NAP RAP - TELLING IT LIKE IT IS
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Yomi the Money!
What is NAP Costing the Taxpayer?
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Invasive Weeds?

Unfortunately, as far as NAP management and advocates are concerned, the taxpayer's money is an invasive weed that must be eradicated, no matter what the consequences. Richard Pryor once said, "Cocaine was God's way of telling me I had too much money."  We contend that NAP is God's way of telling San Francisco Recreation and Park Department that they have too much money!
 
When questioned at a June 28, 2005 NAP workshop as to what the total cost of NAP will be to the taxpayers of San Francisco, SFRPD Acting General Manager Yomi Agunbiade responded, "I don't know...".  In fact, SFRPD has been disturbingly evasive regarding the costs of NAP. 

Since NAP/SFRPD has failed to respond to the many public requests for financial accountability, we are left with no other choice but to perform our own calculations in an effort to estimate NAP’s cost to the taxpayer.  We have very little to work with, as most projects are buried in budgets, often combined with other projects not related to NAP.

 

We have utilized the SFRPD web site which outlines the Capital Projects using Open Space Funds for our financial data.  Please click here to visit the SFRPD web site for details.

 

We have located two projects, one completed, and one budgeted which provide the best financial data available to us:

Completed Project
Total Cost
Acres
Cost/acre

Balboa Natural Area

$301,751

1.8

$167,639.44

This completed project was exclusively NAP, and the cost of acquisition of the property (approximately 3 million City dollars) has been excluded for purposes of this calculation.

Budgeted Project
Total Cost
Acres
Cost/acre

Pine Lake-Meadow

$4,768,200

30.3

$157,366.33

The Pine Lake property is not all a Natural Area, but the Meadow rehabilitation is not as complex or labor intensive as the Natural Area portion.  The cost/acre across both areas is $157,366.33.  Had SFRPD provided figures for the projects separately, we would have used the NAP figures only.

NAP proposes to include 1,102.4 acres of parklands in its program.  We can use the actual cost per acre for the Balboa Natural Area ($167,639.44) and the projected cost per acre for the Pine Lake Natural Area-Meadow ($157,366.33) projects to estimate the aggregate cost for NAP's proposed 1,102.4 acres. The average cost per acre of the two projects is $162,502.88.  If you multiply the average cost per acre by the total acreage for NAP (1,102.4), the capital cost to create these Natural Areas would be in excess of 179 million dollars!!!!

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Since the Open Space Funding from Prop. C is estimated to be only 12 million dollars per year for all SFRPD Capital Projects, it appears we would have to designate ALL of those funds for some 15 years to build just these natural areas.    

 

We must also consider the money which will continue to be taken out of the Operating Budget for SFRPD to administer and maintain NAP once these Capital Projects are completed.  It is unclear exactly how many gardeners NAP maintenance would require, and how many volunteers would be needed.  So far NAP has budgeted for 8 gardeners who earn $41,886 to $50,830/year plus benefits (conservatively estimated at 30% of their salary).  Source of the data is as follows:  Job classification is #3417 and can be found at http://www.sfgov.org/dhr. 

 

SFRPD gardeners have reported to NAP RAP that gardeners allocated to NAP are paid the top salary - NAP/SFRPD considers them more experienced/valuable.  The proposed NAP operations budget for 2005-2006 is $975,000.  If and when implementation of NAP occurs, we can expect this budget to increase substantially.  However, NAP has not given us any indication as to what staffing levels might be. 


The final resource SF Parks have for their care are the citizens who volunteer to work in the parks.  Sadly, SFRPD has a volunteer office which apparently funnels volunteers to the NAP whether they agree philosophically with NAP or not.  This has discouraged citizens from volunteering.  Very few people see the value in destroying healthy plants in our parks merely because they are a species undesirable to SFRPD.  Please click to see a heartfelt letter from a former volunteer as submitted recently to PARKSCAN.

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We continue to invite NAP to provide us with a full accounting of the costs of NAP as proposed.  We think it is unconscionable for NAP to ask the taxpayers of San Francisco to sign a blank check for NAP.  NAP is not mandated by any government regulation, nor is it justified by any scientific study.  NAP has become a politicized program driven by the ideology of a few highly placed people who prefer native plants to the non-native plants which fill our parks.  If your personal preference is for maintenance and improvement of our parks as they now exist, we suggest you comment (using our Comments page) to your elected and appointed officials who will eventually decide the fate of the NAP proposal.

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