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Lets stop Environmental Injustice/Racism in Hunters Point
by Maurice Campbell & Barbara George (mecsoft [at]
Friday Dec 26th, 2003 1:23 PM
After the past eight years Environmental Justice/racism has gotten worst, the independent reports show that things have in fact not improved for the residents and the community of Hunters Point.
Let's stop Racism now!

Has Bayview Hunters Point conditions or gotten worst over the past 8 years for its Residents? Well according to the Original Human Rights Commission Report "The Unfinished Agenda", the Grand Jury Report, the report on "Environmental Justice" by the San Francisco State University Journalism Department, UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, and the New Human Rights Commission Report on "Environmental Racism". Basically that community is living under the worst kind of Racism of a modern progressive city in the United States.
Will the new Mayoral Administration address these important reports or will their be a continuing rip off of Hunters Point residents of their rights, their environment, their opportunity and a suppression of the community?
This is something the rest of the liberal City of San Francisco should focus on now, it makes no sense to suppress a multi cultural community of color with over 35,000 residents. When you read the reports make a judgment from your heart is this acceptable behavior in modern times? Look at the historic information, you be the judge. Why should fellow San Franciscans have to endure this kind of sub third world treatment in the year 2003 soon to be 2004.
We suggest you call or write the Board of Supervisors, the Mayors Office, the state and federal officials and let them know that this is not acceptable behavior for the Community residents of San Francisco to endure this type of Environmental injustice and racism today. That community has had the largest home ownership which means that they pay more than their fair share of taxes, read the reports and you determine if they have had the benefit of their taxes or have they been abused. Would you accept those conditions for yourself or your family?
Lets get active the San Francisco Resident of Hunters Point need your help to stop the racial injustice, the environmental injustice, the racism of the past and help their community to become equal partners in San Francisco. Say no to Environmental Injustice, Environmental Racism and say yes to Environmental Justice.
All of these independent report are available on or go to and then click on environment. Their you will see more than enough confirmation of facts by city agencies, university journalism departments etc.
Get active, the Children of Hunters Point Community need your help.

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by the S.F Community
Friday Dec 26th, 2003 1:40 PM
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Lets stop Environmental Injustice/Racism in Hunters Point
by Maurice Campbell & Barbara George Friday December 26, 2003 at 11:57 AM
mecsoft [at] 415.468-8964

Let's stop Racism now!

Has Bayview Hunters Point conditions or gotten worst over the past 8 years for its Residents? Well according to the Original Human Rights Commission Report The Unfinished Agenda, the Grand Jury Report, the report on Environmental Justice by the San Francisco State University Journalism Department, UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, and the New Human Rights Commission Report on Environmental Racism. Basically that community is living under the worst kind of Racism of a modern progressive city in the United States.
Will the new Mayoral Administration address these important reports or will their be a continuning rip off of Hunters Point residents of their rights, their environment, their opportunity and a suppression of the community?
This is something the rest of the liberal City of San Francisco should focus on now, it makes no sense to suppress a multi cultural community of color with over 35,000 residents. When you read the reports make a judgement from your heart is this acceptable behaviour in modern times? Look at the historic information, you be the judge. Why should fellow San Franciscans have to endure this kind of sub third world treatment in the year 2003 soon to be 2004.
We suggest you call or write the Board of Supervisors, the Mayors Office, the state and federal officials and let them know that this is not acceptable behaviour for the Community residents of San Francisco to endure this type of Environmental injustice and racism today. That community has had the largest home ownership which means that they pay more than their fair share of taxes, read the reports and you determine if they have had the benefit of their taxes or have they been abused. Would you accept those conditions for yourself or your family?
Lets get active the San Francisco Resident of Hunters Point need your help to stop the racial injustice, the environmental injustice, the racism of the past and help their community to become equal partners in San Francisco. Say no to Environmental Injustice, Environmental Racism and say yes to Environmental Justice.
All of these independent report are available on http://mecresources/environment.htm or go to and then click on environment. Their you will see more than enough confirmation of facts by city agencies, university journalism departments etc.
Get active, the Children of Hunters Point Community need your help.

add your comments

Link correction
by Maurice Campbell & Barbara George Friday December 26, 2003 at 12:07 PM
mecsoft [at]

A correction to the link

add your comments

More info that you should add
by da community Friday December 26, 2003 at 12:26 PM

audio: MP3 at 690.7 kibibytes

you should add the following links to your story they show another pattern of racism!

by Maurice Campbell & Barbara George
Friday Dec 26th, 2003 2:15 PM
Here are the environmental justice/racism supporting links "The Unfinished Agenda". The Grand Jury Report,%20released%20June%202002.htm The San Francisco State Journalism Project on Hunter Point UC Berkekeley graduate School of Journalism "Growing up Policed in Hunters Point" Suspicions Rise The New Human Rights commision report on Environmental Racism http;// These reports should confirm the history of racism that has been placed upon Hunters Point multi cultural community.
by San Francisco People (Nancy)
Friday Dec 26th, 2003 3:04 PM
I am appalled that a politician from San Francisco played the race and gender card. Look at what he has allowed to happen to his own people
by Ellen
Friday Dec 26th, 2003 3:18 PM
What the reports shows is a pattern of racism inflicted on the Hunters Point community, much like what they are doing to the homeless population. Shame, shame on San Francisco government and its leaders. If people chose to turn a blind eye to this problem lets remove them from office, and fire the city department heads that are allowing this to take place. This has to change this is not the deep south, this is San Francisco.
by Patrick
Friday Dec 26th, 2003 4:03 PM
What this shows is a general Democratic Party failure in protecting its members from Hunter Point. The party structure seems to have changed only doing the bidding of the rich and powerful. Forget about working class people or people of color, no wonder they are losing elections. How many of our elected officials will stay around if they don't get our vote, I think several of them need our single vote. Please take this as a reminder we are watching your stances. We want representation for the people of Hunters Point too and we are not just talking local.
by Cammden
Friday Dec 26th, 2003 4:26 PM
When we backed Hunter Point with 87% of our San Francisco votes to "Clean Up the Shipyard to Residential Standards" we didn't abandon the people of Hunters Point. We are not going to do it now, so politicians beware if you want to stay in office do something to help that community or we will help you out of office.

by Kyle
Friday Dec 26th, 2003 4:56 PM
Thanks to the independent media for covering these stories. We would have had no idea what is going on locally. The main stream papers seem to be part of the city's coverup of these very important news stories. it reminds me of old southern publications. Racism, racism, racism more sophisticated but still racism. We are for all the Journalistic awards going to small and independent media that cover the news, all the news.
by Ron
Friday Dec 26th, 2003 7:32 PM
After looking at some of the links and reading what the Bayview Newspaper had to say in their editorials. The picture becomes even more clear that racism has taken a new tact.
Why is the city allowing this to happen?
Where is Boxer, Finestein, and Pelosi?
by Mesha Monge-Irizarry
(iolmisha [at] Friday Dec 26th, 2003 10:43 PM
You tell the truth!

