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Mar-27-2014

Local links: Pho closing, Saturday events, Farmer’s Market extended & more


Even the dogs can’t help smiling at Lands End. Photo by Jonathan Fleming

While you’re trying to fathom the litany of charges in State Senator Yee’s indictment, take a moment to check out these less threatening local links:

  • No mo’ pho: Reader Chet informed us that Pho Garden (2109 Clement), home of the infamous (and nausea inducing) Pho challenge, has closed. A call to their business phone number ends in a disconnected message.
  • Looks like Clement Street’s Barley Cafe has met the same fate. Eater SF reports that after only six months, Barley (343 Clement) has called it quits. The cafe has been locked up for the past couple of weeks and a phone call goes straight to voicemail.
  • Good news for fans of the Clement Street Farmer’s Market – The market’s life has been extended for another year until June 2015. The market will also add another block beginning April 6th, so it will run from Arguello Street to 4th Avenue every Sunday from 9am until 2pm.
  • Want to help your neighbors and community in a time of crisis? Enroll in a free NERT (SFFD Neighborhood Emergency Response Team) course on Wednesday June 11, 2014 from 6:30pm-8:30pm at the Richmond Branch Library. Learn skills to be prepared for emergencies big or small, and get to know your neighbors on your block to maximize resiliency after a disaster. Register online – it’s free!
  • A skateboard park at Ocean Beach? Radical, dude. It could happen if the San Francisco Skateboarding Association‘s vision comes to live. They were behind the successful Balboa Skate Park and have set their sights on Ocean Beach. Rec & Park is into it. Might not be Playland but sounds like a fun idea! [CurbedSF]
  • Fredy’s Deli near Ocean Beach has a new owner and a new lease on life. The Ocean Bulletin profiled new owners David “Kawika” Nottage and his wife, Joanne who are “trying to keep the best parts of what made Fredy’s Ocean Beach Deli a neighborhood favorite, while introducing some additions such as gluten-free menu items and an expanded selection of wine.”

FREE EVENTS THIS SATURDAY, MARCH 29

  • Got veggies? Master Gardener Jonathan Propp will be at the Richmond District Branch Library this Saturday from 2-3:30pm to lead a free course on how to grow vegetables in your SF backyard. His presentation will cover selection of climate-appropriate varieties, soil and bed preparation, propagation and planting techniques, and plant maintenance.
  • Walk among the flowers: Wildflowers have started to bloom all over our parks including Lands End. The Parks Conservancy leads free walks every Saturday from noon until 1pm through May 31, including a special Mother’s Day walk on May 10. Info & registration here
  • This Saturday, Supervisor Eric Mar is sponsoring a Richmond District Housing Rights Town Hall from 2 to 4pm at the Richmond Recreation Center (251 18th Avenue). Learn about your rights and obligations as San Francisco tenants and landlords, hear from experts and get your questions answered.
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9:25 am | Posted under Classes, Eric Mar, Events, Food, Ocean Beach, Parks, Volunteer | 29 comments
  1. Derek said:

    Just look at that smile!!!

  2. alyxandr said:

    And speaking of closures, Barley on Clement near 5th seems to have given up already. Any business school alums on here? I was under the impression that you were supposed to be able to absorb 6-9 months of losses when opening a new business?

    Also looks like Singapore-Malaysian farther down Clement has also closed, to the horror of us Mee Goreng fans.

  3. Administrator said:

    Thanks for the reminder, Alyxander – I added that to the post.

    Sarah B.

  4. alyxandr said:

    It had been open for six months already? Yikes. Sorry to see it go, best coffee on upper Clement, though kind of a weird vibe.

  5. jaybee said:

    Sorry to hear about Barley. But i have to say, I ate there twice and the food was bad and the service worse. It was a pretty space though. I hope the next owner keeps the living wall.

  6. phil said:

    Pho Garden was not all that bad. I hadn’t been in there in a while, but I had eaten there many times, prior. The people were nice, and I witnessed many people over the years winning the Pho challenge. I always wondered what the ratioof people who tried it, to those who won it, was. There was a poster in there that showed who was the fastest – it was REALLY fast (forgot the elapsed time).

    Foot traffic on that block is poor; it probably didn’t help.

  7. RichmondDweller said:

    Sorry to hear that Pho Garden closed. While not the best pho in town, it more than satisfied my pho craving over the years. I would gauge to say it had some of the best pho in our neighborhood (Turtle Tower is great too, but different style from a differet region in Vietnam). It was open for quite some time, so I wonder what problem they faced. The place got busy a lot.

