Would SF Ballot Measure Ban Birthday Parties?

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Could parts of Golden Gate Park, like the Sharon House art studios, be off limits for rentals? Some say yes.

    It'll be a long, lonely time in the parks throughout San Francisco if a ballot measure passes --an item on the November ballot would effectively ban birthday parties, weekend barbecues, and any other kind of in-the-park soiree or fete if passed by the voters, according to the Recreation and Park Department and one of the candidates for mayor.

    Or would it? It could just be pure politics.

    The ballot measure is the brainchild of Supervisor John Avalos, a mayoral candidate. Blasting the measure is Michela Alioto-Pier, another mayoral candidate, and Rec and Park Spokeswoman Sarah Ballard, a former legislative aide for Alioto-Pier.

    Avalos's ballot measure halts Rec and Park from imposing new fees to use park facilities, and states that "all recreation facilities, including but not limited to clubhouses, not leased on the effective date of this measure, shall not be leased to private entities but shall remain open and accessibility to the public," according to the San Francisco Examiner. The idea is that no more private entities would be allowed to lease out public space, and that existing public space would be kept public.

    But the wording is too vague, and makes the ballot measure go too far, according to Ballard. "Our concern is it will impact birthday parties, picnic permits, weddings and beloved civic events like gay pride and Chinese New Year," she told The Examiner. Her former boss Alioto-Pier also issued an email blast attacking the measure.

    That's pure nonsense, Avalos told the newspaper. "This measure doesn't even attempt [to halt birthday parties, for which no permit is needed]," he said. "The measure itself draws a line where we have current facilities leased out to nonprofits and any facilities not leased out could be leased out."

    What's definite is that in San Francisco politics, nothing is off-limits from being politicized. Not even parties in the park.