Naming of a park facility sparks political fight

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Rec & Park has proposed naming a building after conservationist Jake Sigg. Some are turned off by his views on immigration.

We at the Bay Guardian were alerted today that San Francisco Recreation & Parks commissioners are poised to name a Golden Gate Park building after a conservationist who blogs openly about “illegal aliens,” and has widely disseminated his view that environmentalists have been “silenced” on the subject of immigration “by intimidation and political correctness.”

But prominent members of the environmental community say Jake Sigg, who worked as a gardener for the Recreation and Parks Department for 31 years, ought to be recognized for his years of contribution to San Francisco parklands. 

A single agenda item for the May 1 meeting of the Operations Committee of the Rec & Parks Commission proposes renaming a Golden Gate Park facility located at 811 Stanyan Street as the Jake Sigg Stewardship Center. The building, which recently underwent a $2.3 million renovation, houses the headquarters for the department’s volunteer and Natural Areas programs.

Sigg, who is in his late 80s, sends out a regular email newsletter to his personal list; it reportedly reaches thousands locally. He also posts content on his personal blog, naturenewssf.blogspot.com. While his emails contain an assortment of poetry and ruminations on the natural world, he’s also been known to express his point of view on immigration – and it has not been well received. It’s prompted rebukes from readers; some have characterized it as racist.

In an exchange from last May that is posted to his blog, a reader named Linda Hunter told Sigg she was offended by an installment in which he used the phrase “illegal aliens.”

In response, Sigg wrote: “I’m not clear on what offends you, other than language. Undocumented workers are illegal aliens, so I don’t understand your point. Trotting out racism is lazy and a refusal to think about a serious problem. I will repeat what I’ve said several times in the past:  My concern on immigration derives solely from population pressures. If you are concerned about human numbers and what that is doing to the planet and to us, you cannot ignore immigration, especially when it is uncontrolled, as now.”

In a private email sent by environmentalist Becky Evans last year and later published by Sigg, Evans said she was “dismayed by the anti-immigrant diatribe in your newsletter,” saying, “all of us are descendants of immigrants except the few who are Native Americans.”

In response, Sigg wrote:

“I am surprised at you, Becky, especially when you use stale, no longer relevant, arguments--such as being descendants of immigrants, &c.  That is a dull old saw.  This country seemed limitless in space and resources and we welcomed immigrants with open arms. Can you say that today?”

When we caught up with Sigg by phone he said he did not believe his views on immigration should be at all connected to the proposal to name the building after him, which stemmed from his decades-long track record as a leader of volunteers.

When we got into a discussion on immigration policy, he said, "I think that our immigration policies are too lax. The borders are too loose, and we need to stabilize our population. If someone wants to accuse me of racism, it just doesn't hold water. Racism is an implication that somehow and some way certain races are inferior to others and I find that idea absurd."

Regardless of what anyone thinks, Sigg has a First Amendment right to say whatever he wants.

But things get complicated when one considers that Rec & Park is about to name a public building – owned collectively by San Franciscans, in a city of immigrants designated as a safe zone for the undocumented – after Sigg, who isn’t shy about broadcasting his opinion that undocumented people should be prevented from migrating by land from south of the Mexican border.

This idea of naming the building after Sigg has won the support of prominent environmentalists including Tom Radulovich of Livable City, San Francisco Environment Commissioner Ruth Gravanis, Nature in the City, San Francisco Laborers Union Local 261 and others in a formal letter submitted to the Operations Committee. Unclear is whether supporters know of his views on immigration, or even care or believe it should have any bearing on naming the building.

There's also a murky political backstory. Brent Plater, executive director of Wild Equity, told us that the whole thing stems from an ongoing controversy over Sharp Park.

The idea of naming the building after Sigg originated with Phil Ginsburg, who directs the city’s Rec & Park Department. Sigg is aligned with Ginsburg in the belief that Rec & Park should move forward with a Significant Natural Resource Areas management plan, which would generally do positive things for natural lands yet contains provisions that many environmentalists oppose, given the negative ramifications they would have for Sharp Park.

“The vast majority of the environmental community opposes this plan – except Jake Sigg,” Plater explained. “To reward Jake for this, Phil wants to put Jake’s name on a building.”  