  8. Adriana said:

    I still miss The Golden Deer. That was my favorite Pho in the Richmond. Went there one night for dinner and it was a different restaurant. Change happens fast sometimes!

  9. phil said:

    Here’s what SFCurbed has to say: “Could this be our answer to L.A.’s famous outdoor skate park at Venice Beach? Maybe not, but it would most definitely entice more San Franciscans and tourists down to our lovely – albeit chilly – Pacific shore”

    Are you kidding me? A skateboard park at Ocean Beach? This is NOT a “community amenity”; it’s a place where a specific subculture of mostly 13-29 year-old skateboarders (mostly in the mid-to upper end of that range) get their kicks. What about something that appeals to the *general public*, like a roller rink, or ice skating rink, or some other public amenity that most citizens – young AND older can get to enjoy. Skateboarding has somewhat cleaned up its act over the last 10 years, but anyone who hasn’t visited a skateboard park recently needs to do that before signing on to this idea.

    There is a core of rough-housing persons who are into skateboarding; it;s not every kid’s thing. And, how long is skateboarding really going to be around. Will it be around in 20 years, or will it get taken over by scootering or some other individual sport (a sport that puts skateboard parks to use, but skateboarders don’t welcome them).

    Also, do we want to see skateboard partiers all over that part of town on summer evenings – zipping in and out of traffic on Ocean Blvd? I don’t, and IKNOW that’s what is going to happen if they put a park there.

    Put it INSIDE GG Park. There is a roller skating flat in GG Park; there are LOTS of places to place a skateboard park. I vote “NO” on both suggested locations, and hope that Parks and Rec has the foresignt to see what would develop if we make the mistake of plutting it by the Cliff House. That, to me, would almost be sacrilegious. I don’t want passels of skateboarders whipping down the Ocean Blve Hill and all over Ocean Beach and into the Western neighborhoods after they’ve had their fun at the park.

    I think the beach is amenity enough, Land’s End is there; it’s beautiful.

  10. Eric said:

    That’s right, Phil. Those young whippersnappers on those wooden boards with wheels have NO business on OUR beach promenade areas. When I was a kid, well, … we were happy with a stick and wheel. We knew our place back then, by golly. ;-)

    But seriously, skateboarding by now is a well established sport for young and old alike. The participation rates for skateboarding in CA dwarf that of roller skating, or ice skating (really?). Ocean Beach would be great spot for a medium sized skate park to compliment the already established surf community. I assume you don’t want those pesky surfers banned, right

    If the run-down promenade & parking lots are somehow too sacred for skating, then maybe Rec & Park will stop using the area next to Murphy Windmill & cottage as a dump (truly) and build an attractive & healty skate park there. Hopefully, the mere presence of an active skating community would chase some of the creepers out of the south west section of the park and make it more pleasant for all to enjoy.

  11. phil said:

    @Eric Seriously, DUDE! haha :) I appreciate your opinion, but leave the ageism out of it! :) Go to any skate park and see for yourself who is hanging out there. Hang around after the park closes; see what goes on. I dare you. btw, how many people over 35 do you see on skateboards? I see maybe one or two a week. About half of the skateboarders I see are respectful; another 25% seems borderline, and the last 25% are just plain disrespectful – most of those coming in at the over 20 crowd. THAT is who is going to end up hanging out at Ocean Beach; THOSE are the ones who are going to be grinding everyone’s front porch on their way back to the bus, or screaming up and down the Ocean Beach sidewalks. I GUARANTEE that that is what will happen if we put a skateboard park out there. btw, I have been to several skateboard parks as my girlfriend has two boys who were into it for several years; they regularly got bullied by a core group of rough necks that dominate. I saw that at every park. After a while, this inside core group “takes over” and pulls rank.

    Surfers use the ocean; they’re a different crowd. Ssurfers tend to be WAY more mellow than Skateboarders.

    What percentage of San Franciscans would be able to use a skateboard park? Sure, skateboarding is popular in California, but it is not something that all ages enjoy, and it only a fraction of youth that skateboard. And, most of those that DO skateboard do not go to the skateboard parks; they go to a local playground or hang in their neighborhood.

    Also, what about weathering of the surface material near the beach?

