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Bay Area Bird Blog » San Francisco Parks Bond: pennies for habitat!
7th 2008
San Francisco Parks Bond: pennies for habitat!

Posted under endangered species & government

On Tuesday, San Franciscans approved a $185 million bond to pay for improvements to city parks: building and renovating bathrooms, field maintenance, athletic fields, matching funds for recreation programs, and on and on.  And, way down at the bottom of the list: 5% of the money will go to work in designated “natural areas” of San Francisco’s parks.  This will include trail maintenance and stuff like that.  I’m a big fan of both city parks and recreation programs.  

I was on the Berkeley Parks and Recreation Commission for several years, and my wife and I are in a sports league in San Francisco (and in fact the league just had to change where we play because the lights failed at the initial site).  Recreation programs: love ‘em!  Bathrooms: love ‘em even more, wouldn’t want to live without ‘em!  But, gee, only 5% for “natural areas”, and all or most of that is for trail maintenance?  It probably is a fair reflection of the priorities of the voters, unfortunately, and that’s what’s so sad about it.  I wish there was some money available for, for example, restoring habitat for the endangered species that are fighting to hold on in San Francisco.

 Hmm, this post has kinda turned into a downer.  Well, on the bright side, and speaking of endangered species in and around San Francisco, it looks like the GGNRA Big Year is off to a great start! Check it out if you don’t know about it already. 

39 Responses to “San Francisco Parks Bond: pennies for habitat!”

  1. Steve Sayad on 07 Feb 2008 at 10:05 am #

    Just what breeds of birds are “endangered” in San Francisco. Surely not the Western Snowy Plover, which barely hangs to a “threated” status because is is genetically identical to other plovers whose numbers are in the tens of thousands.

  2. ShirleyIamNotJoking on 07 Feb 2008 at 1:07 pm #

    I dunno. Most of the good birding I do in SF has nothing to do with activities of the Natural Areas. And from the news a couple of years ago, what I remember is that the Natural Areas was CUTTING DOWN TREES and removing bird-friendly plants like blackberries bushes (because they weren’t native). They even wanted to cut down the trees at Lake Merced, where the cormorants hang out, because the trees are not native. And the birds, double-crested cormorants, were what MADE the area so-called critical habitat.

    If I had known the bond gave the Natural Areas program money, that would have been the kiss of death. I think kids need safe playgrounds, and everyone needs clean bathrooms. However, the birds & most of the wildlife in SF doesn’t need the natural areas. They’ve existed for decades quite nicely w/o that program.

  3. admin on 07 Feb 2008 at 4:52 pm #

    Steve, I wasn’t just talking about endangered birds, but all endangered species, of which there are a number in San Francisco: the Mission Blue and San Bruno Elfin butterflies, several plants, etc…and, yes, birds including the California Clapper Rail and the Western Snowy Plover. And for what it’s worth, I was referring to “endangered species” to mean “a species that is in danger of extinction,” rather than a species that has attained a particular designation on a specific list. In other words, I was using common parlance rather than a legalistic interpretation. As for the “genetically identical” thing, I’ve seen the claim made by opponents of restricting beach access, but don’t know anything about it myself.

    Shirely…, having paid a great deal of money to remove a huge, healthy eucalyptus tree, a lot of Algerian ivy, and a zillion non-native blackberries from my backyard, you can guess where I stand on the -general- issue of plant selection: I generally favor native plants because they support native ecosystems. That said, there are times when it’s better to leave non-natives, and one of those times is when they are (1) providing valuable habitat for species that we want to promote AND (2) replacing them with a similarly valuable native species is not feasible.

    I also have to disagree with the claim that birds and most wildlife in SF “existed for decades quite nicely.” It may be true that the Natural Areas program won’t help — I don’t know how effective they are — but that doesn’t mean there’s not a problem.

  4. shirleyIamNotJoking on 08 Feb 2008 at 1:50 pm #

    “I generally favor native plants because they support native ecosystems.” That’s not strong justification for native plants. Seems equal to saying, ” I generally favor blackberry plants because they support a blackberry ecosystem.”

    An ecosystem is a system of plants/animals/etc. and their relationship to the physical environment. Some people prefer a native plant ecosystem, some a scented geranium ecosystem, some a eucalyptus ecosystem, etc. In 21st century SF , a small area filled with people, all of the above ecosystems are “natural.” All of them have organisms living in relationship to their physical environment. And all of then require human intervention (with the exception of a “naturalized plants ecosystem”), including the native plants ecosystem which requires thousands of volunteer hours for weeding and regular spraying of herbicides. The natural areas director once stated, “only 2% of staff time is spent administering round-up.” ONLY 2%??????!!!!!! And I should give these people more money? They already get about one million a year!

    You may not prefer having a eucaplytus tree & blackberry bushes in your yard, while another person might welcome the refreshing scent of euc leaves, and the summer/fall abundance of blackberries, and the wildlife that both attract. (I admit, it’s hard for me to like ivy even though the robins seems to enjoy the fruit from it.). You have the right to put what plants you want in your yard, but to expect PUBLIC bond money to pay for a “native plant” area requires more evidence that it is better for urban wildlife. To date, the natural areas group hasn’t provided evidence that native plants in SF are better for anyone but native plant lovers and their romantized vision of the past.

    I rather see the 5 million spent on providing better public transportation throughout the parks, making all parts of the park safer (including the empty western end of Golden Gate Park & eliminating campers), making neighborhood playgrounds attractive & encouraging kids to be physically active. Or keeping the city trees healthy, even if they are non-native.

  5. admin on 08 Feb 2008 at 3:11 pm #

    Shirley, I like biodiversity, and indeed other kinds of diversity too. Eucalyptus, ivy, Himalayan blackberry, Pampas grass, and the rest, are bad in the Bay Area because they drive out other species. I’m OK with non-invasive plants, but to me the world becomes a less interesting place as it gets more and more uniform.

    For people who don’t care about the biodiversity issue, or about being able to go to different places and see different things, the biodiversity argument doesn’t make a lot of sense, or perhaps any sense: if all you want is a healthy tree, why should you care if it’s a “native” tree or not? I happen not to share that attitude, and I think it’s sad that so many people do.

    I find your sense of victimization interesting. You, and people who think like you, have won. All but a tiny fraction of public money is spent on the things you want it to be spent on. I guess you won’t be satisfied until -all- of the money is spent on the stuff you care about? You can’t let us tree-huggers have our pathetic 5%, you want it to be 0%? Just declare victory! You’ve won!