In response to that idea, Sigg said it had no merit, saying, "People just imagine these things ... They just want to poke Rec & Park in the eye."

Meanwhile, Wild Equity and other environmentalists are suing Rec & Park over its planned construction at Sharp Park, the subject of a long battle over how the area’s golf course impacts two endangered species: the San Francisco garter snake and the California red-legged frog.

Sigg said he thought the lawsuit had no merit and would hold up the management plan, which he hopes to see advance.

It will be interesting to see what the commissioners do with this one. Will Sigg's views on immigration be deemed irrelevant to the decision over whether or not to name a public San Francisco building after him, as he believes is appropriate?

We left messages for Rec & Park but we did not receive a call back by press time.

Comments

Get a life progressobots.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 30, 2014 @ 7:38 pm

Is anyone really having a discussion about immigration policy moving forwards?

All I'm hearing being debated is legalizing the undocumented and temporary H1-B work visas for tech.

Normalizing peoples' status aside, is the suggestion that the law be changed so that anyone who wants to can get a green card and immigrate to the US?

I think that immigration policies from an era of abundance are not appropriate for today's times of scarcity. But I don't support vindictive policies either.

Deporting the undocumented will have no net positive environmental impact. Limiting population growth via decreased immigration moving forward might have marginal positive environmental impacts.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 30, 2014 @ 8:09 pm

We wouldn't want marcos to have to compete with foreigners for tech work. I suggest we only allow Mexican construction workers in. That way, he can get his bathroom remodeled without cutting into his Starbucks budget.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 30, 2014 @ 8:49 pm

You hate Americans and you hate America.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 30, 2014 @ 8:59 pm

You sound like my redneck uncle in Texas. Are you an NRA supporter now too, marcos?

Posted by Snoozers on Apr. 30, 2014 @ 9:21 pm

Yes, the standard of living for most American workers has been falling for 30 years now, so why not take a page out of the theoclassical economics book and add more supply to excess demand?

To paraphrase Eric Cartman: why does every economic policy that these theoclassical neoliberals propose involve something going into or coming out of the asses of hard working Americans?

It is like if we sacrifice enough to the gods of the marketplace, then we will fare well in the afterlife. Appeasing the market never seems to deliver better outcomes in real time.

That's how scams work, as in religion, so in economics.

Posted by marcos on May. 01, 2014 @ 5:32 am

And other nations are more competitive.

Posted by Guest on May. 01, 2014 @ 8:04 am

American workers are amongst the most productive in the world.

Posted by marcos on May. 01, 2014 @ 12:08 pm

Just messing around. I agree with you (somewhat).

Posted by Snoozers on Apr. 30, 2014 @ 9:22 pm

educated foreign workers here, to help our economy.

If a few under-achieving aging white coders get paid less as a result, that's no big whup.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 30, 2014 @ 9:55 pm

immigration policy in a vacuum divorced from economic policy.

Let's start with the admission that America's visa policy is deliberately racist. The rule that no country can account for more than 7% of entry visas is deliberately designed to limit the immigration of Mexicans, Chinese, and Phillippinos. If you're Latvian or French or Norwegian, there's no problem getting in because everyone knows full well that the quota will never be met. But if you're Mexican and you try to get in legally, you'll be waiting 40 years. Forty fucking years! So those yahoos who glibly parrot the talking point that their grandpappy came legally, so those "messicans" can too -they're either completely ignorant or they're just scoundrels. Or both.

Beyond that, I'm fine with the principal of a country being able to limit immigration if it's done fairly. With one additional caveat... the neoliberals want to have their cake and eat it too. They want no borders for capital, but when that capital wrecks the lives of people in other countries, they don't want to deal with the collateral consequences of that wreckage. I'm not down with that. Have we now moved beyond declaring corporations to have as much rights as human beings, and gotten to the point where corporate "persons" have *more* rights than human persons? Oh no. As long as we have open borders for capital, then let's have open borders for human beings.

I know. Everyone will tell me that it's a pipe dream to expect that the US will actually protect American workers and quit messing with other countries' business. The neoliberals will smugly smile and tell me that globalization is here to stay and there's nothing I can do about it. Well if that's the case, then I'll smile just as smugly and say "better learn that espanol." There is no fence high enough to can stop immigration. Thirty years from now, America will look like California, and California will have an even more solid Latino majority.

