CFAH

Presidio Main Post: Proposed Anza Esplanade Rendering
It was a spillover crowd of well over 500 people at the Presidio Trust’s public hearing on the redevelopment plans for the Presidio’s Main Post last night.
And while we missed it, the word on the street is that crowd was most definitely anti-CAMP (Contemporary Art Museum at the Presidio). And so much so, that apparently Mayor Gavin Newsom was openly jeered for speaking out in favor of the plan.
The deadline for public comment has been extended to September 19 with a few more public meetings to be held before (including a July 28 workshop specific to traffic and parking). But with the final decision up to the Presidio Trust Board of Directors, and the Presidio under exclusive federal jurisdiction and “not directly subject to state and local land use plans, policies, or regulations,” we’ve heard more than one plugged-in person suggest that they’ve already made up their minds (and the opposition be damned).
JustQuotes: Presidio Plans, Proposals, And Preservationist Protests [SocketSite]

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by Joe

    Finding San Franciscans who are opposed to development anywhere of any scale is like shooting fish in a barrel – of nothing but fish..
    I would imagine that 75% of these people were just waiting to have something to get up in arms about..

  2. Posted by Adam

    I used to work at the Lucas Digital Arts center. A business park is a disgrace to a national monument. This museum will be another disgrace. I have an idea…LEAVE THE PRESIDIO ALONE!
    Does San Francisco really need to develop anymore land? I don’t think so. Lets try maintaining our heritage a bit more. I am not your typical NIMBY, I’m all for the South Beach development and all that stuff, but this is dfiferent. Just leave it alone people. Take your fancy art and display it somewhere else…like downtown, perhaps.

  3. Posted by Oceangoer

    Not true Joe. I have been on one of the previous tours and talked with people on the tour. I also have been involved in neighborhood discussions. Almost all of the people I have met have done their homework reading the environmental report, poring over financials and still come up with good solid reasons to oppose the placing of the museum and some other the other proposals. Same for me … I did not go into my opposition lightly but with well-founded concerns. Don’t be so ready to toss off your opinions about people who turn up to demonstrate their very real concerns. Have you studied the issues?

  4. Posted by zzzzzzzzz

    While I’m pleased the Presidio Trust is fairly immunized from the typical SF anti-development pressures, in this case there would almost certainly be a legal challenge to any approval of CAMP—and the lawsuits wouldn’t be entirely specious. On the other hand, the Trust may feel it would prevail in any legal action and the benefits of pushing forward including a multi-million dollar Fisher donation to renovation of the Parade Ground and Montgomery St barracks) would make their efforts worthwhile. Time will tell.

  5. Posted by Marina Boy

    I hope they build this thing. I live and own properties in the Marina and I would love to see this place built!

  6. Posted by fluj

    I’m sorry, but many of the buildings in the Presidio are clapboard, uninteresting and beyond dated. Why preserve so many crap barracks and Army warehouses? They suck. Now, I’m not necessarily for the museum. Make it all a big grass field. That’s what I say.

  7. Posted by Zig

    I don’t know the Predsido inside and out but they should be able to find a better location for this thing in the park. The Sports Basement site makes sense. I was always underwhellmed by the parade grounds and the “natural” enviroment of non-native trees at the Presido
    Personally the lack of public transit to the area is what bothers me most. Downtown would be better but you can’t always get what you want and this is a real gift.

  8. Posted by SFhighrise

    God I hate NIMBYs

  9. Posted by Jake

    The ongoing development of what is supposed to be a “Park” is disturbing. The collection should go to SFMOMA to make that place actually worth going to (and as originally planned), not just because it would improve the collection, but because it’s in a more central location and much easier for folks to get to (especially tourists) via transit.

  10. Posted by pvc

    I think they should build a mall at this site. What the Presidio really needs is an Old Navy.

  11. Posted by YIMBY

    BUILD IT ALREADY!! This development is great for the Presidio and San Francisco. Open space is actually being added not taken away. What’s the problem?

  12. Posted by bob

    I sat in on the deyoung museum neighborhood meetings and it was the same thing – how dare you try and build something like this in a park – why do we need to build anything- does SF really need another museum. Dozens of people lined up to complain about the scale of the proposed building. After it was built – it was wildly popular with architectural critics around the world. When was the last time that happened ? Transamerica?
    Sorry, but there is no compromise with these neighbors, they want nothing built or changed anywhere. SF, in their opinion, should be preserved in amber – its best days long gone.
    Who needs a unprecedented collection of art for free?

  13. Posted by Fishchum

    I was at the meeting last night. Most of the support for CAMP that I listened to were to “benefit the children” and that the art would “let their spirits soar”. While this all sounded well and good, most of the opposition was hardly a knee-jerk NIMBY reaction – some very real were points were brought up – such as how the Main Post is a nationally designated Historical Landmark and it is the Trust’s responsibility to “preserve” this landmark, per their own charter and regulations. It was pointed out that just about every historical society, both local and national, (including the Sierra Club, which isn’t even a historical body) object to CAMP.
    As a Marina resident and an avid hiker, jogger and bowler within the Presidio I can’t fathom how Fisher’s design is in keeping with the historical context and integrity of the Main Post. An art museum and lodge are both fine ideas, but the art museum should not be the focal point of this place of respect and honor – doing so would only be doing a disservice to the men and women who have served in the armed forces in the Presidio.