  6. NaturalAreasAreForTheBirds on 20 Feb 2008 at 8:50 am #

    I completely agree with Shirley. And Admin, you really aren’t satisfied with your “pathetic 5%”. The NAP is actually trying to take away approximately 33% of the S.F. Parks used for recreation and turn them in to stand-behind-the-ropes-and-look-but-don’t-touch museums. 33 percent! As Cat Stevens once wrote “Where will the children play?”. The trend is fo more and more natural areas/native plants. This has become the politically correct flora. Extremists are ripping out tons of thriving iceplant and replacing it with unsustainable native plants all up and down the coast. This has had the unintended consequence of accelerating coastal erosion and displacing both ecosystems and engangered species, e.g., the bank swallows from their coastal colonies. The once beautiful Stern Grove is being recast into Stern Grave as the signature Eucalyptus trees are being cut down in favor of ????? thanks to NAP. If one wants to fully appreciate how ridiculous NAP really is, one need go no further than Parcel 4, at Great Highway and Balboa - a 3.4 million dollar example of an experiment gone wrong. Check it out (and more) …

  7. admin on 20 Feb 2008 at 5:29 pm #

    NAAFTB: Your first sentence is true, I’m not satisfied with 5% of the recently approved bond going to the Natural Areas Program. What I’m saying is that _you_ should be satisfied with it. Even though you hate native plant restoration, this is such a small amount of money that it will hardly make a dent…and anyway all that it’s being spent on is trail maintenance and other recreation-related expenses, not native plant restoration!

    Unfortunately, your next several sentences are simply false. Almost all of the Natural Areas are open to the public; indeed, the small amount of bond money for those areas is going to be spent mostly on MAINTAINING PUBLIC TRAILS! Nothing like 30% of San Francisco’s parkland is off-limits; the number is actually about 3%, to preserve specific endangered species or fragile areas.

    You’re right that iceplant sure does thrive around here! The fact that you prefer iceplant monoculture to a variety of native plants (and the animals those plants support) is… eh, words fail me.

    The strange thing to me is that almost total victory isn’t enough for you. San Francisco is (famously) about 49 square miles, and people are allowed to go on 99.2% of it, but that’s not enough for you, you’ve gotta have 100%. And it’s not enough for you that native ecosystems have been damaged so badly that dozens of once-common birds are now gone from San Francisco ( has a list). No, you won’t be happy until ALL native plants are gone — look at the vitriol poured on “extremists” who replace iceplant with natives.

    There’s a lot of anger in you people, what else can I say.

  8. Steve Sayad on 03 Mar 2008 at 5:53 pm #

    Admin —

    If you are nativist, perhaps you can answer some questions that the Native Plant Society and Golden Gate Audubon Society don’t like to hear:
    (1) do you dispute that the nativism movement has it origins in Nazi Germany? (2) Who is to say what was native to an area and when is the relevant period — creation, the Bib Bang”, statehood, etc? (3) There are no plants native to Crissy Field, as it’s all land fill. The only thing that used to be there was sand and water, yet the GGNRA spends tens of thousands of dollars on native plant restoration at Crissy Field. Worse, they decimated the ice plant at Funston with the result that the Bank Swallows fled the area. (4) Why are the nativists so in favor of slaughtering the “non-native” white deer at Point Reyes. Even if there is an argument that they take food from other species, why not relocate them. It’s not unlike the massacre of Buffalo going on in Yellowstone right now. This is a shameful state of affairs, yet much of it is the result of the nativism cult, which is also a racist and sexist cult. As best I recall from school, the only people native to North America were American Indians, and look what our government did to them. Do you favor restoring all their land back to them?

  9. admin on 04 Mar 2008 at 10:33 am #

    Steve: “Nativist” refers to an anti-immigrant political view that goes back at least to the 1830s in this country. I am not a nativist, but there are plenty of people in this country who have nativist views. So, yes, I definitely dispute that “nativism,” which predates Nazism by more than 100 years, has its origins in Nazi Germany!

    But presumably you don’t mean that kind of nativism, you mean a desire to preserve native ecosystems. I have no idea whether the Nazis cared about that sort of thing — I doubt it — but I don’t see the relevance. The Nazis were big on physical fitness, too; does that say something bad about the U.S. Olympic team? But in any case, however the Nazis felt about native ecosystems, the answer is that you are quite wrong, that movement in the U.S. predates Nazi Germany. A prominent preservationist in this country was John Muir (who died in the early 1900s). He deplored the destruction of native ecosystems, and I just read recently (perhaps in Bay Nature magazine?) that he once berated a group that was planting (non-native) trees in Point Reyes, with a nice quote along the lines of “man’s arrogance in thinking he can ‘improve’ on nature.”

    As for who is to say what is native, etc., that’s easy, you can ask me about anything you like and I’ll tell you if it’s native or not. has some recent photos of Bank Swallows at Fort Funston.

    So, you’re wrong about ALMOST everything. But you did get one thing right: all of us who are in favor of preserving native ecosystems are sexist and racist. Why even bother to mention this, it’s so well known? As if people could be genuinely interested in things like preserving endangered species, and maintaining some semblance of the natural habitat that used to represent this area! Haw! That would be wacky!

  10. Steve Sayad on 04 Mar 2008 at 3:00 pm #

    Admin -

    You did not answer a single question posed, and deliberately misrepresented the native plant movement, which unquestionably has its origins in Nazi Germany. Just take a read of Michael Pollin’s “Against Nativism” in the New York times — it’s up on Pollin’s website. If John Muir was in favor of “native” plants over non-native plants, then his legacy is diminished. The very reason the current nativism movement “is relevant” is because it carries with it all the tenets of national socialism, to wit, that what was here first (whenever that is determined) deserves to stay here and whatever came later deserves death. The white deer at Point Reyes is a compelling example, and the nativists are right behind the NPS in advocating their eradication. Yet you folks claim you love the environment.
    The nativism movement also justifies racism and sexism, but you could not care less. That’s quite an admission — you seem to be nothing more than a Green Nazi.

    Is the Snowy Plover native to San Francisco? Absolutely not. In fact, the USF&W Service arbirarily created the “pacific coast” population of the WSP despite the fact that it is genetically identical to Plovers who number in the thousands outside of California. This is a sheer and utter joke.