We, in BVHP live in the SF neighborhood that has the best weather and views! A a matter of fact, a ship with a giant Newsom sign on his side, packed with "sophisticated" onlookers, was sighted cruising China Basin all the way to 3COM Park and back to the Bay Bridge 4 days before the elections...Cruising the upcoming gentrified Basin, prey of the pimps of the poor.

If their plan succeed, then our City Government will eagerly clean up the land field, the ship yard, insure top-quality air control, create more phenomenal opportunities for rich white folks to bring their booming, upscale, exclusive business to BVHP...

Under the "Imminent Domain" ordinance, the City can force us, commercial property owners, to sell at lowest market value (we are the cheapest in the city!) or else...CONFISCATE !

Many folks in our district are already selling hastily, compounding the massive departure of African American from SF in the past decade, scared to end up below poverty level after several generations of hard work. To go where? Treasure Island? Seemingly the next concentrationary hell of poor people of color, isolated, no cultural outlets, 1 bus in and out (none at night), trapped and bound to increased criminality and deprivation (remember when a Native American tribe reclaimed Alcatraz and was wiped out by tuberculosis within a few years?)

Why should the city car about us ? They want us out of Hunters Point. Beside the upcoming gentrification through the lightrail, many factors are precipitating our fate:

* Apathy of DPH addressing aggressively the overwhelming genocidal pollution in our district : Highest rates in the city of breast cancer, lymphoma, asthma and acute respiratory diseases caused by the pollution level at he shipyard, and since April 2003, the lightrail excavation: we are actually breathing RADIUM, released by the corpses of the buried horses utilized during the atomic experiments...No respiratory precautions have been publicized by the subcontractors for their workers, let alone us residents ! 47% of birth defects affecting newborn babies are documented to be BVHP statistics! Do I smell Taskigui?

* Lack of training, job placement and job opportunities, compounding our youth at risk criminality rate. The vontractors, upon injunction of our Board of Supervisors, agreed to make a "good faith effort" (admire the evasiveness of the language...) to hire BVHP residents. So they hire 70 (mostly flag holders at minimal rate), then laid off 60 two weeks later. Nothing to it: they made their honest good faith effort in hiring, the Supervisors recommendation did not include anything about RETAINING these workers.

* Massive increase of the criminalization through police harassment, often times under false pretenses of investigating a possible drug operation (cf: August 25, Middle Point Road, where guns where pointed at small children, a mother was addressed "Black b...." and threatened to be shot when she tried to protect her 14 yr. son who was severely beaten), regardless of the previous scandal of police brutality on our children on Kiska Road on MLK day in 2002...

* On going virtual impossibility for BVHP residents who want to purchase their first home to obtain a loan from our local banks

Our city government dirty laundry list goes on and on when it comes to Bayview Hunters Point.

But we can stop the racist, genocidal process ! We can stop the eradication of BVHP village !

This coming Sunday, December 28, Please tune on 103.3 FM, Bayview Hunters Point Community Radio, to listen to Maurice Campbell and Lynn Brown live on "No Pigs in DA Hood !" at 6 P.M.

And remember, silence and economic division kills. We will not tolerate another Fillmore eradication of the African American community !

Maurice, Barbara, we are down with you ! And many more are joining, venceremos !

mesha, Idriss Stelley Foundation.

by Lynne Brown
Friday Dec 26th, 2003 10:59 PM
The Forgotten Community
by Lynne Brown Friday December 26, 2003 at 10:55 PM
L_Brown123 [at] 415-285-4628

Hunters Point is a low-income community of color,and we have been terrorized and disfranchise by the right wing Democrats since the closing of the Hunters Point Shipyard in 1974. During the pass eight years, 20,000 African Americans have left or were relocated out of San Francisco with help from the Federal, (HUD) State, (Redevelopment Agency) and Local (Project Area Committee) Governments. With unemployment at 16% today in Hunters Point, 85% of the contracts for new project developments in San Francisco goes to friends of the Right Wing Democrats. My community is riddle with fraud, corruption, malfeasance, favoritism, and civil rights violations. These Right Wing Democrats don't understand. They took an oath to govern not jump into the bed with big business, developers, and profit for themselves. We need the FBI and the U.S. Attorney General to start their investigation at the Gatekeepers place of business. City Hall 401 Polk St. San Francisco, California

by Ms. K. Lutton
(kevyn11 [at] Saturday Dec 27th, 2003 12:40 AM
"Where are the Civil Rights Activists?'' They are here!The resident activists are here. Maurice Campbell tells the story .
Environmental justice: air borne toxins, redevelopment's aggressive march of gentrification, insufficient health care clinics, no jobs, ghettos created by City planning (Put everyone who suffers from despair, or who who have been entranced by commercial promotions of consumerism while living the realities of a poor person's life.) Then let them sicken and die or get killed or kill each other. The final blow will be to take out 30% of all Black males and imprison them for a crime they may or have may not committed. Police, aside from many positive purposes they serve, are the instruments of removal, out of sight of poor people, ailing people, and among them especially Blacks and Latinos. This high stress environment causes circulatory illnesses, heart disease, diabetes, and mental illness. Three African American men in psychiatric crises were shot dead by S. F. Police in the the resent past. The community is being attacked on multiple fronts at the same time. Please listen to what Maurice Campbell and Barbara George have to ask you and do something today. This hard working community has a difficult time getting the attention it deserves at City Hall. Advocates from other districts are respectfully called upon to amplify our voices.
Kevyn Lutton

by the community
Saturday Dec 27th, 2003 9:39 AM
We the people of Hunters Point are aware of several individuals, who have sold out by accepting money from unscrupulous operations and saying they represent the community. The only people they represent are themselves and their pockets, not the community. We have even seen some of their names on Newsome's transition team. We have a so called white leader using a false name saying he represents the black community, the authorities know his real name just the general community doesn't, and he has accepted money to peddle influence in the community. Look at the people who were convicted for crooked dealing; they had close ties to City Hall. This information is common knowledge in the community. Be sure the community is ready to start naming names of these sellouts who have lined their greedy little paws and pockets, many of them have done this for years. Some have seen the light and redeemed themselves from continuing a bad action. The media should do an in-depth investigation and start naming them. The media should also run a survey of city services and ask the community which ones are serving the community and which ones are using a political agenda to suppress the residents. We would not be shocked at the results. That survey should also apply to political represenentives which ones the community feels are helping the community, which ones the community feel are not. The survey need to be done by a truly independent group, not a paid special interest group. Investigations need to be called for where has all the money destined for Hunters Point gone, we know it didn't get to Hunters Point. E.g. Airport jobs, Muni jobs, Navy jobs, the list goes on. Just promises no real action, however the sellouts got paid to represent the community.
This has to stop; Bayview Hunters Point deserves better, not false promises.
by Chronicle Arcives
Saturday Dec 27th, 2003 12:22 PM


Soft-Money Campaigns Didn't Sway Voters
$1.3 million couldn't save Brown's allies

Ilene Lelchuk, Chronicle Staff Writer Thursday, December 14, 2000


San Francisco -- Mayor Willie Brown's allies in corporate San Francisco spent more than $302,500 -- $28 per vote -- to help Board of Supervisors candidate Linda Richardson in District 10.

And she still lost.

