In San Francisco, it can be impossible to do almost anything that involves changing the city. Even the replacement of four grass soccer fields on the edge of Golden Gate Park near Beach Chalet with artificial turf fields has become such a big deal that voters in the city will weigh in during November's election. The vote, which will be on the ballot as both Proposition H (anti-turf) and Proposition I (pro-turf), is so absurd that even the New York Times has taken notice, comparing the situation (unfavorably!) to an episode of the sitcom Parks & Recreation. One local who is against the artificial turf even tells the Times that she's "likening it to paving over" Golden Gate Park.
This is a battle that has gone on for years. The pro-turf side says that the new surface will be easier to maintain and will be more durable. Turf means more hours of use for the fields. The new turf fields were approved by the Board of Supervisors way back in 2012 and should have moved forward at that time. Instead, the battle only escalated, with the environmental impact review sent to court. The mayor, Senator Dianne Feinstein, and Representative Nancy Pelosi have come out in favor of the turf fields. Yes, a United States senator has a position on a San Francisco soccer field.
Opponents of the turf installation are worried that the new surface will change the natural character of Golden Gate Park, potentially cause cancer, and create profits for tire manufacturers. The best line of the Times article is this one: "They fear turf fields may lead to construction of high-rise condominiums or a major league soccer stadium on the oceanfront." No wonder New York is laughing.
· Parks and Recreation Comes to Life in San Francisco [NYTimes]
· The Very Literal Turf War Continues [Curbed SF]
· Lawsuit Over Literal Turf War [Curbed SF]