SSF Biotech is World Renowned, Yet SSF Sport Fields Reflect a Different Story

South San Francisco, CA     August 7, 2016

NOTE: See April 27, 2018 update below

If someone had a yard, or if a business had a lot that looked like this, they would be fined and told to fix it. We should expect nothing less of public land and our tax dollars." an irate neighbor writes about the Parkway field

“If someone had a yard, or if a business had a lot that looked like this, they would be fined and told to fix it. We should expect nothing less of public land and our tax dollars.” an irate neighbor writes about the Parkway field


Residents of South San Francisco continue to express their frustration and anger over the poor quality of the fields in our City. They point to both our public parks as well as the fields within our School District. These complaints have continued for years and although the City, and the School District, patch up here and there, a complete overhaul is what neighbors say is needed. While it would appear our City coffers are full, our School District is another matter.

Broken bleachers at OMP received a quick patch work by city staff. Photo: Jocelyn Jovian

Broken bleachers at OMP received a quick patch work by city staff.
Photo: Jocelyn Jovian

In June a neighbor sent us photos of the bleachers at Orange Memorial Park citing potential injury to visitors, especially younger kids. Our City Parks Manager Samantha Haimovitch immediately responded to our inquiry about timing of repairs. While the patching of this bleacher was done quickly and resolved that immediate concern, folks still wanted to know about new bleachers. This was Samantha’s reply:

“We were approved funding in the current year’s Capital Improvement Program to replace the bleachers, which obviously really needs to get done. However, the bids for replacement came in much higher than our project budget, so we had to pause. We requested additional funding for next year’s budget, however the decision was made, given the increasing funding commitment, to take a step back and study what it would cost to fully renovate the softball and hardball fields, which would include replacing bleachers at both fields; we would not want to invest in the new bleachers, then find out that we might have wanted to move them, etc. We don’t have the result of the baseball improvement cost estimate yet, but I suspect that it will be so expensive to do that we will end up having to defer this to a future date. When the study does show all the costs, we will make a decision about whether to move forward with just the bleacher replacement. In the meantime, we will be doing repairs to the existing bleachers, using our in-house parks staff.”

We will continue to monitor the situation, neighbor comments, and the City plan in moving forward.

Frustration continues to be aimed at our School fields and there has been some conversations indicating a joint approach by both the City and the School District may be in the works. “The City is looking at ways they might be able to help with the fields, allowing the District to focus on their primary purpose; to educate our children” one inside source reported. If this were to happen, it cannot happen anytime too soon, parents say.

In 2013 a group of coaches meet regularly to determine which fields were utilized most and for what, which were in urgent need for repair, estimating long term projects, etc. After a few months of dedicated canvassing, costing out revisions, meeting with other community members, and hundreds of hours working on this issue,  the group came before our City Council during a December 2013 public comment portion. They gave facts and background information from the coaches point of view. Parents spoke from their perspective. A recent high school graduate spoke of the anguish he and others felt for younger kids not having what was needed to keep them focused, playing sports, learning teamwork and responsibility for themselves – and beyond themselves. He outlined plans he felt could help his younger counterparts be successful. The groups intent was to prove to officials and staff the dedication of the community to work together to find results. At that meeting the group was told this issue would be put on the Council agenda for the beginning of the following year. However, our City departments experienced ‘the exodus of 2014’ as some called it,  and the new employees would need time to ‘get on the right page’, was the response given when one coach inquired. Unfortunately this issue was never put on the agenda and the coaches jaded once again, faded back into the background of the City’s conscience and back into the forefront of working with our youth on distressed and inadequate fields.


In 2013 a 'Coalition of Coaches' came together to identify the fields in our City ranking them by sport, urgency of repair, etc. The group meet for 4 months inviting then Councilmembers Addiego and Normandy to meeting to understand the concerns. The group was to present to Council however this issue was dropped and never agonized as was intended

In 2013 a ‘Coalition of Coaches’ came together to identify the fields in our City ranking them by sport, urgency of repair, etc.
The group held meetings for 4 months and included then Councilmembers *Candidates* Addiego and Normandy to attend to understand the concerns. The coaches were to present to Council in January 2014 however this issue was dropped and never was agendized as was intended *update



The fact that these coaches are volunteers putting their own time, money, and energy into helping our communities youth, it is a lost opportunity to us all that the City, or the School District,  doesn’t support their efforts by supplying the resources needed for them to do their job safely. “This is a huge embarrassment to us” said a coach echoing the sentiments of many others during the Council meeting “We value the prestige of being the ‘Birthplace of Biotechnology’, to see our City being showcased as a world renowned biotech hub, yet our athletic fields are a disgrace. It’s an embarrassment to us coaches, to our players, and to our City when visitors come out for games.”


Last July a neighbor sent us photos of Parkway Heights Middle School playing field stating it had been over a year since there was any attention paid to it. “This part of the school is not under construction and is a case of severe neglect and wrangling. School starts in a month and no improvements have been made. Looks like the field of an abandoned school. Residents have had look at this blight for over 2 years. Something must be done!”  Before we could get this information to the public ESC received a few more complaints along with photos. Some were from community leaders or employees asking to remain anonymous with concerns of retaliation for publicly stating the obvious.