  14. Posted by garbonzo

    Would you rather have another building to showcase a collection of world class art and more open space (as pictured above)?…Or, would you rather have a bowling alley with an overgrown parking lot in front of it? Hmmm…Green? World Class? Progressive? These words are thrown around a little too much in this town.

  15. Posted by anon94123

    As a fellow Marina resident, I don’t understand why there is not anywhere else in the city that Fisher would not want to consider for his museum? What about what is now the PORN factory in the Mission (the San Fransisco Armory)? The Presidio is not a blank canvas for someone to put their ego stamp, the Presidio is an amazing national landmark with one of the most beautiful landscapes and interesting collection of military buildings anywhere in the country. The north side of the city does not need any redevelopement to encourage tourism or business, but I can see where this museum in the Mission would be a huge help for cleaning up that area and helping to encourage business.

  16. Posted by warehouse

    I propose that they locate this Contemporary Art Museum in the Old Mint Building at 5th and Mission adjacent to the new Mint Plaza.

  17. Posted by Spencer

    “I don’t know the Predsido inside and out but they should be able to find a better location for this thing in the park. The Sports Basement site makes sense.”
    hold on a minute. I spend a lot of time in Sports basement. IMO, it is the most important store in the city. not to mention, this is where i park when i meet people for bike rides and runs.
    As for the museum, i’m all for it, as long as it is on the edge of the presidio and not in it. There’s already too much traffic in the presidio. For one, i wish they would close most of the presidio to car traffic on the weekends. I am pro development in most places, but this is one of the only non-developed, green, forested areas in the city. i am for it if there is zero increase in traffic and zero shuttles buses. bus drivers, in general, are not bicycle friendly.

  18. Posted by garbonzo

    I believe the Old Mint is to become a museum for the city ran by the San Francisco Museum and Historical Society.

  19. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    Given the rise of the new China and Iran’s saber rattling, perhaps this site should be used as a new military base ? Its an ideal place to locate cannons to defend the Golden Gate. 🙂
    Spencer – I recommend that you take the League of American Bicyclists “Road I” class. It will show you how to safely mingle with cars and busses and give you more confidence riding in traffic.

  20. Posted by Sport Basement

    I spend a lot of time in Sports basement. IMO, it is the most important store in the city. not to mention, this is where i park when i meet people for bike rides and runs.
    Your car is currently being towed away.

  21. Posted by Recent ORH buyer

    I don’t visit this area too often and I confess not to be fully aware of all of the minutia surrounding this debate. However, it seems to me that this project is a huge ego trip for the Fisher family and their opportunity to leave a lasting legacy in S.F. Is this what is really rubbing people the wrong way? That said, I would have to concur with Bob – the city is being given an incredible art collection in an iconocastic building [for better or worse] for free. What does it say about S.F. if we are willing to turn down something like this to preserve some decaying military buildings, few of which are likely to be greatly valued by posterity?

  22. Posted by warehouse

    Re: “I believe the Old Mint is to become a museum for the city ran by the San Francisco Museum and Historical Society.”
    True…but they seem to be having trouble getting the momentum necessary to get that museum established.
    In my opinion, the Contemporary Art Museum use seems better matched to the relatively vibrant downtown Old Mint location. And perhaps the proposed SF Historical Museum could find a comfortable (non-controversial) home in the Presidio.

  23. Posted by YIMBY

    Recent…It means we are the rich, spoiled, smug, cry babies everyone says we are and I am really starting to agree.

  24. Posted by Spencer

    “Spencer – I recommend that you take the League of American Bicyclists “Road I” class. It will show you how to safely mingle with cars and busses and give you more confidence riding in traffic. ”
    Thanks Milkshake, but am pretty well versed. A lot of city buses seem to forget that i also have a right to ride on the road. i am not an anti-car biker. i am an anti-critical mass biker. I jsut don’t want mass traffic in a forested park.

  25. Posted by Spencer

    BTW, this issue is not as simple as replacing old decaying buildings with nice new pretty museums as some seem to be suggesting. or even which is more valuable for public good: an old bowling alley or a ncie new art museum.
    Most people i know are against this for one reason: TRAFFIC.

  26. Posted by Craeg

    San Franciscans never miss a chance to look a gift horse in the mouth.
    The fishers should gift this extraordinary collection to a city which would be more appreciative. LA is a probably a more appropriate location – atleast you wont have people opposing the museum based on the Iraq war

  27. Posted by BT

    The Fisher Collection would be a tremendous asset to the City and one we can’t afford to lose. Those who suggest we don’t need another museum or whatever are just being silly. Compared to the museums available in cities like New York, Chicago, Washington DC or even Los Angeles, we have very little here.
    So we need a Fisher Museum but we shouldn’t have the choice of putting it in arguably the most inappropriate spot in town or nowhere. I’m not convinced another spot, in the Presidio if Mr. Fisher insists, could not be found and that Mr. Fisher could not be persuaded to accept it if the Trustees were interested in bargaining. Personally, I like what is being called the Sports Authority site–really, the former Commissary. But I do think we need to try a little harder at compromise here, as long as we don’t lose this asset entirely.

