continue for our residents and visitors for generations to come.”

 

Supervisor Farrell intends to schedule the voter initiative in the Board of Supervisors’ Rules Committee once the 30-day hold is lifted on the legislation. Supervisor Farrell’s initiative is co-sponsored by Supervisors Scott Wiener, Julie Christensen, Katy Tang, Eric Mar, Norman Yee, and by Mayor Ed Lee.

 

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