I, for one, can't wait.

Posted by Greg on Apr. 30, 2014 @ 10:18 pm

Los inmigrantes Latinos, documentados o no, son los menos de nuestros problemas.

Posted by marcos on May. 01, 2014 @ 5:39 am

They're America's salvation! They're our only hope. Imagine what kind of a place California would be if only white people voted! Hell, in a generation, immigrants are going to turn Texas around. Now *that* would be karmic justice!

Posted by Greg on May. 01, 2014 @ 7:11 am

Because he hates white people like himself.

Beyond sad.

Posted by Guest on May. 01, 2014 @ 8:05 am

he wants immigrants to come here and vote and act like white liberals but hates white people in general, unless they are white liberals. The Asians are off the racial island of Greg's because they act too white, but not white liberal.

Posted by Guest on May. 01, 2014 @ 9:24 am

It is only problematic in that immigration is a symptom of greater problems, both people pushed to migrate due to US economic and military policy and people being pulled to migrate to recover their stolen resources.

I doubt that most people would choose to leave their homelands, friends, family and connections, all things being equal. To the extent that policies financed with our tax dollars influence immigration in these ways, we hold responsibility for that.

Posted by marcos on May. 01, 2014 @ 8:11 am

I wish we didn't screw other countries in the first place. But since we do, and we already have, then shit, open the doors and let people mitigate the damage.

Posted by Greg on May. 01, 2014 @ 8:25 am

That's bizarre.

People come to the US because Americans are over-paid by global standards.

Immigration would be zero if these folks could make the same after-tax money in their homeland. But they cannot.

Posted by Guest on May. 01, 2014 @ 8:51 am

because here is where the money is. The money is here because we stole it. Oversimplification? Sure. But basically true.

Posted by Greg on May. 01, 2014 @ 3:00 pm
Posted by Guest on May. 01, 2014 @ 8:50 am

My homeland was NYC, our parents erroneously moved us to Texas in search of greener economics fields. We would have been better in NYC subsisting on government cheese.

Posted by marcos on May. 01, 2014 @ 11:17 am
Posted by Guest on May. 01, 2014 @ 11:24 am

The only two illegals I know are white, and they are taking the same risks as any Hispanic illegal.

Posted by Guest on May. 01, 2014 @ 8:06 am

about that Frenchman who got deported who that sold snails or whatever out of a push cart.

He opined that this would confuse the "racists," since Greg thinks everyone who does not agree with his 60's southerner race theory is a racist.

Posted by Guest on May. 01, 2014 @ 9:29 am

The Hell are you talking about?

Please, put away the keyboard when you've had too much to drink.

Posted by Greg on May. 01, 2014 @ 3:02 pm

Well, I'm sensing some unhappiness with the term "illegal aliens". And since "undocumented citizens" isn't catching on, how about "illegal legals"?

Posted by Guest on Apr. 30, 2014 @ 8:42 pm
Posted by Guest on May. 01, 2014 @ 8:07 am

should even be able to vote - much less name a bourgeois building after.

We must deal severely with any incidence of thought-crime.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 30, 2014 @ 8:46 pm

Goldwater Defending Clinton; Conservatives Feeling Faint
By TIMOTHY EGAN,
Published: March 24, 1994

When he said Government had no business trying to outlaw abortion, some people told him to retire from politics.

When he spoke out in favor of a new Phoenix ordinance protecting homosexuals from discrimination, and said they should be able to serve in the military, that got him in more trouble.

And when former Senator Barry Goldwater, an Arizona institution who has been compared with the Grand Canyon among this state's icons, endorsed a Democratic woman for Congress over a self-proclaimed "Goldwater Republican" in 1992, he was called a traitor. The Democrat, Karan English, won. Iconoclasm in Arizona

Now, after Mr. Goldwater said last week that Republicans in Congress should get off President Clinton's back about the Whitewater affair, critics say that the author of "The Conscience of a Conservative," the man sometimes called the father of modern American conservatism, has become -- close your ears, Rush Limbaugh -- a liberal.
Advertisement

Calls have been pouring into Republican headquarters at the Barry Goldwater Center here, demanding that his name be removed from the building. Some Republicans say he does not deserve to have the high school in Deer Valley, the boulevard in Scottsdale, the airport wing in Phoenix, or the engineering center at Arizona State University named after him.

