SAVE THE TREE. Golf courses are wasteful use of public green space.

This afternoon at 1pm is a public hearing to save a beautiful New Zealand Christmas tree which has been standing for decades in the northwest corner of San Francisco.

 The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission plans to destroy this landmark.  

All in the name of playing Caddie to a priviliged class. Golfers.

We have already alerted the public to this environmental destruction. Nearly 400 people have viewed the earlier Blog.  Today is your chance to stand up and be heard. A link to the hearing is attached. 

You can contact:  and

SFPUC Notice to Public 4.27.2022

Liz Heidhues 5.27.2022


Nothing in the PUC Brief arguing to remove a healthy, well-established tree addresses the points we brought up in our Appeal to spare the tree’s life.

What emerges in studying the Brief is a process for arbitrary decision-making suitable more for an autocratic bureaucracy leading to low engagement and a toxic environment than for a public service agency priding itself on inclusiveness and sustainable outcomes.

In the PUC Brief, it states that the healthy, well-established tree is in direct conflict with the new modifications to the irrigation system of the Lincoln Park Golf Course.

5 Clement Street tree

I disagree for the following reasons:

(1) The tree was there before the PUC undertook its grand scheme to diversify the irrigation system of the golf course.

That said, the tree is not causing the direct conflict. The PUC is.

The tree must not be sacrificed for the political negligence of the PUC.  Its removal will undermine our dwindling tree canopy and does not serve the interests of residents who use and enjoy public green space differently than a privileged class — golfers.

(2) The PUC omits any mention of a viable work-around to connect the recycled water line to the pump station while maintaining the air gap separating recyclable water from potable water lines.

I have researched the required air gap distances. I have found there are no set requirements other than minimum measurements for air gap distances between recyclable and potable water lines. Maximum distances between different parallel lines are undefined. The PUC position does not address the possibility of reconfiguring the air gap.

4 Clement Street tree.jpg

Were the recycled water line to enter the pump station building from the route extending from the cement path which we have identified in our Brief, the work-around would spare the tree’s life.

Joint elbows offer flexibility in reroute of the recycled water pipeline to areas surrounding the pump station which are devoid of healthy trees.

In the PUC’s omission of a work-around to install the air gap, the PUC is misinforming the public, an important stakeholder in the mission of the PUC, and betraying the public’s trust.

The decision to hew this beautiful tree is invoked in the interest of irrigating the lawns of an elite class of citizens occupying the Lincoln Park Golf Course.

It has been documented that golf courses are an incredibly wasteful and inefficient use of outdoor public green space.

Hewing the healthy street tree runs counter to the goals of two service organizations committed to preserving San Francisco’s dwindling urban canopy: Urban Forestry (DPW) and Friends of the Urban Forest.

6 Clement Street tree.jpg

The PUC taking off the tree’s head is akin to the Queen of Hearts in “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” screaming “OFF with his, her, their HEAD” to anyone or anything standing in her way. It is the only way an autocratic power has to settle all difficulties, great or small.



A minuscule fraction of the PUC combined $1BN budget would be required to fund a work-around sparing the street tree’s life.

Liz Heidhues