Bleachers in need of paint & repair sit empty at Parkway Heights Middle School

Bleachers in need of paint & repair sit empty at Parkway Heights Middle School


"We want our students to know we value them, yet this is what they see" a local neighbor expresses

“We want our students to know we value them, yet this is what they see” a local neighbor expresses in frustration


“Years ago, in a former life, Parkway was used for baseball practices by the local league, soccer practices, and with Park and Rec.  When there was a flag football league between the three schools, the field was used daily.  It is the largest, most unkept field resource in that neighborhood. I ask, why is that?” another neighbor adds



Parkway Heights abandoned field has ‘become a dump’ a neighbor in the area wrote us a while back


The SSFUSD Measure J Citizens Board Oversight Committee and members of the public did a walk through of Parkway Heights Middle School on July 21st and we found the fields had in fact been cut before hand. Yet is was disappointing that there was no attempt made to cut back the weeds or remove the broken tree(s) from the backstop.

While PHMS field had been cut prior to the community walk through, no attempt was made to cut the weeds on the side

While PHMS field had been cut prior to the community walk through, no attempt was made to cut the weeds on the side, validating neighbors comments that no one is taking this field serious while knowing this area could be utilized.


Broken tree branches still needed to be removed from the backstop cage

Broken tree branches still needed to be removed from the backstop cage


A concerned mom in the area wrote us “Kids have not played on the Parkway fields (besides the school using it when given permission by whomever was in charge at the moment…on-site construction managers changed all the time) for over two years now. I have seen adults use it time to time to exercise their dogs off leash and chase gophers. Typically the school couldn’t use it as the weeds would grow so tall and the gophers dug such huge colonies, kids were always twisting ankles. We can’t bring a wheelchair all the way down, there is no ramp and the flat road area (only part actually used for construction equipment) is rough gravel.”


When asked if the field was closed off from the public she responded “There is a very small, old paper sign that states “park” closed. However, the large gates are left open and the pedestrian gate is not blocked off. To add, the sign states “park” not “field” confusion as the city own parks and schools typically have fields. Further, the sign is only in English. At the school, any communication must be in dual language, English and Spanish. There are dual signage areas around the district, just not at this site. So, a long winded answer, is the field closed?  There is a small, but incorrect old sign posted when there was construction equipment there. No attempt to fully close off access to an unusable field if it was labeled as a closed ‘park.'”


There is anger over the misspent Measure J monies as taxpayers demand accountability. The bond was promoted to address the ‘brick and mortar’ aspects of our schools and there was outcry when our High Schools fields benefited from this fund, however the overwhelming support of ECHS & SSFHS fields won out. “Once upon a time, the Parkway was to have a 100% building makeover with the bond. To my knowledge, the field was never included with upgrading. Originally, the field was to remain closed during construction, although no construction was to take place on it, for general safety concerns.”  Now there is no money to complete Parkway’s much needed ‘brick and mortar’ structures much less the field.


A 2015 report by the Measure J Citizen’s Bond Oversight Committee called for further investigation of misappropriated funds. Taxpayers want to see accountability, rather all that is seen is rotation of administration and Trustees. “Where is the accountability?” they ask. ‘Bond Management has intentionally impeded the CBOC in the performance of our duties, by their refusal to provide pertinent information when requested. If this information was disclosed by management, the CBOC, the Board and the public would have been aware of the drastic shifts in project funds and questions or concerns could have been raised’ the report outlined.


“Parkway Heights Middle school is the only middle school on this side of town. It’s half finished conditions, now with no chance of new buildings to replace the remaining old ones (oldest middle school in the district folks), needs attention. Parkway is just as bad as Buri and needs a full shot of light shown on it. All of it. Attention to the gaping holes and trenches, chipped away blacktop surfaces left for a later date, pipes covered in duct tape for temp repair since the buildings were to be torn down. ADA safety issues, fences that fall down, plumbing that sort of works, weeds growing in the length that any homeowner would be fined.” South City resident Leo D Vinci wrote.


Work has been abandoned at Parkway Heights Middle School.

“My hope is the kids don’t have to go to a school that looks like this, when we as a community state that an education is worth something when in reality, it shows one school isn’t worth the same.” a parent writes



How do we tell our children they deserve a place in STEM technology when they arrive at school seeing this? a parent asks


“A tour of the field conditions needs to be included. UNUSABLE and makes the school appeared to be abandoned. Perhaps it has been? Civil rights of students to receive equitable conditions throughout the district, one middle school to the next, are to be questioned. It’s worse now than when they started. This school was slated to have its renaissance but has yet to emerge from the Dark Age. Roughly 600 students this school serves, one-third of the population. Its current conditions are blasphemous. Concerned citizens need to speak up now or it’ll stay like this until a lawsuit happens. Seriously, the place looks abandoned.” D Vinci continued.


A view from a neighbors home Photo courtesy Randy Quok

A view of Buri Buri Elementary School from a neighbors home
Photo courtesy Randy Quok


Buri Buri neighbors are outraged at what they say the District has dumped on them ” I am very concerned about the conditions at Buri Buri Elementary: The partially-draped chain link fences, giving us peeks of the disaster behind; The weeds; the mountains and ditches where children should have a play area; The classrooms that look like a juvenile detention center; The helter-skelter arrangement of buildings that could easily hide child molesters; The ugly paint job; The scraggly trees; On and on.” Peggy Deras pens “If I were only younger, I’d be organizing a cleanup. This is OUR NEIGHBORHOOD SCHOOL! How could we let this happen? How can we let this keep happening? Does this Citizens Board Oversight Committee have any authority to do anything?”

A recent inquiry into Buri Buri Elementary School resulted in learning there will be no playing fields on the school property. “Where are the kids suppose to play”  Jim M. asked.



