stow lake.jpgDespite community support for Stow Lake Boathouse’s long-time vendor Bruce McClellan, (as noted in a previous Appeal article) San Francisco’s Park and Recreation Commission has overwhelmingly voted in favor of moving forward with a new, out-of-state vendor, Ortega Family Enterprises.

As reported by the Ex, the Park and Rec Commission frame the decision as more of one of improvement and progress. “Is it so wrong to have it be a nice destination?” Commissioner Meagan Levitan reportedly asked during the meeting, which was attended by hundreds who opposed the Commission’s move away from the local family who’s run the Boathouse for the last 67 years to New Mexico-based Ortega.

Appeal readers might respond “yes it is,” as last month, 53% voting in our highly scientific poll responded “Leave the boathouse as-is! Some things are more important than money.”

But money does appear to be at the heart of this debate: according to the Chron, Ortega “pledged to complete $233,000 worth of improvements to the well-worn building and buy a brand-new fleet of boats,” while the McClellans would only commit to “$23,000 worth of capital improvements.”

While the Ex says the Commission’s vote was “unanimous,” the Chron reports that the final count was 6-1. Calls to Rec and Park on who’s right have not been returned — was anyone there last night who can verify the vote count? Update: Maxwell Szabo of Ground Floor Public Affairs writes in to let us know that the Chron had it right, and that the “vote was 6-1 with David Lee voting no.” Thanks, Maxwell!

Regardless of either, three more public hearings are planned, and only after those will the agreement reach the Board of Supervisors, who have final say on the matter.

Photo of Stow Lake snack stand by Yelp user Laura S.

the author

Always in motion. April Siese writes about music, takes photos at shows, and even helps put them on behind the scenes as a stagehand. She's written everything from hard news to beauty features, as well as fiction and poetry. She most definitely likes pie.

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  • Greg Dewar

    Parks and Rec has to be one of the most corruption ridden departments in a city that’s well known for inefficiency and corruption to begin with. This is an example of how city spending decisions are done poorly. By sending our tax dollars out of state, instead of keeping them in the city or at least the general region, they’re compounding the problems the city has.

    clearly the fix was in for Ortega from the start, and the Parks and Rec oligarchy could give two sh*ts about public opinion. They just want to give away public assets to their well connected friends and screw taxpayers. Wait until they privatize Golden Gate Park and charge you 20 bucks to get in.

  • Greg Dewar

    Parks and Rec has to be one of the most corruption ridden departments in a city that’s well known for inefficiency and corruption to begin with. This is an example of how city spending decisions are done poorly. By sending our tax dollars out of state, instead of keeping them in the city or at least the general region, they’re compounding the problems the city has.

    clearly the fix was in for Ortega from the start, and the Parks and Rec oligarchy could give two sh*ts about public opinion. They just want to give away public assets to their well connected friends and screw taxpayers. Wait until they privatize Golden Gate Park and charge you 20 bucks to get in.

  • JakeBarnes

    My first experience at Stow lake was watching, with some dismay, my father(who drank a bit) relieve himself over the side of a rowboat, near the island. This would have been World War II. If you think that was vulgar, wait till you see the Tee-shirt display. Ortega Family? Bunch of suits with money to spread around. Easy to see the commissioners, and some “locals” had been “sold” on the concept. Looks like they got to all the right people as usual. I’ll have the Crab-Whopper w/cheese, thanks, and do you have Lowenbrau?

  • JakeBarnes

    My first experience at Stow lake was watching, with some dismay, my father(who drank a bit) relieve himself over the side of a rowboat, near the island. This would have been World War II. If you think that was vulgar, wait till you see the Tee-shirt display. Ortega Family? Bunch of suits with money to spread around. Easy to see the commissioners, and some “locals” had been “sold” on the concept. Looks like they got to all the right people as usual. I’ll have the Crab-Whopper w/cheese, thanks, and do you have Lowenbrau?