Rec and Park Retreats on Soccer Field Permits

UPDATE, 12:09 p.m. Oct. 16: The Recreation and Parks Department has confirmed that, effective immediately, no adult permits will be issued for use of the soccer field at Mission Playground, though youth league permits will still be available until 7:00 p.m. every day.


Rec and Park general manager Phil Ginsburg said he would make the soccer field at Mission Playground unavailable for reservations, according to Oscar Grande, the vice president of political affairs for the Latino Democratic Club.

Grande’s announcement on Wednesday night was enough for a victory celebration among those attending the club’s meeting at 518 Valencia Street.   Ginsburg could not be reached for comment and Grande’s assertion could not be independently confirmed.

The alleged victory came after a video recorded Dropbox employees clashing with a youth team at the Mission Playground’s soccer field.  The Dropbox team had purchased a permit to play on the field for $27 an hour and the youth team had been accustomed to playing under a free rotation system that allowed everyone a chance on the field.

The standoff – it ended peacefully – was recorded by one of the youth team’s members and came after weeks of frustration about being asked to leave the field.

One of the youths who refused to leave the field told Wednesday night’s meeting that he had been kicked in the back by one of the permitted players after the two groups decided to each take a half of the field. The man allegedly said he had intended to kick a soccer ball next to the youth, but missed.

Those attending the meeting expressed outrage and after several members of the club encouraged him to do so, the youth said he is now considering pressing charges. Either way, he intends to continue to be part of the protests against the park policy.

“I’m not going down without a fight,” he said.

Grande, Edwin Lindo, vice president of external affairs for the Latino Democratic Club and others at Wednesday’s meeting said the viral video that sparked the controversy served to draw attention to an ongoing clash between locals who feel they are being ousted by newcomers who are able to pay for resources that used to be free.

“Tomorrow is systemic,” Lindo said in reference to Thursday’s planned protest at City Hall.

The protest will focus on the citywide reservation policy, make an explicit call for ending permitting at Mission Playground, which Lindo again confirmed this morning that Ginsburg had made. He added, however, that the other demands had not been agreed on.

Those include the following, which were issued in a press release:

– Create Park & Rec community council based on city districts that determine the programming and staffing regarding parks in the district. This council must implement a community process that will allow for community feedback. Rec & Park Dept. shall not interfere with the final decision of the councils; they can however, provide guidance of capacity and rules.
– Better park patrol response to parks and recreation centers to address safety Concerns. There are large concerns of unsafe playing conditions both on the field pertaining to maintenance and off the field pertaining to public safety.
– Ensure equity among neighborhood parks. Disclosure of financial investments made in each park and recreation center throughout the city.
– Identify each violation of the San Francisco Language Access Ordinance and within 6 months, ensure that San Francisco Rec & Park Dept. is no longer in violation.
– A follow up meeting with the youth and the community regarding the above.

Dropbox, implicit in the controversy because several members of the permitted team depicted in the video were wearing Dropbox T-shirts, issued an apology along with one of its employees. The youths, addressing the Latino Democratic club, said that wasn’t enough.

“I want an apology to my face,” said one.

From the community, the youth said, they just want support going forward with their activism: “Just help us lead.”

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  1. Dave

    >“I want an apology to my face,” said one.

    Can’t someone from his family or school help this kid? Apologize to his face for what? Because some people tried to use a permit that they had legally purchased from the City? And then basically didn’t? And then apologized anyway?

    That field is a city resource; if you don’t think there should be permit use then take it up with the city, but people who play by the rules don’t need to apologize to people who make up their own rules.

    That kid would be much better off if he could be given some proper guidance.

