Despite 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.