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Thursday, December 8, 2011

S.F. Voters Try to Protect Coit Tower with Ballot Initiative

Posted By on Thu, Dec 8, 2011 at 9:30 AM

click to enlarge coit_tower_thumb_335x447.jpg

Some San Francisco citizens who are worried that the city's iconic Coit Tower is not getting the TLC it needs are hoping to force the city to shower the landmark with a little more money. And what better way to make sure that happens than through another ballot measure?

The Protect Coit Tower Committee -- a coalition of neighbors, environmentalists, and artists -- filed a ballot initiative with the city's Elections Department yesterday, and plans to collect 9,700 signatures over the next two months to get the measure on the June ballot. If approved, the measure would limit commercial activities and private events held there. It would also force the city to prioritize funds raised at Coit Tower, which would be used to preserve the historic murals and better protect the historic tower, built in 1933.
"Right now, Coit Tower already generates far more than enough money every year that should keep it in good shape, but that hasn't happened because, unfortunately, it is being treated like a cash cow rather than a national treasure," said Jon Golinger, chair of the PCCT.

Specifically, the group says the Telegraph Hill landmark is suffering from water leaks and water damage, which have left the historic murals in disrepair. Also, the ceiling is in bad shape, and the ground-level lighting is not working properly, among other problems.

Meanwhile, the city's Recreation and Parks Department has been getting more than $500,000 annually in proceeds from Coit Tower concessions and elevator fees. In addition, the city received $541,390.24 in rent from the existing concession operations at Coit Tower, yet only a fraction of that revenue is being spent on tower upkeep, according to the group.

"Much more needs to be done to protect and celebrate the amazing Coit Tower murals," said Debra Walker, president of the San Francisco Arts Democratic Club. "And there is also such a great opportunity at Coit Tower to promote local artists rather than sell the same old souvenirs people can get anywhere else."

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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