Another SSF School site: Alta Loma also looks abandoned

Another SSF School site: Alta Loma also looks abandoned



The bleachers – and field – at Westborough Middle School also show neglect


The field at Westborough Middle School

The field at Westborough Middle School consists of weeds and gopher holes; not safe for local kids or students to utilize



With Measure J monies now gone and the District using $11M of general funds to complete some of the work while other projects fall from the drawing board, community members realize their outspoken concerns for resolving the fields for our youth has lost even more ground. “You know we talk a big talk, about how important our kids are, but the proof is found in front of us: our schools and our parks. We should all be ashamed” Jim M. said shaking his head.



It can be seen that the City is taking better care of the fields as evident in this recent photo of Alta Loma Park.



Westborough Park Baseball field was to be used by SI and remains in good condition

Westborough Park Baseball field was to be used by SI and remains in good condition




This photo was sent to ESC in May showing the neglected field. "Please help! How do we get someone to mow this 'lawn'?' a neighbor writes

Anthony De La Cruz sent this photo back in May showing the neglected field. “Please help! How do we get someone to mow this ‘lawn’?ECH or the kids can’t play baseball or find a ball on this weed, gopher infested mess”


Today we received this photo of Sunshine Gardens field. "And now there is a broken sprinkler head with a 2 foot hole randomly spewing into this green patch. Help please.

Today we received this photo of Sunshine Gardens field. “And now there is a broken sprinkler head with a 2 foot hole randomly spewing into this green patch. Help please.” Anthony De La Cruz begs


You have to ask yourself how is it our City is world renowned for our technology yet our kid’s schools ‘look like they are abandoned’? More important, what is the solution?

UPDATE – Comments posted ESC Facebook page on this write up:


Angel M Perez Horrible!!!! Its embarrassing when u have teams from other cities come and play here and laugh about how bad our fields are. I thought this was a good baseball town but our fields don’t reflect that!!!!where does all the cities’s money go?!!?

Patty Gomez Not in the parks and not in our youth. Go a few cities down… Not too far, millbrae, their fields are beautiful. ?

Beto Razo If the city is not going to make the school fields safe, they should build housing for teachers instead of leaving the fields like that. How much was spent on the ferry stop?

Susan C. Freeman to Beto Razo:  The parks in this “article” are NOT the responsibility of the City; they are the responsibility of SSFUSD. The “article” is riddled with misinformation, a sign of an irresponsible “editor.”

Beto Razo to Susan C. Freeman; that’s why I stated that the city isn’t going to help with the school fields. The school district needs to figure out how to better utilize that land. We as residents don’t need this article to back up what we see with our own eyes. Go to all of the neighborhood green areas in south city and then go to the green areas in another town on the peninsula to make a proper assessment of how much our city cares about our families.

Tiffany Villeggiante ???

Sally Johnson Just horrible, ugy, and very embarrassing, All the city is interested in is building more homes, well if you build homes people who move in have kids, and where are these kids suppose to play on which fields?These fields are so dangerous some can really get hurt. These fields are a law suit waiting to happen.

Susan C. Freeman to Sally Johnson Again, these parks mentioned are NOT the City’s responsibility. They are the SSFUSD’s responsibility. The “editor” should have been more responsible. An editor is a journalist who is the person making the final decision about what is included in the newspaper, magazine or news bulletins. He or she is responsible for all the content and all the journalists. This “editor” is not concerned with sharing fact-based information. Don’t believe everything you read in ESC.

Sally Johnson to  Susan, I’ve lived in this city 60+ yrs . I have seen it grow, I’m making a statement as to either the school fields or the park fields that are just horrible to play on. We also enjoy ESC. We give our opinions and look out for our neighbors. ESC is a great site to learn about what is or what is not going on in out community.

Laura Flynn Peradotto Was bad when my kids played. The City seems interested in just building and not keeping anything up. What about Spruce and El Camino and the flooding issues.

Courtney Greene Seems like there is only money for building new homes and the SSFUSD Superintendent receiving a fat raise and City Officials but our schools are neglected and our parks are neglected. As it goes, one finger always points to another. Instead, City Offic…See More **CORRECTION MADE BELOW Full comments were not included originally**

Patrick Coonrod I played baseball 3yrs ago and they were horrible, I take my daughter to the park now and they’re still the same. I guess it’s those million dollar settlements the city paid out for the SSFPD harassing and racial profiling

Patrick Coonrod *30 yrs ago

Gilberto De Anda There soo bad. I don’t even walk the fields for fear of twisting an ankle or falling in a gopher hole

Randy Quok SSFUSD needs new board members.
Melissa Ponelis Kohlmeister Soccer season is just about upon us, and, many teams practice at Orange Park. Every practice and game my kids have played there, I am concerned that someone is going to sprain an ankle by falling into a gopher hole. Last year, the games returned to Hillside which was way better, but still not great. Many friends have stopped playing for SSF sports teams and take them to either San Bruno or Millbrae. It’s unfortunate.

Susan C. Freeman I will share the FACTS here: Anyone with a high school (or maybe even middle school) education level in California knows that school districts are independent of cities and counties. Only school districts handle public education and the management of funds associated with any public school expenditures. Civics 101, folks.

Brian Keith to Susan Freeman Some other FACTS. You could have no doubt provided the same information without the air of superiority. Manners 101.

Susan C. Freeman to Brian Keith – not at all ill-mannered; simply operating from thinking quadrant not feeling quadrant. Not being snarky, being literal. You ACTUALLY learn this in school. This “article” by this “editor” is extremely lacking in journalistic standards and FACTS. Thanks, though!