  28. Posted by Fishchum

    Craeg – who’s opposing this museum based on the war in Iraq? Were you even at the meeting last night? Many in opposition to the museum praised Fisher’s generosity in donating his collection to SF. I think the majority of opposition stems from the fact this building will have no relationship or dialogue with the surrounding buildings.
    By the Presido Trust’s VERY OWN MANDATE, it’s duties and responsibilities are to PRESERVE the Main Post – not “revitalize” or “enhance” it. This building couln’t be any more antithetical to that if it tried.

  29. Posted by EH

    Craeg: Who is opposing the museum on war grounds?

  30. Posted by San FronziScheme

    City buses have a very hard time handling bicycles. This is because the stop-and-go nature of buses conflicts with the 10-20MPH pace of bicycle.
    I’m an avid city cyclist and I feel the pain of the bus drivers trying to figure whether they should pass me to trap me against the curb or wait behind and mess up with their schedule.
    It’s all about sharing the road. Paris is starting to adapt some of their Boulevards to be more bicycle friendly, with dedicated bike paths (along or on the sidewalks) and bus lanes (more to the center). It’s not perfect and sometimes a bit annoying for pedestrians and bus riders.
    Critical Mass might seem like an extremist movement, but it’s actually an attempt in making democracy work. Why would 4000Lbs vehicles carrying a 160Lbs person have the priority over 30Lbs vehicles. One man, one voice and no one should be entitled more common space just because of his own choice. Cyclists are tax payers too. They pay for roads repairs for the wear that others are causing.

  31. Posted by Briann

    “Opposition be damned” GOOD! It’s about time. This city is one big bunch of NIMBY’s. It is truly amazing anything beautiful and transformative gets built here. Go CAMP Go!

  32. Posted by badlydrawnbear

    While I am not very familiar with the issues around the museum, and I am generally annoyed with SF’s nimbyism and anti development policies, I do see a legitimate question regarding why an Art museum would be placed in the Presido.
    Surely there are areas of the city, much better served by transportation infrastructure (roads, muni, parking, etc) then Presido. Although I am not sure where else in SF there is the available land, but maybe somewhere along the T Line should have been considered, maybe make it part of the Hunter’s point redevelopment plan?

  33. Posted by YIMBY

    If they are against the traffic why not support the removal the huge parking lot that is currently there? Most are not only opposed to the museum but any change or upgrades at all in the Presidio. It seems to me that this is just another typical San Francisco NIMBY fight against anything new and exciting. Seriously….Send it to LA. Actually Oakland or San Jose so those who appreciate this gift can still enjoy it.

  34. Posted by zzzzzzzzz

    There’s an obvious reason Fisher doesn’t put his museum elsewhere in SF: local development politics. You can be utterly certain that anything he proposes in any neighborhood within the city limits would be shredded to pieces before it’s stopped in its tracks. At least within the Presidio’s political jurisdiction Fisher avoids the completely predictable, nauseating reality of SF land-use politics.

  35. Posted by fluj

    “Critical Mass might seem like an extremist movement, but it’s actually an attempt in making democracy work. Why would 4000Lbs vehicles carrying a 160Lbs person have the priority over 30Lbs vehicles. One man, one voice and no one should be entitled more common space just because of his own choice. Cyclists are tax payers too. They pay for roads repairs for the wear that others are causing.”
    No it isn’t. Critical mass is a bunch of self righteous (and beyond selfish) strident pie in the sky scofflaws.

  36. Posted by Fishchum

    YIMBY – If you think this just another San Francisco NIMBY fight against anything “new and exciting” then you haven’t read any of my posts.

  37. Posted by San FronziScheme

    Sure they are.
    But just ride down on Market around 8:45AM between 10th street and 3rd street and count the number of bike commuters. Sometimes you’ll have 20 bikes at a red light. This city is changing. More density is good and bikes are one among many things that will help achieving this.
    That a few 20-something hipsters or “scofflaws” get a bit vocal and noisy about it once a month for 2 hours might be annoying to many, I can understand, but this is nothing compared to the 29-days 22-hours of All-cars-all-the-time noise and traffic that we currently get.

  38. Posted by Baker Beach Babylon

    Yeah, leave the pristine Presidio alone! Let’s preserve all the random crap housing tucked away on unnecessary backroads, the beautiful military legacy of tenament warehouses and sinister barracks with leaking roofs, but for GOD’S SAKE, DON’T BUILD AN ART MUSEUM. Um yeah… whatever. Cow Hollow Nayborhood Association and the rest of them can’t have nice things.
    On the flip side, I am worried about the amount of parking proposed. Why not place this thing close to the Palace of Fine Arts where it could use the Lucasfilm garage and be more accessible to public transit and Lombard/Doyle Drive and all those tourists on bikes?

  39. Posted by fluj

    When an organization habitually breaks laws, and encourages others to break laws, I don’t see how that’s democracy in action. Setting picks at intersections, hundreds of bikers running lights, jumping in and out of pedestrian lanes to get around traffic and scare pedestrians, swarming and thumping on cars, etc. Every one of those things happen monthly and it is all plainly and simply quite wrong.

  40. Posted by Baker Beach Babylon

    Also,
    Keep in mind that the CAMP is in the Presidio or nowhere. The donor sits on the Presidio Trust’s board. He wants to help the Presidio meet its obligations of achieving financial sustainability. So the museum is in the Presidio or nowhere. The question is whether the site is a good idea. Remember that SF didn’t just have the Presidio fall into our laps. The military gave it away after long negotiations with some provisos tacked on by the Congress. We should respect those and be glad we can use the Presidio at all. The legacy here is not the CAMP – it’s a Presidio that can afford to keep up Crissy Field, restore habitat, and preserve historical buildings. The CAMP won’t be built elsewhere, I guarantee it.