The same big businesses, builders, restaurant owners and a coalition of neighborhood merchants opened their wallets and rolled out what amounted to $25 per vote for District 6 candidate Chris Dittenhafer and about $13 per vote for Juanita Owens.

They lost, too.

"It reminds me of the Beatles song lyric 'Money can't buy me love,' " said Ken Cleaveland from the Building Owners and Managers Association of San Francisco. His group donated roughly $50,000 to independent expenditure committees that paid for mailers, bus shelter ads and phone banks in the candidates' behalf.

Reports show the unprecedented "soft money" spent so far on 14 of the 18 supervisors candidates who qualified for Tuesday's runoff election hit more than $1.3 million -- an expensive first for supervisors races. That total is likely to grow when the final expenditures are reported.

Most of that money, which was raised and spent independently from each candidate's own campaign, went to political moderates supported by the mayor who were resoundingly defeated by a disparate group of progressives making corporate San Francisco wring its collective hands with worry.

"I think most of the business community is shell-shocked right now," said Cleaveland, whose organization represents the owners of about 300 buildings.

"Worst case, we fear more taxes . . . like the taxes proposed by Supervisor Tom Ammiano four or five years ago," he said. "I think the corporate business community is holding its breath."

Their fears may be grounded in reality.

"Of course, taxes are on my mind," District 6 winner Chris Daly said.

The low-income housing fees that the city charges downtown developers are way too low, he said. And he likes Ammiano's old proposals to tax downtown businesses to help pay for Muni as well as creating a property transfer tax, which he would apply to land that changes hands within an extremely short period of time.

"Certainly, we need to do something about this flipping of properties to cut down on real estate prospecting," Daly said.

The business community also has other concerns now that many of the candidates they backed -- Richardson, Dittenhafer, Supervisor Amos Brown, Supervisor Michael Yaki, Juanita Owens and Lawrence Wong -- lost.

The Committee on Jobs and BOMA will watch closely how the new board tackles development issues and try to open lines of communication with the new supervisors.

Many of the board winners supported Proposition L, a stringent growth- control measure aimed at dot-com offices, while many of the losers supported the mayor's opposing Proposition K, a more lenient control plan. Both measures lost in November, although voters narrowly defeated Proposition L.

"It's obvious that the issues are around the growth of this city," said Nathan Nayman, executive director of the Committee on Jobs, which represents some of the city's biggest companies such as the Gap. The group spent roughly $250,000 on candidates in the general and runoff elections.

Cleaveland added, "There is no question that Proposition L is going to come back and the people who vote in San Francisco have clearly said 'let's slow down on development.' And that's something the business community is going to have to look at pretty hard and live with."

Kathleen Harrington, president of the Golden Gate Restaurant Owners Association, which spent almost $60,000 on some of those candidates, said her members are concerned about future attempts by the new board to expand a living-wage law. And she wonders how the new board will deal with nuisance complaints about noise, smoking and late hours at bars and restaurants.

Winner Sophie Maxwell in District 10 saw no soft money spent in her behalf compared with the roughly $28 per vote for opponent Richardson's benefit during the general election and runoff campaigns. And in District 6, special interest groups including the Labor Council spent only about $1.10 per vote in behalf of winner Chris Daly.

by community
Saturday Dec 27th, 2003 8:20 PM
Ironically, one possible savior of the region is the
U.S. Naval Shipyard, the moloch that created
Bayview-Hunters Point a half century ago, but brutally
poisoned her in the succeeding decades. Five hundred
fifty acres of military land is being handed over to
the city prime bayside real estate, a dazzling spread
that's worth astronomical millions. City Hall has
concocted its own elaborate blueprint (developed by
white guys, of course), which includes restaurants,
shops, a sports park, an African American market, and
a public plaza, with 8,000 new jobs and 1,800 new
homes. This sounds like something the locals need,

"Wrong," says Webb. His contention is that at least 50
percent of the property should be delivered to the
Community First Coalition for Hunters Point Shipyard,
a synthesis of the area's activist organizations and
citywide reform groups like the Urban Habitat Program.
Their plan for the shipyard would be to "first clean
that rascal up" so that residents would no longer be contaminated by the Navy's clandestine pollutants. After that, light-industry jobs, homes, and live/work multimedia units would be created to specifically benefit Bayview-Hunters Point residents. "We just want it to be owned and controlled by the community," says Webb. "We can help ourselves if we're given the opportunity."

It would be a historic, utopian gesture if the city
agreed to Webb's plan. But does San Francisco really
care even a smidgen about racial and economic
diversity? Can its policy of neglect and exploitation
be reversed? City Hall needs to decide quickly, before
the city's blue-collar African American population
vanishes. Will the future redeem us, or is it already
too late?
by Phillip Matier, Andrew Ross
Sunday Dec 28th, 2003 11:45 AM

Ethics panel eyes redevelopment role in Hunters Point

Phillip Matier, Andrew Ross Monday, March 17, 2003


San Francisco -- The trio whose habit of voting together on controversial items has tagged them the "Pep Boys" of the San Francisco Redevelopment Commission -- Benny Yee, Leroy King and Darshan Singh -- were all hit with subpoenas from the city's ethics watchdog agency this past week.

Soon to join the list: City Hall insider Susan Horsfall, who works for the law firm that represents Lennar Corp. -- the developer that won the right to take over the old Hunters Point shipyard.

No one at the Ethics Commission is talking, but word among Redevelopment insiders is that a complaint came in more than a year ago alleging that Horsfall and the Pep Boys appeared to be a little too close for comfort -- often dining out together after meetings.

Right around the time, it seems, that the commission -- including the Pep Boys -- voted to disregard its consultant's findings and award the rights to develop the shipyard to Lennar.

"This is all about those same old stories about us getting gifts and dinners," King said. "It wasn't true then, and it isn't true now."

An Ethics Commission investigation isn't criminal -- but it can refer its findings to the district attorney.

For her part, Horsfall told us she has "no idea what any of this is about. We haven't had dinner together in over a year, so any reference to that is old news."

Maybe -- but from the looks of things, it's about to become news again.

SOS HOM: Real estate broker, political fund-raiser and Chinatown bigwig Ben Hom's appointment to the San Francisco Port Commission appears to be sinking as fast as the Titanic.

"I only count four votes -- he needs six," said one member of the Board of Supervisors.

That's a far cry from the seven supervisors who gave Hom the initial nod of approval a couple of months back.

But then, that was before the press had a field day revealing Hom's conflict-of-interest problems when he was on the Redevelopment and Public Utilities commissions.

"As it stands, he's got four choices," the supervisor said.

"Withdraw. Lose the vote Tuesday. Have it sent back to committee to die slowly. Or put it off until next week when (Supervisor Chris Daly) returns."

Although waiting for Daly would just be delaying the inevitable, since Hom would still come up one vote short.

MUNI MELTING: With all the attention focused on San Francisco's police crisis, it's largely escaped public notice that the Municipal Railway is having its own minor meltdown as well.

Just about the time the police indictments were being handed up, the Muni was hit with a three-day worker sickout -- one that resulted in dozens of runs being canceled.