    I GUARANTEE if we put a skateboard park there we are going to see the skateboard fringe riding the hills in the Outer Richmond; rowdying up the sidewalks; grinding every school and park bench they see (“to hell with private property man; I think I can grind the wall at the edge of thatguy’s garden – OOPS! – sorry! (as they skate away). No thanks! I will be at the next meeting that proposes this bad idea and be speaking loud and clear.

    I am not against Skateboarding, but do not want the Ocean Beach area screwed up by that subculture. I don’t want skateboard spillover strays riding wild around Land’s End. GG Park has PLENTY of inside space for a skateboard park – use that!

  12. Bennett said:

    I have to agree with Phil. Most of the skaters in this city seem to be 40 years old. Go family friendly.

  13. alyxandr said:

    I gave up on breakin’ my own bones around the time I turned 40… sand would certainly be an issue; further inside GGP would work better, where @Eric suggested, or perhaps the old dressage field.

  14. Adub said:

    Are you real phil? I didn’t think people actually held these opinions.

  15. phil said:

    @Adub Hope you’re well today. It should be no surprise that different people hold all kinds of different opinions. It appears that you disagree with my opinion. How about proffering a reason for your disagreement, rather than implying that my opinion is somehow odd, or wrong? Incidentally, this is *exactly* the attitude that I have gotten from numerous skateboarders in the ‘hood when I have (maybe 4-5 times) asked why they are grinding the protective walls around a resident’s garden; or popping their skateboard at 1am; or clack-clacking their skateboard at high speed on a sidewalk, nearly unending elderly folk. *EVERY* time I have politely asked skateboarders to desist from those actions, I have received that kind of attitude. The last time was when I saw a few skateboarders riding down the big hill on Clement (heading east); they almost caused a serious accident. I said “hey guys, it’s probably not a good idea to ride this hill because not everyone in a car is going to able to see you, and it’s hard to stop once you get going” I was told to mind my own business.

    Now, Imagine that we have a skate park near the Cliff House, or in the other Ocean Beach location. It is going to draw many HUNDREDS (or more) of skateboarders to the Outer Richmond and nearby environs every day.

    Stated earlier, I have spent a lot of time recently around skateboard parks. The people who use these parks like to “travel”. There IS a hard core group of bullies at almost every park, who dominate (and even threaten) others who “get in their way’ – especially kids who are just learning.

    Let’s be clear about who uses these parks; it’s NOT a large % of the general public; it’s a small niche of riders, most of whom are harmless, but with a SIGNIFICANT minority of riders who have an “outlaw” or “I can grind your property and pop my board any time I want” attitude. I have seen it: here, in Menlo Park; at Balboa; at Campell’s skatepark (near Los Gatos); even at the Palo Alto skate park. The Peninsula Parks are tamer, but have no doubt that the proximity of the beach and hills will mean more skateboarders taking chances; more noise; more graffiti; more obnoxious behavior (especially screwing up other people’s property) and so on.

    Hey dude, it’s not me; it’s YOUR skateboard culture that is the problem, and *I’m* surprised that you guys haven’t worked to clean up your act.

    Look skateboarding is fun for those that enjoy it; I think that it’s a good idea to have more facilities, but those facilities need to be made safe for all who use them; they need to be put in places that keep in mind what the fallout is going to be; they need to be built in ways so that they are *multiuse*, so scootering and other use can be put into play; they need to be policed; there needs to be SERIOUS enforcement of rule-breaking (and not a little pat on the back to some bully who has already done damage to a little kid trying to use his or her board).

    Bottom line, if we want “amenities” on Ocean Blvd, how about amenities that EVERYONE can use? How about amenities that don’t draw people who are going to be grinding property walls, speeding on sidewalks; tagging property, and so on? Again, most skateboarders are fine, it’s the SIGNIFICANT minority of skateboarders that is the problem, and I don’t see that problem going away any time soon.

    Vote “NO!” on any skateboard park located on Ocean or near Ocean Blvd. If this idea starts to get legs, I will personally start a campaign to stop it, because (literally( every person I have mentioned it to in the last 3 days (about 2 dozen people) think it’s a bad idea.

  16. jdh said:

    alright everyone, let’s just get off of Phil’s lawn before he has a coronary. Talk about being out of touch, skateboarding has been huge for the past 30 years. It’s not going anywhere. Seriously though Phil, what are you doing hanging around skate parks if you’re not skating?

  17. phil said:

    @jdh you said: “Seriously though Phil, what are you doing hanging around skate parks if you’re not skating?”

    First, skateboarding is well more than 30 years old – you might do a little research on that.