  41. Posted by pvc

    Agreed. as an avid cyclist I think Critical Mass does far more to hurt their suposed cause than to help and in the end they just make the cars vs. bikes problem worse by pissing people off.

  42. Posted by Cyclops

    Well fluj,
    The rest of the month you’re running into us making left turns you didn’t signal for.
    In general the critical mass crowd makes an effort to be respectful of pedestrians.
    The protest is quite predictable, so just plan around it. If you rode your bike or walked, I am sure you wouldn’t be too bothered. It’s like a strike. It’s kind of a pain in the ass, but that’s the point. People start listening.
    My recommendation is to ride your bike the whole week before and then to try Critical Mass on Friday and see how you feel about it then. Until then, you don’t really understand.

  43. Posted by Fishchum

    BBB – Don Fisher is no longer a member of the Presidio Trust. He is a FORMER member. If he really wanted the Trust to meet it’s obligations he wouldn’t be pushing for the construction of a building that will, in fact, jeopardize the Main Post’s national designation as a historical landmark.

  44. Posted by Katherine

    This is in my backyard and I am all for it- up stream whoever noted some people wanting to preserve the city in amber is right on… I am in this area of the Presidio several times a week and at least once every weekend and all I ever see happening in the huge, historically irrelevant parking lot are a few people learning to ride a motorcycle or drive stick…. hardly a great use of space or something we desperately need to preserve. I feel bad about the bowling alley though and hope it can be moved and not just done away with.

  45. Posted by San FronziScheme

    No question. I’m all for having bikes respecting the law. I’m also for rethinking the streets so that bikes are on equal footing with cars. Just try and switch to a dedicated left turn lane on a bike when traffic swarms at 35MPH 2 feet from you. I’ll go on the crossing road and wait for the light to turn. This is a car-centric city.

  46. Posted by lark

    Amazing that folks oppose this.
    This is a nation of voters who loathe ‘government’. You see the results at historic structures in parks all over the country. They are decaying shamefully. The fact that this park is required to be self-supporting will save its historic character. Adding a world class art museum will bring revenue in and help preserve the historic character.

  47. Posted by bronze plaque

    So what does a National Historic Landmark designation get you beyond a bronze plaque? Maybe it’s in their interest to loose the designation. I’m not sure that would make the Presidio any less of a draw. Isn’t the whole point of the designation to just prevent redevelopment in the first place. Seems more like a stick than a carrot. Why would the Presidio Trust be scared?

  48. Posted by Fishchum

    Lark – are you off your rocker? Have you seen the drawings and renderings of this building?
    How exactly will this museum help preserve the historic character of the Main Post?

  49. Posted by Dede

    I believe preservation is best accomplished when historic buildings and settings are incorporated in a vibrant changing urban context, not “preserved in amber” as some would want. I know for many this definition of preservation is invalid, but I would argue there are many, many examples in our city where this works. If a historic building or context is part of one’s daily life, then it is of greater value. If it is walled off like a museum, then it is only part of one’s life once or twice every few years or so.
    CAMP will draw many visitors to the presidio, many who would have never visited before. By doing so, CAMP will help reincorporate the presidio back in to San Francisco in a vibrant and necessary manner. Given the nature of the collection, a modern building is necessary. As the history of the presidio evolved, each generation has built in its then current style. This should be no different.
    It would truly be a shame if Fisher were forced to keep the collection private or given it to another city.

  50. Posted by sfobserver

    Why must Mr. Fisher’s art be displayed in HIS museum inside of a HISTORIC LANDMARK / NATIONAL PARK for the children / citizens of our city to receive maximum benefit? Couldn’t the benefit be as (or, dare I say, more) substantial were this “gift” to be located in a region of the city already equipped with mass transportation, already accessible from multiple points throughout the Bay Area, and, already filled with 1000s of hotel rooms, restaurants, and a wide range of other necessary services?
    Perhaps more startling, I think we should all be concerned about the slippery slope on which this project seems to place the Presidio Trust. If the PT is successful in defying its own mandates and breaking its own structural “guidelines” for this high bidder, what might it do when the next high-roller (Six Flags? Donald Trump? Disney again?) makes it an offer it can’t refuse? Remember, this is a HISTORIC LANDMARK / NATIONAL PARK, not a to-be-developed-by-the-highest-bidder plot of real estate, and we should not permit the PT from losing sight of this fact.

  51. Posted by fluj

    ” you’re running into us making left turns you didn’t signal for.
    Nope, not me. And trust me, I understand selfish behavior when I see it. I work in real estate.

  52. Posted by Dude

    So if I understand the problem correctly, the Presidio is rotting away and needs to become financially self sufficient to afford maintenance of all the historical treasures therein, is that right?
    And this museum would generate fees that would cover that, correct?