According to an internal memo by Muni General Manager Michael Burns, "in a sudden and unexpected move, large numbers of operators failed to report to work or called in sick" during the first three days of March.

So instead of the typical seven missed runs on Saturday, the first day of the reported sickout, there were 80.

The next day there were 57 missed runs, compared with the usual 10 for a Sunday. Among other things, only half of the city's 18 cable cars made it out of the barn.

And on Monday -- when traffic is heaviest -- the Muni missed 50 runs, compared with the usual 18.

The motivation behind the sickouts appears to be the cash-strapped Muni's attempt to cut millions of dollars in worker overtime, job perks and other sacred labor practices.

Union representatives didn't want to be quoted, but privately they accused Burns of wielding the ax without consulting them.

They also emphatically denied there had been any work stoppage or sickout whatsoever.

Muni is grappling with a $16 million budget hole this year, which is projected to deepen to $52 million next year.

In response, the officials have proposed fare hikes, increased parking fines and higher city parking garage rates to raise the money.

But boss Burns also ordered an across-the-board elimination of overtime -- a serious blow to drivers who have grown accustomed to making the extra money.

And then there's his behind-the-scenes push to require all drivers to actually get out and drive.

Now that may sound strange, but as a result of a practice dating back some 30 years, the Muni has seven drivers on the payroll who conduct union business full time.

And not only do the seven union reps not drive -- they are guaranteed one hour of overtime a day.

The city's cost for this unusual little benefit: about $65,000 a year per worker, or nearly a half-million dollars overall.

School daze: It's been brought to our attention that while more than 1,100 possible layoff notices were going to teachers and staff in Oakland over the weekend, schools Superintendent Dennis Chaconas was hosting a fair Saturday aimed at -- yes, producing more teachers.

Of course, school officials emphasized that the four-hour "Teacher Reception and Credential Fair" at Jack London's Waterfront Hotel wasn't about hiring, since there are "no open positions."

No -- just lots of friendly college reps promising a rewarding career in education.

And finally: An update on the San Francisco Police Department from the home answering machine of Supervisor and mayoral hopeful Tom Ammiano: "Greetings. You've reached the acting, temporary, assistant, transitional, virtual shadow, unindictable but suspicious protege of the chief of police.

"May we help you?"

Chronicle columnists Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross appear Sundays, Mondays and Wednesdays. They can also be heard on KGO Radio on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Phil Matier can be seen regularly on KRON-TV. Got a tip? Call them at (415) 777-8815 or drop them an e-mail at matierandross [at]

