- About Us
Recreation and Park Commission
The Recreation and Park Department is governed by a seven-member Commission appointed by the Mayor to four-year terms. In accordance with the Charter, the Recreation and Park Commission is primarily a policy-making body, establishing the policies by which the Recreation and Park Department operates. The Commission is responsible for the over 220 parks, playgrounds and open spaces throughout San Francisco and two outside the City limits. These include destinations such as Camp Mather, Golden Gate Park, Harding Golf Course, Coit Tower, Palace of Fine Arts.
Recreation and Park Commissioners can be contacted through the Commission Secretary’s Office.
Mail should be sent to:
San Francisco Recreation and Park Commission
501 Stanyan Street
San Francisco, CA 94117
The Recreation and Park Commission operates on a committee structure, and includes the Capital Committee, the Operations Committee and the Joint Zoo Committee.
- The Capital Committee meets on the first Wednesday of every month at City Hall, Room 416 at 2 p.m.
- The Operations Committee meets on the first Thursday of every month at City Hall, Room 416 at 2 p.m.
- The Joint Zoo Committee meets on the third Thursday of every month at City Hall, Room 421 at 9 a.m.
- The full Commission meets on the third Thursday of every month at City Hall, Room 416 at 10 a.m.
*Meeting dates/times are on a regular schedule, but may vary. To confirm meeting dates/times, please view the upcoming calendar below.
Speakers are asked to fill out a speaker card and submit it to the Commission Secretary at the beginning of the meeting, if possible. Speakers will be called during the item noted on the card to address the Commission. Speakers should address their comments to the Commission. In order to allow equal time for all, neither the Commission nor staff will respond to any questions during public comment. The Commission may ask questions of staff after public comment is closed.
|Commissioner Mark Buell | President|
Mark Buell is a native San Franciscan, a graduate of the University of San Francisco and a decorated Vietnam veteran. He has spent 35 years in both public and private real estate development.
Mark served as San Francisco’s first Director of Economic Development under Joseph Alioto and later served as the first Director of the Emeryville Redevelopment Agency from 1977 to 1985. He was a founding member and first President of CALED, the California Association for Local Economic Development and has served on the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission under Dianne Feinstein. Buell served on the Boards of various non-profit organizations including the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, the San Francisco Conservation Corps, Bolinas Museum and the Chez Panisse Foundation. He is currently the Chair of the Marin Community Foundation and in addition he is a member of the Board of Trustees of the University of San Francisco.
Buell is married to the former Susie Russell Tompkins and has two children from a previous marriage: Sabrina and Justin.
|Commissioner Allan Low | Vice President|
Allan Low was raised in San Francisco and is a self-proclaimed “park rat,” growing up in Diamond Heights and spending many hours playing at Glen Christopher Park and exploring Glen Park Canyon. He continues to love outdoor recreation activities and tries to run, bike, swim and snowboard.
Allan is a Real Estate Partner with the global law firm of Perkins Coie LLP and specializes in real estate transactions, leasing, finance, purchase and sale transactions and land use entitlements and represents owners, landlords, developers, financial institutions and non-profit affordable housing developers.
He is active in the community and has served on the boards of Chinatown YMCA, Chinatown Community Development Center, Asian American Bar Association, St. Luke’s Preschool, and Hamlin School for Girls. He and his wife Jane live in San Francisco with their two children and their two dogs.
|Commissioner Kat Anderson|
Kat Anderson was born in the San Fernando Valley and raised there and in Little Rock, Arkansas where hanging out in open spaces, the woods, and by the water was a typical way to grow up. In San Francisco, Kat is happiest walking a park trail, especially if her kids, Patrick and Deedee, join her. Sometimes she brings along her dog, Willow, or even her husband, Dave.
Kat combines her love of the outdoors with her support of many local recreation/conservation projects and advocacy groups, including the Shared Schoolyard Project, SF Parks Alliance, the Marina playground renovation, tree-planting in partnership with Friends of the Urban Forest, and the Sierra Club. She has supported all park bonds that have come before the voters, including Proposition B in the 2016 June Primary.