  53. Posted by Can't think of cool name

    “By the Presido Trust’s VERY OWN MANDATE, it’s duties and responsibilities are to PRESERVE the Main Post – not ‘revitalize’ or ‘enhance’ it.”
    Not to sound Clintonian, but I guess it depends on how “preserve” is defined. When does “preservation” start – is whatever being preserved reverted back to when originally established and then “preserved,” or “preserved” as of it’s last use? When does one pick the era of preservation? A quick check of Dictionary.com has “preserve” defined all over the map, and open to lots (at least for me) of interpretation.
    As far as “revitalize” and “enhance,” does that mean that lawns never be mowed or no structure(s) repaired since it would be in spirit “revitalizing” and possibly “enhancing” what was “preserved?”
    Not making light of the situation. Just pondering on how the decision will be steered based on how the mandate is interpreted.

  54. Posted by sfobserver

    Also, I think it is worth noting that the Presidio Trust has said publicly that it’s target levels of profitability will be met with or without CAMP.

  55. Posted by sfobserver

    Can’t think of cool name —
    While I think it’s reasonable to argue the true definition of “preserve,” it is extremely difficult to see how a 100K-sq-ft modern art museum in the center of the Presidio represents “preservation” in any way, shape, or form. Reclaim, maybe. Redevelop, definitely. Preserve, no freakin’ way.

  56. Posted by Oceangoer

    Wow … its amazing to read these posts and realize how few people have actually read all the documents on the Presidio website so I don’t know how they can have thought carefully about the proposals … and how vitriolic people are about supposed NIMBYs. Go to a meeting, read up, then come and rant. For example, are you aware that all parking in the proposed Presidio will be paid parking? Do you also know that the YMCA is slated for removal as well as the bowling alley and tennis courts? I am not sure most posters have a clue about what is really being hustled through. Probably hustled through before there is the chance of a new Administration since the Secretary of the Interior has some oversight and names one person on the board. (Its website isn’t presidio.gov for nothing)
    Finally have you actually seen what’s in Fisher’s collection? I keep hearing world class etc. etc. but who has seen it? It is not a question of NIMBYism, its a question of what is best for this incredible gift in our backyard. And I do mean the open space.

  57. Posted by Bob

    Fisher collection has been discussed ad nauseum around the internet. It is a private collection – so not a ton of average joes have seen the whole thing.
    Some choice quotes from google:
    “Adding the Fisher collection is on a very different scale than anything else; it’s one of the best contemporary art collections in America,”
    “ART FOR OUR SAKE
    RARE HOLDINGS: The Fisher collection ranks as one of the finest of its kind in the world

    “It’s a world class art collection, worth perhaps a billion dollars representing a who’s who in contemporary art”
    And then we have people lamenting the possible loss of a bowling alley and a YMCA – or the fact that the museum doesnt echo the existing lincoln log construction of the presidio.
    Let some other city have this collection – one that has their priorities in order and one that isnt absolutely, unendingly terrified of change.

  58. Posted by Spencer

    Re: critical mass: From my experience, most responsible and avid cyclists are against it. From my personal experience, participants being unruly, spitting on people and cars, yelling obscenities, and vandalism is the rule of critical mass and not the exception.
    Critical mass hurts the cause of responsible and caring cyclists.
    However, responsbile and caring cyclists don’t need more car traffic (especially buses) in the presidio on the weekends. so icksnay on museum-ay.

  59. Posted by deepbluesea

    You can see some of Fisher’s collection in the video clip linked to this story from last year. Even just this small fraction is remarkable.
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/08/13/MNP7RFR09.DTL

  60. Posted by DonandDoris

    So the art is nice, why does a t-shirt billionaire get to choose where to put HIS art? What if he chose Russian Hill or the Ferry Plaza, or NOE VALLEY? With all of the tragic old buildings in failing neighborhoods, he HAS to have HIS way and put it in a park enjoyed by many for FREE. I think many of the posters who want this museum live on the south side of the city and are not frequent users of the Presidio, which is an amazing park. If it comes down to a nice art collection that you have to pay to see with all of the cars and bus traffic that comes with it, vs. a FREE national park with the quiet beauty not available anywhere else in the city, the choice should be easy. Nobody should be able to drop a building in such a historic beautiful landscape just because they have the money to.

  61. Posted by Bob

    For the record, I live in the north end of the city and am a frequent visitor to the presidio and I support the museum plan as is 100%

  62. Posted by NoeValleyJim

    The Presidio is a public resource and should be developed for the benefit of the overall community, not kept as a semi-private backyard for a few Marina and Cow Hollow residents. Notice how all the arguments are coached as being against traffic? These people don’t want anyone else using “their” park.
    I have seen the Fischer art on display in the Gap HQ and it is quite nice. Definitely world class.
    I actually think we need to go much further than this and develop some high density housing in some of the remote ares of The Presidio, like the old Hospital on 15th Street, the Baker Beach apartments, and where the PX and Commmissary are. There is nothing interesting or historic about any of these areas.
    Having said all that, I do think that the CAMP crowd has a valid point: this will change the character of the Main Post. I honestly think for the better, but there is room for a difference of opinion here.

  63. Posted by Spencer

    Notice how all the arguments are coached as being against traffic? These people don’t want anyone else using “their” park.
    maybe some feel that way, but i don’t want traffic in the park because it is a beautiful forested oasis where you can get away from the city and still be in it. and i think traffic would ruin that for everyone. i personally don’t give 2 shits about the buildings, but i don’t want more traffic inside presidio. if they can place the museum on the edge of the presidio and traffic in marina and cow hollow increases, im all for it.