To hear the crestfallen tell it, it is as if George McGovern suddenly decided the Vietnam War wasn't such a bad idea after all.

"The hero of America's conservative movement is starting to sound like he's lost it," said Sydney Hoff-Hay, president of the Lincoln Caucus of the Arizona Republican Party. "It's sad, because the name Barry Goldwater is revered by people like me."

Other Republicans are even harsher.

"This idea that he's Mr. Republican is a bunch of baloney," said Jay Nenninger, executive director of the leading anti-abortion group in Arizona. "He's really becoming a joke." 'I Don't Give a Damn'

Mr. Goldwater denies any change in party stripes, and his supporters say many of his comments merely reflect his longstanding libertarian beliefs. When asked about Republican criticism of his recent statements, Mr. Goldwater replied: "You know something? I don't give a damn."

Later, in a brief telephone interview this week, he said he knew that his comments on Mr. Clinton would stir up trouble in the party that counts him among its Hall of Famers.

"I realized that it would raise all kinds of hell with the Republican Party," he said. "But I've been at odds with the Republican Party before, and that didn't particularly bother me."

Many Republicans in Arizona have suggested that Mr. Goldwater's recent remarks have been influenced by his new wife, Susan, a nurse 30 years his junior whom he met when she visited his house to take his blood pressure. Critics also suggest he has been swayed by his grandson Ty Ross, who recently announced that he is gay and has tested positive for the virus that causes AIDS.

But others scoff at the notion that Mr. Goldwater is being manipulated.

"I've known him well for 30 years," said Dodie Londen, chairwoman of the Arizona Republican Party. "He has never been afraid to speak his mind." The Goldwater Tradition

At 85, Mr. Goldwater walks with a cane and relies on a hearing aid. But he is still granite-jawed and has a head of pure white hair, and his aide, Doris Berry, says he has no major illnesses. To supporters, he is no less outspoken now than he was when he first went to the Senate in 1952 and went after unions.

When he was the Republican Presidential nominee in 1964, Mr. Goldwater was characterized as an extremist. He wore the title proudly, proclaiming, in words that are perhaps his most famous: "Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue."

Those words are now evoked by gay rights advocates, who view Mr. Goldwater as a hero.

"A lot of people who think of themselves as Goldwater Republicans do not know what it really means to be a Goldwater Republican," said Tom Paniccia, a former Air Force sergeant who was discharged from the military last year after he had proclaimed his homosexuality. "He has always had a near libertarian stance on keeping government out of people's lives."

At the time, Mr. Goldwater wrote a letter on Mr. Paniccia's behalf to Senator Sam Nunn, the Georgia Democrat who heads the Armed Services Committee and is an opponent of homosexuals in the military.

Leaders of gay groups around the country are fond of quoting a recent statement of Mr. Goldwater's: "I don't care if a soldier is straight, as long as he can shoot straight."

Similarly, he has been outspoken in favor of abortion rights and in his disgust with fundamentalist Christians who have influenced the Republican Party.

The topper, for many Republicans, came last week, when Mr. Goldwater summoned reporters to his house in the suburb of Paradise Valley. In a news conference broadcast live in the Phoenix area, Mr. Goldwater said Republican critics of Mr. Clinton's handling of the Whitewater matter should "get off his back and let him be President."

He went on to say, "I haven't heard anything yet that says this is all that big of a deal."

Mr. Goldwater said he had talked occasionally by phone with Mr. Clinton, who recently called him "a saint." But he said that his decision to speak out was his own, and that he had arrived at it after a night of agonizing.

A torrent of calls, most of them negative, to Republican headquarters and Phoenix radio talk shows followed Mr. Goldwater's statements last week.

Paradise Valley's leading radio station, KFYI, which caters to a conservative audience, cut off the news conference after about 15 minutes. Barry Young, the station's program director and a talk show host, said on the air that Mr. Goldwater had become "an embarrassment."

