Yeah, what else is new with Parks and Recreation Department


By David Toerge
Sentinel Photography Editor
Copyright © 2007 San Francisco Sentinel

This should be filed in the “yeah, so what else is new department”.

When I arrived at the public tennis courts at Palega Park in the city’s Excelsior District for a morning set yesterday, my partner and I were greeted by a friendly crew from Rec and Park Department. They were there to install a windscreen, a much needed improvement to an area that is blasted by the 2:00 winds from Hell.


Our tennis game resumed as they worked. If my memory is right, I believe that there were five men doing the work with four more men wearing a slightly better set of threads, walking the perimeter and appearing to be supervising. This all seemed normal, albeit, a tad excessive with the show of force.

The morning air was thick with the pungent smell of burning tar as a roofing crew plied their trade on a house directly up wind from us. There was also a man wielding a screaming chain saw on the trees that surrounded one side of the court. With the sound of the chain saw, the smell of tar smoke, and having 5 men hanging plastic netting, our tennis game was rapidly becoming an unpleasant experience.

Enter: Irony…The chainsaw wielding man wasn’t trimming the trees to facilitate the installation of the windscreen; he was removing them completely. I counted at least ten stumps and multiple truckloads of branches. Ten very nice, oxygen-producing, living windscreens — sacrificed for plastic netting.

Was the order to trim the trees lost in translation, ignored, or was it the intention of Rec and Park to defoliate the area around Palega Park and rob the neighbors of green trees?

Whatever is the answer to that question.

When David Toerge left a career in photojournalism that had spanned over twelve years and started in a new direction of commercial photography he blended the editorial style with a more corporate look. David led the way in that new style garnering many awards for his work. Communications Arts has honored him over six times. Based in San Francisco, David shoots projects on location all over the US for various corporations and a multitude of magazines and always brings back great images. He has a keen sense of light, color, and composition and delivers to his clients assignments done with passion. He has climbed bridges hundreds of feet in the air, shot in caves hundreds of feet below, dived with sharks and driven the track with Indy drivers. He has shot earthquakes and firestorms but loves walking the streets with his camera just photographing the everyday life of his city. Visit Toerge Photography at, email, or telephone 415-730-3824.

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