by The Community
Monday Dec 29th, 2003 5:42 PM
The combined reports showing Environmental Injustice/Racism with a predominace of evidence from government agencies and other sources show that a Class Action Lawsuit should be filed against the City of San Francisco. It is a case that could be won, because of the factual historic evidence. It is time for the Hunters Point/Bayview community to start gathering signatures and filing a lawsuit against the City. Hunters Point, Bayview the time is now to sign on to the Class Actionpetition to sue. it would be most interesting to see the city defend against the Grand Jury Report, The Human Rights Commission Reports, The University Journalism Reports and the Newspaper accounts of their own Environmental Injustice/Racism.
by Maurice Campbell
Wednesday Dec 31st, 2003 10:46 AM
The Navy’s contracting program for the clean up of Hunters Point Shipyard utilizing local community companies/contractors has been less than stellar. Of over $300 million spent on hunters Point Shipyard less than $18 million has gone to local contractors. Many Prime Contractors and sub contractors have bypassed the local community altogether, despite laws that state local communities (impacted) should get a preference. This is how you keep a community economically depressed. Why isn’t our Federal legislative body weighing in on this miscarriage of justice? This community’s people have suffered the health impacts of living in a toxic, radiological environment, exposures to numerous shipyard fires, polluted groundwater, and high levels of compromised air. When is enough, enough?
The Navy has to institute a good neighbor policy bring fairness to remediation cleanup up opportunities for the local community, after all the community suffered from the negative effects of living under the Navy’s irresponsible toxic exposure. What is there to lose by incorporating the local community through jobs, contracts etc.?
To further disenfranchise the community an out of town developer seems to be the incumbent for the development of the shipyard with the current administration support, however not the communities. At the same time San Francisco Redevelopment Agency is looking at expanding the Hunters Point Project Area from 137 Acres by 1600 acres for a total of 1737 acres, Remember a project area is considered a blighted area, which can be bulldozed and Redeveloped, which is most of Hunters Point. Their goes the Hunter Point neighborhood, remember the Fillmore, at least their people didn’t suffer the near genocidal environment before they were evicted from their neighborhood.
Hunters Point Bayview need your support to bring fairness to their state of siege of Environmental Injustice and Environmental Racism. We as San Franciscans have a responsibility to our fellow San Franciscans to ask for fairness and ethical values be enforced, and not let the Navy, the City government, or a developer take further advantage of one of our local tax paying communities.
by Michaeal Boyd
Wednesday Dec 31st, 2003 6:43 PM
Hello, Mike Boyd of CAlifornians for Renewable Energy, Inc. (CARE) here. I prepared the following Resolution for CARE member Lynne Brown, which he presented at last month's shipyard Restoration Advisory Board meeting. The next RAB meeting is scheduled for Thursday January 22nd at 6 PM at the Shipyard. Unlike the thieves in high places that run your City government, we at CARE support an open community dialog on these issues, that is why Lynne released over a month in advance of the RABte on this Resolution on the 22nd. Any support for the resolution will be appreciated. Mark your calenders and please try to attend! MB Resolution #_______ Protest and Objection of the Hunters Point Shipyard Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) to the Redevelopment Commission action approving the Disposition Development Agreement (DDA) between CCSF and Lennar-BVHP for the Redevelopment of the Whereas; The City and County of San Francisco (CCSF) Redevelopment Commission took action at its December 2, 2003 meeting approving the Disposition Development Agreement (DDA) between the Redevelopment Agency (RDA) and Lennar-BVHP for the Redevelopment of the Shipyard on a vote 5-0-0, despite objections from the affected community and members of the RAB. Also on a vote 5-0-0, on December 2, 2003 the RDA also adopted an amendment to a separate redevelopment proposal that mandated the forced dislocation of the low-income communities of color (predominantly African American) of Hunters Point , and Whereas; Prior to the RDA vote RAB Co-chair; Lynne Brown’s filed an objection and protest statement along with other RAB members to the RDA Commissioners and RDA executive director Marshal Rosen on December 2, 2003 as follows; “I am a resident of Bay View Hunters Point and Co-Chair of the Restoration Advisory Board. I object to the piecemealing the Redevelopment Agency is doing to the Bay View Hunters Point Community. The redevelopment of the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard and the Hunters Point Community is not separate projects because Hunters Point is the affected Community. The current processes as proposed disenfranchises the affected community. This is in violation of Title VI, The Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Restoration Advisory Board is entrusted to protect the Civil Rights of the affected community of Bay View Hunters Point. This means the affect community may file complaints with the Federal Government under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. As representatives of the affected community the Restoration Advisory Board will not sign-off on the transfer of the Hunters Point Shipyard to the City and County of San Francisco until it can Certify compliance with the Civil Rights Act and the Base Closure Act. The Redevelopment Agency and its Commissioners should read the Base Closure Act, CERCLA, NEPA and prepare an EIR on their project.” Whereas; In order for the transfer of the shipyard to the RDA to take place, the Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) must in behalf of the affected Hunters Point community insure compliance with all federal environmental, restoration, civil rights and base reuse laws (i.e., Laws Ordinance Regulations and Standards) including, but not limited to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), 42 U.S.C. § 9601 et seq.; 40 CFR Parts 300–311, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), 42 U.S.C. § 6901 et seq.; 40 CFR Parts 240–281, the Clean Water Act (CWA), 33 U.S.C. §§ 1251–1387; 33 CFR Parts 320–330, 335–338; 40 CFR Parts 104–140, 230–233, 401–471; Executive Order 11990 (Protection of Wetlands), the Clean Air Act (CAA), 42 U.S.C. § 7401 et seq.; 40 CFR Parts 50, 60, 61, and 80, the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 300f–300j- 26; 40 CFR Parts 141–149, the Base Closure Community Redevelopment and Homeless Assistance Act of 1994 (Redevelopment Act), Pub. L. 103-421; 32 CFR Part 176, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) 42 U.S.C. § 4321 et seq.; and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 28 U.S.C. § 1447, 42 U.S.C. §§ 1971, 1975a–1975d, 2000a– 2000h-6, and Whereas; Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 requires CCSF, and the RDA, in coordination with the California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA), Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) to identify and address any disproportionately high and/or adverse human health, socioeconomic, or environmental impacts of their programs, policies, and actions on minority and/or low-income populations, and Whereas; The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) is the California law that allows the affected community to be informed and members of the public to voice their opinion about projects that may affect their environment. CEQA requires a review of the environmental impacts of projects. CEQA has a broad, strong right of public participation, which has a political component and the violation or deprivation of which has constitutional consequences to the affected community, and Whereas; In mandating separate project areas for the shipyard and the Hunters Point Community the RDA as the lead agency under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) is being allowed to piecemeal the process which is analogous to the strongly forbidden “chopping up [of] a proposed project into bite-size pieces which, individually considered, might be found to have no significance on the environment.” (Kings County Farm Bureau v. City of Hanford (1990) 221 Cal.App.3d 692, 716, citing Orinda Assn. v. Board of Supervisors (1986) 182 Cal.App.3d 1145, 1171, 1172; see also Bozung v. LAFCO (1975) 13 Cal.3d at 283-284; Sundstrom, 202 Cal.App.3d 296, 309.) In the present case what we have is a chopping up of the CEQA duty to provide information that trivialize the nature and extent of the two project’s impacts. In addition, the piecemealing requires that the affected community and the RAB to respond, and allows the developer Lennar-BVHP to then reply, without any opportunity for reply by the affected community and the RAB, without requiring a comprehensive analysis, and without providing structure or finality to the process. And when the process gets near the end, strict time lines are imposed which create additional burdens on the RAB and other members of the public, further hindering if not completely preventing their full and meaningful participation in a process heavily weighed in favor of Lennar-BVHP with virtually unlimited resources whose only excuse for piecemealing the required information is to use it as a tactic to avoid or minimize opposition. Whereas; CEQA provides that a proposed project may have a significant effect on the environment when the possible effects on the environment are individually limited but “cumulatively considerable.” (Pub. Resources Code, §21083(b); Cal. Code Regs. tit. 14, §15065.) “’Cumulatively considerable’ means that the incremental effects of an individual project are considerable when viewed in connection with the effects of past projects, the effects of other current projects, and the effects of probable future projects.” (Cal. Code Regs., tit. 14, §15065, emphasis added.) In addition to analyzing the direct impacts of a project, the CEQA Lead Agency must determine whether or not a project will result in a significant cumulative impact. Whereas; Recent statutory law has invigorated the utility of the California Environmental Quality Act as the procedural means for the CCSF RDA to ensure "the fair treatment of people of all races, cultures, and incomes with respect to the development, adoption, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies" (i.e., environmental justice).” In conjunction with the regulatory provisions of the federal Clean Air Act and Division 26 of the Health and Safety Code, CEQA provides an ideal mechanism for ensuring that environmental justice will be addressed in all activities and projects that may have a significant effect on the environment. Whereas; The California Environmental Quality Act requires that environmental documents (i.e., an environmental impact report [EIR] or a negative declaration or equivalent document) be prepared whenever a public agency proposes to undertake a discretionary activity that may have a significant effect on the environment. The Legislature has declared that all agencies that "regulate activities of private individuals, corporations, and public agencies which are found to affect the quality of the environment, shall regulate such activities so that major consideration is given to preventing environmental damage, while providing a decent home and satisfying living environment for every Californian." Projects that are directly undertaken by public agencies are subject to the same level of accountability as private projects that require a permit or other governmental approval to proceed. Whereas; The recent enactment of Public Resources Code sections 71110 through 71115 and Government Code section 65040.12, in conjunction with the requirements of federal law, the SIP, and EPA regulations, require the RDA to infuse EJ into every aspect of decisionmaking. This panoply of statutory authority animates the general authority of the RDA to "do such acts as may be necessary for the proper execution of the powers and duties granted to, and imposed upon, the state board by this division [26 of the Health and Safety Code] and by any other provision of law." Further, the rules, regulations, and standards that the RDA adopts must be "consistent with the state goal of providing a decent home and suitable living environment for every Californian" – and so, full circle back to CEQA. Therefore Be It Resolved, 1. The Bayview Hunters Point Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) hereby Adopts and Incorporates this day the above cited Protests and Objections of Lynne Brown and any other RAB member present at the December 2, 2003 RDA meeting, and 2. The RAB hereby authorizes this issuance to the US Navy, DoD, US and California EPA, and California Department of Toxic Substance Control, Notice that the RAB has determined the CCSF RDA to be in Noncompliance with the aforementioned statutes specifically with the requirements of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 28 U.S.C. § 1447, 42 U.S.C. §§ 1971, 1975a–1975d, 2000a– 2000h-6, and the California Environmental Quality Act, with Notice in the Federal Register if available, and 3. The RAB will not sign-off on the transfer of the Hunters Point Shipyard to the City and County of San Francisco until it can Certify compliance with the Civil Rights Act, the Base Closure Act including but not limited to the aforementioned statutes. Vote Ayes Nays Abstentions ____ ____ ____
by SF Resident
Wednesday Dec 31st, 2003 7:53 PM
The callous insensitivity by the developers, call for our Board of Supervisors to start an investigation of what is really going on at the Redevelopment Agency. The current administration has is known for not having any ethics. Their needs to be a return of that agency, (RDA) and their commissioners, to an ethical, morale standard representative of the people of San Francisco. They along with the current administration should be fully investigated and the money trail followed exposing their misdeeds. When evidence is found they should be charged and fully prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
The Board of Supervisors must adopt a new higher standard of ethics for the City and County with the City Attorney, corrupt commissions should not be allowed to exist, corrupt city department should have their budgets cut, and their heads brought before the board every chance they get. Corrupt and questionable developers should be encouraged to do business elsewhere, or be subject to ongoing investigations, prosecution and civil lawsuits by the city.
The enforcement of Environmental Justice and Environmental Racism Laws and reports should be reviewed by the Board of Supervisors, before it is enforced by lawsuits (civil and private) for them, giving the City a black eye. The Voters have said we want Ethical, Accountable Government Now! It is now in our Supervisors hands. You have a growing active San Franciscan base behind you.