What irked many callers, Mr. Young said in an interview, was that a former Republican standard bearer was interfering with party efforts to hurt the Democrats. "Goldwater should know that when your party is hot on the trail and barking up the tree, you don't call off the dogs," he said.

In his interview this week, Mr. Goldwater seemed as combative as ever. "I did it for one simple reason: the President of the United States, in my opinion, should be allowed to be President." Personal Liberties

To many supporters, Mr. Goldwater's recent statements are not all that inconsistent with past remarks. He always championed personal liberty and minimal government interference with people's lives, they say.

"I don't think Goldwater has moved to the left so much as the Republican Party has moved to the right," said Peter Crozier, a physicist at Arizona State University who is a leader of the gay rights movement in Phoenix. "If you look at Arizona's form of Republicanism, it was always a maverick state, a place where people could do their own thing."

But critics say Mr. Goldwater's support for making the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday a state holiday, and of the Phoenix ordinance to ban discrimination against homosexuals, show something else.

"He's worst than a liberal -- he's a liberal who's lost it," Ms. Hoff-Hay said.

Asked if he planned to leave the party, Mr. Goldwater said: "Hell, no. I've been a Republican all my life, and I don't plan to change."

Photo: Former Senator Barry Goldwater's recent defense of President Clinton in the Whitewater matter has infuriated Republicans in Arizona, where Mr. Goldwater is considered an icon of conservatism. Mr. Goldwater talked to reporters last week outside his house in Paradise Valley, Ariz. (Associated Press) (pg. B10)

Posted by Guest on Apr. 30, 2014 @ 9:34 pm
Posted by Guest on Apr. 30, 2014 @ 9:48 pm

because of his bigoted gay bashing

so should this joker Sigg's name be prevented from being placed on a building because of his bigoted immigrant bashing

simple

Posted by anonymous on May. 01, 2014 @ 12:12 am

entitlement issues on display.

Posted by Guest on May. 01, 2014 @ 12:33 am
Posted by Guest on May. 01, 2014 @ 8:07 am

as well as just an all-around jerk. Even in Poland they've turned away from him. He lost to a reformed Communist after alienating the entire political establishment. He tried to make a comeback in the following election running against the man who defeated him, but received just 1.4%. Voters associated him with the terrible job he did during his first term. And yes, he's a bigot and religious fanatic.

If there's an alley named after him here, that's actually pretty outrageous.

Posted by Greg on May. 01, 2014 @ 1:03 am

Hitler was kind to animals.

MLK was unfaithful to his wife.

Nobody is all good or all bad.

Posted by Guest on May. 01, 2014 @ 8:09 am

That's a pretty big one. And so is the bigotry. And so is having a disastrous presidency. Even the Poles themselves want nothing more to do with this guy.

Posted by Greg on May. 01, 2014 @ 8:27 am

And not our personal part-time opinions.

Posted by Guest on May. 01, 2014 @ 8:53 am

Plenty of people were pals with Jim Jones even after he was a proven nut, and yet they get a pass. Greg wanted to name an Airport after one of them.

in the zeitgeist of the time Walesa was a big deal when the street was named, removing his name at this point is a bit Stalinist. Unless we rename the street after Ramsey Clark or Che Guavara.

Posted by Guest on May. 01, 2014 @ 12:11 pm

It's not Stalinist to rename a street. Thanks for at least acknowledging that the guy turned out to be a disaster. I understand the zeitgeist at the time. Now I think there's a different zeitgeist.

Posted by Greg on May. 01, 2014 @ 3:05 pm

Tree lovers of SF have been dismayed by the so-called "natural areas program" touted by Sigg and Ginsburg.

This is a very wide-ranging topic in San Francisco these days, and it seems that those who promote the "natural" areas program most strongly are either working or volunteering in the field, or promoting nativist projects in the schools. Those of us who were shocked the first time we saw our beloved mature trees being felled are learning about the "movement" very slowly - more slowly than it is being implemented in our city.

Some SF'ers (especially SF Forest and its supporting professors and PhD's) have exceedingly deep knowledge, and some, like myself, have just woken up to what's going on.

STOP THE DESTRUCTION OF OUR SF FORESTS!!

Posted by SF'er on May. 05, 2014 @ 12:45 am

Does this mean we are getting rid of Cesar Chavez Street, Cesar Chavez Elementary School, etc?