    So how about some answers from someone who is claiming he is an expert?
    When do you nativists date the time of when something was native? Creation? Big Bang? Statehood? Ultimately, this is not a matter of science but of values. Why should that which is alleged to be native have superiority over something allegedly non-native that is thriving? (Yours are the very arguments currently being made by conservatives who are against immigration.) Do you favor restoring land to the American Indians? Were they not native to North America long before everyone else? You folks should just admit that you value native plants and species over others, and stop trying to justify what is going on behind science that does not exist. I’ve only seen one of your ilk admit that “Plovers are more important than dogs”. Well and good for that person and his philosophy. Mine happens to be different, but I don’t try to cloud it in an environmental mist. You need to come to terms with reality.

  11. admin on 04 Mar 2008 at 3:56 pm #

    I’ve read Pollan’s article. I disagree with some parts of it, and agree with others. I have no reason to disagree with the part where he says that Germany’s native-plant garden movement “owed a large debt to the “wild garden” promoted by William Robinson, the 19th-century Irish garden designer.” The “native plant movement” unquestionably does NOT have its origins in Nazi Germany.

    Most of the people promoting preserving and maintaining native ecosystems do not think it is either feasible or desirable to put everything back the way it was. You, and to some extent Pollan, are setting up a straw man. There might be some people as extreme as you’re trying to make us out to be, but not very many.

    You would rather see the native deer in Point Reyes eliminated, and the imported deer replace them. Other people would prefer the opposite. How you can claim your view is morally superior is beyond me.

    You don’t seem to be arguing that the Western Snowy Plover isn’t native to the Bay Area, you’re arguing that it’s not found _only_ here. It is unquestionably a native species, once common here and now quite rare. That’s no joke.

    It’s hard to imagine a single answer to your question about when something becomes a native species. To me, the native/non-native issue is about preserving diversity. An invasive non-native species — the kind I don’t like — is one whose success leads to, or tends to lead to, the elimination of species. But if you’re looking for a hard-and-fast definition, I don’t know of one. It’s like pornography; it’s hard to define, but I know it when I see it.

    My arguments are nothing like those that are cited by anti-immigration people. I do not complain that imported grasses are stealing our jobs, or that starlings are smuggling drugs across our borders, or that zebra mussels are costing our schools a lot of money.

    I’m not sure what I think about American Indians, an issue I haven’t thought much about, but I’ll tell you this: I’m not in favor of exterminating them. Horrors, I’m in favor of preserving an endangered “species”! (Of course they’re not a separate species, just a separate sub-population…but I’m STILL not in favor of getting rid of them! Can you believe it!? Gosh, how crazy I am).

    It’s nice that you finally mentioned dogs, I figured you for a dog owner all along, but wasn’t sure. I wish you had just said from the start that you don’t care one way or the other about native species, you just want to be able to take your dog wherever you want. But I guess that would have exposed you to the accusation that you’re selfish. Much better to accuse me of being racist, instead.

    And, finally: I _do_ admit that I want to preserve native ecosystems. I don’t just admit it, I trumpet it to the skies! I say it every chance I get! The idea that I am “hiding” this…dude, you’re nuts!

  12. [Anonymous] on 05 Mar 2008 at 9:48 am #

    [This was originally falsely signed “S.S. Sayad”, so I almost deleted it — lying about what someone says is not acceptable. Anonymous-guy, don’t do that again! But as for the message itself, although it’s pretty much a personal attack on Steve, I guess it’s no worse than Steve saying native plant fans are racists and such. Since Steve disagrees with me, I’m reluctant to censor him — would it really be because his behavior is unacceptable, or would it be because I don’t like him? — but perhaps I’ve taken that too far. The both of ya, and anyone else who is reading this: there is a line beyond which healthy and heated debate turns into debate-stifling, uninteresting, blog-killing personal attacks. Steve and Anonymous-guy, you’re both close to that line. I do have the power to censor, and I’ll use it if I have to. –Phil]

    Hello Everyone,

    I recently came to the realization that I have been acting like a cowardly fool. Many of my actions have been the result of an upbringing that was decidedly absent of love from my family, indeed from humans in general. I sought comfort and love from dogs because I felt unaccepted by humans, people. My father did not like dogs at all. I resented this and still do. I hope you all forgive me for my past rantings and embarrassingly cowardly attacks on people in the community. I realize that I live among human beings and will never be fully accepted as a dog, no matter how hard I’ve tried to be one.



  13. annon on 06 Mar 2008 at 10:05 am #

    Phil, you’ve become the focal point of the gang of three: Steve Sayad, [Name removed by admin], and [Name removed by admin], who collectively form the entire membership of a group called ocean beach dog. Each of the anti-nature posts here are made by one of these three individuals. They write the shamefully false naprap website, they are the folks who tried to recall pacifica’s green party candidates, they are the folks who physically intimimdated pacifica’s mayor, they are the folks who were kicked off pacifica’s animal welfare group, they are the folks who even the mosquito abatement district considers to be liars.

    These nature haters have lost so many times on the merits that they resort to harassment, personal attacks, and other bullying behavior to try and destroy nature advocates that get in the way of their attempts to destroy nature.

    With these folks, since they now have you within your sights, you should be very careful, because they are not limited to vitriolic, defamatory personal attacks. If you engage them, they will ultimately try to hurt you.

  14. admin on 06 Mar 2008 at 10:18 am #

    Thanks for the info, Annon. I’ll watch my back.

    I edited out the names other than Steve, since he’s the only one who volunteered his own name, and in fact I have no way of knowing if you’re even right about the identity of the others. But thanks for your comment.