Kat moved to San Francisco in 1988 to attend Hastings College of the Law. She specialized in labor and employment law for many years. She is now Administrative Officer of Pacific Media Workers Guild – the news union. She graduated with distinction from Stanford University obtaining her Bachelors Degree in Political Science with a Minor in Economics. She volunteers on the boards of the Foundation of City College and Bishop’s Ranch in Healdsburg, and is President of the City Democratic Club.
|Commissioner Gloria Bonilla|
Since moving to San Francisco in 1976, Gloria Bonilla has been active in the Mission District community. For the past 30 years, she has served in top leadership positions at Centro Latino de San Francisco, Inc. From 1985 to the present she has held the position of Executive Director. In this capacity she has developed and implemented services (on-site and home delivered meals, paratransit, recreation and education activities, English as a second language classes, naturalization classes, and health care advocacy) that address the essential needs of low-income, at-risk seniors, immigrants, youth and families.
Prior to her current role as Executive Director, Ms. Bonilla was an administrator for youth programs. During her tenure at CYO she oversaw the implementation of programs that offered year-round and summer employment training for youth, 14-21 years of age; a daycare program for elementary school age children; and an after school recreation and sports program for teens.
Commissioner Bonilla has provided leadership to community groups in various capacities and served on distinguished nonprofit boards. Some of these include: San Francisco Giants Community Fund, UCSF Community Advisory Group, and Mission Housing Development Corporation.
Born in San Luis Obispo, CA and raised in Fresno, CA, Ms. Bonilla holds a degree in government from University of San Francisco.
|Commissioner Tom Harrison|
Tom Harrison, born and raised in San Francisco, was appointed to the Recreation and Park Commission in October 2004 by Mayor Gavin Newsom. He was sworn into office by Mayor Newsom in November 2004.
Mr. Harrison worked for the Recreation and Park Department beginning in 1964 as an Assistant Gardener and was promoted to Gardener in 1972. After 28 years of service and many assignments after, he was then hired by Laborers Local 261 as a Union Representative. Mr. Harrison was appointed to serve the Gardeners and Laborers of the City. In 2002 he was promoted to Assistant Business Manager of Local 261. He retired from City Employment in 2004 completing 30 years of service to the City and County of San Francisco.
Commissioner Harrison take great personal pride in his appointment to the Recreation and Parks Commission, "I have a great respect for the people of San Francisco for whom I serve."
|Commissioner Larry Mazzola|
Larry was born and raised in San Francisco. He went to St. Stephen’s grammar school and graduated from Sacred Heart High School and then attended San Mateo Junior College.
Larry then entered the Local Union 38 Plumbers Apprenticeship Program for the next 5 years until he became a journeyman plumber. After working as a journeyman plumber, he then went to work as the Assistant Apprentice Coordinator to the Local 38 Training Program.
He went on to other various jobs with the Union such as Organizer, Business Agent, Assistant Business Manager, until he was elected Business Manager & Financial Secretary-Treasurer in July 2013.
In 2015, Larry was elected President of the San Francisco Building & Construction Trades Council. He is also a Vice President of the San Francisco Labor Council and Vice President of the California State Federation, AFL-CIO.
Larry has always been eager to donate his time to help the community. He started out on the San Francisco Film Commission for 4 years then on to the Treasure Island Development Authority Board for 6 years and now is excited to be appointed to the San Francisco Recreation & Park Commission, where he feels he can serve our community well.
|Commissioner Eric McDonnell|
Eric McDonnell is currently the SVP, Corporate Operations at Galt Foundation. Galt is a national social enterprise that provides temporary staffing services for individuals with disabilities. Prior to his appointment at Galt Foundation in January 2018, Eric McDonnell worked for 20 years at United Way Bay Area. His last position at UWBA was Chief Operating Officer. As Chief Operating Officer for United Way Bay Area, he provided strategic, strategic, transformational and operational leadership particularly around their efforts to ensure that every child has the opportunity to reach his or her academic potential, and families achieve economic self-sufficiency, while making Bay Area neighborhoods safer, stronger places to live.