  64. Posted by Fishchum

    Bob – Wow, cherry-picking quotes from Google? I’m convinced. Hey, a Google search I just ran showed me I can solve all my financial woes by clicking a website! Must be reputable.
    My arguments against CAMP have nothing to do with traffic. The Main Post is a historical site, rich with the history of the men and women who served there. Fisher and his monstrosity of a building have NOTHING to do with them. This building does a disservice to the men and women who served in the Presidio, not to mention the ones who gave their lives defending this country and are buried just a stone’s throw from the proposed museum site.

  65. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    “Keep in mind that the CAMP is in the Presidio or nowhere.”
    So if the Presidio Trust turns down the offer then what will happen to this $1B cache of art ? incineration ? I think not. I do however think that the Fishers are bluffing to try to get their way.
    As to the complaints of increased traffic, I’ve said this before on this and other “traffic scare” issues discussed here. It is easy to develop without large traffic increases. Simply constrain parking either via number of spaces, fees, or a combination of both. Have we lived in an autocentric society so long that we’ve forgotten that it is possible to get around without carrying two tons of steel and glass with us ? There are other ways ya know.
    Constraining parking will create pressure to provide adequate public transit. It will also encourage carpooling, cycling, and walking. Conversely copious free parking encourages an increase in the number of cars. Your choice.
    I’m somewhat neutral to slightly negative on the location of CAMP in the Presidio. I don’t see big negatives but do prefer it to be closer to where it will receive more visitors and be a greater cultural benefit either to SF or some other city.
    [and if anyone’s wondering, yes I have major opinions on the whole bicycling vs. auto traffic issue. Just biting my lip to avoid going off topic. Or ranting. Don’t get me started. 🙂 ]

  66. Posted by Dede

    It is amazing to me how angry and vitriolic some of these comments are. Approaching the world with a “if you don’t agree with me, you must be stupid…” attitude is no way to build a sense of community. San Francisco is great because of the variety of cultures present, perhaps people could recognize that greatness can also come from respectful recognition of difference of opinion.
    Regarding the off-topic discussion of Critical Mass, I can understand some of the seriously negative comments prompted by a minority of participants. My own personal experience with the negative side involved several riders insulting and threatened me as I walked my then 2 month old daughter in her stroller across the street (with the crossing light) because I interrupted the flow of their ride. No other riders came to my defense. Nice to feel that her safety was in danger as I was surrounded by people. Maybe the riders who are respectful should exclude such miscreants from the ride – or not ride with them at all.

  67. Posted by anon94123

    The Presidio is not a warehouse where bubble gum was made in 1893, it is one of the oldest forts in the entire country, and a national historic landmark of importance to many. Doesn’t anyone understand that this building in no way fits into the context of this site? I live in the Marina, and wouldn’t mind this museum going into the Palace of Fine Arts, but I just don’t understand why we have to insert such a building within such a beautiful landscape.
    BTW…Why does Don Fisher always use the royal “WE” when talking about himself in the SFGATE video. “When WE bought this”. “When WE build OUR museum”. “WE liked it so WE decided to own it.”
    uugh. This collection is so much better than SFMOMA that I would hate to loose this opportunity because the donor will only allow it to be located where he (“WE”) chose.

  68. Posted by Sashok

    I was there. There were some pro-CAMP people in the audience. I spoke passionately for the museum, my main point being: NO MATTER where it is proposed, in THIS town it will be met by neighborhood resistance and bitter fight. I think the proposed design not only should find home in the Presidio, but is also NOT radical, NOT modern enough – to appease all NIMBYs in San Francisco.
    There were plenty of a-holes threatening with a lengthy lawsuit as well as those who had the nerve to “tell” Fishers to “take their collection elsewhere and give it to some other city”. Unbelievable!

  69. Posted by Dan

    The “we” are Don and Doris Fisher.

  70. Posted by Marina Girl

    I dont care whether his “art” is world class or not – it is NOT going into my backyard. I’m not a NIMBY im a NOT IN MY CITY.

  71. Posted by anonandon

    The good thing about the plan is that the Main Parade is restored to a grass field instead of a parking lot. The worst part about the plan is both Fisher and Disney wanting their monuments in the most historic part of the Presidio. Why not remove some of the ugly concrete barracks and place the museums there? The Board of Trustees are basically builders, realtors, and developers, so they basically see this as another space to be built upon, instead of a park with stunning natural landscape and historic structures.
    I guess I am for the museums however because it is better than a porn factory or the current parking lot. The art collection is magnificent.

  72. Posted by Can't think of cool name

    sfobserver,
    Point taken. But is it the actual museum being there, or the fact that the building has a design that doesn’t fit into the rest of the surroundings?
    If the museum was constructed like what Lucas did (trying to blend in instead of stick out), would that be OK? Or is it basically “no art collection in the Presidio, put it someplace else” regardless of where it came from?
    Also, I understand that Muni (yeah, I know…) is/was looking at extending the Muni line from Pier 39 to the Presidio via the old tunnels under Fort Mason to help with traffic (again, I know…just passing along what I heard from a reliable source).

  73. Posted by Finch

    The amount of anti-development malcontents in this city never ceases to amaze me. I suspect that there would be less opposition if they were building a needle exchange/methadone clinic or some other aspect of the welfare industry that the “progressives” in this city are so fond of.