  15. Steve Sayad on 06 Mar 2008 at 11:16 am #

    The person who is the coward is “Anon” — I would bet it is Brent Plater, and every assertion he makes about me is false. But judge his credibility on your own. Take a visit to [link to a wacky website deleted] and determine for yourself whether Plater can ever be trusted with the truth.
    As for “Admin”, my only goal is to keep the 1979 Pet Policy intact, a Policy that was the result of two years of negotiations with groups like the Sierra Club, that now wish to have it rescinded. They took their best shot in Court and lost. Neither I, nor Ocean Beach DOG are looking to expand the amount of off-leash recreation in the GGNRA. To the contrary, so called ‘enviromentalists” (I say this because I represent citizen enforcers of Proposition 65 and know frauds when I see them) want it all taken away, not because dogs in less than one percent of the Park pose any threat to anything, but because they simply don’t like dogs. They’ve driven some people to actually question the veracity of all environmental challenges.
    But let’s get back to the point. You simply claim the nativism movement has no relevance to Nazi policy when all the evidence is to the contrary. At its heart, nativism is the belief that what was here first deserves to be here and what came later does not. I do not wish to see any deer slaughtered at Point Reyes but you do, simply because 1940 is not a longer enough period for the white deer to be deemed “native”. You can take you logic, as racist as it is, and apply it to almost anything else, as many people flying the nativist flag in fact do — many of the anti-immigrationists find solace in nativist rhetoric. I can certainly come to grips with the value I place on having 6/10ths of 1% of the GGNRA on which to recreate my dogs, as the Policy has build in protections for the environment which I doubt you have ever taken the time to investigate. Can you come to grips with the origins of an utterly inhumane nativist movement? A movement, that for reasons that still remain in question, doesn’t want a single dog anywhere in the GGNRA — yes that was the argument in the brief Plater filed on their behalf in the off-leash recreation case. (Of course, they always preface everything with how much they love man’s best friend.) Pure and utter frauds. You’ll never have an ounce of credibility until you come to grips with the origins of your philosophy.

  16. Steve Sayad on 06 Mar 2008 at 12:34 pm #

    Phil –

    Since you have documented that “Anon” has falsely used by both my name and my initials, it is incumbent upon you to provide me with his/her e-mail address. This is a matter I will take up with “Anon”.

    Thank you for your anticipated cooperation.

    [Steve: Dream on! –Phil]

  17. admin on 06 Mar 2008 at 12:37 pm #

    This is your most calm and rational-sounding post of the whole bunch, so congratulations for showing that you can do it.

    It’s funny, by which I suppose mean stupefyingly baffling, that you get so outraged about what you perceive to be distortions or lies about your positions, while showing no compunction about lying about other people, and much of what isn’t a lie is a distortion.

    To give some examples: you claim that the Snowy Plover is not native to San Francisco; you claim that everyone who wants to eliminate the non-native deer at Point Reyes wants to do so by killing them; you perist in using the term “nativist” to describe people who want to preserve native ecosystems (because you want to falsely associate us with that nativist political movement); you claim that the native habitat movement has its roots in Nazi policies. All of those are lies. I don’t just mean they’re not true, I mean that you know them not to be true but you still say them.

    Much of the rest of what you say isn’t quite a lie, it’s just deliberately misleading: you suggest that the San Francisco Natural Areas Program would eliminate public access from 33% of its parkland; you suggest that dogs are allowed on only “6/10ths of 1% of the GGNRA”; you suggest that Ocean Beach DOG does not want to expand the amount of off-leash dog use in GGNRA.

    All of those are wrong…but, reading carefully, you don’t quite STATE that they are true, you only IMPLY that they are true. Anyone reading what you wrote would think this is what you’re saying, which is what you obviously intend. But these claims are all nonsense: public access is allowed in almost all of the Natural Areas; dogs are allowed on far, far more than 1% of the GGNRA; and DOG does want to expand off-leash dog areas at GGNRA.

    Considering how little you’ve written, it’s really remarkable how much of it is either flat-out wrong, or deliberately deceptive.

    I’ve tolerated all of this because (1) other people probably actually _believe_ some of the lies, so this has been a good opportunity to correct the record, and (2) eh, what’s the harm in a little back-and-forth, even if one of the participants isn’t telling the truth?

    Anyway, although I’ve tolerated it before, it’s now getting tiresome. No more posts that contain outright lies or deliberately deceptive statements will be tolerated here. I assume you’ll keep making them on your own websites, so it’s not like I’m stifling your ability to get your, um, eccentric perspective out there.

  18. Steve Sayad on 06 Mar 2008 at 1:47 pm #

    Admin –

    You are speaking about me but you must be thinking about yourself.
    Everything you have attributed to me is either not from me or an outright lie. It is, furthermore, simply cowardly for you to protect the e-mail address of someone who defrauded you by using my name. Perhaps the real point here is that you are Brent Plater or one of his ilk. Since that seems to be the case, there is no point in arguing any further. Plater’s lies have been demonstrated but your claims to what is the truth have not, and cannot. You can state them as many times as you like, and claim all the superiority you like. It does not make any of it true. One example should suffice: you show me the evidence that OB DOG is attempting to expand off-leash recreation in the GGNRA. I’ll be waiting.

  19. NaturalAreasAreForTheBirds on 06 Mar 2008 at 1:56 pm #

    I don’t believe I need to defend Mr. Sayad since his arguments are cogent and backed by the public record. What needs to be said is that Mr. Sayad is the only member of this thread with the courage to put his name behind his pen. The rest of us are, quite simply put, cowards.

    [Speak for yourself! My name, and a link to my personal website, are at the top left of the main page of this blog. –Phil]

    Cowards have a way of throwing large doses of propaganda out at an uneducated, unsuspecting public, hoping that at least some of it will stick. I will say this, yes I am associated with the NAPRAP web site and yes, I am friends with many people who live in Pacifica, including several current and former Pacifica City Council members.

    I will offer no more facts, since my integrity will continue to be rightfully challenged. However, I will pose some questions to the members of this thread that you may reply to under the safety of your chosen anonymity:

    !. Admin, you seem all too eager to accept coward Anon’s many accusations. You claim you will be watching your back. How do you know that you shouldn’t be watching your front? Are you in collusion with Anon? At the very least, you certainly trust his remarks over anything produced by Mr. Sayad. This has nothing to do with the fact that Anon shares a common value system with you, does it?

    [I have no idea who Anon even is, for cryin’ out loud! How would I be in collusion with him, if it’s even a him? –Phil]

    2. Admin, it seems you are debating the origin of nativism and the native plant movement. Does it make you feel better if it turns out it predates Nazi Germany and was instead adopted by Hitler, et al? Are you telling us that what Jeffrey Dahmer did is okay since he was not the first on record to eat human flesh?

