Sen. Feinstein rips up public garden

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It must be tough keeping track of all the workmen doing your chores when you have as many multi—million dollar mansions as Senator Dianne Feinstein and her fabulously wealthy husband Richard Blum. The latest addition to the property collection is a 16 million dollar house in San Francisco, located adjacent to a public right—of—way along steps run up a hill.

The workmen doing the gardening and renovation on the njew digs ripped up an entire formal garden located on public land. Here is the before photo, and here is the after photo, via the San Francisco Chronicle's ace investigative reporters Matier & Ross. And yes, that house in the background is the Senator's new SF digs.

There is no question of bad faith or malign intent. M&R explain:

If it sounds like her crew went too far in digging up a public space, we should point out there is some ambiguity —— because the landscaping around the Lyon Street steps is supposed to be maintained by the neighbors, in this case Feinstein and her husband.

And the couple were actually working up plans to give the area a total makeover —— including putting up a gate and fence around the Lyon Street entrance.

"Some security is obviously important, and yet we want to do it in a way that it doesn't take away" from the public space, Feinstein said.

"We will pay the city to do the work," she said. "I regret (the garden) was taken out before we were ready to go in with the new stuff.

"It's going to be beautiful," she promised, "if people can just have a little patience."

Public stairs running up hillsides are common in both San Francisco and Berkeley. Typically, owners of adjacent properties are charged with maintaining the steps and landscaping the adjacent properties. I am certain that with the Senator's need for security, we will soon see an interesting landscaping scheme combining attractive fencing (complete with electronic sensors) and vegetation, making the Lyon Steps an even more popular tourist spot.

Thomas Lifson   5 28 06

It must be tough keeping track of all the workmen doing your chores when you have as many multi—million dollar mansions as Senator Dianne Feinstein and her fabulously wealthy husband Richard Blum. The latest addition to the property collection is a 16 million dollar house in San Francisco, located adjacent to a public right—of—way along steps run up a hill.

The workmen doing the gardening and renovation on the njew digs ripped up an entire formal garden located on public land. Here is the before photo, and here is the after photo, via the San Francisco Chronicle's ace investigative reporters Matier & Ross. And yes, that house in the background is the Senator's new SF digs.

There is no question of bad faith or malign intent. M&R explain:

If it sounds like her crew went too far in digging up a public space, we should point out there is some ambiguity —— because the landscaping around the Lyon Street steps is supposed to be maintained by the neighbors, in this case Feinstein and her husband.

And the couple were actually working up plans to give the area a total makeover —— including putting up a gate and fence around the Lyon Street entrance.

"Some security is obviously important, and yet we want to do it in a way that it doesn't take away" from the public space, Feinstein said.

"We will pay the city to do the work," she said. "I regret (the garden) was taken out before we were ready to go in with the new stuff.

"It's going to be beautiful," she promised, "if people can just have a little patience."

Public stairs running up hillsides are common in both San Francisco and Berkeley. Typically, owners of adjacent properties are charged with maintaining the steps and landscaping the adjacent properties. I am certain that with the Senator's need for security, we will soon see an interesting landscaping scheme combining attractive fencing (complete with electronic sensors) and vegetation, making the Lyon Steps an even more popular tourist spot.

Thomas Lifson   5 28 06