    Second, You and Adub and a few others are completely reinforcing everything I have said here about skateboarders! Did you read what I wrote? Did you read that I have had occasion (many times) to take my girlfriend’s kids to skate parks when they were young, and now as teens? I guess you didn’t read that far.

    Let me ask you a question: How about the REAL association of skateboarding with property damage to urban terrain features such as curbs, benches, and ledges when skateboarders grind on those surfaces? How much has been spent, and how much urban terrain ruined because of skateboarders?

    What about the skateboarders I have seen lately as I walk the promenade on Ocean who are speeding along, completely oblivious to others on the sidewalk, or zipping in and out of traffic with utter disregard for the mayhem they might cause. I accept that as a part of living in a city, but I do NOT accept the placement of a facility that will draw more of that behavior to Ocean Blvd.

    Also, note that roughly 90-95% of the persons I see at skateboard parks are young *men*. There are few females; hardly anyone over 30-33 years-old; hardly any kids (because they are intimidated away by the hard core riders (I have seen this DOZENS of times at every skateboard park I have visited).

    Just who is this park for, anyway? It’s for a small group of San Franciscans who want everyone to believe that Skateboarding is like biking, or baseball, etc. It’s not.

    Also, just on environment alone; there is FOG out there, mixed with windblown micro-dust from sand – EXACTLY the combination that is anathema for safe skateboarding. One would think that those who are promoting this location would be more up on that. In fact, now that this proposition has gotten my interest, I’m going to find out just who are the most ardent supporters of this bad idea. I am going to start by following the money. I’ll get back to you.

    In the meantime, this is a bad idea and it WILL be fought by the neighborhood once the neighborhood is properly informed of the social and financial costs. There are PLENTY of places to skateboard! Start in your driveway; head for a parking lot. Bus over to Balboa (buses are FREE for under-18, or at least some of them.

    Last, stop denigrating people you disagree with. Instead come up with a solid rationale for your position, or you will lose points, fast. What I see here so far is the “pushy” ATTITUDE that is ever present at every skateboard park I have visited. Clean up your act.

  18. Whatsthebigdeal said:

    Hey Phil: relax, man. Relax.

  19. phil said:

    @Whatsthebigdeal
    you said: “Hey Phil: relax, man. Relax”

    :) Thanks for your concern. Quoting Will Skakespeare: “Confusion now hath made his masterpiece!”

  20. Eric said:

    Phil… I hear what you are saying. No one likes skaters grinding public or private property. But I think you are exaggerating the problems of skating. Besides, an Ocean Beach/West GGP skate park would give the kids somewhere to ride without damaging property. If a few extra ‘rebels’ cruise past the Cliff House, it won’t be the end of the world.

    Admittedly, I haven’t been observing the social norms of the existing SF skate parks lately so I don’t know if they have dominant bully crews at each park. I doubt it. If so, this problem will only DECREASE as the sport becomes more mainstream in SF. In addition to spending time in the far outer richmond, I am very familiar with the family friendly skate culture fostered in parts of SoCal. For example, the city-owned skate parks in San Clemente, Laguna Niguel, Lake Forrest, and Oceanside (just to name a few), are predominately family friendly, dominated by young, health conscious kids. The same kid-friendly culture can be developed here in SF given decent management of the skate parks.

    Sometimes I love the old-school SF crowed because they help keep SF original…e.g.,.fewer chain stores, respect for the past. But on the other-hand, this same ‘preserve everything the way that it was’ crowd really can harm the SF and alienate families. Very selfish, skewed towards the middle/old age if you ask me. Bring skating to the Outsidelands where it belongs but do it in a smart, well managed way.

  21. phil said:

    Eric, Ocean Beach is not a neighborhood; it’s a place that is a magnet for people from all over the City.

    Also, there are a LOT of people with families who are not “old school” as you put it. We like truly public amenities that EVERYONE can use, without having to risk that a significant minority of users of those amenities are going to trash our neighborhoods on their way to and from said amenity.

    Look at all the tagging on the Ocean Beach walls. Look at the significant number of riff-raf that hangs at the beach (a significant minority of persons). Look how sketchy it can get a night. The skatepark will exacerbate that. It will get tagged into oblivion and become another eyesore; it will spew more skateboarders into the neighborhoods – on their way toand from the park.