Edwin Tomas Arriola to Susan Freeman Orange Park, Buri Buri, Alta Loma Baseball field, Westborough, Hillside Pitch… These are not under the jurisdiction of the school district.

Susan C. Freeman to Edwin Tomas Arriola – The sites you mention are NOT in the “article.” The “editor” irresponsibly blames the City for school sites that are NOT in the City’s jurisdiction. Facts matter. Buri Buri is in fact under the jurisdiction of the school district …See More **CORRECTION MADE BELOW Full comments were not included originally**

Susan C. Freeman to Brian Keith I wasn’t being rude. I was being literal. You ACTUALLY learn this in Civics in school in CA, which is NOT always the case in other states.

Sheila Folan Cronin to Susan Freeman You were being condescending by starting your comments with anyone with “a high school or middle school education,…” insinuating that people are stupid. You may not have intended to come across that way, but that is the way you came across.

Susan C. Freeman to Sheila Folan Cronin – No, I was not being condescending, as that is, in fact, where one would have learned this. I was not insinuating. I was actually stating a fact. I am fairly certain you are in no position to tell me what I was thinking, feeling, s…See More **CORRECTION MADE BELOW Full comments were not included originally**

Brian Keith So ashamed of my hometown. Back in the day, we played on all of those fields, and they were awesome. There is so much money in this area–there is NO excuse for this. And we wonder why kids get in trouble when we don’t provide safe places for them to play. The City Government AND SSFUSD should be ashamed.

Patty Gomez Welp although it’s appreciated that the city sponsors non profit groups to provide youth sports in our city, unfortunately not much is being put to making the fields better. I happened to take my boys to a millbrae park and wow, they have water to irrigate the fields. Their lawns are manicured and showed they cared. Older youth teams are having to make astronomical payments to rent high school fields here where they attend school. The problem now is that we have outside residents(soccer clubs from San Mateo, burlingame and San Bruno) renting el Camino and south city leaving our south city young ones with nothing to use. So if anyone has a solution for me id appreciate some help.

Edwin Tomas Arriola to I think you should run for the park n rec commission 🙂

Patty Gomez to  Edwin Tomas Arriola I’ve been tempted lol
Andrew Serrata Its probably because Biotech is a world changing technological advancement.. Sports are the same old game

Abiel Christian Malepeai They are horrible. Parkway Heights Middle School’s facilities still look the same from when I attended school there. The schools are in desperate need of an upgrade.

Donna Spencer Why not approach biotech companies for help? Naming rights for fields is a common way major league cities help to pay for new stadiums. Why not for public parks and school fields?

Edwin Tomas Arriola I have attended a number of “State of the City” addresses and generally one hears local politicians boasting about the new housing developments going on. What I don’t hear is about what infrastructure is being put in place to support all of these new homes and families (i.e. Road improvements, water supply, parks and green areas). None of the SSF’s public sports fields are being properly maintained, nor have they received any improvements in years; now one might rationalize that this may be due to the drought but, as someone who has volunteered as a coach at the local level for over a decade, I know for a fact that out sports fields were a disgrace before there was ever any drought!

Brian Lopiccolo to Edwin Tomas Arriola I couldn’t agree more. I’ve coached youth baseball in this city for 10+ years and these fields are DANGEROUS

Leticia Gutierrez Lmao when people would go to the field after school.

Ellen Minucciani It is a shame that the city and school district would let the school grounds look like a totally neglected piece of land.

Margaret De La Cruz WHY is there no accountability for this!! Park and Rec!! Everything South City, what’s their response? This is UNACCEPTABLE!!! I want answers our kids should not be play under these conditions!! Should we call 7 on your side!!! ?

Everything South City to Margaret De La Cruz -the fields that appear in abandoned condition are on school property and the District is short on funds for building classrooms it doesn’t appear there would be $$ to fix the fields. That said, as reported in this write up, an inside source has mentioned there may be a partnership with the City helping the schools. We will update when we hear more and if you have other ideas – keep us in the loop. It is a sad reflection on our City for sure. Thanks Margaret De La Cruz


Sharon Celillo I’m sure it was mentioned somewhere but we know the school district oversees school property and the city oversees parks. In the article it mentions the two may try working together to help find a solution. The city uses school fields for various programs. In the meantime, probably not the best thing to rip into each other when it won’t help the students. Direct the anger and frustration towards a positive change. I’m guessing as this continues to evolve, community days at the schools will be happening. And, THAT day will be the day to walk the walk and not just talk the talk.

Update message sent to ESC: ‘They mowed both fields today at Sunshine Gardens, so that’s a start. Thank you!!!’

Coach Ray message: I’ve been around a long time coaching kids of all ages at every field in this City and it’s about time our concerns are being discussed openly but I don’t know if that will do any good. The schools don’t have the money but they block volunteers from doing the work themselves so our kids are left to play on gopher infested weeded pits with decaying structures all around.

If you don’t have a kid that goes to the schools or plays on the fields you have no idea of the condition, driving by they might look like nice open fields. For kids they are injuries waiting to happen. I lost count of the number of teams that refuse to play here through the years and I understand why people put their kids in sport programs in other cities.

I look forward to out of town games down the peninsula and beyond because the fields are so much better taken care of and I never worry about inquires to our players like I do on our home fields. Grasses are trimmed and kept up, bleachers aren’t overgrown or rotting. Some are schools and some are city parks. Us residents got hit with a school bond and then the city added another sales tax. Through all these years I have taken money from my own pocket to pay for other kids, I’m not complaining, but as a coach I do what I can for the kids. Elected officials need to listen if they really want the best for our kids too. Someone said businesses might be interested in sponsoring fields but really it is hard enough to find them to sponsor a team.

