Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Goldman's Burger King

Once upon a time, I was an unsophisticated kid who joined the military to see the world. I ate at places like Burger King. When I was stationed in Northern California, I discovered an amazing Burger King in the Presidio of San Francisco. Back then, the Presidio was a military base. While visiting San Francisco, I even stayed in the Presidio's visitors quarters once, and went to a concert at the Cow Palace. As active duty military, you could stay in military lodging at other bases.

The Burger King in the Presidio was amazing because it had a wall of glass windows and was on a hill overlooking the San Francisco Bay, with a stunning view of the Golden Gate Bridge. Most restaurants with that kind of view charge top dollar for a meal. But the Burger King in the Presidio served those on lower budgets, including a large population of military who were serving their country. There are very few places in the world where a guy on an enlisted budget could eat with a view like that.

Fast forward to the future. The Presidio is now becoming a national park, presumedly open to the general population. What's become of that Burger King, where a simple guy serving his country could get an inexpensive meal with a stunning view? It is now the office of Richard N. Goldman, and the Richard & Rhoda Goldman Fund, some of the wealthiest people in the city. As if to say, the "Burger King crowd isn't welcome here," a new high-end restaurant has sprung up nearby -- higher prices without even the benefit of a view (since the Goldmans got the view).

This is not to say that the Goldmans aren't doing wonderful things with their money, things in the public interest. But this is to say that someone who could afford to have their office anywhere, has taken something away FOR THEIR PRIVATE USE, something formerly enjoyed by those who serve their country in the armed forces.

You could blame it on the Reagan Administration for setting up the policy that the Presidio had to generate enough money to pay for its own upkeep. You could argue that Lucas is doing the same thing, when Letterman Hospital (a friend of mine spent quite a bit of time there before he died) was converted to an animation studio. But there are other military hospitals. And the Goldmans AREN'T conservatives, they're just wealthy recipients of Reagan's policies -- which makes it all the more annoying that a supposedly civic-minded group has taken the very best for themselves.

You could even argue that the Goldmans deserve that perch, after all they did to help make Crissy Field a beautiful park that thousands of people enjoy. But my point is that they have the money and probably other properties that have equal views of San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. And if they are truly the civic-minded people that their money seems to buy, you'd think they could give up that spot for the people it formerly served; the people on low budgets who serve their country; possibly with their lives. God forbid we should let any uncultured militaristic conservatives into the Presidio, why, we just managed to get rid of them !


At 8:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love it... while not a military man - I have wonderful memories of eating at that Burger King as a kid - best damn Burger King in the world!


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