Presidio Trust decides on museum proposals

Presidio Trust Chair Nancy Bechtle announces the big decision: who will win the hotly contested mid-crissy field site in the Presidio?
Photo by Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez

The Presidio museum showdown has come to an end for now, and the winner of the hotly contested mid-Crissy Field site is (drum roll, please) ... no one.

Not the Golden Gate National National Park Conservancy. Not the Bridge Institute. And no, not Star Wars creator George Lucas.

At an impromptu press conference this afternoon, Presidio Trust Chair Nancy Hellman Bechtle said the board unanimously voted to not move forward with any of the museum proposals.

“This is the most spectacular site in the country,” Bechtle told reporters. “We simply do not believe any of the projects were right for this location.”

Since November of 2012, The Bridge Institute, the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy's Presidio Exchange, and filmmaker and Star Wars creator George Lucas' personal pop art collection have all competed for a patch of uber-desirable real estate a stone's throw from the Golden Gate Bridge.

The site is currently occupied by Sports Basement, whose planned move will be unaffected by the decision to reject the museum proposals, a spokesperson for the Presidio told the Guardian.

In January the three teams were made to re-submit their three proposals to the Presidio Trust, which cited Goldilocks reasons for not liking the various proposals. The Lucas Cultural Arts Museum was too big, the Presidio Exchange was too programmatically vague, and the Bridge Institute didn’t have enough of the green stuff (money).

But unlike Goldilocks, in the end the Presidio Trust did not find any porridge that was just right. However, it did offer to assist with finding alternative sites in the Presidio for the museums to find homes.

“There are a number of sites in the Presidio that are possible places to build,” said Presidio Trust Executive Director Craig Middleton. “We are really early in these conversations.”

The Lucas Cultural Arts Museum’s spokesperson, David Perry, said there are many cities vying for Lucas’ pop and cultural art museum.

“We’ve been getting requests to look at other sites for this museum, we’re going to look at those sites,” Perry said. We asked if he was referring to Chicago, where Lucas has expressed interest in building the museum before.

“I’ve heard all kinds of cities,” Perry said.

When we asked Perry how Lucas felt when he heard the news, he answered a bit oddly, if candidly.

“I spoke with George this morning,” he said.  “And as my grandmother used to say, if ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ were candies and nuts, we’d all have a Merry Christmas.”

Above: Hit "play" to hear Lucas Cultural Arts Museum spokesperson David Perry tell us how his grandmother would have reacted to the Presidio Trust's decision. 

Okay then.

Notably, the Lucas proposal was endorsed by Mayor Ed Lee, tech venture captalist Ron Conway, and a host of other well-heeled and monied backers. In a letter to the Trust, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi publicly urged its members to hurry up on a decision, and to choose something that would bring in “a vibrant cross section of visitors to the Presidio, with particular attention to inner-city youth.”

We asked Becthle what influence, if any, opinions from powerful politicians had on the Trust’s ultimate decision.

“They’re very interested in California and the city,” she responded. “Sure I listen to [Sen. Dianne Feinstein], and to Nancy, but I think it was most important to do what was right with the park, and not to please one side or the other.”


There's already a Disney Family Museum heavy on Disney propaganda, and very light on all the controversies over the years. I've been -during a private event there. Let's just say I'm glad I didn't have to pay the $20 admission fee, so I didn't feel ripped off. If the Lucas Museum would be along those lines, I say let 'em go to Chicago.

Posted by Greg on Feb. 03, 2014 @ 8:23 pm

What'dya say?

*lillipublicans, sometimes imp'ed... but not this time.

Posted by lillipublicans* on Feb. 03, 2014 @ 10:56 pm

Fat people wearing Disney clothes talking about the joys of soda?

Posted by guest on Feb. 03, 2014 @ 11:49 pm

Walt Disney was anti-Semitic, racist, had numerous labor disputes, was a supporter of McCarthyism, and was a vicious union-buster. The man had a serious authoritarian streak, micromanaging the most minute details of his employees' lives. Did you know that you can't have facial hair if you work for any of the Disney theme parks? I guess only the big boss is allowed to sport a mustache. (when I brought this up to a docent, she said that rule was recently changed)

The museum glosses over the uglier parts of Disney's history. I guess it's natural for the Disney family's private museum to present the Disney family in the most positive light. That's expected. But...
1. If you want to learn about the real story of the Disney family, the Disney Museum is the last place you want to go.
2. Personally, I'd rather not pay to be propagandized to.
And most importantly,
3. This place really has no business being in the national park. It's completely incongruous with the park, has nothing to do with the history of it, and if it receives any sort of public subsidy (which it probably does), that only adds to the insult.

Posted by Greg on Feb. 04, 2014 @ 12:38 am

I've enjoyed the crazy antics of Disney and other super Americans over the years in book form. Henry Ford, Disney, Father Coughlin, Charles Lindbergh, David Horowitz, all high comedy. Not to be confused with the lefts cavalcade of nuts and goons.