I could go on and on with years of problems but like I said before – what good would it do? But it’s good that someone took these pictures because us coaches have been saying this for years but every year it is the same. Maybe someone smarter than us coaches has a solution, let me know.
Coach Ray

Everything South City: Update message sent to ESC: ‘They mowed both fields today at Sunshine Gardens, so that’s a start. Thank you!!

Juan Bustos: lipstick on a pig



UPDATE AUGUST 13, 2016- Thank you to commenter gloriajames for alerting us some comments had been inadvertently cut off in our transfer from FB as above. Everything South City works to be sure all voices are heard and we apologize for this error/over sight. 

Full comments by Courtney Greene have been added below.

In reviewing our FB page for corrections we found multiple comments by Susan C Freeman removed which appears were deleted by the author. A  neighbor, RG had taken  few screen shots of the ensuing online discussion. “Interesting thread, glad I got a few screen shots…..” RG writes. 

Please note Everything South City does not delete information, rather corrections will be noted when they are made. Our FB does have profanity filters which may hide some comments from public view, and if any comments are deemed threatening, we will also hide those from public view. ESC is a community resource and is community driven, local neighbor to local neighbor. Thank you for your assistance when errors are made.


Courtney Greene:Seems like there is only money for building new homes and the SSFUSD Superintendent receiving a fat raise and City Officials but our schools are neglected and our parks are neglected. As it goes, one finger always points to another. Instead, City Officials, Parks and Rec. and the SSFUSD should all work together to find a solution. We are a growing city and an expensive one at that. As another commentator stated, if someone gets hurt, South City must have a lot a money to pay out from a lawsuit. All this should be a priority before housing. Then once all the parks and schools are fixed, then housing should start. Makes sense but Officials don’t see it like this sadly.



Susan C Freeman: Brian Keith I wasn’t being rude. I was being literal. You ACTUALLY learn this in Civics in school in CA, which is NOT always the case in other states.


Sheila Folan Cronin You were being condescending by starting your comments with anyone with “a high school or middle school education,…” insinuating that people are stupid. You may not have intended to come across that way, but that is the way you came across.


Susan C. Freeman to Sheila Folan Cronin- No, I was not being condescending, as that is, in fact, where one would have learned this. I was not insinuating. I was actually stating a fact. I am fairly certain you are in no position to tell me what I was thinking, feeling, saying, doing or even intending. I do not know if it is in high school or middle school where students take Civics here – but I learned it in 7th grade. When debating, negotiating via digital media one should operate from the thinking quadrant not feeling quadrant. That is precisely what I was doing. No one person can make another person feel stupid. Perhaps the focus should be on the misleading information presented as fact in an “article’ in a “news source” by an “editor”

Freeman8.8.2016screenshot RG esc2copy

RG writes “interesting thread, glad i got few screenshots…..”


Susan C. Freeman Edwin Tomas Arriola- The sites you mention are NOT in the “article’. The “editor”  irresponsibly  blames the City for school sites that area NOT in the City’s jurisdiction. Facts matter. Buri Buri is in fact under the jurisdiction of the school district and is shut down because of school construction. Last week the school system announced they will not refurbish the ball park at Buri Buri because they have run out of money. The others you named are join jurisdiction save for Orange Park which is under the City’s jurisdiction. You should sign up for the City emails that share in all the ribbon cuttings and upgrades to the parks you mention. I find many of those parks robust and quite pleasant—despite our being in a drought. Other than the fact we are in a drought, many of those parks either have been renovated already or are slated for such. There are sites the City operates and maintains that certainly need care but sites this ‘article mentions” FALSELTY accuse the City for disrepair. You might want to get informed with the facts via the City newsletter, a Facebook page, Twitter feed, and email alerts rather than reading a “publication” that simply serves as fodder for gossip and an outlet for the angry and ill-informed. The people who work for this….


Freeman8.8.2016ScreenshotRG Edwinresponsey

Susan C Freeman’s comments were inadvertently cut off from the original post & were shared by RG here as they appear to be deleted by the author. Please note ESC does not delete comments from our social media, even those that are critical of Everything South City.















UPDATE April 27, 2018

Ebony Henry shares this photo taken today of the Parkway field renovation.

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[…] the shameful conditions of our fields citing deteriorating conditions for decades. There has much anger about the conditions especially in light of the fact our City is recognized as the Birthplace … now boasting over 200 biotech companies but our City cannot produce safe sports fields for our […]

6 years ago

Susan Freeman, it’s clearly obvious you have NO idea what you are talking about. The fields at Orange Park, the two at Alta Loma the one at Avalon as well as Callero are all maintained by the city. get the facts right before you try and talk down to people.

7 years ago

Ms. Freeman, I congratulate you and your family on your accomplishments. I am however still confused by how someone with a communications degree who does not understand how to address an audience without sounding offensive or belittling. I am a high school dropout, who worked the tomato and cucumber fields of Stockton, CA., who joined the US Military at age 17, served my country for 35 year, awarded the U.S. DOJ Attorney General’s Award, retired and has traveled the world, and who now holds 2 Associate’s Degrees, 1 Bachelors, and a Master’s Degree along with Certificates of Completion from Schools and Colleges. I don’t believe I need to educate anyone on Civic or History, especially in a public forum (Leadership 101). I know we can be civil to each others opinions so with that said, I too will no longer post about the dialog. But one thing that is clear, this article remains the same – the City and the School District have both left our children to get hurt…I personally don’t care who is to blame, I can see the trees from the forest.