Eric McDonnell is a native San Franciscan. Growing up in the Western Addition neighborhood he has first-hand experience for the need and value of safe places for children and families to gather and play. An avid sports fanatic and bicyclist, he enjoys many of the great recreational experiences and opportunities our diverse city offers. Eric played a leadership role in the successful passage of Prop B and looks forward to the improvements and growth of our parks system, particularly in our communities that lack adequate open and green spaces. To this end, Commissioner McDonnell’s commitment to our city’s recreation and park department is deeply tied to both his personal and professional values.
Eric lives with his wife and family in the Bayview community of San Francisco.
Article IV: EXECUTIVE BRANCH-BOARDS, COMMISSIONS AND DEPARTMENTS
SEC. 4.100. GENERAL.
In addition to the office of the Mayor, the executive branch of the City and County shall be composed of departments, appointive boards, commissions and other units of government. To the extent law permits, each appointive board, commission, or other unit of government of the City and County established by state or federal law shall be subject to the provisions of this Article and this Charter.
SEC. 4.101. BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS' COMPOSITION.
Unless otherwise provided in this Charter, the composition of each appointive board, commission or advisory body of any kind established by this Charter or legislative act of the United States of America, the State of California or the Board of Supervisors shall:
1. Be broadly representative of the communities of interest, neighborhoods, and the diversity in ethnicity, race, age, and sexual orientation of the City and County and have representation of both sexes; and
2. Consist of electors of the City and County at all times during the term of their respective offices, unless otherwise specifically provided in this Charter; or in the case of boards, commissions or advisory bodies established by legislative act the position is (a) designated by ordinance for a person under legal voting age, or (b) unless specifically exempt from the provisions, or waived by the appointing officer or entity upon a finding that an elector with specific experience, skills or qualifications willing to serve could not be located within the City and County.
Vacancies on appointive boards, commissions or other units of government shall be filled for the balance of the unexpired term in the manner prescribed by this Charter or ordinance for initial appointments.
Terms of office shall continue as they existed on the effective date of this Charter.
SEC. 4.102. BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS' POWERS AND DUTIES.
Unless otherwise provided in this Charter, each appointive board, commission or other unit of government of the executive branch of the City and County shall:
1. Formulate, evaluate and approve goals, objectives, plans and programs and set policies consistent with the overall objectives of the City and County, as established by the Mayor and the Board of Supervisors through the adoption of City legislation;
2. Develop and keep current an Annual Statement of Purpose outlining its areas of jurisdiction, authorities, purpose and goals, subject to review and approval by the Mayor and the Board of Supervisors;
3. After public hearing, approve applicable departmental budgets or any budget modifications or fund transfers requiring the approval of the Board of Supervisors, subject to the Mayor's final authority to initiate, prepare and submit the annual proposed budget on behalf of the executive branch and the Board of Supervisors' authority under Section 9.103;
4. Recommend to the Mayor for submission to the Board of Supervisors rates, fees and similar charges with respect to appropriate items coming within their respective jurisdictions;
5. Unless otherwise specifically provided, submit to the Mayor at least three qualified applicants, and if rejected, to make additional nominations in the same manner, for the position of department head, subject to appointment by the Mayor;
6. Remove a department head; the Mayor may recommend removal of a department head to the commission, and it shall be the commission's duty to act on the Mayor's recommendation by removing or retaining the department head within 30 days; failure to act on the Mayor's recommendation shall constitute official misconduct;
7. Conduct investigations into any aspect of governmental operations within its jurisdiction through the power of inquiry, and make recommendations to the Mayor or the Board of Supervisors;
8. Exercise such other powers and duties as shall be prescribed by the Board of Supervisors; and
9. Appoint an executive secretary to manage the affairs and operations of the board or commission.
10. In furtherance of the discharge of its responsibilities, an appointive board, commission or other unit of government may:
11. Hold hearings and take testimony; and
12. Retain temporary counsel for specific purposes, subject to the consent of the Mayor and the City Attorney.
Each board or commission, relative to the affairs of its own department, shall deal with administrative matters solely through the department head or his or her designees, and any dictation, suggestion or interference herein prohibited on the part of any member of a board or commission shall constitute official misconduct; provided, however, that nothing herein contained shall restrict the board or commission's powers of hearing and inquiry as provided in this Charter.