  74. Posted by nevergonnagetit

    “Also, I understand that Muni (yeah, I know…) is/was looking at extending the Muni line from Pier 39 to the Presidio via the old tunnels under Fort Mason”
    While this is in theory the plan, it’s not currently policy. The county’s transportation plan outlines priorities for the next decade or so.
    Right now, the Central Subway is the focus. In the next couple of years, the city will get the Geary and Van Ness BRT rolling. Both will see major resistance given they are surface transportation and a not-so-sexy alternative to light rail. Expect them to go the way of the Central Subway: a decade or so late. After, that, maybe SFCTA (MUNI doesn’t control most investment decisions – SFMTA is constantly in power plays with SFCTA) will worry about light rail for the Marina. Don’t expect this to be a cake walk either. Resistance will be as high as that on the north Van Ness corridor and in Union Square to BRT. But I’m sure your (great?) grandkids will enjoy it. So to sum up, transit access to the middle of the Presidio is going to suck for a while. Maybe they could rebuild the Exploratorium? It’s almost the Presidio.

  75. Posted by Gabriel

    regarding the ART COLLECTION: if the rest of the ‘as yet unseen’ collection is anything on the caliber of what’s curated in the gap headquaters building.. then i definitely want this museum.
    the fisher’s have amassed what seems like a truly astounding collection of modern art.
    I fully, unequivocally support this museum. It could become one of the most important collection of modern art in the world. cities and societies evolve, change and redevelop. the presidio doesn’t need to stay the way it is forever.
    in fact, putting a museum in the park would help upkeep of historical buildings.. and bring visitors into the part who wouldn’t every see this part of the city’s ‘historical’ past.
    thank goodness it’s a ‘federal’ decision.. and this project just may squeeze through!

  76. Posted by Dan

    I like John King’s idea of moving the museum to a slightly less prominent position:
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/object/article?o=6&f=/c/a/2008/06/13/BAF910PUFL.DTL

  77. Posted by anona

    The pictures in the John King article have made me change my mind. I was for this museum but am now very much against it. If you are going to change the historic design of the main barracks and parade which are a National Landmark, WHY must it be with such BORING modern architecture. Is there no other location in the Presidio that could not be chosen? A fort started in 1776, with a central parade used since the 1800’s gets a 1970’s style box at the center? Are you all saying there is nowhere else in the entire city this could not have been built?
    This is a nice ego stamp to only want your museum in the most important location in a National Park. This “brilliant” art collection was built by sweat shops employing children in Indonesia and El Salvador, and now instead of giving his collection to the weakest modern art collection west of the Mississippi (the SFMOMA), we have to go to one of the most transit unfriendly parts of the city. This is generosity? I think this shows a very obnoxious fortune that looks at the Presidio as a national park for ego castles. (Don’t forget the Disney daughter wants HER museum at this location also).

  78. Posted by sfobserver

    CAMP seems to be little more than a personal monument DFisher is erecting in honor of himself, masked in the form of a “gift” to the world (especially the young children of SF). While there is nothing inherently wrong with that, the fact that he is DEMANDING to do so at a historic landmark / national park is troubling. Even more troubling / concerning, however, is the fact that the Presidio Trust is not only complicit in CAMP’s development, but openly supporting it, thus defying the PT’s own mandates and breaking its own structural “guidelines” in the name of cronyism (DFisher was previously a member of the PT) and $. Who will be the next “friend-of-the-PT” to DEMAND something? How much money will it take for the PT to look the other way for the complete transformation of the Presidio into a Fisherman’s-Wharf-esque theme park?
    I certainly realize that having access to Fisher’s art is a good thing and will fundamentally benefit the city. However, there has to be some way to make this happen that is less destructive, less controversial, less eyebrow-raising, and less sensitive, while, perhaps, being more inclusive, more beneficial, and more constructive, as well. While I continue to believe SOMA is an IDEAL location for a new museum (immediate accessibility to public transportation and freeways/bridges, hotels, restaurants, etc.), if Fisher is hell-bent on building in the Presidio, perhaps the FORT SCOTT location mentioned in the SEIS would better balance everyone’s needs / wants since it would seem to require less destruction, be “less” historic (if you can say that), and be more accessible to the GGB and Hwy 280.

  79. Posted by antiego

    Usually donors build wings to existing civic institutions instead of creating their own ego art tomb. Eli Broad in Los Angeles just built next to the existing LACMA. The strange thing about both of the “donors” (Fisher and Disney), is that these museums have nothing to do with the Presidio. I can see spaces created to explore the history of the site, the Bay Area, and understanding the natural landscape including the Bay, Sea and coastal hills, but what does this art collection have to do with such a historic site? This parade ground was the last stop before thousands of soldiers who went off to war, many to never return. This is not an empty lot in the Mission, this is a National Landmark and deserves great care whenever such changes are proposed. Will every billionaire demand to have their monument built in the Presidio?

  80. Posted by PresidiGo

    Where were all of these cries for historical preservation when the parade ground was originally paved over- I guess it was still under military control and they weren’t overly concerned about the historical and emotional value of maintaining it as some sort of monument…
    That admittedly snarky comment aside, I like the alternative location proposed in the John King map- it feels less plunked down in the middle of everything. I do think there is a (historically relevant?) senior center in that area right now though….