by an artist
Wednesday Dec 31st, 2003 9:28 PM
Having lived and worked in the Fillmore a fun vibrant community with other artist and musicians. Enjoying every day and the multi cultural people it was inspiring. They took that away, then I moved to a funky loft in the South of Market part of town, they took that away. I moved to Bayview –Hunters Point in a warehouse they took that away. Now several of my friends are in the shipyard they are worried about that being take away too despite hollow reassurances by the developer. Why are the developers so greedy?
We bring the spirit, then they want to capture the area without the spirit then they expect the art spirit to stay, the music, the art the love; however they kill whatever is there, the multi ethnic radiant mixture of people, and the spirit is loss. The new residents have to travel to where we are whether near or far to experience the spirit we have staying one step ahead of the developers, and the very greedy politicians. We support toxic free multi ethnic-cultural environments where there is a real spirit, so we can create our arts.
I am tired of moving, and staying one step of the greedy politicians, and developers without a spirit or soul. Just because we have spirits of love don’t think we are not going to fight, our fight is for the real spirit of San Francisco, room and love for all.
by David Erickson
Friday Jan 2nd, 2004 7:03 PM
2 years and 2 months ago, SF Muni destroyed the Muwekma Ohlone Sanctuary on Islais Creek, during a drilling project under Islais Creek to install what they said were transmission lines for the Third Street Light Rail (which many of us locally call the "Third Street White Rail" ie gentrification and SF Redevlopment Agency,etc..)
This drilling caused the main sewer outfall pipe to collapse which was in the sanctuary, and required the excavation of nearly 40% of the park, which was also home to Pacific Chorus Frogs.
As a result of this excavation, the park lost $75,000 in federal grants for habitat restoration and environmental education.
Interestingly, the 3 transmission lines installed under the creek, were each approximetely 4 or 5 feet in diameter, and contain dozens of smaller cables labeled 120 KV, and 240 KV, are certainly not the kind of power required for a simple light electric rail, and we have heard that main purpose of these lines is for a new electric grid associated with PG&E and Mirant.
To date, not only is the park not restored, but the sewer pipe continues to sink, and the transmission lines work is incomplete. Despite having hired an environmental lawyer to seek costs for restoration of this habitat, SF Muni, nor PUC, no DPW, nor the drilling contractors ( Proven and Utility Boring) nor the Port of San Francisco has provided one dollar nor one hour of work towards restoring this precious habitat on Islais Creek.
Just another example of environmental neglect by our local buearcrocies.
Here are some links to older articles on this travesty:

David Erickson
Please note that this link:

has been replaced with this link:

by Spcial Scientist
Saturday Jan 3rd, 2004 4:43 AM
San Francisco has taken a prejudicial stance to the community of Hunters Point, and its people. Let’s take the information that we currently know it has over 1000 toxic locations, with one location on the Federal Superfund list, one location on the State Superfund list.
Garbage Dumping is a known problem where people from other communities have dropped their garbage in that community.
Health Care with the highest hospitalization rates of anywhere in the city, and some of the highest in the state, the only health center is a Monday to Friday operation nine to five.
Energy the community is paying more than their share for energy, toxic living through pollution, high health care cost and then add in the regular cost of energy.
Police Enforcement; where gangs are not targeted, but where more of the residents and their children are targets.
No Major Retail Stores or Supermarkets, existent in that community.
Banks Redlined the community despite a CRA and a very high home ownership and tax base by the residents.
Jobs; a very high unemployment rate 16% plus, despite multiple local contracts.
Schools many children bussed out of the community.
Resource Center; a true lack of them for that community.
Sewage Treatment; a smell where the whole community, has experienced at one time or another
Public Housing many residential units boarded up for what ever reason.
Is this Prejudice?
by David Erickson
Saturday Jan 3rd, 2004 8:39 PM
Thank you Social Scientist Saturday January 03, 2004 at 04:56 AM

Thank You for summarizing and publishing the obvious statistics that we all know, and yet not published by local mainstream media nor recognized by local government.
Please continue your good work
by david erickson
Sunday Jan 4th, 2004 12:05 PM
Thank You for summarizing and publishing the obvious statistics that we all know, and yet not published by local mainstream media nor recognized by local government.
Please continue your good work
by Lance Williams, Chronicle Staff Writer
(What did it do to the community?) Sunday Jan 4th, 2004 12:18 PM
To his critics, it was a scene that characterized Willie Brown's City Hall just as surely as the mayor's sartorial splendor or his vaunted political skill: armed FBI agents descending on a city office, looking for municipal corruption.

That scene played out in public on a Friday afternoon in July 1999, when the FBI raided the city agency that monitors San Francisco's minority- contracting program, occupying the office for three days while agents hauled away truckloads of suspected evidence.

Investigators weren't always so public in their sleuthing. But for five years -- starting in 1998, and continuing as late as last month -- FBI agents conducted a wide-ranging corruption probe at City Hall, according to documents and interviews. From the start, witnesses who were interviewed said, agents seemed focused on the conduct of the mayor and some of his closest political allies.

Few prosecutions resulted, and Brown was never accused of wrongdoing. He charged that the investigations were politically motivated.

Over the years, agents served subpoenas on more than a dozen city departments, including the mayor's office at City Hall. At one point, court records reflected that a federal grand jury had convened and was scrutinizing more than $1 billion worth of city contracts for suspected improprieties.

In case after case, witnesses said the agents seemed intent on determining whether federal laws were being violated in the context of what Brown critics called the practice of "juice" politics at City Hall. It was a dynamic in which lobbyists, campaign donors and political players who had influence with the mayor seemed to hold the inside track on lucrative land deals, contracts and favorable regulatory decisions.

Witnesses interviewed by The Chronicle said a revolving team of more than two dozen agents worked the long-running probe.

Little to show

Despite the extraordinary scrutiny, authorities had little to show for their efforts. In five years, U.S. grand juries handed up only two corruption- related indictments. Only one city official -- a mid-level administrator accused in a bribery scandal at the Housing Authority - went to prison.

To Brown partisans, the lack of results verified what they had claimed all along: Brown ran a clean government and based decisions on merit. The unusually public way in which the FBI probe was conducted -- especially the raids and subpoenas during Brown's 1999 re-election campaign -- smacked of political interference, they said.

As Charlie Walker, a longtime Brown pal and self-described FBI target, once told a reporter: "If the FBI wanted to do something to me bad enough, rather than just make Willie Brown look bad, they would have stopped me on the street and taken me in."

But advocates of government reform contend that the FBI had every reason to scrutinize the way public business was conducted under Brown.

"The legacy of Willie Brown has been one of corruption and incompetence in government, and the probes were a reflection of that," said Fred Ridel, coordinator of the good-government group San Francisco Common Cause. He emphasized that he made his comments as a private citizen.