    [The Nazis also promoted physical fitness. Does that mean promoting physical fitness is bad? This is just ridiculous. –Phil ]

    3. Admin, The native plant zealots behind the SF Natural Areas program have declared 1850 as the point of restoration. Does that seem a bit arbitrary to you or are you okay with the fact that that just happens to coincide with the introduction date of eucalyptus trees to S.F.? Let’s see now: 1850??? Marina district and Crissy Field were wetlands, Sunset and Richmond districts and Golden Gate Park were sand dunes. Yes, let’s return everything back to their pre-1850 state. Let me know when you are planning to get the word out to the residents of the aforementioned districts that you will be tearing down their invasive homes and busing them out of the City.

    [I’ve never met anyone who says they want to return the entire city to its pre-1850 state. I’m pretty sure you’re making this up. Even if you can find a person who has said this somewhere, it’s ridiculous to claim that this is the goal of people like me. –Phil]

    3. Can Anon/[Name edited] please back up the following assertions he made (as noted):
    A. “They write the shamefully false naprap website” Please specify what exactly is false and please source your comments
    B. “they are the folks who tried to recall pacifica’s green party candidates”
    How do you recall candidates? Do you have proof that these unnamed individuals are members of the Green Party?
    C. “they are the folks who physically intimimdated pacifica’s mayor” Please provide sourced evidence of this defamatory statement.
    D. ” they are the folks who were kicked off pacifica’s animal welfare group” Please source this statement. Research indicates that no one has ever been thrown off Pacifica’s Animal Welfare Group.
    E “they are the folks who even the mosquito abatement district considers to be liars” Another defamatory statement. Please provide source.

    4. Anon/[Name deleted]: Aren’t you from Michigan? Haven’t you just recently transplanted yourself to the SF Bay Area? It seems as though you are a bit of an invasive, non native species yourself. What gives you the right to tell people who have been living in this area for generations how to live their lives; where they can build their homes; where and how they can recreate; and what they can and can’t grow in their parks??? Am I to believe you’ve resolved all of the environmental issues back in Michigan and that S.F. is your optimal choice for the next spot on the planet with the greatest environmental concerns? I guess things like destroyed rain forests, unbreathable air and sewage filled water supplies don’t count. Perhaps you just don’t want to inconvenience your altruistic self by having to take up residence in one of those areas. It’s like what the man said when asked why he was looking for his car keys such a great distance from where his car was parked, “Because this is where the light is”. You are a complete phony.

  20. admin on 06 Mar 2008 at 2:04 pm #

    You say “Everything you have attributed to me is either not from me or an outright lie. ” That’s a remarkable claim, since you can confirm what I’ve said just by looking a few paragraphs earlier on this comments page!

    For example, I said “you claim that the Snowy Plover is not native to San Francisco”. How can you dispute that you made that claim? On March 4th you said “Is the Snowy Plover native to San Francisco? Absolutely not.”

    I said “you claim the native habitat movement has its roots in Nazi policies.” On March 4th you said I “deliberately misrepresented the native plant movement, which unquestionably has its origins in Nazi Germany.”

    I’m not going to bother going through the rest. You said ‘em all.

    As for attempting to expand off-leash recreation, I didn’t say you were. I say you WANTED to expand off-leash recreation. This is my point: you say you aren’t TRYING to, but people assume this means that you don’t WANT to let off-leash dogs into the Plover Protection Areas and so on. But you do. On the Ocean Beach DOG website, there’s a prominent link — highlighted in the first paragraph — to a document written by one of your most prominent members, Steve Golub. The VERY FIRST SENTENCE is “I strongly object to the ban of off-leash recreation on any portion of Ocean Beach.”

    I’m not Brent Plater, by the way — my name is Phil Price, as you can easily check by looking at the “about” page linked from the main page of this blog — but I know Brent Plater, like him a lot, and I hope he keeps up the good work!

  21. Steve Sayad on 06 Mar 2008 at 2:38 pm #

    You have all but confirmed that Brent Plater is “Annon”.

    [This is a bizarre claim. I have no idea who “Annon” is. It’s possible I could find out from the IP address, if I got a court order. As an aside, it’s funny-peculiar that you think Plater is a coward, while simultaneously complaining that he’s a self-promoter who puts his name out there on all these issues. I’ve met Brent a couple of times, and have always thought highly of him, but now he’s practically my hero! Go, Brent! — Phil]

    You obviously have no sense of history of the 1979 Pet Policy, as the so-called “Plover Protection” area is an off-leash area, was admitted to so be by the U.S. Attorney in the off-leash litigation, and has illegally been closed off by the GGNRA under the claim of an “emergency situation” when no such emergency exists, according to counsel for the GGNRA. Much like Plater and the CBD, you appear to pride yourself on lying.
    Nor do you wish to answer the difficult questions posed to you by others — in the law that is an admission that you have no facts to support your claims.
    The snowy plover is native to San Francisco? At what point in time? Was it here along with the American Indians? Before? At some time after? Give the facts a try rather than being a Plater.

    [I’m sick of this Brent Plater-slamming. My name is Phil Price. If you’ve got a problem with this blog, I’m the guy to blame. –Phil]

  22. Steve Sayad on 06 Mar 2008 at 5:49 pm #

    It’s too bad you stifle comment and chose to delete my last response. But this is the way of the coward.

    [Playing the victim again, eh, Steve? Actually, I’m having your posts automatically sequestered for moderation now, which is the only way I can enforce my new rule about not posting things that are known to be lies. This means messages wait until I have time to moderate them, which, in this case, took several hours. (I do have a life). You’re welcome to keep posting, as long as you stop lying. –Phil]

  23. NaturalAreasAreForTheBirds on 06 Mar 2008 at 7:44 pm #

    Phil responded “The Nazis also promoted physical fitness. Does that mean promoting physical fitness is bad? This is just ridiculous. –Phil”

    When physical fitness is to be used as mechanism to develop and promote a superior Aryian race for the sole purpose of conquering and exterminating non Aryians (e.g., Jews), then I would indeed have to say that physical fitness is bad. You see, Phill, it all depends on the context.

    Take the plight of the “threatened” Western Snowy Plover. This is yet another example of something being taken out of context. Sure, providing protection areas for the threatened WSP may be an admirable goal (if one truly can prove they are threatened). So why aren’t you declaring your home a plover protection area? Why aren’t you declaring the Stonestown Galleria a plover protection area? You see, Phil, USFWS only recognizes critical habitat, i.e., habitat necessary for the recovery of a species, as the only legitimate form of habitat. Everything else, is irrelevant with respect to the recovery of the species. The current USFWS WSP Recovery Plan does not list Ocean Beach, Crissy Field or any other SF property as WSP critical habitat. But you, your friend Plater and the GGNRA know this. You just chose to ignore it.

