Marcus Santiago, Park Patrol Chief, Allegedly on Thin Ice

Categories: Government
Marcus Santiago by Joseph Schell.jpg
Joseph Schell
Marcus Santiago has been paid for a number of 70-hour-a-week, 52-week-a-year workloads
Multiple sources within the city have told SF Weekly that the Recreation and Parks Department in recent weeks has been taking steps to replace embattled Park Patrol Chief Marcus Santiago with a yet-unnamed retired police captain.

Santiago was the subject of a September SF Weekly cover story by Matt Smith. That article revealed that Santiago has been more than doubling his income via upward of $85,000 in yearly overtime pay, while also divvying up lucrative overtime assignments to a cadre of favorites. Santiago's department has been the target of whistleblower complaints, court actions, and even a federal investigation.

Straightforward questions put to Rec and Parks' spokeswoman, Connie Chan, were answered via an obfuscatory, legalistic morass.

Questions including "Does Marcus Santiago remain Park Patrol chief?" and "Is there someone else doing all or some of his duties?" elicited the following reply:

"While we intend to put in a place an additional layer of supervision for further accountability, we are facing limitation with budget and personnel resources, so our Park Patrol operation structure has remained the same as last fiscal year."

More specific queries were shot down with the all-encompassing "no personnel questions" defense. Per our sources, it would seem Rec and Parks was moving to reassign Santiago as recently as last week -- but the current status is uncertain.

Santiago says he's uncertain, too. Reached by SF Weekly, he declined to comment on whether a new chief park ranger had been hired or not. Asked whether he still was the head park ranger, he replied, "I'm still where I am, that's all I know right now."

Peter Jamison contributed to this report.

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security guard
security guard

There are some dumb ass people in this dept. If you haven't read this report from genius park ranger Iris Gonzales *42, here you go! OH!!! and this report was released to KTVU that's where i found the report.... I don't  know if I should feel bad for Ranger Gonzalez for her horrific spelling/ grammar or the poor bison that died.... 

Guest #2
Guest #2

After reading SF Weekly's article "Ranger Noir", and then running into this one, I thought I'd put in some feedback.

As a SF resident who frequents the many wonderful parks in The City, and personally witnessing the Park Rangers performing their duties, or lack of, I would like to, first, commend the Rangers I have seen and heard who really are serving the community and helping to make visiting the parks memorable (in a good way, but more on that later), enjoyable, and safe.   These are the guys who I can say possess "the qualities of integrity, honesty, and forthrightness" of what is expected of a Ranger.  When I see you particular few at an event, I always exhale a breath of relief, and I know my family and friends with me are safe and will have a great time.  You guys know who you are, and I thank you with all my heart ... YOU ROCK!!!

For the Rangers (and you know who you are!!) that make visiting the parks memorable, but in a bad way, shame on you for bilking The City, aka SF tax payers, as well as tourists and out of area guests, to fill your own pockets and inflate your egos.  You are the ones who make visiting the parks very UNENJOYABLE and extremely UNSAFE.  Here is an example that was witnessed, not just by me, but also by many, many, many others at this specific event:  Girls on the Run, The Lollipop 5K Run, 2010, Golden Gate Park Music Concourse ... that is correct, 2010 and not 2011.  As with most parks in SF, there are the unfortunate members (aka the homeless) of Our City, but nonetheless members, who will be present.  One particular gentleman had wandered close to the Concourse Band Shell area, but was not causing any harm or distress to anyone, other than being quite unwashed, and obviously, malnourished.  I cannot say what provoked the following, but what was heard was Ranger Mitra saying, "Go ahead, hit me, so I can beat you up".  Mr. Mitra said this 2-3 times to the gentleman, as well as, physically displaying bullying body-language, ie: thrusting out his chin, chest, and shoulders, and motioning his arms in a manner to invite the gentleman to engage with him.  While this was going on, Mr. Santiago, Mr. Mitra's superior, was standing only but 4-5 feet behind Mr. Mitra, literally not doing or saying anything.  I would venture to say that most people would agree Mr. Santiago's silence and apathy condoned Mr. Mitra's antagonistic behavior.  However, in defense of Mr. Santiago, at least he did not join in on Mr. Mitra's hostile conduct.  Needless to say, I did not attend this year's Lollipop run.

What do you say to a child who looks at you to explain why a pillar of society, a Park Ranger, for example,  is savagely ill-treating a less-fortunate person, a homeless person, who also has obvious mental deficits?  Please tell me, what do you say?  I am embarrassed for the the city of San Francisco.

This is only but one example of Bad Ranger behavior and brutality; you know there are many more.  It will be spoken of between locals, but it will also reach the far corners of the world by tourists that are witnesses too.   It is so very unfortunate that the few megalomaniac Rangers make the wonderful Rangers, The City has, look bad as well.

It's not enough to call Mr. Santiago, Mr, Kern, or Mr. Tom on the carpet.  It needs to go higher, like to Mr. Ginsburg.  Mismanagement, more often than not, begins at the top.


Unfortunately, it's very clear that the backbone of the Park Rangers lack the essential qualities required to serve the community. Can Mr. Santiago or Mr. Kern or Mr. Tom or any Ranger claim to have the qualities of integrity, honesty, and forthrightness? Are they there just to make a buck or do they want to make SF parks the best place possible for the citizens of San Francisco. Can these park employees claim in all honesty that they are there to help people by serving the community or are they there simply to make $$$$. Seems the latter. Where's the integrity, City of San Francisco? Serving the community and it's best interests are an honor. Do the right thing. 

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