SEC. 4.103. BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS' ANNUAL REPORT.
As of the operative date of this Charter and until this requirement is changed by the Board of Supervisors, each board and commission of the City and County shall be required by ordinance to prepare an annual report describing its activities, and shall file such report with the Mayor and the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors. The Annual Report can be included in the Annual Statement of Purpose as provided for in Section 4.102(2).
SEC. 4.104. BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS' RULES AND REGULATIONS.
Unless otherwise provided in this Charter, each appointive board, commission or other unit of government of the executive branch of the City and County shall:
1. Adopt rules and regulations consistent with this Charter and ordinances of the City and County. No rule or regulation shall be adopted, amended or repealed, without a public hearing. At least ten days' public notice shall be given for such public hearing. All such rules and regulations shall be filed with the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors.
2. Hold meetings open to the public and encourage the participation of interested persons. Except for the actions taken at closed sessions, any action taken at other than a public meeting shall be void. Closed sessions may be held in accordance with applicable state statutes and ordinances of the Board of Supervisors.
3. Keep a record of the proceedings of each regular or special meeting. Such record shall indicate how each member voted on each question. These records, except as may be limited by state law or ordinance, shall be available for public inspection.
The presence of a majority of the members of an appointive board, commission or other unit of government shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business by such body. Unless otherwise required by this Charter, the affirmative vote of a majority of the members shall be required for the approval of any matter, except that the rules and regulations of the body may provide that, with respect to matters of procedure the body may act by the affirmative vote of a majority of the members present, so long as the members present constitute a quorum. All appointive boards, commissions or other units of government shall act by a majority, two-thirds, three-fourths or other vote of all members. Each member present at a regular or special meeting shall vote "yes" or "no" when a question is put, unless excused from voting by a motion adopted by a majority of the members present.
SEC. 4.113. RECREATION AND PARK COMMISSION.
The Recreation and Park Commission shall consist of seven members appointed by the Mayor, pursuant to Section 3.100, for four-year terms. Members may be removed by the Mayor only pursuant to Section 15.105.
Pursuant to the policies and directives set by the Commission and under the direction and supervision of the General Manager, the Recreation and Park Department shall manage and direct all parks, playgrounds, recreation centers and all other recreation facilities, avenues and grounds under the Commission's control or placed under its jurisdiction thereafter, unless otherwise specifically provided in this Charter.
The Department shall promote and foster a program providing for organized public recreation of the highest standard.
The Department shall issue permits for the use of all property under the Commission's control, pursuant to the policies established by the Commission.
As directed by the Commission, the Department shall administer the Park, Recreation and Open Space Fund pursuant to Section 16.107 of this Charter.
The Department shall have the power to construct new parks, playgrounds, recreation centers, recreation facilities, squares and grounds, and to erect and maintain buildings and structures on parks, playgrounds, square, avenues and grounds, except as follows:
1. No building or structure, except for nurseries, equipment storage facilities and comfort stations, shall be erected, enlarged or expanded in Golden Gate Park or Union Square Park unless such action has been approved by a vote of two-thirds of the Board of Supervisors;
2. No park land may be sold or leased for non-recreational purposes, nor shall any structure on park property be built, maintained or used for non-recreational purposes, unless approved by a vote of the electors. However, with permission of the Commission and approval by the Board of Supervisors, subsurface space under any public park, square or playground may be used for the operation of a public automobile parking station under the authority of the Department of Parking and Traffic, provided that the Commission determines that such a use would not be, in any material respect or degree, detrimental to the original purpose for which a park, square or playground was dedicated or in contravention of the conditions of any grant under which a park, square or playground might have been received. The revenues derived from any such use, less the expenses incurred by the Department of Parking and Traffic in operating these facilities, shall be credited to Recreation and Park Department funds.
The Commission shall have the power to lease or rent any stadium or recreation field under its jurisdiction for athletic contests, exhibitions and other special events and may permit the lessee to charge an admission fee.
(Amended March 2000)