City NIMBYs Fight for Pink Popcorn, Peddle Boats

By Sajid Farooq
|  Monday, Jan 4, 2010  |  Updated 3:00 PM PDT
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City NIMBYs Fight for Pink Popcorn, Peddle Boats

Dreamo via Flickr

The boathouse at Stow Lake. Dreamo via Flickr

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Nothing brings out the crazy NIMBYs in San Francisco like a threat against pink popcorn and pedal boats.

San Francisco's Recreation and Park Department is looking for preemptive ways to increase its cash flow ahead of a projected $522 million deficit facing the City next year. And the department is looking to revamp some old sites with modern touches to help carry its share of the shortfall.

But the department is discovering that turning a profit is more difficult than fixing an old boathouse. The San Francisco Chronicle's C.W. Nevius highlights the challenge the City faces to make money in the story of the department's attempt to modernize the Stow Lake boathouse.

The idea to fix dress up the boathouse and sell food that people actually want to eat was met with a chorus of boos and "a blackbird hand puppet" that rapped at a Recreation and Park Commission meeting.

The fear is change and according to Nevius, the threat of losing pink popcorn, which has been a popular food amongst local ducks. 

"People like the carnival fare," Bruce McClellan, whose family operates the boathouse, told the Chronicle. "They want pink popcorn and a hot dog. They don't care about a veggie burger."

But the City does care about making money. And if that requires them to sell a veggie burger to an unshowered hippie, so be it.

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