    The parks you point out in S Cal are in really nice neighborhoods; they are not at all the catchall location that Ocean Beach is. Here’s what I’m talking about; I don’t want this at Ocean Beach of Outside Lands; they are sensitive, relatively quiet areas. Skateboarding has been oversold. What we have are these eyesore parks that are huge holes in the ground used mostly by late-teens and young adult *men*. That’s it. I want more amenities down there, but not this.

    disrespect (note that the video is entitled “people who hate skaters”, but look at the ATTITUDE! Do I want that all over Ocean Blvd? NO way!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dhr5-KmZ310

    check out the culture
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4G8hMWtIwto

    Look at people standing around *watching*; this “tough” ethic permeates skateboard culture. Imagine a Little League Baseball video like this. NOT! Skateboard culture is a testosterone-driven thing; it’s NOT a public amenity.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bZ9Iivbq-qg

    skatepark bullies
    https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=skatepark+bullies&sm=3

    Ferry Building wise guys
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3CRbMSoxpgY

    More inattention to rules – more macho ethic and stupidity
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZGc4iBolig

    This is what we’re looking at, down the road
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=apMAq71FGgM

    Potrero Del Sol – an eyesore – and look who is there – where are the kids, the women, etc. Just who is this park for, anyway?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gh4WX4aPW_4

    Who are these parks for? They’re built for a small group of people who are hard core skateboarders.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wy-yMWN_IMk

    Balboa Park
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-lvtYC8pe_g

    These skateparks are not “Public amenities”; they are mostly for a small group of hardcore skaters. Put this INSIDE GGPark – protect the DELICATE nature of Ocean Beach and Outside Lands. I don’t want skateboard culture anywhere near those locations, and neither do my neighbors. We will fight this!

  22. phil said:

    Here’s an example of a *family-oriented* amenity.
    http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Old-Sacred-Heart-Church-site-now-a-roller-skating-5375104.php

  23. Eric said:

    Got it,phil. In your world, its roller skating good, skaterboarding, bad. In truth, a major distinguishing factor is that the roller skateing spot appears to be SUPERVISED AND MANAGED properly. Why can’t that be done for a westside skateboard park? But don’t let the facts stand in the way. It looks like you’ve found your NIMBY cause. Congrats.

    If I had all year, I could find and link to thousands of videos showing very positive, healthy skate boarding scenes here in San Francisco and elsewhere. Besides, many of those videos you posted looked like the skaters, young and old, were having a great time. Maybe you just didn’t like the (urban) music accompanying some of the videos or the ‘look’ of the skaters who live in and travel to some of the edgier parts of town.

    Graffiti is a problem throughout SF. It is typically caused by the tagger crew subculture, not by skateboarders. If the City and the GGNRA wanted to get serious and eliminate tagging near Ocean Beach, they could do so by ratcheting up the consequences of getting caught, including requiring apprehended taggers to spend hundreds of hours cleaning up graffiti. Sadly, the politicians, administrators, prosecutors, and judges have little spine when dealing with the crime of rampant vandalism caused by a very small minority of repeat offenders.

  24. phil said:

    Eric, I have stated more than once that *some* community skateboard parks are OK – like the VERY suburban ones you cherry-picked as examples (San Clemente, etc) in a prior post. What I object to – when it comes to skateboard parks – are “honeypot” locations that draw from an entire urban area. Ocean Beach is a region-wide draw. Also, Ocean Beach/Land’s End is still a very natural environ with little in the way of high-octane activities like skateboard parks.

    We don’t have to parse fine differences here; we only need to look at the reality of skateboard parks in these honeypot locations – they draw a significant minority of disrespectful (of property and person) jerks; they draw taggers; they draw after-hours hangers-on (especially if near a natural amenity like a beach). I don’t want that, nor do my neighbors.

    Who are we going to see at the proposed park, into the later evening? I don’t have to answer my own question. You get the picture.

    btw, I agree with you about enforcement. In fact, if I had my way I would add a few days in a public pillory with bread and water (I’m serious) in addition to hundreds of hours of cleanup for taggers and other property-crime violators. I further agree that enforcement against these kinds of property crimes is weak in San Francisco. I was talking to a motorcycle cop the other day; he told me that the force has been cut back by roughly 50% over the last several years. Pathetic.

    So, the *reality* (given your admitted lack of enforcement) is that we are going to see that park tagged; we are going to see rowdy jerks lingering in the neighborhood; we are going to see a significant minority of skateboarders riding roughshod throughout adjacent neighborhoods, endangering people and property.