"Just because you don't find criminal activity you can prosecute doesn't mean everything is squeaky clean," Ridel continued. "There has been a lot of corruption, and some of it comes to the attention of law enforcement. People know about it."

Brown spokesman P.J. Johnston called the criticism irresponsible.

"The mayor's critics and opponents have lobbed so many accusations against him over the years, and none of them has been proven," he said. "That doesn't suggest guilt. If anything, it suggests how irresponsible and consistently bogus these accusations are."

Johnston also accused Brown's opponents of seeking to exploit what he styled "anxiety about African Americans in positions of power'' by making unfounded charges.

"That anxiety is often exploited by lobbing charges of corruption and cronyism that eventually fall short," he said.

The dealmaker

At issue in the investigations was the way Brown adapted his deal-making style of insider politics to governing San Francisco. The style was pure Sacramento, honed during 15 years when Brown, as speaker of the Assembly, established his reputation as a consummate political player. It had attracted FBI attention before.

Almost from the day he became speaker in 1980, Brown became a focus of an overlapping series of FBI corruption investigations, according to court records and interviews.

In the most famous, the FBI ran a sting operation involving a fake shrimp- fishing company whose executives -- actually undercover agents -- promised to pay lawmakers to ram special-interest bills through the Legislature.

The sting and cases related to it produced a dozen indictments. But Brown was never charged with wrongdoing.

In 1998, two years after he became mayor, the FBI was looking at Brown again, records show.

At first, agents probed how Brown appointees on the Airport Commission had come to award a contract to build a $116 million "people mover" transit system at SFO. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries of America, the low bidder, lost out to a competitor called Adtranz after the latter gave a $10 million subcontract to business consultant James Jefferson, a fund-raiser and friend of the mayor.

That probe, in part, focused on allegations that Zula Jones, a city employee and a friend of Jefferson, had helped steer the contract to Adtranz, records show. Jones was an official at the Human Rights Commission, the contract-compliance agency that later became the target of the FBI raid. Jones, Jefferson and Adtranz said they had done nothing wrong and no charges were ever filed.

Minority contracting

After that, court records show, the FBI began examining a long list of city contracts, permits and development deals. Many involved suspected abuse of the minority contracting program, set up to ensure an equitable share of city contracts go to businesses owned by disadvantaged minorities and women.

The agents took a close look at Walker, a trucking contractor who was Brown's former law client and his longtime friend and political backer. In 1984, Walker had been sent to prison for bilking the city's minority contracting program.

But in the years after Brown was elected mayor, city records show, Walker obtained a share of more than $800,000 worth of city trucking subcontracts at the airport. Most came via the same minority contracting program he had been convicted of abusing.

Later, the FBI sought information on Ron Tutor, head of the giant Tutor- Saliba Corp. construction company, lead contractor on the $2.8 billion airport expansion project undertaken during Brown's term. Tutor was a Brown political donor, and he had been implicated but not charged in the 1984 case, court records show.

Neither Walker nor Tutor was charged in the airport contracts probe. Tutor said the FBI had no reason to investigate him. The FBI probe "seems to have a life of its own," Tutor said at one point. "It would be humorous if it wasn't so sad."

The probe later turned to other city deals, including a series of multimillion-dollar management contracts obtained by Jacqueline Besser, wife of a former law associate of Brown, Stephen Besser. Again, no charges were ever brought. She declined comment for this story.

Agents also spent months probing the city's decision to approve the expansion of the giant Sutro Tower. Neighborhood groups had complained that Brown ordered the project approved at the behest of lobbyists for the broadcasting consortium that owns it.

In 2000, three weeks after Brown's second inaugural, the FBI served his office with a grand jury subpoena for records of meetings between Brown and Jefferson, Walker, the Bessers and others involved in city contracting.

Only 2 indictments

In the end, federal grand juries handed up only two corruption indictments.

In one, Housing Authority administrator Patricia Williams was accused of taking bribes in exchange for federal rent subsidies meant for poor people.

Williams, a career city employee and wife of a Baptist minister, was convicted after testimony by her former aide, Yolanda Jones, daughter of Charlie Walker and self-described goddaughter of Brown. Jones, who had pleaded guilty, testified she did no work for her city salary, but spent her days collecting bribe money that she split with Williams.

Williams protested her innocence, but she was convicted, and in 2001 she was sentenced to five years in federal prison -- the lone city official imprisoned during Brown's term.

"She was a scapegoat," says her husband, the Rev. Michael Williams. "I see Willie on occasion, and he doesn't look me in the eye."

In the other case, three officials of the Scott Co., a white-owned construction firm in San Leandro, were accused of using a phony minority "front company" to win $64 million in airport construction contracts intended for minority concerns.

Indicted with the executives was Hunters Point plumber, Al Norman, a Brown backer and paroled murderer who allegedly served as the Scott Co.'s front man. Also indicted was Zula Jones, the Human Rights Commission official involved in the airport people-mover contract that began the broader FBI investigation.

But the Scott case unraveled when a federal judge ruled that evidence seized in the FBI's high-profile raid on the commission office couldn't be used in court. The agents should have obtained a search warrant before entering Jones' office, the judge ruled.

In 2001, charges against Jones, Norman and two of the Scott Co. executives were dropped. The company itself paid $2 million in fines and restitution, and one company executive, Robert Nurisso, was sentenced to house arrest.

No other cases brought

Although agents continued to contact witnesses, no other cases were ever brought. Last month, witnesses said, agents were asking about alleged misconduct involving the issuance of permits by the Department of Building Inspection.

Witnesses said that from the start, the probe seemed beset with difficulties. Although the bureau devoted significant resources to the probe - - as many as two dozen agents at a time, two witnesses estimated -- San Francisco politics and government contracting issues are complex, and often, by the time agents seemed up to speed, they would be promoted or transferred, and a new agent would come in and start from scratch, witnesses said.

One official said that at long intervals, he was interviewed by three different FBI agents. Each one asked virtually identical questions about the same issues and cast of characters, and each one explained that the previous agent had been reassigned.

"We were always starting at square one,'' the official said.

E-mail Lance Williams at lwilliams [at]
What were the effects on BVHP?
by Rachel Gordon, Chronicle Staff Writer
(How Did This Impact BVHP?) Sunday Jan 4th, 2004 12:39 PM
"You've got to take affirmative steps to ensure that people participate. That's what my quest for affirmative action was, has been and what I succeeded in.''

Yet when it came to lifting Bayview-Hunters Point -- San Francisco's last African American stronghold -- out of poverty, Brown didn't succeed. The unemployment rate is still the highest in the city. The 49ers football stadium-mall project, which was supposed to create jobs, has not been built. The Third Street light rail project has been started, but not finished, and the redevelopment of the mothballed Hunters Point Navy shipyard has been slow. Meanwhile, residents are still waiting for the long-promised closure of the high-polluting power plant in their neighborhood.

