03/19/2012 04:47 pm ET

Protect Coit Tower Initiative Backed By San Francisco Democrats

A controversial initiative to save and protect Coit Tower, the under-appreciated icon that rises from the top of Telegraph Hill, just received some major love from San Francisco Democrats.

The liberal San Francisco party has officially endorsed the proposition to preserve and protect Coit Tower, set to appear on the June 5 ballot.


Proposition B, as the measure is referred to, will prioritize the funds raised at Coit Tower through elevator fees and concessions. The money will be used for preserving its murals, protecting the building and cleaning Pioneer Park. It will also strictly limit commercial activities and private events.

The Protect Coit Tower Committee, formed earlier this year, and the Telegraph Hill Dwellers worked tirelessly to get the measure on the June ballot.

“This strong show of support for Prop. B by the San Francisco Democratic Party shows just how incredibly valuable Coit Tower is to the people of this city,” said Jon Golinger, Chair of the Protect Coit Tower Committee in a statement. “Coit Tower and its historic murals are unique and priceless San Francisco treasures that just aren’t being treated that way, and it’s time to start fixing that by passing Proposition B.”

Supporters of Prop B are concerned with the gradual decay of several Depression-era murals that surround the inside lower level of Coit Tower. The groups believe that the city’s Recreation and Parks Department is not doing enough to protect the Diego Rivera–esque murals from regular wear and tear and San Francisco’s infamous fog.

But the controversial initiative has also bumped up against a fair share of resistance. The Huffington Post reported last month:

Department officials worry that by keeping Coit Tower's earnings essentially inside the monument, it would deprive other city parks of necessary funds. "The money we make at Coit Tower which is one of our most important tourist attractions along with Golden Gate Park and frankly Candlestick Park, is what keeps our neighborhood rec centers and parks operating," Parks and Recreation director Phil Ginsburg told ABC-7 News. "If all the money we made at Coit Tower stayed at Coit Tower, Willie Wu Wu Wong playground in Chinatown right next door wouldn't have funding for rec staff or custodial staff.

Curbed SF took a similarly skeptical view:

Sadly, the Protect Coit Tower Committee and its cousin, Telegraph Hill Neighbors are not interested in raising money to restore the murals. They want funds to come from concession revenues, but their ballot measure looks more like a smokescreen to restrict access in the evenings and protect their parking. ... Coit Tower is closed in the evenings, but the road up--an extension of Lombard Street--is not, and neighbors enjoy the parking lot there at night.

The SF Democrats join the ever-growing coalition of citywide organizations determined to preserve Coit Tower’s splendor. The Sierra Club, SEIU Local 1021, the Coalition for San Francisco Neighborhoods and the West of Twin Peaks Central Council have all vowed to vote “Yes on B” as well.

Love Coit as much as we do? Scroll through our epic slideshow below to see the Telegraph Hill tower at its best:

Coit Tower