The rich won another round yesterday. Big time. The
Board of Supervisors' Finance Committee unanimously passed a measure to
spend 60 million dollars on a plan to make Harding & Fleming Golf
Courses affordable to only the wealthy and a very few token black kids.
in an earlier effort to hand the course over to Arnold Palmer Inc., who
wanted to take the course private, the same band of view-grabbing (as in
the Cliff House), horse-evicting (as in Golden Gate Stables),
harbor-poaching (as in the Marina) plutocrats got what they wanted
anyway. When faced, in earlier hearings, with opponents who said the
courses (which were profitable but which the city had allowed
intentionally to deteriorate) could be kept open while needed repairs
were made from normal course revenues … all the while keeping the prices
low enough for a little old lady without a trust fund to play every day
if she wanted … reacting to those hearings, the rich end-ran the slow,
dumb & nearly blind politicians.
Rec & Park’s boss, Elizabeth Goldstein – don't hold
anyone to that 60m figure either: the Independent reported Goldstein
spent 200 grand on a 10 grand concrete path in another park – Goldstein
simply closed the golf course (as she did the stables) and sold all the
equipment. Facing yet another fait accompli, the board fell in like 10
little indians & a squaw.
Well, they've yet to vote as a “deliberative” unit (& I
use the term with increasing generosity) … but, you watch. The vote will
Willie's gnomes organized this one beautifully. To vote
against it, you'd have to be opposed to a major network TV shot of Tiger
Woods lining up a long tournament-winning putt with the sun setting in
the Pacific over one shoulder & the 10 little black kids allowed on the
course watching over the other shoulder. Nobody was willing to do that
How do you cover the nut? Pay the bills? Bring home the
Well, the Palmer people were going to charge really high
greens fees. The new plan calls for charging really high greens fees.
The plutocrats wanted a course to match Augusta. The
poor wanted a course they could afford to play. The rich, of course,
How much will it actually cost to play the course? Rec &
Park brought out a number of “possible” fee schedules. The low end for
the average golfer was $28 weekdays & $45 weekends. Locals. When your
dad comes to visit, he will pay at least $88 for a round of golf on a
Oh, there will be discounts. Up to 10 percent of the
rounds could be discounted. At full capacity, about a dozen people a day
would play at reduced rates. That would be 5,000 of 50,000 rounds
Of course, rates can change & the Board of Supervisors
would have nothing to say about that. Setting the rates is left to the
Rec & Park Commission upon advisement by a citizens' advisory group. I'm
wondering how many of those folks will have a gold card or something
that says they (& perhaps a friend or two) will get to play for free.
Forever. A reward for ridding the place of the duffers with the scuffed
shoes. It's a “friends” thing. Friends of the Library don't pay to throw
parties at the library, do they? Y'all think the “Friends” of the New
DeYoung are gonna pay to throw parties on Dee Dee Wilsey's new roof
deck? Gotta be some kind of recognition for their part in reaming us.
"How high's the water, momma?"
the Board is stuck with the bill … forever. When someone asked a bean
counter how long the course would have to make over 4 million a year to
cover the bills, the guy did one of those combination surprised & amused
expressions you give a dumb question from a slow child. He shrugged. His
answer to the fool who thought the bills might eventually get paid & the
prices reduced (remember the Golden Gate Bridge?): "In perpetuity."
Having been slammed for questioning the bill, no one
asked about the effect upon Lake Merced. A member of the audience did,
but his question was not addressed other than a bubble-headed nod from
7th District supe Tony Hall who agreed to make certain God filled the
lake for PGA years (I guess).
That was kind of odd. Hall just spent a couple of years
working on a weak-ass 50-year agreement that's supposed to raise the
level of Lake Merced. The document calls for lots of promises and has no
teeth. Golf courses & cemeteries & the entire city of Daly City agree to
slack up on their suck job of the aquifer that feeds all. The agreement
did not mention Harding or Fleming Golf Courses, which draw from the
While promising an entire new irrigation system, new
greens & lush surroundings, no one touched what would happen if too many
people in Daly City flushed their toilets during the PGA's tri-yearly
bash. The answer is that you'd get what my plumber calls a “back flow”
in which the aquifer starts sucking in salt water from the Pacific &
everything turns an interesting shade of dead.
Ya think that will stop them? Nope. The rich are
persistent. That's how they got rich. My guess is that around 2020,
we'll be looking at a golf course of around a thousand acres or so made
up entirely of Astroturf and plastic trees. Hey, it all looks real on
walk it off:
[F. Richard Allen offers
his take on the
proposed renovations in Golf California.com].