Susan Freeman
Susan Freeman
7 years ago

Firstly, my comments in no way attacked any individual but instead stated the facts that the pictures and the comments on the Facebook thread where not aligned. I was NOT being insulting by stating the facts and I was NOT being rude to any individual. I am a product of journalism and I hold the standards of journalistic integrity very high. In no way was I finger pointing by simply sharing the facts.

Secondly, I am not sure that anyone in any city has the right to cut off another citizen’s point of view or comments in a setting of civil political discourse –regardless if that person is married to a city official, is an implant, or any other poorly framed argument for censorship. Never have I been treated so poorly as many in this thread have treated me. I have a great many friends — true friends — in South San Francisco and they too are horrified by this vile treatment, this example of crudeness and rudeness of a fellow human. I am a citizen here and I pay taxes, spend my money here, support the community, public safety, and quality of life initiatives in this city.

Thirdly, we should attack problems — not people, and we should do so in a way that is fair, fact-focused, and in keeping with the rules of civil discourse and principled negotiations. You people who are attacking me don’t even know me so I should be able to let your comments roll off my back. But, I am not that kind of person. I have feelings – and I feel deeply. I am known for listening with empathy not judgment — a trait that is all too rare. However, in this kind of discussion where people are sharing misinformation, one should be welcomed to share the facts — and certainly not attacked for any attempt to do so. “Civic 101” is not an insult. States vary on the issue of what governmental entity handles what. In this case there was a misalignment in what was being presented. No one is stupid for being mistaken. No one is wrong for having to apologize. No one is a lessor human for being sorry for a mistake made. When one resorts to personal attacks, one has proven oneself to lack reason and a better case.

Fourthly, my husband and his role have no place in a conversation about what I, a well-educated, perfectly kind and compassionate but critically thinking human being can or cannot share. I am well versed and quite seasoned in principled negotiations and work with people of all cultures and backgrounds of all ages and means from Texas to California. I have been intimately involved in campaigns for people and bond measures most of my life and know that we must give merit to another’s stand — especially when facts are presented in a rational and reasonable manner. I ran my own strategic marketing communications business while at the same time earning a master’s degree in marketing communications, focusing communications theory and business development. I care deeply about relationships: initiating them, growing them, and nurturing them. I am what many call, “a people person.” I hold a BA in journalism, a BA in political science and a minor in marketing. I hold an MA in Communications and I hold many continuing education certifications, including from Harvard Business and the Wharton School of Business Executive Negotiations. In no way am I ignorant and in no way have I crawled out from under any rock anywhere. I was reluctant to dignify such an undignified attack with any reply at all. However, since the life-long residents of South San Francisco whom I know, love, and respect do not read or comment in this “newspaper,” I felt I would stand up for myself. No, I do not need a man to stand up for me and I do not ever expect I will be a submissive woman who can or should be told what to say, think, or do — even by the CEO of this city. I am my own woman and I strongly support the causes such as freedom and equality. In fact, you who do not know me would want me in the fox hole with you – I assure you.

Lastly, I am Italian of Sicilian decent with family from Palermo and I am also Jewish with family from Europe. I am no different at a cellular level than any of you. I am however quite different in my philosophy on facts and my methodology in sharing them — we should always operate from the thinking quadrant and not the feeling quadrant when addressing important issues that should be in a source of real news. This is what people who are smart, mature, self-respecting and respecting of others do. This is how they behave and this is what is lacking in the personal attack on me. I care about what real news is and facts, especially as they relate to my community. Yes, I am a resident of South San Francisco and will be for a long time. South City will never be what it once was – and nor should it be. My not having been born and raised here only makes me bring a global view to the table – and considering we all came from someplace else in this young country, that should be most welcomed. I have lived all over the world — not just this nation. My standpoint comes from having lived all over the world. For that, I do not apologize, as I am not myopic in my views. We should as a community, motivate and inspire one another to do as well or better than we ourselves have done, and to be happy, healthy, and whole. This is a sign of a spiritually mature leader — which we should ALL be, regardless of title, age, gender, race – or those of one’s husband.

Feel free to carry on with your comments but know that I’ll not again dignify with a response. Good luck and good day.

Susan C Freeman,

Strong, smart, kind, loving, compassionate, caring, educated, accomplished, business woman, mother and wife…

…of the youngest student body president of a university’s history, youngest metro council man in the city, state representative and chief of staff in US Congress, US Navy Captain (06), lawyer (3rd in his law school class), deputy mayor of a city of a half-million people, chief operating officer of a private utility company, and now Chief Executive Officer of a city we call HOME…

Daughter of a mother who is a former nun turned thrice-graduated student and teacher of higher education, and father who was a genius, self-made millionaire who discovered the cause and cure for Bell’s Palsy and who books won many an award for helping to save lives and cure human conditions.

Niece of golden glove boxing champion, speaker of the house, state representative, lawyer, judge, lieutenant governor, business owner, husband and father.

If that’s living under a rock, I’ll take it.

7 years ago

Dorothy, I strongly believe you have a right to speak out against the comments of Ms. Freeman. I too saw them derogatory in nature. With that said, I also believe this issue has been long overdue and has been festering in peoples minds. I think that other people believe the same. I believe we need to remove career politicians out. They only say what the community wants to hear, take up space, and do nothing to help the community. I also believe that comments like Ms. Freeman only put oil in the fire and make the issues worse.

Dorothy Buhagiar
Dorothy Buhagiar
7 years ago

Thanks John Baker, very well stated.
BTW I’m not an implant, I’m born and raised in SSF.