After all Cesar Chavez opposed illegal immigration as well...

Posted by Guest on May. 01, 2014 @ 4:44 am

It's always fun to watch the left eat its own. Perhaps an algorithm could be devised to calculate once and for all who's a good liberal and who's a bad liberal.

Posted by Chromefields on May. 01, 2014 @ 5:57 am

We need to rename everything named after him - STAT!

Posted by Guest on May. 01, 2014 @ 8:52 am

but they were communists or maybe communists so the studies colluded to keep them from working in the states.

How the left differ in substance from 50's red scare nuts is a mystery.

The news here isn't if to name the place after the guy, few really care, the news is the lack of tolerance and hypocracy from our local red scare progressives.

Posted by Guest on May. 01, 2014 @ 9:21 am

Jake's a good guy. I don't know him well but I know him and I know he cares a great deal for the city, it's natural environment, and our role in stewarding our limited open spaces. I say this as someone who has listened to Jake talk smack about my work. I may disagree with him up and down the road but I appreciate his thoughtfulness on issues that are important to me.

What's sad is that Jake's really just echoing a long-settled discussion in the environmental community about the environmental impacts of immigration and over-population. Read David Brower and Edward Abbey. Even years after passing, these guys remain some of the brightest intellectual lights in the environmental movement and they can be found, at times, to be rabidly against immigration (and misogynistic but that's a story for another day). It's easy to interpret some of their rantings on the topic to be blatantly racist.

Taken in context, however, and one can see that they were simply freaking out instead of recognizing practical, pragmatic ways to mitigate some of the impacts of cross-border migration and population growth in general (we all know the modern song - use less/buy less, build taller and closer to transit, smaller house lots, sort and recycle, etc...). At the time of this debate, suburban sprawl was the name of the game in development, Agent Orange was considered a smart way to keep enemy soldiers out of camp, and Japan was just starting to introduce the compact car after generations of vehicles slowly growing bigger and bigger. We were at the end of a 30 year stretch of growth and were starting to feel the hangover. And don't forget at that at the time the enviro movement (and the progressive movement in general) was much more blue-collar and some of these guys, like Abbey, had competed with immigrants for jobs.

It has also since come to be recognized that there are really, serious, horrible and absolutely terrible environmental and humanitarian impacts of closing borders and allowing unbridled growth to exist on one side while poverty permeates the other. From the drug cartels, to health and safety regulations, it's pretty clear to most long-view people that simply closing borders causes much more problems than it resolves.

But maybe Jake missed that memo. Maybe he just doesn't buy it. Maybe he's just lived in the SF bubble so long that some of these issues seem more conceptual than real. I don't know. But before the mob strings the guy up for some outdated views, let's acknowledge that this is a an issue for an entire generation of environmentalists and not just this one person.

Oh, and Brent Plater's conspiracy theories are ridiculous. It's all about the golf course, huh pal? Psst. Here's a secret. You aren't important enough for people to conspire against.

Posted by BeckyBayside on May. 01, 2014 @ 9:44 am

Hi Becky, thanks for your thoughtful comment and for providing that context. I think it's sad, too. People seem to have a lot of respect for Jake thanks to his decades of environmental work, and I've tried to be fair to everyone in my reporting.

Posted by rebecca on May. 01, 2014 @ 11:18 am

I think Becky's comments accord pretty well with my impression. Jake has done a huge amount of very hard work for all sorts of Bay Area environmental causes over many decades. He's not beholden to any particular organization's agenda (and that includes SFRPD), and among the many viewpoints that are circulated in his newsletter are a few that have a rather unfashionable population-control outlook.

I think most environmentalists would agree that human population and consumption are the key drivers of many forms of environmental damage, climate change being a particularly obvious example. Within that school of thought there are some that apply the same arguments within a particular region. So, the thinking goes, you can preserve the environment in California through policies to limit population growth in the state, hence the desire to reduce immigration. I think that's an argument that badly misses the broader picture. Most of those (often undocumented) immigrants are coming from Mexico, and "closing the border" just transfers environmental damage from one place to another.

