Coit Tower initiative qualifies for ballot


The city's Department of Elections on Feb. 14 certified the measure for the June 5 ballot after members of the Protect Coit Tower Committee had turned in more than 16,000 signatures to the department earlier this month. The committee only needed to gather 9,702 signatures to qualify.

The initiative would strictly limit commercial activities and private events at the landmark atop Telegraph Hill.

Organizers developed the measure in response to San Francisco's request last October for proposals by contractors to lease and operate the elevator, food and beverage concession stands and gift shop at the tower, which is visited by more than 200,000 people annually.

Along with leasing operations at the tower, the city would also allow contractors to hold private, late-night parties there.

Jon Golinger, chair of the committee, said the committee is worried about the damage such parties could do to the tower and its historic murals.

The initiative would also prioritize the spending of any funds from the building's concession operations for preserving the murals and maintaining the building.

Golinger said today that the committee is planning a campaign kickoff event on April 1 for the measure.

He also said that the Coalition for San Francisco Neighborhoods, a citywide group that includes more than 30 neighborhood associations, voted overwhelmingly Tuesday night to endorse the initiative.

Golinger said the 19-3 vote shows the desire to preserve the landmark "is important to people that live far from Coit Tower as well as those who live near it."

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