FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES FOR THE FUTURE OF YERBA BUENA GARDENS
State Law requires that the entirety of Yerba Buena Gardens – all the properties and assets – be transferred from the Successor Redevelopment Agency (now, the Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure) to a government entity such as the City of San Francisco. A draft plan for this transfer was submitted to the State Department of Finance in November.
There are several potential ways to satisfy this requirement. But whatever mechanism is ultimately determined by City ordinance, these several Fundamental Principles MUST be implemented to assure that the Gardens will always fulfill the Vision of their Civic and Community purposes.
1. An irrevocable covenant that the Gardens – its opens spaces and buildings – can never be converted to uses that are not public open space, community and arts facilities, and commercial recreation as today. This must prohibit any further expansion of the Moscone Convention Center, beyond its current Expansion Project footprint, into any other part of the Gardens or its buildings.
2. An irrevocable covenant that all funding from all the sources committed under current agreements for operation of the Gardens (the GMOS Account – Gardens Maintenance, Operations, and Security) will continue to be 100% applied to that purpose and not diverted to any other use by the City.
3. An irrevocable covenant that these GMOS revenues will continue to fund the full cost of the maintenance and upkeep of the Center for the Arts, Children’s Creativity Museum, and Child Development Center buildings.
4. An irrevocable covenant that the Gardens public spaces will always be operated under competitive management contract at first class property management standards, as it has been to date.
5. An irrevocable covenant that all the income from temporary rentals of Gardens outdoor areas will continue to be 100% used to fund programs and events for enjoyment by the public in the Gardens.
6. The establishment of a Governing Board or Commission for the Gardens responsible for all its management and activities to ensure fully transparent and accountable policy decisions - unified policy setting and management oversight - subject to Brown Act and Sunshine Ordinance requirements, with full ongoing community and stakeholder engagement.
7. The establishment of a dedicated on-site Gardens Management team to provide executive leadership for Gardens planning, direct Gardens operations, facilitate program coordination among Gardens organizations, and administratively support the governing body.
8. The establishment of an ethical “firewall” between City Hall and the Gardens Board/Management so that all decisions on staffing and contracting are wholly based on professional standards.