News Flash: Park Merced, As Is, SUCKS. There, I Said It.

After much talk, hearings, discussions, screaming, and caterwauling, the Board of Supervisors gave preliminary approval to a plan to transform Park Merced, an aging post-war, suburban style development into something from the 21st century.
Depiste expanding rental opportunities, offering to pay for Muni improvements, building facilities, reducing car dependence, and using earth-friendly building techniques to reduce carbon emissions, predictably, the “change nothing” crowd, in concert with the left-leaning supervisors, voted against it (but it passed anyway.)
Ironic. Despite all these things San Francisco allegedly values, 5 Supervisors voted “no” anyway. I guess being a “progressive” in San Francisco means that it’s better to talk big in campaign junk mail vs. doing something in the real world. Mindblowing.
However, let’s put aside the bizarro politics for a moment for now and talk about something we can all factually determine about Park Merced, as is. It sucks.
It really really sucks.
I’ll say it before and I’ll say it again: Park Merced has sucked for decades and will continue to do so unless it is substantially redeveloped/rebuilt. Anyone thinking this place is some sort of rent-contorlled Shangri-La is either an idiot or delusional. Pick one, I don’t care.
In my entire adult life I can’t remember a time when people didn’t find these units to be overpriced, easily damaged, and had problems with deposits, repairs, etc. Many people I grew up with went to San Francisco State in the mid 80s and would end up renting a place there since it was near the school, and back then it sucked too. In the ensuing decades, every so often I’d know someone who’d move there, only to move out within a year or so because of all sorts of problems. (You’d think that someone who’s worked at SFSU for 20 years would know this already, but I suppose not.)
While the current owners deserve some praise for getting the asbestos out and at least trying to make the place look nice, even now you can do a Google Search for “Park Merced Sucks” and you’ll find a long list of blogs, Facebook pages and more decrying the decaying apartment blocks and bungalows.
The point is simply this: If we leave Park Merced to continue to be what it is, it is going to fall apart soon anyway and all that housing will simply go off the market, rent control or not. Good luck getting anyone to pour more money to “save” these decaying, cheaply built blocks – no sane owner would bother to do so, laws and “rights” be damned because it’s a money pit. They’ll just let it rot and collect the rent.
In the end, this whole episode exposes once again how some people in San Francisco sure like to talk big on issues like “the environment” , “climate change” and “housing” , but when asked to do something beyond a meaningless “non binding resolution” or a symbolic law that doens’t really do anything, some people are content to simply walk away and vote to keep the status quo, no matter how screwed up it is. Worse, they cloak their do-nothingism in politically charged rhetoric about “tenant rights,” even though they supported a similar deal a few years ago downtown.
The big difference? Someone on “their side” authored the deal. Partisanship trumps practicality once again at City Hall.
Meanwhile, Park Merced STILL SUCKS.
PS: Comments that are polite and stick to the issues are welcome. Comments that are rude or stupid, however, are not.

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