    • Jessica

      lol quick to jump into conclusions in any way, shape or form for these techies. “he had been kicked in the back by one of the permitted players after the two groups decided to each take a half of the field” Second, It’s a PUBLIC park. FOR the public and permits are illegal, well someone regulated and gave a permit, but illegal in nature as cities do not OWN or decide who should use a PUBLIC park. Everyone is a TAX payer, including the parents of these children. Corrupt politicians and some civilians that only care to fit the rich and not PROJECT for the low income families that need these PARKS at THOSE times after school. You are LOGICAL but not WISE. There’s a difference and it just proves the point. “Oh, it’s legal, I have a permit” that’s exactly how “some” take advantage of the rest…. Parks are recreational. A woman who testified that someone asked her for a permit and she had to LEAVE with “several” not teenagers but CHILDREN. Imagine that. Oh yea, these victims (techies) had a permit and because of that, logic says there is no issue. How did they get in in the first place?. If they need a park tell Airbnb to pay the 25 MILLION dollars they were allowed to NOT pay and build one so Dropbox and them can have their “corporate league” plays. Leave the Mission park PUBLIC park since they are suppose to HELP the community as part of one of the requirements for the 1.9 MILLON TAX BREAK.

    • Ricardo

      Dave, what’s your problem? You do realize his parents didn’t graduate college most likely…. heck they probably didn’t even graduate High School. You need to have some sympathy for these children………..The apple does not fall far from the tree

    • vecina

      Davem why don’t you offer to be a mentor? Seriously speaking, many organizations in the city need mentors for kids… boys and girls club, mission graduates and, to name a few.

    • Jessica

      why did my comment not get posted yet? there was no explicit language. Interesting that opinions are moderated.

      • Lydia Chavez Staff

        Jessica: You’re right, we do monitor comments and we also wait for some sort of e-mail verification the first time around, which is why I see your earlier comment still sitting in pending.
        I’ve posted it, but I did edit it a bit where there are ….. If you have questions about the edits, please let us know at Best and thank you for participating in the discussion. Lydia

  2. “I want an apology to my face” How can someone apologize for following the system and getting a permit to use a shared resource? Why did the neighborhood allow Rec and Park to start issuing permits in the first place? It’s not dropbox’s fault, or their employees.

    • Mike K

      The takers/moochers always feel they are owed something. Dropbox did nothing wrong.

      • Mary Meredith Drew

        Don’t residents pay city taxes for use of the parks? Renters most likely also pay through the cost of rent if the taxes come from property owners. Forgive my lack of knowledge of SF city policy, I have not lived there since 1967. In Oregon, we pay for our parks with our property taxes, and everyone has free access.

    • @spindot The history is neighborhood took it up with the City from nearly Day zero. A petition with two hundred signatures was sent to Scott Weinner, and he and his office never responded. It has also been addressed with a good number of Recreation and Parks Officials.

      Part of the difficulty with the Official government approach is that the park is technically located in Scott Weinner’s district, but it has traditionally served the people in Jane Kim’s and David Campos districts. Its near a three district border.

      The Dropbox employees cursed at the kids and said “Who cares about the neighborhood” so their clearly is something for the employees to apologize for. And he should say that in person, not by a tweet.

      While Dropbox probably didn’t do anything wrong in an official corporation capacity, this was a company event, with players using company shirts on a public field. Its good PR that they apologized.

  3. Campos or Chiu: Who Got $ From Parks’ Boss Phil Ginsburg? That is the headline on my essay about where Ginsburg gives his political dollars. For the answer to the question, click here:

  4. BackToTheBurbs

    Ah, but you’re not reading carefully and jumping to conclusions

    “he had been kicked in the back by one of the permitted players after the two groups decided to each take a half of the field”

    They weren’t playing against each other but rather each group playing on separate havles…

  5. Deke

    I’m not a fan of what these young entitled tech workers have done to The Mission and therefore not inclined to stick up for them but think about it this way. If the situation were reversed would you be sticking up for the tech workers? If the tech workers took over the field and a group of young men who had lived in The Mission their whole lives turned up with a permit and the Dropbox employees refused to leave, the community would be all over the tech workers for not respecting a permit and that the young guys had paid their money and were entitled to the field.
    Parks and Rec are beyond difficult to deal with.

    I play on a local COED softball team and getting a decent field to practice on is extremely difficult. They cannot be booked before (I think) 6:30PM because the field is reserved for kids every single day until that time. What about adults that want to use the field? We can’t. The better fields cannot be reserved at all and when you do reserve a field, Park and Rec only give you the infield so you can’t hit because they have reserved the outfield for someone else.
    The last thing I want is to have less availability for me and my team to practice because of this confrontation.