7 years ago

Perhaps this will all be a past issue if the City can get the new 1 Billion dollar Greenland investments. Then the ball will be with the City Council and the School District to stop passing the buck and move the bucks forward in a shared venture to the betterment of our parks and fields.

7 years ago

Originally I was going to respond in full agreement with this article. So let’s start there. South City is a great place to live but the parks and school fields do need a complete overhaul. I did not see or read anything false in this newsworthy article.

SUSAN FREEMAN this is for you, pay attention:

Now in response to this ignorant, condescending, incredibly out of line IMPLANT from another state who just recently moved to our beautiful city – SUSAN FREEMAN, WIFE OF THE CITY MANAGER – I’m talking about you. I’ve been watching your behavior online, it’s hard to miss. How dare you come into OUR city and talk the amount of shit you do. Your husband, as the Manager of OUR city, should be embarrassed with the level of disrespect you have shown the residents and OUR city. Let me break it down for you since you are new to South City and all.

We are a strong community of people who care about each other and don’t take a lot of disrespect from people like you. We lift our neighbors up and help them when we can. We address issues and find ways to solve the problems in our city. And we have respect for each other for the most part.

Your incredible sense of entitlement and negativity towards South City and the people here is the worst I’ve ever seen. What gives you the right to come here and run your mouth, especially when your husband is managing our city?? You are an embarrassment.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion but you have taken it to the next level by personally attacking your neighbors, anyone who has an opinion that differs from yours and Everything South City as a whole. You need to watch your mouth.

You run your mouth about “irresponsible journalism” or whatever and attack a community Facebook page that is run by people who have lived here all of their lives and post the NEWS – yes SUSAN THE NEWS for South City – on their own time. They do not get paid. They simply share. Most of the people who respond or ask for something to be posted have lived here their whole lives. How do I know this? Because I grew up here my whole life. I went to school with a lot of them, I know their parents, I visit their businesses in South City, I know them.

So every single time you open up that ignorant, negative, condescending, inaccurate mouth of yours you personally offend someone I know and probably care about. I’m one person. One of the many who read your obnoxious, hateful, attention craving posts. Think of all the other people who just don’t like you. There must be so many.

I’m really surprised your husband, the Manager of OUR city, has yet to take action on how disrespectful you are being. You are an embarrassment to his position in OUR city.

I hope that you find the rock you crawled out of under and find your way back to it. When you do, stay there. Next time you get a dirty look at the grocery store, or your server at one of our fine dining establishments gives you a weird look as he puts your plate down – ask yourself why. Your picture is right up there with your hateful, ignorant statements about the people who have lived in SSF their whole lives and OUR city. Now STFU.

7 years ago

Amen! Could not have said it better. We love our little City and will remove those that want to make it into another San Francisco…. we not SF!

John Baker
7 years ago

My God, this is about the most misogynist comment I’ve ever seen on ESC.
Seriously, read this comment: “I’m really surprised your husband, the Manager of OUR city, has yet to take action on how disrespectful you are being. You are an embarrassment to his position in OUR city.” That would be horrible enough, but it’s a follow-up to: “What gives you the right to come here and run your mouth, especially when your husband is managing our city?? You are an embarrassment.”
What century do you live in? Do you think a husband should be allowed to limit what his spouse says? How about the other way around? Should he slap her if she doesn’t obey him? What’s your take on the 19th Amendment? Was it too far?
Susan has been targeted by many who think this town was once a Utopia ruined by “implants.” Occasional ESC letter writer Michael Harris once spoke at a council meeting telling Mike Futrell to “rein in (his) wife.” Seriously this was in 2015, not 1875. If I told my wife not to express her opinion because she’s my wife, I’d be figuratively (if not literally) slapped. And NO ONE better tell my daughter that. She’s going to be in charge of all of us one day.
You said it in your comment, we are a strong community. But to deny our problems and not accept criticism about them because doing so is expressing “negativity” and/or “entitlement” is a step backwards and why things don’t get done.
And “Implant?” So what? I’m an “implant” too, and guess what? Most of your neighbors are these days. The state of the local economy and horrible housing prices are making most of us a bit transient. I rent. You probably think I shouldn’t have a say “because I don’t have roots.” Susan and Mike came here to make a difference. They’ve done that. I’ve thrown myself into our housing, libraries, transit, and schools. Hey, us implants are doing our best to make this community better as well.
Look, Susan speaks her mind. Maybe she comes off strong. But she also comes off smelling a lot better than you do here.
So let’s talk about who belongs under rocks: trolls. And because we’re putting out facts here, what’s the definition of an anonymous person who doesn’t even have the courage to express their misogynist opinions under their own name? An Internet Troll.

Bill Demeter
Bill Demeter
7 years ago

I went by Orange Park Friday. While the baseball fields are certainly not in “good shape” as described by the Park Department’s webpage, they seem serviceable. The turf is a mess, in fact, I don’t think you can really call it turf. Basically,it’s a mix of dirt and dried grass. However, I didn’t see any gaping holes. Oddly, I detected the strong odor of what I assume was weed killer. I don’t understand why they would bother with weed killer. Just mow anything that has the tenacity to grow out there and forget about it!
The holes in the bleachers were patched with plywood. Generally, it wasn’t pretty and certainly not “in good shape”, but I didn’t see anything dangerous. Hopefully, someone has checked the structure supporting the bleachers. If the deck is that worn out, it’s likely the structure isn’t any better.