    Last, to your comment about rollerskating. Yes, I see rollerskating as far more friendly as a universally liked “amenity” than skateboarding. Where did skateboarders ever get the idea that they should have tax dollars spent to support the tiny minority of skateboarders that even use skateboard parks? It’s absurd. GO look at the parks in the honeypot locations. I have. There are no (or VERY few) women skaters; no seniors; very few little kids; it’s mostly early and late 20′s Xtreme sport wannabes and a few really serious dudes working on their chops. That does not a “public amenity” make, not to mention again the other disadvantages that I mentioned above.

    Look, there is PLENTY of room inside GGPark for a skateboard park. What is the big deal about Ocean Beach/Lands End? Lands End especially is a special, delicate place. Who wants stray skateboarders riding all over the place? I don’t, nor do most other people.

    So, please answer my question: Why not GGPark, maybe somewhere near the roller skating facility?

    Finally, the LAST thing I or my neighbors want to see is a skateboard park at Ocean Beach or Lands End. We will fight that tooth and nail. It’s not about “not liking skateboards, or skateboarders”; it’s about not liking what a SIGNIFICANT minority of that demographic is all about, and the havoc, disrespect for property and people; and, degradation that they will bring to a environmentally sensitive, heavily touristed, non-rowdy place.

    Very last: three things: “fog”, “moisture”, cold wind, and “wind-driven microdust”. Aside from ice, I can’t think of ANYTHING that is more anathema to skateboarding than those things, both in abundance in the locations under consideration. Ocean Beach is NOT Venice Beach or Malibu, no matter how much skateboarding enthusiasts want to make it that way. All these things – aside from massive community opposition (which WILL happen if this bad idea gets rolling) makes consideration of a skateboard park in this location absurd, on its face.

  25. Eric said:

    I don’t see a skate park happening at Land’s End. It is too close to residential housing and their is not enough space. The Goldman Foundation which created the obstructive visitor center at lands end and seems to run the land use of that area, probably wouldn’t approve anyway. However, a medium-sized skatepark replacing a small section of the parking lot at Ocean Beach, just slightly north of Lincoln at Great Hwy, would be brilliant. The parking spots there are under utilized 90% of the year. Your concerns about sand are legitimate but overstate. The wind blows HARD in April and May but for the most part, blowing sand would not be an major problem 10 months of the year.. Besides, skaters can use a broom very easily if it means getting access to a smooth skate surface.

    I would also be OK with a skate park behind the windmill cottage (as previously stated) instead of the current dump located at that spot. But I, personally, think a ‘Great Meadow’ type-space would be better served at that location and an Ocean Beach/promenade located medium sized skate park would actually be better in terms of visibility and connectivity to the surf culture at the beach.

    If you think that skateboarders are a “tiny” minority in comparison to roller skaters,….well, I think you are mistaken to put it mildly.

    Your point about San Clemente, Oceanside(!!??), or equivalent, vs. San Francisco is puzzling….why not create such a valued & respected skate boarding space in west San Francisco? Is San Clemente (Oceanside!!??) better than the Outer Richmond/Outer Sunset? I think not.

    I’ll sign off of this thread with these comments, Phil. God Bless. I hope you aren’t too troubled by these developments. What will happen, will happen. For better or worse.

    The real problem with Ocean Beach is that the GGNRA and the City of SF have disregarded this area for far too long. The GGNRA is happy to remodel & upgrade spots in the Presidio and in Marin to provide the well-to-do with fine restaurants, housing and hotels. But, when it come to improving a spot like Ocean Beach, where the MASSES of people congregate (for free) on beautiful summer and fall days, the powers that be eschew even modest improvements like the plague. The Ocean Beach Master Plan provides some hope but their time scale of 30-50 years out is ridiculous.

  26. phil said:

    @eric The Ocean Beach location would be a nightmare for the folks that live just across the highway. Also, how do you imagine people sweeping off pulverized sand micro-dust off a concrete or wood surface when it’s WET or DAMP? Again, this is a BASIC consideration for ANY skateboard park with angles and steep inclines. It’s almost a joke that this spot was proposed for a park.

    A skateboard park near the Windmill is another loser – for the same reasons mentioned above. ANYWHERE near Ocean Beach is a losing proposition.

    btw, the San Clemente/Oceanside Park is not impregnated with fog, wind, dust etc.