    Additionally, the GGNRA’s own bull-dozing and the erosion caused by the brutal tides at OB have rendered OB an undesirable and dangerous habitat for the WSP. If you are trying to lure them to OB so that you can watch them through your binoculars, you aren’t doing them any favors. If the unfavorable tides banging them into the rccks don’t kill them, most certainly the huge colony of ravens that scavenge at OB will. Of cousre, I expect no less from an Auduboner — a group named after a man who loved to shoot and stuff endangered birds so that he could paint them. You know damn well that you are using junk science and hyperbole vis-a-vis the WSP to lock out man and his companions from OB - an area that was already established (via the enabling legislation of the GGNRA as codified through the 1979 Pet Policy) as an off-leash recreation parkland. We are not trying to change its use, or as you put it, “expand it”, Phil. You are!

  24. admin on 07 Mar 2008 at 12:45 am #

    Steve, first you say the Snowy Plover isn’t native to San Francisco. Then you call me a liar for claiming that you said that. Now I don’t know what you’re saying. I don’t much care.

    NAAFTB, I agree with you on physical fitness and the Nazis, and you’re making my point. Most people who promote native species, including me, are trying to preserve biodiversity. This is why I emphasize INVASIVE native species, the ones that tend to completely drive out other species. Given the choice of having native species here, or invasive non-natives, you would prefer non-natives; I would prefer natives. Unfortunately, we’re not going to be able to convince these species to “just get along” — either your guys win, or mine do. Your guys are winning. Since you’re so fond of analogies: When the Nazis invaded Poland, was it wrong to fight them? Apparently you thinks so: the invaders are stronger, so they should be allowed to go ahead and win.

    I’m getting tired of this whole discussion. Actually I’ve been tired of it for a very long time, but I’ve been persisting out of stubbornness and a perhaps misguided feeling that I should let everyone have their say. But I think I’m through with it.

    Rather than just state the crux of your position — that dogs should be allowed everywhere and damn the consequences — you and Steve go on and on and on and on about Brent Plater, and you compare anyone trying to preserve native species to Nazis, and you say ridiculous things (like, if an area hasn’t been declared to be _critical_ habitat, it’s irrelevant to the species). I have no respect for you, and I’m sorry I’ve given you this much of my time.

  25. NaturalAreasAreForTheBirds on 07 Mar 2008 at 10:50 am #

    Phil, I guess when you cannot debate a matter intelligently, you simply become dismissive. People like you and your good buddy [Object of Your Obsession deleted] are not interested in the truth. Your arguments are those of a zealot rather than a pragmatist. You fail to bring any intellectual honesty to the debate. You refuse to listen when we repeatedly tell you that we don’t want off-leash dogs everywhere. Unlike your side, we really don’t want it all. Rather, we are desperately trying to hang on to the .5 of one percent of the GGNRA that we were promised when the GGNRA was deeded its properties from SF. This promise was ratified in the form of the 1979 GGNRA Pet Policy, which you refuse to acknowledge. So let’s look at the math, Phil:
    The GGNRA owns 60% of the park space in SF. They are in the process of removing all off-leash recreation from that 60%. Of the remaining 40%, NAP/SFRPD is staking its claim on approx. one third. Since native plants cannot be sustained without significant protection (e.g., exclosure fences), much of that one third will be off limits to humans, let alone dogs. SFRPD has already conceded that they will be eliminating or reducing dog play areas adjacent to the natural areas.

    So while you claim we are expanding, the math proves just the opposite. But you really don’t care, do you Phil. BTW, I don’t really want your respect. That would be creepy.

  26. Steve Sayad on 07 Mar 2008 at 10:59 am #

    Phil -

    [Defamatory comment removed]

    You continue to misrepresent [swipe at an innocent bystander removed] what people have said, do not answer relevant questions (apparently you have no answers) and then just throw up your hands and say you have had enough.
    But please don’t try to argue that this is about anything other than keeping what has existed since 1979 — that is the clear mission statement of OB DOG and no one is arguing for more, even as the GGNRA obtains additional lands.
    If you like [another mention of the Object of Your Obsession removed]as you claim, then I must assume his calling us the “Klu Klux Klan” is also your sentiment. Maybe you want to watch your front as he is likely to get you sued as well.

  27. Jim Nestor on 07 Mar 2008 at 12:50 pm #


    I am moved by your patience and eloquence is the face of so much irrational and illogical venom. In support of you and in defiance of the likes of Mr. Sayad and his minions, I would like to donate $100 to your cause or a non-profit that is most aligned with the mission of this site.

    Thank you,


  28. admin on 07 Mar 2008 at 2:15 pm #

    Jim, thanks very much! Golden Gate Audubon would be a great choice (you can donate online through their website, or call the office. Center for Biological Diversity would also be very appropriate.

  29. admin on 07 Mar 2008 at 2:44 pm #

    NAAFTB and Steve,
    I’ve answered your relevant questions, or at least most of them; you just don’t like the answers. You, on the other hand, blithely ignore the fact that I’ve caught you in several lies and a slew of distortions. That’s OK, this is the internet! You don’t have to behave decently!

    This is not about Ocean Beach DOG (an organization I didn’t even know existed until a few days ago), nor about plovers, nor about dog access at GGNRA. Read the post that started this thread. Read the subsequent posts. Note that it’s not until March 4, three weeks after I made my original post, that the subject of dogs even came up…because Steve brought it up. Until then, I didn’t know this was the subtext. You people are so obsessed with making sure no place is off-limits to our canine friends that you view everything through that lens. Apparently your analysis of environmental issues begins and ends with “what does it imply about dog access.” You knew this whole discussion was about dogs from the start, but I only learned that a few days ago!

    I don’t know much about the 1979 agreement that NAAFTB keeps talking about, but I know that it allows dogs to go everywhere or almost everywhere on Ocean Beach, including areas that are used by species like snowy plovers that have declined along the whole coast and have nearly been extirpated from San Francisco. I think that’s bad. Perhaps someday I’ll visit the stone tablets where God inscribed “The 1979 Agreement Was Handed Down By Me, And Can Never, Ever Be Changed. All Who Seek To Change It Are The Spawn Of Satan And Must Be Called Nazis And Cowards.” Maybe someday I’ll come visit the tablets — I assume you have them at your place? — and will be awestruck, and change my views.

