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Stop, start, and stop again: National Park Service says “defer decision”

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“Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more.” –Henry V, act 3, scene 1

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Like Shakespeare’s Henry V, the voices continue to be raised against the Lucas Cultural Arts onslaught in San Francisco’s Presidio.

In a not entirely surprising move, the National Park Service (NPS) issued a letter last week to the Presidio Trust recommending that any decision regarding the future of the Mid-Crissy Field project be put on hold. The NPS expressed “serious concerns” about the Lucas proposal and went so far as to say that it had “no genuine or substantive connection…to Crissy Field.”

Like Henry V, strong words.

Equally telling, is the absence of comment about the other two proposals: the Bridge/Sustainability Institute and the Presidio Exchange.

The NPS stated reason for recommending a delay is that “there is wisdom in allowing…new uses to settle in before selecting a major new use and tenant”. Yet, if that were so, why didn’t NPS try to apply the brakes when the Presidio Trust first issued a request for proposals in November of last year? And why specifically call out the Lucas proposal with nary a word about the other two?

The answer is likely shrouded in the political/bureaucratic vortex that surely ensued when conjured by a Jedi Master such as Lucas. The Force, as evidenced by his marshaling of political heavyweights in favor of his proposal, was strong with Lucas.

The NPS doesn’t have any direct control over the Presidio Trust, but their recommendation will be heard and strongly considered. And maybe this will be the political cover the Trust needs or wants to fill in “the breach”.

So, like Henry V, who offered to “close up the wall with our English dead,” the Presidio Trust may sacrifice all three proposals in order to stop the one.

The Bridge/Sustainability Institute and the Presidio Exchange are both serious proposals with real merit. But if the only means to stop the Lucas project is delay the whole effort, then, sadly, it’s worth thinking about.

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