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Monday, March 7, 2011

San Francisco Parks Might not Be Holy Land, but They're Worth Fighting for

Posted By on Mon, Mar 7, 2011 at 8:00 PM


Driving across this great nation we were blessed to be born in, I was tuned in to an AM talk radio station on a long night drive. The host was talking about Israel. It was noise. I was hardly paying attention. But it was a call-in show, and I always like to hear what people have to say, especially people in the middle of the country who I don't really share any perspective with. You drive across the country, you find yourself listening to this drivel. But this one was different. And no matter where you stand on the Palestine/Israel thing, this guy will rattle your convictions and make you think what da fuck were you thinking?

The host asked callers for opinions on the bloody conflict on the West Bank. A guy called him. Let's call him Buck. Buck has the classic Texas accent. Authentic, rolling drawl. Easy on ears. "Aw shucks." Buck asked a question that stumped the host and kinda blew my mind. "Is it the dirt?" he queried with his gentle words. "I don't understand." The host replied. "They both want the land, right?" "That's correct." "Because of the dirt? Or is it whatever dirt is on that specific geographic location?" The way he says 'geographic' is precious. Ge-ooo-graafik. His question was biting. But he went on, in his gentle way. "Because I own quite a bit of land here in Ozona, Texas. Far more land than what they are fighting over. I'd give it to 'em. It's desert land, just like 90 percent of Israel. Nothing will grow here. They could ship the dirt from the West Bank, spread it around, and I'll sign the deed over to 'em. It's close enough to the San Antonio airport and then they'd be in America. With rights an' all. My question: Is it the dirt or the geographic location they are fighting over?"

  • sethilys/Wikipedia

The host stammered a bit. But it's an amazing question. When it comes to "holy land," is it the dirt that Jesus walked on that makes Jerusalem a holy place, or is it the place? I guess you'd have to believe in a Jesus first, but let's make that leap, to better understand the believers. Could we indeed just move a couple thousand shipping containers of dirt and spread it around near Ozona, Texas, and call it holy? Is that just too simple? Can a guy named Buck from Texas win a Nobel Peace Prize for just making the offer? Buck kept talking: "If it's the geographic location, there is probably not much we can do. But if they want to stand on the same ground as their holy men, you could also argue about soil erosion, which is a longer conversation." On and on he went. It was heartwarming and hysterical.

But that's how disconnected Buck is. He just doesn't get it. And ya know what, neither do I. I think it's a trick of ownership. Your past happened somewhere, you want equity in that place. You want to own it. Ownership of a part of Earth is insanity. But let's throw that out the window for now as well. So if it is true that the dirt that Jesus walked on is holy and you want to honor that holy tradition, the dirt that touched his feet should be more important than the point on a map. Especially since thousands of years ago Israel was a forest. Until they chopped all the trees down and turned it into a desert. But I digress.

So the Israelis and the Palestinians fight over the West Bank, neither willing to stand down and just walk away and go starve somewhere else. Both will say that they have no choice. One side of the conflict has nuclear weapons. So that's a game changer ... but let's bring this home. There is a battle going on here in SF over dirt. I believe our parks are controlled by men who do not have our best interests in mind. I believe they are all politically motivated. I believe they are selling our parks out. You will likely not believe me when I tell you that they will do the equivalent of selling you a park. Today. Sell it to you. Pick a park, make 'em an offer. The more they sell, the less they have to deal with.

  • Mila Zinkova/Wikipedia
They are claiming they don't have the resources to manage the parks. So they are trying to lease parts of them to private companies so they don't have to deal with them. Once they sign a lease, it's over. Unless the lessee defaults.

What's the point? Why am I drawing this correlation with Israel? Because it's not the dirt. This isn't holy land. These are places on a map. It's very very important that we all agree with that. Because a place on a map is WHERE A PARK IS SUPPOSED TO GO. Evenly distributed about the city. The point is that this conflict, isn't. We are not fighting with the Recreation and Park Commission to stop selling our parks, we are fighting with the regime that is controlling the Recreation and Park Commission and demanding that they step down. We are demanding that our new mayor appoint new commissioners and fire Phil Ginsburg, general manager of the Recreation and Parks Department.

Fire Phil Ginsburg. I like the ring of that ...

There is a group you should know about:

Take Back Our Parks

The RPD is barreling ahead with privatizing, or in Commission President Mark Buell's own words, converting parklands and clubhouses into "site specific revenue generators," all under cover of the budget deficit.

This is total bullshit. They have stated publicly that they wish to take our parks system OFF the general fund. They want to put a wastewater treatment plant in Golden Gate Park, but they are squeezing out a tiny recycling center because it's an industrial use. They want to take one-third of the park -- one-third! -- and renovate soccer fields, adding artificial turf, giant lights, and expanded parking. They want all parks to have admissions. It's treason, I say!!!!!!

They have meetings every Wednesday, 7 p.m. to 9:15 p.m. at the Hall of Flowers, Ninth Avenue and Lincoln Way, in the main auditorium.

This is war. Over land. Over money. Power. I believe these are sleazy back room deals that people like Dick Cheney practice on before they go big time. It's our duty to stop these people and make them lose any political power they may have so when Gavin becomes governor and later president they will not have a foothold. This is my opinions. Your opinion might be that I'm being hysterical.

Instead of going to a bar Wednesday night, go to this meeting instead. I bet 50 percent of the people who go to this meeting will become so angry that they will activate and become a soldier in this war.

I say our parks are sacred. They are taking our sacred land away. Torches and pitchforks, guys.


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Chicken John


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