Bill Demeter
Bill Demeter
7 years ago

Ms. Freeman: According to the City’s website: “The Park Division maintains (8) City baseball fields (5) S.S.F. Unified School District baseball fields (2) City soccer fields and (2) S.S.F. Unified School District soccer fields. Irrigation on all fields is checked and repaired by our crew. Holes that develop in the fields are due to heavy usage and must be filled in order to prevent a tripping hazard. The lawns are mowed weekly and fertilized four times a year. The backstops, bleachers and fences are kept clean and in good shape. Due to the large number of teams that use our sports fields, this is a year-round job.”
BTW:In High School, I was lucky to learn the basics of state government, and you think learning the division between the city and school district responsibility is “Civics 101”? First…that simply is not true. Secondly, even if it was, it doesn’t apply to this article as has been demonstrated by myself and others, and is no excuse for the condition of these fields.

7 years ago

A City Managers wife should not be giving Civic lessons in the public forum. While she too is a citizen, she should understand the delicacies of her husband’s position. Again she too is an outsider who will one day leave. She does understand Civic, she does not understand what the citizens have had to endure to get to this point. She may understand theory but certainly does not understand the citizens of this community and the history and practicalities of this problem. Thank you for your understanding.

7 years ago

why do you cut ppl. comments off?

7 years ago

I see a lot of defensive finger pointing by Ms. Freeman. Unfortunately this has been the problem and please let’s stop the finger pointing. The blame is on top leadership from City Council to School Board and City management. There are City Council members who have known about this for years. I don’t think anyone of them has brought this matter up at anytime for discussion. I believe that the people are at fault for voting these same people in over and over, afterwards they become career politicians and do nothing for the citizens. We, the people, are also at fault because our leadership bring in outsiders as consultant and to manage our day to day operations. Our leadership is more concerned about buying “art” than fixing the fields and this is shameful. When are we going to learn? We need new leadership to keep the people interest a priority, and with term limitations.

your neighbor
your neighbor
7 years ago

By the way, I understand Susan Freeman is the City Manager’s wife so
her comments are unbecoming her position in our city with apparent bias that could prove embarrassing for her husband. That is Common Sense 101.

your neighbor
your neighbor
7 years ago

The city has money and spends tons on consultants to tell them what to do, but all they need to look at is right before them. Across from Orange Park is a row of leaning trees ! Thats not art. Its bad tree planting! We need city festivals, fun activities where community comes together. Look at neighboring cities, San Bruno, Pacifica, Burlingame. Every year there is the fog fest, Day in the Park, great shopping. South City can be a great city, but we need new leadership with fresh ideas,and innovation.

Bill Demeter
Bill Demeter
7 years ago

I was talking to a guy from Burlingame and when he found out I was from SSF he exclaimed: “South City? My kid almost broke his G** D*** leg playing at Orange Park! How can the let the fields diterate like that!?

Carol Turpin
Carol Turpin
7 years ago

Drive into the Industrial Park and you will see green, manicured lawns. Maybe anyone who wants to construct a business should also have some money set aside for beautifying our schools. Some Walmart employees posted that they were painting at one of our local schools.
I have been watching for several months the installation of stop lights at Magnolia and Grand. Still working on it today (not one worker, but multiple). This is one sloooow process.
No hope for anything being done in a timely fashion.

7 years ago

The problem is the City Council, the Park and Rec and the School District – all of the leadership know the problem exist and everyone just goes about their business as if your child does not count. Let’s remove these politicians and leadership out! It all starts at the top…

Marquez L. Jones
Marquez L. Jones
7 years ago

My kids play ball on these fields. I totally agree that something needs to be done about the fields.
I myself a SAN FRANCISCO Rec and Park employee have volunteered to personally fix the fields on my own time, but have been told that I couldn’t because it was a job for the city employees of South San Francisco and may cause a problem.
I’ve seen kids HURT by the conditions of these fields and think it is a problem loooong overdue for a solution.
Will it take a serious injury to a city employee’s child before someone finally does something about this?

7 years ago

This story and these pictures are LONG overdue. South San Francisco is the place NOT to be when playing baseball, despite our long history of being strong in the sport. Just last week, a player went after a ball while playing on Callero Field (Southwood) and while running, stepped into a gopher hole, fell and injured his arm. Our politicians know about this problem, so let’s stop paying for beautification project or buying “art” that do nothing for the safety of our children and put those funds to prevent injuries and beautifying these parks. I am worried someone will be successful in taking our city to court over these well-known safety violations. What is meant to keep our children safe, is now a hazard to these children and a liability to our City.

your neighbor
your neighbor
7 years ago

There appears to be absent AND incompetent leadership from the school district or the Park and Rec. Dept. One blames the other: schools/parks are not in their jurisdiction, but residents and taxpayers are paying taxes to both city and school district. A bond that was to fund school construction for all the city’s schools, was canceled and won’t remodel or build a new school due to the loss of 11M that no one in the school district wants to take responsibility for, yet the Superintendent got a raise with renewed contract. The School board fired the first builder which was a good move after pressure from citizens who saw the shoddy unsafe conditions the children at one school were being subjected, but the new manager doesn’t seem to be any better. There is even talk about the school district going bankrupt. Parents need to show up to school board meetings, and SPEAK UP and show OUTRAGE. OUR taxes pay salaries, they need citizens to tell them all this nonsense is unacceptable

I support Measure W funds be donated to the school district to fix the school, and public fields before any other plans to build anything else in the city. The ordinance for Measure W said the funds will be used for SSF residents ONLY and going are going into the General Fund. The priority should be to take care of city schools and fix our park sooner than later.