    Like I said, I’m not a fan of these young, entitled tech workers (making a generalization here) but the people here who screwed up is Parks and Rec by not understanding how a field is being used and putting everyone in a confrontational situation. If it were a group of disabled kids who reserved the field and tech workers were standing there saying “Go away, this field is customarily used for pickup games” everyone would still be ragging on the tech workers and you know I’m right!

    But while I’m at it, people wouldn’t be so quick to criticize the Tech Industry if they were more respectful in the community.

  6. james

    This seems like an unfortunate and shortsighted capitulation that could have negative consequences for neighborhood parks and their users – young and old. Will this policy apply to the children’s league that plays at Mission park on the weekends or kids that practice there in the afternoons? Will this decision now disallow the wonderful organized activities that have taken place on this field and others in the neighborhood – of which Mission Local has done nice stories on in the past.

    Organized activities and leagues at city parks can be a wonderful experience for participants and a benefit to the community. We seem to be discounting this fact because some in the neighborhood hold disdain for the people who, in this instance, reserved the field.

    • Lydia Chavez Staff

      The story makes clear that the permits (free) for youth teams will still be in place. Best, Lydia

      • james


        Thanks for the reply. I see that the update made at noon (a few hours after I submitted my comment) does say that permitting until 7pm will remain, but the rest of the article (particularly Lindo’s quotes) still implies that all permitting was ended at Mission field and that there is a continuing effort to end all permitting at Mission.

        “”Tomorrow is systemic,” Lindo said in reference to Thursday’s planned protest at City Hall.
        The protest will focus on the citywide reservation policy, make an explicit call for ending permitting at Mission Playground, which Lindo again confirmed this morning that Ginsburg had made.”

        So my questions were as much logistical questions to Mission Local as they were general questions as to what the ideal end point is for the groups involved. Do they want an end to all permitting at this particular park? An end to all permitting at all parks? (which seems to be the position of some in these comment sections) Or just the end to permitting to some (age) groups at certain times?

        If this policy is adopted, and evenly and universally implemented across the city, there would be some negative consequences that don’t seem to have been considered by the groups involved.

  7. marcos

    Awesome, raise energies through outrage, cut a deal with the City to minimize their damage and ground out any resistance and leave every other neighborhood high and dry.

  8. Randy

    How about Airbnb donating a few million to the playgrounds of the city! They can also afford to buy a abandon building to put a indoor soccer facility that the City
    badly needs.

  9. JMC

    We need to beat Rec and Park in Golden Gate Park as well, since everybody drinks out of the aquifer under the soccer fields there. Yes on H / No on I.

  10. Save SF Prks- Fire Phil Ginsburg

    Rec and Park General Manager Phil Ginsburg has been working overtime to privatize and limit access to as many SF public parks as posssible, and this is just one of the latest disgusting examples of the Ginsburg / Scott Wiener / Ed Lee / Mark Buell corruption machine.

    We already pay a fortune in taxes and bonds for unrestricted access to our public parks here in San Francisco.
    The people in this neighborhood already had a great system worked out for prioritizing who is allowed to play on this field, which was based on sharing and allowing everyone to play.

    The problem here stems from greedpigs like Phil Ginsburg who cuts budgets for Recreation Center employees and gardeners while (with the help of Scott Wiener, of course) allocating millions of taxpayer dollars to six figure middle management, public relations hacks and an ever increasing recreation and park security patrol force. Meanwhile, Ginsburg wants to restrict park hours and charge you to use them.

    As an additional bonus, Ginsburg and Wiener recently made it a crime for you to visit any of the public parks you pay for after the ungodly hour of midnight.

    If you care about parks and don’t want to see brodouches and corporate parties kicking out children, feel free to contact Mayor Ed Lee and Supervisor Scott Wiener to give them some feedback on Phil Ginsburg and our parks:
    Mayor’s OfficeCity Hall, Room 200,1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett PlaceSan Francisco, CA 94102
    Telephone: (415) 554-6141Fax: (415) 554-6160

    Supervisor Scott Wiener
    1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett PlaceCity Hall, Room. 244
    San Francisco, Ca 94102-4689
    (415) 554-6968 « less

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