Supervisor John Avalos Wants to Scrap Botanical Gardens Fee for Tourists

Categories: Government
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Botanical Gardens...still not worth $7.
As we predicted last year, most tourists won't want to pay $7 to enter the city's Botanical Gardens, especially since it's free to residents.

That's partly why Supervisor John Avalos is proposing the city eliminate the fee (how often does that happen?) and replace the much-needed revenue with tax dollars.

His logic is simple: Attendance at the 55-acre arboretum inside Golden Gate Park is "dropping off."

"What I am hearing is that residents are not going because they think they have to pay," he says.

We couldn't confirm this, because officials with the Botanical Gardens did not return phone calls.

Last year, city supervisors signed off on a $7 fee for tourists. It was an unpopular way to make money and support jobs for gardeners and other maintenance workers at the gardens.

Avalos is planning to introduce legislation on Tuesday to swap the fee with money from the transfer tax that voters approved in November. The tax generates some $30 million annually from property sales. He says the city could easily take $250,000 of that and infuse it into the parks and rec budget to both save jobs and spare people paying the fee.

Avalos is sure that scrapping the fee means more people will appreciate the Botanical Gardens and its 8,500 exotic plants and flowers. Of course, it's easy to appreciate what's free.

"How novel is it to be eliminating a fee instead of creating one?" Avalos says.

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James Jelly
James Jelly

This is NOT about money, but about privatization, ascendancy and annexation the commons. The admiral of the Botanical Garden Society accept the aforementioned arrogant, assuming apathy for accessible admission and accessible acreage as the Mubarak administration in Egypt.Pond Kits

h. brown
h. brown

Welcome 'Jenfer',

Geez, watch your back. Words like that will p/o lots of powerful people. Kudos to Avalos for realizing last year's experiment hasn't worked. Jenfer is right about the over-arching scheme being to deny public access to the most beautiful assets in the parks (and, the City as a whole).

One thing these individual issues do is define the supes individually by their stands. For instance, look to Eric Mar to continue his new career as a Moderate by opposing removing the fees. Also, look to Mar to lead the charge at today's Full Board (Item #4) which evicts the family (McClellan's) that has run the Stow Lake Boathouse concession for 65 years and replace them with a New Mexico corporation who contribute heavily to the Republican party.

Go Giants!



John Avalos was a huge supporter of this discriminatory fee last year. Now, he finds it politically expedient to say he is against it — after he has been politically castrated and no longer heads the Budget Committee.

Now it is up to Newsom sock puppet Carmen Chu (and Rose Pak sock puppet Edwin Lee).

We need the wall to the Demonstration Garden removed, as well as institute citizen oversight of the facility.


he supported it because the public employee unions supported it. now, however, it's turned out to be a bust as everyone predicted.


Good idea. Under this foolishly conceived idea, they were turning people away from a taxpayer funded facility, they weren't making any money, and this was all done with the full support of city employee unions who should be ashamed at the way they basically said "FU" to the taxpayers and citizens they allegedly serve.


Thank you very much Supervisor Avalos.

But this is NOT being done for any employees, but for the blue bloods (many of whom DON'T live in San Francisco, but in ruling class enclaves like Hillsborough and Inverness) in the Botanical Garden Society who have turned the Arboretum into their own Country Club for plants.

The connections between the Botanical Garden Society's loses in their Wall St. investments (with one of the biggest losing mutual funds, Dodge & Cox) and their attempts to gate off what they see as their own private property is crystal clear. This is NOT about money, but about privatization, control and looting the commons. The directors of the Botanical Garden Society have the same arrogant, haughty disregard for public access and public property as the Mubarak regime in Egypt.

Residents of San Francisco and of the entire Bay Area should be doing what the Egyptians are doing in Tahrir Square right now in Cairo. We should be running these lying, cheating, and privatizing politicians out of town like the Tunisians did.

Sam Francisco


"The directors of the Botanical Garden Society have the same arrogant, haughty disregard for public access and public property as the Mubarak regime in Egypt."

Thank you for taking the crazy bus screaming over the cliff of hyperbole.


Ahem: that is true but you must recall that public employee unions lobbied VERY hard for the fee. From what I hear in the neighborhood, the Arboretum is now losing money because the admin costs of the fee and the loss of patrons of the Arboretum=another fail by city bureaucrats and their private allies.

Parks And Rec is being run into the ground by wealthy people who think public land is theirs and theirs alone simply because they give a few bucks.

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