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article imageOp-Ed: Ecological advocates sympathize but are divided on eviction Special

By Jonathan Farrell     Dec 2, 2012 in Environment
San Francisco - The ongoing struggle the Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Recycling Center has been engaged in with Recreation and Park Dept as well as other City officials has garnered both empathy as well as skepticism over the recent eviction notice the center received.
On Nov. 30, the recycling center on Frederick Street near Kezar Stadium in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, was given notice that staff and crew must vacate the premises by Wednesday, Dec. 3. Despite the dismissal of a hearing of "wrongful eviction" by the California State Supreme Court, the recycling center's director Ed Dunn told this reporter that Thursday he still believed neighborhoods need recycling centers.
When this reporter contacted Jake Sigg to make comment on the situation, he noted that "I can't deny that the recycle center is a non-conforming use of Golden Gate Park."
One of the reasons for the recycling center's eviction is Rec. and Park officials citing "non-conforming use" based upon the recommendations of a 1998 Master Plan study of Golden Gate Park which was established more than 12 years ago. Which in this reporter's point of view, begs the question, why did it take so long for Rec. & Park to find the facility in violation of that Master Plan recommendation? The facility has been at its current location for more than 30 years. Also, it has never really been cited exactly what places the long-standing recycling center in violation of the Master Plan?
The response by Rec. & Park and other City officials has been that now that a city-wide recycling program has been established the need for neighborhood recycling centers is obsolete. This is something that Dunn and others see as short-sighted because recycling programs while now a standard can't meet the need as consumer waste increases.
Sigg and others seek to restore habitats and provide educational opportunities for schools and the general public about the natural areas in an urban setting.
Even though he does not favor the recycling center remaining in operation in Golden Gate Park, Sigg did say, "however, I feel a fierce loyalty to Haight Ashbury Neighborhood recycling Center (HANC) for all its pioneering work and community service."
"If there were such a thing as a city that knows how (all cities verge on dysfunction now), noted Sigg, the City would find a way to accommodate and reward HANC for all it has done for us. But that would require leadership."
"HANC made a preemptive strike and converted the center to a community garden, and it is functioning beautifully now," said Sigg. "Rec. and Park plans to rip up the asphalt, including all the raised garden beds," said Sigg. This is something that Dunn told this reporter is a waste of tax-payer money.
SIgg commented further, "as a conservative I hate to see this," Sigg said. "All those beautiful, functioning garden beds, the materials (soil and wood), and last but not least--people's (including HANC's) emotional investment-- all to be uprooted, these are all things to be respected and treasured," said Sigg.
As the day of eviction draws closer no doubt there will be some protest. Dunn told this reporter he was not optimistic. The recycling center's attorney Robert de Vries has been alerted Dunn said. With the California Supreme Court refusing to hear the case of "wrongful eviction," it will be interesting to see what recourse or appeal the recycling center will have.
"I am unable to become involved in these battles, right now, said Sigg.There are so many of them in the city." "And, you could exhaust yourself by being engaged," he said. "It is obvious that the world is coming apart, and this is just one more of a 'bazillion' instances of deterioration," said Sigg.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
More about Nature in the City, Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Recycling Center, Jake Sigg, San Francisco
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