The National Park Service has taken a strong position warning that the proposed Fisher art museum would have serious adverse effects on the integrity of the National Landmark. The law requires the Presidio Trust to preserve the Landmark. The Park Service's strong and principled statement strengthens greatly the odds that the art museum will be moved and modified in size.
Many do not know that the entire Presidio is a National Historic Landmark designated by the Secretary of the Interior after review by a panel of historians and historic architects. The National Park Service is the federal agency responsible for identifying and preserving national historic landmarks. The are about 2,500 national landmarks in the nation selected to preserve an important story of American history. The Presidio is even more rare, a landmark DISTRICT, which is a collection of structures and landscape that collectively express important stories of American history.
The National Park Service is responsible for preservation of the "integrity" of National Historic Landmarks by advising and warning. It does not have the legal power to compel an acton. It is participating with the Presidio Historical Association, the State Historical Preservation Officer and other agencies in a review of the proposed new construction, including the massive contemporary art museum that has been supported by the board members of the Presidio Trust. Other agencies have joined the Park Service and the Presidio HIstorical Association in rejecting the size, design and location of the museum proposal. These positions opposing the art museum are being taken in a formal process under the National Historic Preservation Act. Although the Presidio Trust can by law ignore the recommendations of the panel, it would take a tin ear by the Trust to ignore formal opposition under the Historic Preservation Act and the outpouring of public outrage expressed in hundreds of letters, comments to newspaper articles, and questions from the press.
Nevertheless, money talks and money talks loudly to politicians. The possibility of a massive modern structure paid for by a billionaire in the middle of San Francisco's treasured historic landmark district is still very real. If you have not written Congresswoman Pelosi, please do. If you have, write or e-mail again. We hope that the message finally will get through to the key decision makers. Until now, their gatekeepers are protecting decisonmakers from the truth about the real threat the Fisher art museum is to the Presidio remaining protected as a National Historic Landmark.
Public outrage expressed well, often and loudly will be the real "decider"in the Presidio fight. Make your opinion known.
Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, 450 Golden Gate Avenue, 14th floor, San Francisco, CA 94102. Or,
Also, Board of Directors, Presidio Trust, P,O, Box 29052, 34 Graham Street, San Francisco, CA 94129.