You are taking the Paul Johnson method to heart here, that makes sense as I doubt you read anything off the island. I suggest you find a used copy of Intellectuals by Paul Johnson and read it through. You will see your same argument that you use here used by a right wing-a-loon.

I would agree that Disney is now a corporation that sells schlock to idiots, but complaining about the founder this late in the game, you are like an anti-abortionist complaining about the Eugenics and anti-Semitism of progressives of yore. It's called founders fallacy.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 04, 2014 @ 8:51 am

Usually the pseudointellectuals you quote are long dead and forgotten. This time you've managed to dig deep into the gutters and find one who is long forgotten while he's still alive. Kind of a metaphor for the empty, incoherent irrelevance of your own world view.

Even if you look at Disney through a lens of sympathetic temporal moral relativism like you do, he still doesn't hold up to scrutiny. He would be considered a right wing authoritarian even in his own time. Again, I understand why the Disney family would want to whitewash his image. But my three points still stand.

Posted by Greg on Feb. 04, 2014 @ 9:19 am

Lost in your own revealed world.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 04, 2014 @ 10:48 am

with the silent moderate majority of Americans.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 04, 2014 @ 11:14 am

Even if you disagree with me, how is it "extreme" to suggest that a museum dedicated to some Hollywood entertainer is incongruous with a national park? If anything, it would seem "extreme" to say you can build anything willy nilly in a national park, whether or not it has anything to do with the park itself. Now that's extreme!

Posted by Greg on Feb. 04, 2014 @ 11:52 am

allows for private-public partnerships and corporate sponsorship. Surely you know that?

Posted by Guest on Feb. 04, 2014 @ 12:40 pm

does it call for corporate sponsorship of the national park? Can you give me a link?

In any case, even the Presidio Trust, hardly an anti-corporate group of people, disagrees with you on this one.

Posted by Greg on Feb. 09, 2014 @ 1:01 am
Posted by Guest on Feb. 09, 2014 @ 7:59 am

Link please. Not interested in opinion. Just the link.

Posted by Greg on Feb. 09, 2014 @ 8:48 am

Seymour Martin Lipsett said fascism was a middle class extremism for example.


The silent majority in the city wants to be left alone in general, the progressives want to coerce and badger the population into thinking right. The uni-mind "San Francisco values" thing that they try and bludgeon conformity with.

If the progressive came to any real power they would overturn elections that didn't go their way because the people were duped or fooled in some way. The progressive elite would make all the decisions for the peasants based on what is good for them.

Thankfully most Americans have faith in democracy and have many varied opinions about the world around them, thus progressives are mainly stuck worrying about what a kooky old men did 50 years ago.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 04, 2014 @ 12:32 pm


From there, my eyes started to glaze over.

Posted by Greg on Feb. 04, 2014 @ 7:06 pm

to have it pointed out that you have a hive mind.

Posted by guest on Feb. 04, 2014 @ 7:23 pm

For the first time I discovered Blogroll Amnesty Day this past weekend. While perusing various sites linked to few blogs I read, the "hive mind" slogan was everywhere. Even on the blogs tackling serious issues with relatively calm, reasoned discourse, the "hive mind" was the catch phrase posters used to dismiss a person or argument. Maybe humans really are related to lemming family.

I hope the phase lives a short life.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 04, 2014 @ 8:22 pm

That space in the Presidio must remain as parkland until it is time for it to make its date with destiny as Starfleet Headquarters and Academy.

Starfleet Headquarters was the administrative center of Starfleet Command located in California, on Earth. Sharing grounds with Starfleet Academy, it encompassed territory adjacent to the city of San Francisco, on either side of the Golden Gate passage into San Francisco Bay.

The sprawling complex was originally built as the headquarters of the Earth Starfleet in the early 22nd century, on what was previously a portion of Golden Gate National Recreation Area in Marin County, overlooking Horseshoe Bay. After the founding of the United Federation of Planets in 2161, it continued to serve as the command center of the Federation Starfleet. By 2255, the headquarters had expanded to the Presidio, an ancient military post on the southern side of the Golden Gate, where it included an air tram station. Its address at 24-593 Federation Drive, San Francisco, CA was mentioned in the Treaty of Armens.(Star Trek: The Motion Picture; TNG: "The Ensigns of Command")

Posted by marcos on Feb. 03, 2014 @ 8:57 pm

... and prosper. 

It's also where Kirk cheated on the Kobayashi Maru.  

Posted by Joe Fitzgerald on Feb. 04, 2014 @ 10:39 am

I'd like to remind you all that I'm a tool and no fun at parties. Thank you. I'll be posting frequently about colored people of color throughout Black History Month.

Posted by Greg on Feb. 04, 2014 @ 12:23 pm

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