    And finally, lest you distort my views even more: I don’t know much about off-leash dog access in San Francisco, but I do know something about the situation in the East Bay, and I think there should be MORE OFF-LEASH AREAS in the East Bay. I said as much when I was on the Berkeley Parks and Recreation Commission, although I can’t claim to have made any real effort in that direction.

    At the moment, a very large fraction of dog owners — I won’t try to put a number on it — let their dogs off-leash in areas where they are supposed to be on-leash, or where they aren’t supposed to be at all. That’s bad in general, and very bad when they let their dogs run in environmentally sensitive areas. But it’s also somewhat understandable, because dogs want to run and in the East Bay there are only a few, dog-crowded places to let them do it. We need more off-leash dog areas, and we need to enforce the leash laws where we have them. I am not opposed to dogs or to off-leash dog recreation, even though I do strongly believe that there are places where dogs should not be allowed.


  30. Frank Dunlevy on 07 Mar 2008 at 5:28 pm #

    Mr. Sayad:

    I truly appreciate and admire the fact that you stayed calm during this exchange with admin — who clearly holds the controlling, upper-hand in this blog.

    [Of course I hold the upper hand in this blog: it’s my blog! I don’t even have to approve this post if I don’t want to! –Phil]

    I checked out the NAPRAP and OBDOG web sites as you suggested and found actual GGNRA and SFRPD documents which back up your assertions. I am sure that if Admin were really searching for the truth he would likewise do his research before accusing you and others of lying.

    [Steve said snowy plovers aren’t native to San Francisco, and then said he had never said it! And so on. But don’t let the facts affect your opinions! –Phil]

    In reviewing the posts on this thread I found that you have not dodged a single question and that Admin has been extremely evasive, biassed, irrational and disingenous (putting it nicely). Therefore, I would love to donate $200 to your cause so that you can continue your struggle to get the truth out to the public. I love all animals and plants and unlike the CBD zealots, which Admin clearly is, I think dogs deserve their fair share of the planet’s resources. Perverting the Endangered Species Act in order to justify an anti-human agenda is what this is really all about. There are many out there, like me, who wish to be provided facts rather than the propaganda that admin and his fellow conspirators are pushing.

    Admin, you and your ilk are shameless.

    [I really think posts like these make my side look a lot better than your side, so, since it’s my blog, I’m happy to post them! I wonder why YOU think I post them? –Phil]

  31. NaturalAreasAreForTheBirds on 08 Mar 2008 at 7:05 am #

    Dear Phil,

    Our side has offered you numerous documented scientific studies and on-the-books laws/rules/regulations/legislation which justify our position. All of these documents can be found on the OceanBeachDOG and NAPRAP web sites. You, however, offer nothing other than statements such as “You are a liar”. You chose to dismiss experts such as Gary Page of the Point Reyes Bird Observatory, Meg Warren (UC Berkeley Environmental Sciences Dept.), and the team of U.K. biological scientists Gill, Norris, Sutherland and Liley, not to mention many others whose studies have been cited on the aforementioned web sites, and yet provide nothing to back your position other than hackneyed anecdotal evidence. This does nothing for your credibility. Your smugness is unbecoming. Your willful inattention to academic details, coming from a so-called PHD, is perhaps the most disturbing aspect of your many character flaws. Good day.

    [Bye NAAFTB! Don’t let the door hit you on the ass on the way out! –Phil]

  32. admin on 08 Mar 2008 at 8:48 am #

    Steve, NAAFTB, and Frank keep on repeating that I’ve left all kinds of unanswered questions. First, that’s not true. Below I have listed every one of their questions — everything with a question mark, anyway — and I recap my answer and cite where I answered it the first time. Second, as is clear below, almost none of the questions are relevant anyway. But thirdly and most importantly, this discussion has very little to do with facts and a ton to do with values.

    1. do you dispute that the nativism movement has it origins in Nazi Germany?
    A: Yes, I dispute it, since it is not true. See March 4 replies.

    2. Who is to say what was native to an area and when is the relevant period — creation, the Bib Bang”, statehood, etc?
    A: There’s no single rule, but to me the important question anyway isn’t “is it native” but “is so invasive that it will tend to take over.” Jocularly answered early March 4; more seriously answered in a second post later that day.

    3. As best I recall from school, the only people native to North America were American Indians, and look what our government did to them. Do you favor restoring all their land back to them?
    A:” I’m not sure what I think about American Indians, an issue I haven’t thought much about, but I’ll tell you this: I’m not in favor of exterminating them.” That’s also from March 4.

    4. Can you come to grips with the origins of an utterly inhumane nativist movement?
    A: This is just a repeat of question 1, see above.

    5. You claim you will be watching your back. How do you know that you shouldn’t be watching your front?
    A: I don’t even know what this means. I didn’t answer it.

    6. Are you in collusion with Anon? At the very least, you certainly trust his remarks over anything produced by Mr. Sayad. This has nothing to do with the fact that Anon shares a common value system with you, does it?
    A: I don’t know who Anon is. Answered March 6.

    7. Admin, it seems you are debating the origin of nativism and the native plant movement. Does it make you feel better if it turns out it predates Nazi Germany and was instead adopted by Hitler, et al? Are you telling us that what Jeffrey Dahmer did is okay since he was not the first on record to eat human flesh?
    A: The Nazis also promoted physical fitness. Does that mean promoting physical fitness is bad? March 6.

    8. The native plant zealots behind the SF Natural Areas program have declared 1850 as the point of restoration. Does that seem a bit arbitrary to you or are you okay with the fact that that just happens to coincide with the introduction date of eucalyptus trees to S.F.?
    A: I thought this was a rhetorical question, but maybe it wasn’t. Maybe this is THE QUESTION, the one that prompts all the claims that I’m dodging the toughies! Jeez, guys, how was I supposed to know that THIS QUESTION is the important one? The answer to it is that Yeah, I’m fine with choosing 1850. I’d also be fine with 1700, or a bunch of other dates. Really I think the idea of choosing a single date is probably not optimal — there are some non-aggressive imported plants that are more trouble than they’re worth to try to control. But (obviously) just using common sense isn’t good enough, since people will say things like “what’s your justification for removing X and not Y?”, (except they’ll phrase things a lot more offensively) so for the legalists out there it’s better to have a rule.