    Where we agree is that development if GGRA has focused on locations that are adjacent to the more tony parts of the Bay Area. It’s like the wealthy folks in this region get these great parks right next door, and everyone else gets the dregs. That said, putting a *skateboard park* in the locations you suggest will bring the area *down*. In a way, your support for a skateboard park near Ocean Beach is ironic. Like it or not, Skateboard culture is far from sedate – and that’s an understatement. The only people that disagree with that statement are – guess who? – skateboarders! Ask almost anyone of they want a skateboard park next to their property, or on Ocean Blvd. The almost universal response I have received is a resounding “NO!”. (about 4 dozen polled, so far)

    You say “summer and fall days” – and the other days? Yeah, a big, ugly (SURE to be tagged) hole in the ground that nobody but skateboarders can use?

    We do need more amenities in the Ocean Beach area, but they need to have more universal appeal; be practical (given the activity and weather factors); and be considered for the “rowdy factor” before they go in. Once a skatepark is there, it’s there. God forbid. I can see it now – skateboarders zipping in and out of traffic on Ocean Blvd; skateboarders grinding on adjacent property; skateboarders hanging on the beach after hours, yapping it up; skateboarders speeding down the sidewalks on Ocean Blvd – zipping in and out of the parking lots; skateboarders “popping” at all hours of the day and night”; skateboarders migrating up the hill to Lands End, so they can take the eastern ride down, or the Cliff house ride down. All this WILL happen, and in the meantime the bucolic developments (the Lake renewal) near Presidio Heights and the Marin residents get their pastoral developments. Another thing is that we all KNOW that that park will not be monitored properly. If you think it will, I have a bridge to sell you.

    Again, this is NOT S California; there are plenty of places to skate in San Francisco; skateboarding is NOT family friendly; skateboarding is mostly for young males (little kids and seniors and women are mostly out). So just WHO is this park for? When the local citizens and the newspapers hear this side of the story – including the Parks Commission, I think we’re going to see this plan dumped for another location where it should have been in the first place (if at ALL!) – and that is WELL INSIDE GGPark. The thing is, if you do that, unless the skateboard park is well WITHIN the park, you will get an outcry from adjacent residents. Why? Because skateboard culture is, by and large, a rowdy one, with a significant minority of skateboarders completely disrespectful of property, authority, rules, and basic human courtesy.

  27. Ryan said:

    Dang Phil, it’s kinda messed up to lump so many people together and make such sweeping generalizations. I see kids skateboarding with mom and dad at Sunday Streets or on car-free JFK all the time. I see kids learning to skate in skateboard camps in the mission with other kids their age and an instructor. It can be a family and kid friendly activity. And as those youngsters grow up skating and they start to get better and they start to look for new places to skate I personally would rather have a park designated for skateboarding where they can go and congregate and do what makes them happy. Think of it this way: Without a park any kids or teens who *already live in the neighborhood* have no where to go. Their parents may not want them going all the way across town to one of the already established skate parks (of which there are few, and all on the east side of town) so where are these kids to skate? On our neighborhood streets, the exact place you seem so concerned that kids will skate on. Now what if they had a nice park? A place they can go? Then that’s where they’ll skate. Yes, you’ll probably see some kids skating to and from the park, but if they are getting their kicks at the park, then they aren’t doing it on your street.

    Your sweeping generalizations of skateboard culture are frankly kind of offensive. You let a few bad eggs represent an entire subculture of people. Your arguments are full of slippery-slope logical fallacies. I support an Ocean Beack skate park because it creates a place where kids and teens interested in this sport can go to practice and engage in what makes them happy, and gives them a place to skate that *isn’t* neighborhood streets.

    And Phil, there is no such street called “Ocean Blvd” there is an Ocean Ave that goes from the Outer Sunset through the Ingleside to the Excelsior, but that is FAR from where this park is planned to be built.

  28. phil said:

    @Ryan I stand corrected on Ocean Blvd – I mean the Great Highway

    you said:
    “Your sweeping generalizations of skateboard culture are frankly kind of offensive.”
    Sorry that you are taking my comments as sweeping generalizations. Please note that I have been very careful to say a **significant minority** of skateboarders are the problem.

    Your points about how a lot of people peaceably enjoy skateboarding are correct; I agree with you. That said, the **significant minority** of skateboarders are the ones I’m concerned about. Neither you, nor San Francisco’s police, nor anyone else will be able to stop the onslaught of the **significant minority** of skateboarding jerks once a park is opened in the proposed location.

    What I mean by that is not just one or two jerks; I’m referring to the 15-20% of skateboarders (based on behavior I have seen at multiple skateboard parks) who completely resonate with the comments I’ve made about their behavior. Bullies; disrespectful of property and person. Foul language loudmouths who push little kids out of the way and/or intimidate them. I have seen this at EVERY skate park I’ve been in.

