Presidents Report October 2020

Submitted by Lucia Bogatay, October 29 2020

Dear Members, 

No word on the proposed office move to the Officer’s Club about which there has been much discussion. We hope the Trust is still pondering the feasibility and long range benefits or losses which might be entailed removing the history exhibits. Other projects in the Presidio are proceeding. We look forward to hearing about them from Rob Thomson. 

I have had no response from our Senator Feinstein about my suggestion of amending the Presidio Act to allow borrowing. I imagine she is super busy with the Supreme Court nominee, and other pressing business. We will keep trying to get her attention, and Speaker Pelosi as well. 

We continue to monitor the controversy over the Zakheim murals that UCSF plans to demolish. UCSF has let a contract for removing and conserving the murals to a reputable firm, ARG in whom Bob has great confidence. Now we know they will be saved. 

Other Events: We are organizing some events for early next year. 

But generally, things have been quiet this month, at least for your President! Sincerely, 

Lucia Bogatay, President of PHA

Presidents Report September 2020

September 2020 Presidents Report, Submitted by Lucia Bogatay

Dear Members,

There is still concern about the draconian Trust staffing cuts which eliminate the programs most important to us.  They will displace the Heritage Gallery so they can put offices where it is now located.  It appears this change will not be temporary during the virus. Leasing building 103 will provide a new income stream that the Trust desperately needs.  Nevertheless, it is hard to see the loss of the Archaeology and History staff except for the staff needed for analyzing the effect on archaeology of future development. There is nothing that can replace it.  

We sent a flurry of  letters on AT&T (Gary will say a few words about that), on the Main Post PA which is being renewed without any updates to the Main Post Master Plan, on the staff layoffs, on the proposed move of the Heritage Gallery.  I sent an email to Dianne Feinstein about allowing the Trust to borrow, and at the Trust Board Meeting learned that Lynn Benihof is already working on this.  We will continue to lend our voice to this effort.  It seems the only way to safeguard the Presidio from developers who must be hovering over it!

We continue to monitor the controversy over the Zakheim murals that UCSF plans to demolish.  The Zakheim family wants to take possession of them, and the City of S. F. is about to make them landmarks.  Now the GAO maintains that the murals are Federal property because they were paid for by the Works Progress Administration.  This controversy is still evolving!

Historian Barbara Sokolov has moved from the Bay Area. Nevertheless, she still plans to do her oral histories and the book club for PHA. In the meantime, she has already started an history book club for the general public – “The Joy of History” (https://www.thejoyofhistory.com/current-series) which I highly recommend.  Ours will be similar, but with the Presidio as a key element, and  a discount for PHA members.  

Other Events:  We have registered for the History Days Weekend which will be mainly virtual this year.  Bob Cherny will give his presentation on the History of the Presidio.  Phil Fallujah will organize a screening of the first movie shot in the Presidio.  It was a propaganda movie for WWI, short but rather charming.   Be sure to register on the San Francisco History Days website.

What was to have been our annual meeting talk about early California military art by Beebe and Senkowitz will be rescheduled for early in 2021 

Sincerely, 

Lucia Bogatay, President of PHA

Presidents Report July 2020

Presidio Historical Association President’s Report, submitted by Lucia Bogatay,  July 2020 

The virus has sapped our ambitions a bit. But here is what has happened since my last  report, which was in May.  

The Board: With sadness we accepted the resignation of Bob Meyer who is staying in  Rhode Island for the present. We will miss his enthusiasm and faithfulness. We now  will need to elect a new secretary.  

Advocacy: The Trust has announced staffing cuts which eliminates the historian, the  archaeologist, interpretation, and the volunteer docents . We have a letter in preparation  to the Trust which we will discuss at this meeting.  

The Programmatic Agreement for the Main Post expires soon, and the Trust is planning  to renew it for another 10 years without any changes to the MPU or the PA document.  We will write something to go on record (again) that these documents are both out of  date and should be replaced.  

Our hope is to supply some of the voids the Trust downsizing changes have made. To  that end Paul and I had a useful conversation with Barbara Sokolov, former Trust  historian. She will proceed to prepare a proposal for oral histories of three members of  the PHA and Dr. Jack McAninch, a Letterman doctor.  

We also considered whether we should reevaluate signing the Main Post PA. To that  end I spoke with Rob Thomson and concluded that we should not sign it. The Trust will  most likely not be doing any dramatic undertakings any time soon, and the PA that we  refused to sign 8 years ago is still in force, and now is obsolete.  

We are monitoring the controversy over the murals UCSF plans to demolish. Bob  Cherny will let us know if we need to provide a letter and to whom. But the family is in  negotiations (to save them and acquire them), and the City of S. F. is about to make  them landmarks. 

Publications: Bob Cherny has written a new article for the Communique, and I need  other articles or ideas to complete the issue. I will provide my usual Presidient’s letter.  

Events: Besides Samantha’s book recommendations and interesting links we are  planning to have Barbara Sokolov organize us an actual book club with meetings. In the  meantime, she has started one for the general public which you can see on her website,  The Joy of History (https://www.thejoyofhistory.com/current-series). Ours will be  similar, but cheaper. We hope to have a virtual talk on the War in Laos by Greg Thomas  and his bride Keo. This will be scheduled after they return from a 10-week tour of the  West in an RV. We need to suggest some dates for them, probably in September. The  schedule is wide open, as of now!