We should be smart enough to realize that reprinting particular views, such as those from Californians for Population Stabilization, in his newsletter does not mean that Jake Sigg endorses them all. Insofar as Jake does support these arguments, then there are certainly some that are in direct opposition to SF city policy. For example, San Francisco's sanctuary city ordinance prohibits city officials from turning over non-felony suspects to ICE for deportation proceedings. Deporting undocumented immigrants for misdemeanor violations is an unpopular view in San Francisco, but it's not racist, it's the stated platform of many mainstream political candidates, and across the country it unfortunately probably has majority support.

More to the point, Sigg's inclusion of these views in a handful of issues of his newsletter is unlikely to have had much effect on anyone. Few of his subscribers likely share these views. And the most likely result is some dropped subscriptions and the occasional deserved letter of complaint.

Enter the NIMBY "forest" preservationists, hell-bent on keeping the eucalyptus-and-ivy monocultures of Mount Davidson and Mount Sutro from any kind of change. Fact is, we've given over some of the few remaining unbuilt pieces of land in San Francisco to unmanaged plantations that look nice from a distance and smell like VapoRub but have a pretty serious impact on species diversity and fire safety. There's a balance we can reach here, where we have less-dense stands of blue gum and enough areas of native plans that species such as the green hairstreak and mission blue butterflies survive, and neighbors don't run the risk of another Oakland Hills-style fire. (I fully expect that a commenter will trot out the "argument" that these are really "cloud forests" that reduce the risk of forest fire. Seriously, this is the "logic" at work here.)

Overall, where to strike that balance is a conversation the city should be having, but instead there are some that favor trying to tar their supposed nemesis with the label of "racist". That's just pathetic. I notice that Rebecca Bowe doesn't say who it was that "alerted" the Guardian to this story. Protecting vulnerable sources is great; obscuring the groups behind this hidden agenda, not so much.

And to cap this off, we have a magnificent display of Plater-ocentrism. Sorry to break it to you, Brent, but even the dastardly Phil Ginsburg has motivations beyond currying support for his Sharp Park plans. This city has a hundred different environmental issues, and yours is but one of them.

A good SFBG writer would have sorted through this mess and identified the self-serving positions involved. Instead, we got this article.

Posted by Guest on May. 05, 2014 @ 5:05 pm

Population pressures are very real. If someone says most of the population increase is coming from a certain group, this does not make him a racist; he is simply stating a fact. 'Racists' have some inherent bias against a racial group. If I am Latino and say there sure are a lot of us, would you call me a racist?

The real problem is too many people. Over 7 billion. Earth is overly burdened. Earth doesn't need us, but we need it. You will understand this when you find unhealthy air, water and land all around you. You may also understand this if you are unable to attend the school of your choice or get a meaningful job.

It's important to move forward to lessen our burden on Earth now. We are already facing decisions that represent increasing disruption and harm to Earth, in order to support our daily lives. I'm talking about fracking and the tunnels Gov. Brown wants to build in the SF Bay Delta to move more water to SoCal.

Don't let folks distract you from tackling the big problems facing humankind. It's a disservice to people everywhere when folks attack someone for wanting to have a meaningful discussion. I hope the media appreciates this and stops making a big deal out of some folks just wanting to assert their right to be BP at Wild Equity, for example. BP is apparently now making wild claims himself. And did anyone check out what the environmental community really thinks about the management plan and Sharp Park before publishing his statement? Apparently not, because many of us in the City do support the plan to manage our natural areas. So again, BP's objection is just another distortion and distraction.

Posted by Guest on May. 01, 2014 @ 11:06 am

Because many illegals are white, and many Hispanics are not illegals.

You could call it xenophobia, I suppose.

Either way, a non issue

Posted by Guest on May. 01, 2014 @ 11:12 am

If you agree that this is sad, then why on Earth did you write this article in the way that you did? I regret your inclusion of Mr. Plater's comments in this article, and really the entire framing of this subject at the beginning of the piece. This is sensationalistic, clearly, and you did not pursue enough "balanced" slices of the information pie. Mr. Plater is entirely unbalanced. His statements are lies. Most of the environmental community supports the Natural Areas Plan and the Natural Areas Program. Mr. Plater is out for his reputation, which keeps eroding, ironically, via his exploits.

Posted by Mythbuster on May. 01, 2014 @ 4:41 pm

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