Tonight will be an important night in San Francisco, but little will be said about it on the evening news.
About ten years ago, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi led the charge to turn San Francisco's former army base into the nation's first privatized national park. The former army base, the Presidio, is the hilly, forested area at the south end of the Golden Gate Bridge. You've seen it in pictures.
Under Pelosi's Presidio Trust Act, most of San Francisco's Presidio and most of its buildings were to be controlled and managed not by the National Park Service but by a government-owned corporation called the Presidio Trust. Since then, film and video game mogul George Lucas has built his sprawling headquarters on some of the loveliest acres in this "park," and a multi-billion dollar development company, Forest City (www.forestcity.net), is angling for rights to redevelop an old hospital in the "park" into high-end apartments and/or condos.
Now, tonight in San Francisco, the Presidio Trust will hold a workshop to convince the public that the Presidio needs a "great lodge."
Answer: According to a recent Presidio Trust mailing, "Every great national park deserves a great park lodge."
If you disagree, and if you suspect that "great lodge" is shorthand for "stratospherically priced hotel for the painfully rich," send a brief, polite comment letter to the addresses listed below.
After all, isn't San Francisco already crawling with stratospherically priced luxury hotels? And don't billionaires already have enough playground space?
ADDRESSES FOR COMMENTS:
Snail mail: John Pelka, Compliance Manager, The Presidio Trust, 34 Graham Street, P.O. Box 29052, San Francisco, CA 94129-0052
The deadline for public "scoping" comments is February 8, 2007
TO LEARN MORE:
For more information on the Presidio, go to www.sfbg.com, the website of the progressive weekly San Francisco Bay Guardian and do a search on "Presidio." Or start with this Bay Guardian piece: "Nancy Pelosi's Legacy," at http://www.sfbg.com/40/12/news_ed_pelosi.html
For Presidio Trust lodge info, go to http://www.presidio.gov/trust/projects/lodge.htm