  81. Posted by Dede

    Regarding the comments about placing the art collection in a wing of an existing Museum….
    —————
    Excerpt from an article: By Joelle Seligson, published in Museum, January/February issue of 2008.
    “As of December, the makings of the museum are little more than art, aspiration and a few official documents. The Fishers have been involved in “real conversations” about the idea since early 2006, according to the couple’s representatives at public affairs agency Singer Associates. Initial discussions involved talks with the de Young Museum and SFMOMA. As the Fishers are heavily involved with the latter—Don is on the museum’s board; Doris serves on its education committee—speculation was that their collection would wind up in a dedicated wing of the 225,000-square-foot institution.
    The deal fell through. “Primarily, it became an issue of space,” says Kiley Russell, a Singer Associates spokesman. “Their collection is so vast, and [Don] has always wanted to display [it] in a way that would really capture the entirety.” The Fishers’ method of gathering art has been described as “collecting in depth,” purchasing numerous works by several key artists, such as Chuck Close and Ellsworth Kelly, rather than a few by many. “The Fishers want a space that will really complement that philosophy, so they can display as much as possible,” Russell explains.”
    —————
    It is important to note that the collection needs approximately 100,000 sf to be displayed as the Fishers intend – to make the entirety of the collection more accessible. Seems fair to me. More public benefit….

  82. Posted by anonandback

    Could the new museum at least have interesting architecture? I have no problem with the location on the Parade, but why such a boring boxy design? Since the collection is modern, why not try something more original.

  83. Posted by Delancey

    Why not put the Fishers’ ego trip in the defunct Pagoda theatre lot? Would a new build up to 5 stories provide sufficient square footage? They could also have the Muni subway escalator surface through the building, displaying teasers from the collection to 10s of thousands of Muni riders every day.
    Barring that, how about using the opportunity to rebuild one of the decaying waterfront piers, either in the arc from pier 3 to the aquarium, or on pier 30/32 (I’d like to see that cyclone fencing come down in my lifetime).

  84. Posted by Dede

    Yeah, you are right Delancy. That the Fishers want to provide access to their art collection is an ego trip. No thankfulness in your voice at all. I am sure you’re going to get them to listen to an alternate location by insulting them in the process.
    Maybe you should start with something like “Thank you for offering access to your art collection to the general public. Would you consider an alternate location such as….”

  85. Posted by Fishchum

    I’m beginning to think The Fisher’s donation IS an ego trip based on their insistence on putting it at the Main Post.
    If their main concern was getting their collection seen by as many people as possible, don’t you think they would have chosen a location that was a little more accessible?
    I’d be curious to hear their reaction to Monday night’s meeting and whether or not they would consider an alternate location.

  86. Posted by anoncensorious

    Why would Fisher and Disney not consider anywhere south of California? Could it be that their northern San Francisco bias is clouding where they think “available” land is left in the city?
    (I live north of California btw, so I know the bias exists from talking to some close-minded neighbors)

  87. Posted by Delancey

    Dede —
    If the Fishers’ position is genuinely that the art collection stays under wraps unless they get the prime Presidio spot, then it should stay private.
    I am extremely allergic to carving up open space for narrow interests, and while I do patronize the existing SF museums, I can’t support the Fishers’ proposal any more than I could creating a dog park out of the parade ground.
    What I did suggest is three locations that actually *are* in my backyard (so to speak), would be great examples of in-fill land usage, and are adjacent to well-developed public transportation. Those are SF values. Carving up the heart of a national trust with a building wildly out of sync with those around it, is just not right.
    Parkland, once lost, is rarely if ever regained. There will always be more and newer art.

  88. Posted by Dylar

    Honestly, this is a NATIONAL PARK and it’s a total disgrace. What other national park has office buildings and sporting goods stores and rental housing? All part of the Don Fisher plan to take public things for private use/profit. The Presidio Trust was set up with this in mind, so we get stupid things like a suburban office park in a NATIONAL PARK, a suburban rental housing development, a commercial storage facility. It’s supposed to be a national park. The supposed self-sufficiency requirement was set up to get private parties involved in control of national assets, including guess who? Founding Presidio Trust Board Member Don Fisher. When he’s not trying to take over public education, he’s trying to take over national parks. And let’s be clear, he making this “magnanimous” donation so that he won’t have to pay taxes on his billion dollar fortune. He gets the deduction and gets to keep control over the property. Let him buy land to put his museum on, and not take it from the people of the United States. He can certainly afford it.

  89. Posted by Another gal

    I wonder how much money the Fishers donated to George Bush to get this kind of access.

  90. Posted by anonfedup

    “I wonder how much money the Fishers donated to George Bush to get this kind of access.”
    Funny you should mention this since Fisher is a HUGE Republican contributor. This is why the change in policy towards the Presidio. What was to be a national monument, historic landmark, and major example of a preserved green landscape within an urban area, has instead been turned into a real estate developement. They are now talking about condos next to the Lombard Gate as well as a shopping plaza near the Lucas Building.
    Really! Listen to the broadcast from KQED. It is very interesting to hear what are the future long term plans of what is for now at least one of the most unique landscapes and historic buildings in California.
    http://www.kqed.org/epArchive/R806100900

  91. Posted by anonandback

    The shops and condos proposed at the Lombard gate should raise eyebrows in Cow Hollow. If they wanted to, the Presidio Trust could easily change the housing inventory on the north side of the city.

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