In our ecoliteracy studies, my young students and I calculated the number of blades in an acre of well-maintained grass field. We took a sample from a neighboring Mission District baseball field, brought it to the table and began counting. We did the math and were surprised at the answer, greater than 400 million leaves of grass per acre.
In recent weeks, talk of grassroots democracy (the importance of casting a meaningful ballot at the polls and fairness in our local elections) and talk about ecological wisdom has dominated the discussion in my talks with neighbors. Countless conversations about the latter have confirmed that the vast majority of us are wise. Everywhere, there is the sentiment that the conversion of our grass fields of play into toxic Field Turf installations is a grievous error. Also on everyone’s radar is the fact that there are numerous examples of private/public partnerships that don’t pass the smell test. That’s a problem. Just recently, I’ve had a whiff of a few more that I didn’t even know about or suspect.
Another sense that I’ve gleaned in recent weeks is that many have lost hope in our civic project, that the one-party machine is unstoppable. Rather than pit hope against hope, I’ve offered that others should have faith in the fact that I will go to work, stick a wrench in, and fix that broken machine. We’d like to make that machine work for us for a change.
I had a good laugh with one neighbor when I promised to have the appointee/incumbent problem repair plan on the table at my first Board of Supes meeting–to make appointees legally unable to stand for election in the succeeding cycle. It might free those appointees up to make independent decisions. It would certainly invigorate the election process with a sense of fairness. We laughed because it would be hard to argue against that one and because I’d have to go to work before I picked up a check and get others to go to work for free too. I have to be careful about what promises I make…my neighbors will call me on them, and that one said he’d write my name on the ballot.
The other promise I’ve made is to go over all of the private/public partnerships with a fine tooth comb. That one I’d get paid for, and savings to taxpayers, if I were able to can a few of those over-cozy arrangements, would more than pay my Supe’s salary. Hopefully, my neighbors would buy me some Vicks to put under my nose after a while. Hopefully, the Supe’s vision plan would cover the new prescription I’d probably end up needing.
Which brings me back to the leaves of grass I started with.
At 9am, Dia de los Muertos, I rolled out sod on the street on the site of new, approved parklet on Judah. The parklet is not funded yet. It’s sponsors are passing the hat. I thought it would be nice to have the live experience of interacting with the space. I had thought through the logistics to occupy two parking spaces and what it would take to make it an an altar to grass destroyed by a particularly bad private/public partnership with the City Fields Foundation. As pictures show, visitors, neighbors, friends (some whom I had not seen in too long), and children came out and enjoyed the day. The future CA Sec. of State, David Curtis even stopped by. We had some real conversations and fun on real grass. After a full day, I rolled up the grass and took it away.
I’ll post more pictures as I get permission to do so. Don’t go to sleep on this election. Vote early and often.