    Again, the proposed skateboard park locations are magnet locations. Ocean Beach is already sketchy at night, and on my many walks on or near Ocean Beach I have often witnessed skateboarders doing the very things I have mentioned, above.

    These are not just a “few bad eggs” as you put it; this is 15-20% of a subculture who don’t give a damn about anything but their “fun”, even if that “fun” involves rude and dangerous behavior directed at other persons and their property. I and my neighbors do NOT want more of that on or near Ocean Beach.

    You say my arguments are full of logical fallacies. Really? Then why is it that every city in America has to spend a LOT of money to put up barriers on buildings, park benches, school stairways, etc. etc. etc. There is NO other activity that I know of in American culture that has caused cities to have to take these kinds of protective actions, to prevent property damage. What about the FACT that skateboarders are often all over public spaces, regardless of signs that forbid skateboarding?

    These are real concerns. And, I have heard the old paean about “how we will monitor the new facility to keep bad behavior at bay” blah blah blah – and 6 months after a skateboard hole in the ground is constructed it’s tagged to smithereens; young adults are pushing little kids out of the way, etc. etc.

    Is it a hasty generalization to say that these parks serve only a SMALL fraction of our population? Why aren’t you proposing something that ALL citizens can enjoy? Are YOU and your friends going to keep rowdy skateboarders off the sidewalks; keep them from tagging the park, etc. etc. What I see when bad ideas like this skateboard park are proposed are all kinds of flowery language about how the community “needs this”, but after the deed is done it becomes an eyesore.

    Why aren’t you out there pushing for a truly PUBLIC amenity?

    you say: “I support an Ocean Beack skate park because it creates a place where kids and teens interested in this sport can go to practice and engage in what makes them happy, and gives them a place to skate that *isn’t* neighborhood streets”

    Apropos to your aforementioned statement, embedded within that statement is EXACTLY the kind of support rhetoric that I’m talking about. What kids are going to be at that skate park? If you’re a betting person I’ll bet you right now that within 6 months of that skate park being built it will be a tagged eyesore; it will NOT be monitored day and night; it will draw all kinds of undesirables from all over San Francisco (the “significant minority of skateboard troublemakers that I’ve referred to); there will be property damage; we will have skateboarders zipping all over Ocean Beach walkways and parking lots. And, what about al the skateboarders who are going to be popping on streets adjacent to the skate park – that WILL happen. So why should my neighborhood have to deal with this? btw, this is no NIMBY cry; I’m FOR a skateboard park, but NOT one at the beach, or nearby.

    Then what? Let me answer my own question. Then me and my neighbors will find ourselves complaining before some city board about the concomitant problems that I’ve mentioned above, and “what are we going to do about this”. And you know what? NOTHING will be done, because you and your friends will have YOUR amenity, and you aren’t going to want to do squat about the problems that a significant minority of your sport’s players are into – i.e property damage; disrespect for the safety of others (and all too often, themselves); and so on.

    Bottom line: everything I’ve said is true, because I have SEEN it and EXPERIENCED it.

    Conveniently avoided by all who disagree with me is the FACT that fog, wind, rain, micro-dust, etc etc are anathema to skateboarding! Why on earth, given what we know about San Francisco weather on this side if the city, is a skateboard park being proposed in those locations. There is something fishy about this idea, and I”m well into finding out more about who came up with this (sorry to say) DUMB idea, and why it has seemed to gain the for-now approval of the GGPark authorities. What are these people thinking, anyway?

    Last, I wonder why you and others are not pushing for a place INSIDE the park. My guess is that somehow, the skateboard crowd in San Francisco wants to have “beach” skate parks like they do in S. California. You guys (and it’s mostly guys – few girls, hardly any adults, relative to the general population) watch youtube videos with your fav riders near the beach, and voila! “let’s do that in San Francisco!”. This is a poorly thought-out plan with significant potential for neighborhood and otherwise blowback if it becomes reality. My neighbors and I are going to do our best to stop it.

    I would love to see you get your skateboard park, but not in the proposed locations.

  29. Phil said:

    Check this out – *exactly* what will happen if a skate park goes in at Ocean Beach. My neighbors have the proposed skate park on their radar, for this exact reason!
    http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Chronicle-Watch-SoMa-skate-park-grinds-on-5642118.php

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