    Anyway, as for eucalyptus, they should _definitely_ be on any hit list. There aren’t a lot of things that can grow well around eucalyptus, so you end up with — well, not monocultures, but bi- or tri-cultures like eucalyptus/ivy/blackberry. Eucalyptus can also be deadly to songbirds. My wife and I removed the eucalyptus tree, ivy, and himalayan blackberry (all invasive species) and replaced them with other (mostly but not exclusively native) plants, and almost immediately saw a huge increase in the number and type of birds, both residents and visitors. We’ve documented over fifty species now. I’ve blogged about this.

    Anyway, I do wish I had answered this question earlier, because this is really what this whole discussion is about. I prefer having some areas that have dozens or hundreds of different kinds of plants and birds, and am willing to see some restrictions on recreational use in order to attain that. Steve, NAAFTB, etc., want to avoid restrictions on recreational use and are willing, nay eager, to accept the resulting biodiversity loss.

    9. The snowy plover is native to San Francisco? At what point in time? Was it here along with the American Indians? Before? At some time after?
    A: Also never answered, also assumed to be rhetorical. I don’t know when the first snowy plover arrived…thousands of years ago, I assume. American Indians are still here, by the way, so I’m not sure how to interpret that part of your “question”, but I certainly think the plovers were here before 1800, and probably before 1800 B.C. But it might be quite hard (or even impossible) to prove this: plovers are born on the beach and die on the beach, so it’s not like we’d expect to be able to dig around and find old plover bones. Even on the island of Mauritius, it has proven very hard to find old dodo bones…and for a variety of reasons (bird size, lifestyle, land conditions, birds per acre) that should be a lot easier than finding plover remains.


    So, there we have it, the sum total of all of the questions that I’ve supposed to have been dodging: three ‘questions’ about the supposed “inhumanity” of trying to preserve native species; one question about how the U.S. government should treat American Indians; two questions about the identity and beliefs of someone who posted a comment; and two rhetorical questions that I’ve gone ahead and answered here.

  33. John Peter Thompson on 09 Mar 2008 at 2:57 pm #

    At the risk of getting into a controversy I tend to skirt, may I be so bold as to suggest reading: The conquest of nature : water, landscape, and the making of modern Germany by David Blackbourn, before assuming that suppositions and information about mid twentieth century Germany is entirely correct. As with most issues related to the environment and related issues, fuzzy definitions are occassionally batted about, contributing to what I call the wicked inconvenience of, not only invasive species, but their obverse, endangered species. Ecosystems are a type of wicked problem, and this fascinating discussion thread highlights the choas of competing stakeholders’ end views used to create particlular group dynamics. I have written about wicked problems and the complexities of sustainabilty and enourage the present conversation. More detailed expositions may be found at my web log “Invasive Notes” []

  34. Steve Sayad on 14 Mar 2008 at 12:19 pm #

    Phil –
    All you have actually demonstrated is that, like [Object of Your Obsession deleted], there is no room for off-leash recreation in San Francisco. If you think that is an exaggeration of the position of [Object of Your Obsession deleted], the CBD, the Golden Gate Audubon Society, the Native Plant Society, etc., then please read their amicus brief in United States v. Barley. It plainly and simply (1) argues that off leash recreation violates the enabling legislation of the GGNRA, and (2) is dangerous for dogs. The first point is completely dispelled in the OB Dog response to Plater’s post court attempt to have the DOI declare an emergency on non-critical habitat for the Plover — the GGNRA’s enabling legislation (and the legislative history of the Act) very clearly states that the Park is recreation first. This does not mean that we are advocating that a threatned species should not be protected in an off leash area. However, the recent decision of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in the Navy-sonar case describes an emergency as a “crisis”. If you can make the case, based on science and fact (and not ideology) that there is a crisis at Crissy Field and Ocean Beach with respect to off leash dogs and Plovers, then I will gladly applaud you. But that simply isn’t the case when you are speaking of non-critical habitat. And try as they did, the GGNRA could not convince US Fish & Wildlife that an emergency exists. Thus the problem presents itself to those of us who value the small amount of space we have — because the extreme groups such as CBD and Audubon are constantly trying to take the space away, not because of any legitimate claim over a threatened species, but because of an anti-dog agenda. The second point is so ridiculous that I hasten even to address it.
    Perhaps you now have a better understanding of why it is that those of us with dogs have such disdain for those who parade as enviornmentalists yet, at the same time, wish to take our off leash space away. You see, even the 5 or 6/10ths of one percent of the GGNRA is theirs, according to them.

  35. Steve Sayad on 14 Mar 2008 at 8:29 pm #

    Oh, Admin, you’ve shown you true colors in censoring my last entry, and in eliminating a reference to a blog that sets forth and proves the lies of [The Object Of Your Obsession deleted]. Shameful.

    [Steve, the shameful thing is that I allowed you to post that link without checking it out myself. When I finally took a look, I found that the top of the first page has a caricature of The Object Of Your Obsession wearing a swastica and a Hitler moustache. And it got less reasonable and less fair after that, including (of course) statements that are not true. I should never have allowed you to post the link in the first place, it’s just a hate site. — Phil]

  36. Phil Z on 17 Apr 2008 at 12:54 pm #

    Wow, pulling the Nazi comparison out to push your petty arguments, ooh! You are a very simple minded [curse-word deleted…let’s keep it clean, people]. Steve needs to crawl back into his hole with his pup and stop wasting bytes on this blog.

  37. David K on 17 Apr 2008 at 5:34 pm #

    Steve is a troll. Go crawl back in your pit. You have shown remarkable restraint with an unreasonable imbecile, Admin. I will check out your blog more. Thank you.

  38. admin on 17 Apr 2008 at 9:57 pm #

    David K and Phil Z, I appreciate your support, but I’m trying to rise above the petty personal attacks, and I wish everyone who agrees with me would do the same. We’re the good guys, let’s act like it!
    –Phil Price

  39. Roofs For Less On Facebook on 06 Jun 2013 at 9:13 pm #

    Hey! I know this is somewhat off topic but I was wondering which blog platform are you using for this site? I’m getting tired of Wordpress because I’ve had issues with hackers and I’m looking at options for another platform. I would be fantastic if you could point me in the direction of a good platform.

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