Deputy City Attorney Jim Emery answers questions following oral arguments before the California Court of Appeal on Sept. 17, 2015.

Beach Chalet soccer fields ‘turf war’ is in justices’ hands now

‘Herrera praises deputy’s case for voter-endorsed soccer fields as ‘masterful’ Thursday.  But the fate of Golden Gate Park renovations is now up to the California Court of Appeal.
Deputy City Attorney Jim Emery answers questions following oral arguments before the California Court of Appeal on Sept. 17, 2015.
Deputy City Attorney Jim Emery answers questions following oral arguments before the California Court of Appeal on Sept. 17, 2015.

SAN FRANCISCO (Sept. 18, 2015)—Describing the centerpiece of a Golden Gate Park renovation as “the most carefully vetted soccer fields in the country,” Deputy City Attorney Jim Emery yesterday aggressively defended San Francisco’s approval process for improvements that will add thousands of hours of playing capacity for local athletes and kids; dramatically improve player safety; and annually save 6 million gallons of water.

But political foes of four synthetic turf athletic fields that city voters overwhelming approved last year are still seeking to block the recreational improvements in Golden Gate Park’s western Beach Chalet area.  Their strategy: challenging the adequacy of San Francisco’s meticulous 52,000-page environmental review.  After a convincing loss in the trial court, recreational improvement foes appealed.  On Thursday, California Court of Appeal Presiding Justice J. Anthony Kline and Associate Justices Marla J. Miller and James A. Richman heard oral arguments in the case at the Ronald M. George State Office Complex in San Francisco.

“Deputy City Attorney Jim Emery was masterful in oral arguments, and our land use litigators and co-counsel have worked tirelessly to affirm the will of San Francisco voters for these recreational improvements,” City Attorney Herrera said after the hearing Thursday  “The case is now in the hands of some extraordinarily capable appellate court justices, and we hope that they’ll affirm the trial court’s judgment.”

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