How Did This Impact BVHP?
(A Look Back) Sunday Jan 4th, 2004 10:03 PM

Many blacks in Bayview/Hunters Point say they feel ignored by the mayor. In this election, they are returning the favor.
peter.byrne [at]

Tom Dougherty

From the Week of Wednesday, November 1, 2000

The Cheetah Club
How a rare group of spotted patients and a small cadre of persistent doctors could help change the face of cancer research

Matt Smith
Fear, Loathing, and Non Sequiturs at Chico State
Or, how humanoids, hemp, and Ralph Nader will save us from Propositions I, L, and M

Dog Bites
Dog Bites
Renfrew report; Mercury News; Dot-com junkies; Propositions K and L

Disaster Plans
Face it -- Props K and L both stink as ways to manage growth. But we have another option.

Letters to the Editor
Letters from November 1, 2000

At the busy corner of Third and Palou streets, the business heart of San Francisco's African-American community, the political chatter is vastly different than it was five years ago. Then, Willie Brown took 80 percent of the vote in Bayview/ Hunters Point and became the city's first black mayor. When Brown triumphed, joyous high-fives erupted in the shops, bars, and restaurants of San Francisco's most vibrant black neighborhood.
Before Brown's election, many of the city's 70,000 African-American residents had felt shut out of the city's political system, which distributes billions of dollars in contracts, jobs, and grants each year. "People just assumed," says Malik Rahim, a prisoners' rights activist working in Hunters Point, "that a black mayor would be loyal to black folks."

It was not to be.

"During the last [five] years," says vocal Brown critic Marie Harrison, "the mayor's administration has done so little for the black community that Third Street businesses have actually slid downhill during an economic boom." Harrison, who is the lead columnist for the San Francisco Bay View newspaper, is so disgruntled with the mayor's economic policies that she started running for supervisor last year. She has become a front-runner in what promises to be a close contest between African-American women. Harrison, a very outspoken community activist, has fashioned a platform centered on environmental and housing issues, but fueling her popularity is the mayor's increasing unpopularity in an ethnic group long considered to be his electoral stronghold.

"Being endorsed by Willie Brown is the kiss of death in this race," says J.R. Manuel, one of the dozen candidates for supervisor in District 10, which includes 40,000 voters in Bayview/Hunters Point, Visitacion Valley, Portola, Silver Terrace, and Potrero Hill.

Not every candidate rejects the mayor's embrace so categorically, however.

Linda Richardson, a Brown-appointed planning commissioner who resigned to run for supervisor in District 10, has been strongly endorsed by Brown and openly supports his administration. Her campaign is benefiting from more than $80,000 in soft money and is staffed by political professionals, who have certainly made her the most visible candidate by plastering campaign posters up and down Third Street and even renting a huge billboard.

Sophie Maxwell, considered by most election handicappers to be a front-runner -- along with Richardson and Harrison -- says that Brown has done a few good things, such as building the Giants baseball stadium, but that he has let the minority neighborhoods down, especially Bayview/Hunters Point. "There is not a lot of shopping to see on Third Street, when you compare it to the changes going on downtown," Maxwell says. "Brown is not strong in the neighborhoods."

Looking to garner votes from the entrenched anti-growth crowd on Potrero Hill, Maxwell supports Prop L, which Brown vehemently opposes. From Potrero Hill to Visitacion Valley there seems little to be gained for a candidate by allying with the mayor, who recently failed to unite community leaders around Richardson.

Wade Crowfoot, an election analyst with David Binder Research, observes that African-Americans rallied around Brown when he ran for mayor against Frank Jordan and Tom Ammiano, both white. But Crowfoot does not expect Brown's ringing endorsement of Richardson to "resonate" with African-American voters when they are choosing among black candidates. "A lot of people in Bayview/Hunters Point are very dissatisfied with the mayor," says Crowfoot.

A stroll down Third Street reveals a tired potpourri of liquor stores, bars, nail and hair parlors, and cheap restaurants. (The shiniest new storefront in sight is Richardson's spacious campaign headquarters.) On the street, people's complaints are pretty much the same as they were during the last election, and the election before that, too: Not enough jobs. No city money for small business. Too much pollution.

In campaign debates, Richardson tries to paint a happy face on Brown's record. When she takes credit for helping Brown expand the local sewage treatment plant, other candidates ask why Bayview/Hunters Point has been saddled with the environmental onus of treating the city's smelly sewage. When Richardson hails the mayor for rebuilding a local swimming pool, her rivals ask why the pool is over budget and behind schedule.

Harrison, in particular, wants to know what happened to the 49ers' much-ballyhooed stadium mall, which city residents, with the overwhelming support of the Bayview/Hunters Point neighborhood, voted to give $100 million in 1997. The failure of the stadium mall to materialize epitomizes, for many, the failure of the Brown administration.

"In the beginning," says Harrison, "Brown made me believe that he understood the plight of the black community, that he would at least level the playing field for black businesses and black contractors to get city contracts. We would have pushed Willie all the way to the White House, that's how much we loved him.

"We were disappointed when Brown sold off the Hunters Point Shipyard to Lennar Corporation, with whom he had done personal business. And it's been two months since the underground toxic fire at the shipyard broke out. The mayor has done nothing to protect the community from the toxic release, like declaring a health emergency.

"But the straw that broke the camel's back," says Harrison, "was the 49er stadium mall deal. When Brown promised us 6,000 jobs at the stadium, it was like a hypnotic effect. We believed every word, and so many young men were -- and still are -- out of work, we were desperate for economic salvation. Then Brown's great buddy, Eddie DeBartolo, got indicted for bribing a Louisiana politician and the whole deal blew up in our faces."

Harrison accompanied a group of African-American building contractors to a meeting with Brown last year. "The contractors were unhappy," says Harrison, "They told the mayor that African-American builders got more city contracts under Mayor Frank Jordan than under Brown."

According to contractor Willie Ratcliff, the Bay View's publisher, Brown said his policy is to bring big business into Bayview/ Hunters Point, and that the small-business people need to lower their bid prices if they want subcontracts. Brown then walked out of the meeting, says Ratcliff, leaving an aide behind to catch the flak.

At that point, Harrison says she decided to run for supervisor.

A spokesman for the mayor, P.J. Johnston, said Brown has indeed paid attention to Bayview/Hunters Point. He cited the mayor's advocacy for constructing a light rail corridor on Third Street and the installation of "Senior Crossing" signs at senior citizen housing complexes, among other examples.

A review of small-business loans administered last year by the Mayor's Office of Community Development in Bayview/ Hunters Point shows about $600,000 in loans to various community service corporations. The Third Street Economic Development Corp., run by the mayor's longtime friend Charlie Walker, received $100,000. But the largest chunk of city business loans in Bayview/Hunters Point since Brown took office in 1996 -- over $1 million -- went to printing enterprises run by the family of newspaper publisher Ted Fang. The city loans were used to buy printing presses for the Fangs, whose newspapers routinely service Brown's political agendas by attacking his opponents.

Candidate Espanola Jackson runs her own campaign for supervisor from a second-story office on Third Street, two doors down from Harrison's tiny headquarters. The key item in her political platform is opposition to the proposed light rail system, which she claims will kill off local businesses.

"I supported Brown in the last election," says Jackson. "But he has not made any positive economic changes in Bayview/Hunters Point. He does not replace black officials that leave office with blacks."

Jewell Green, age 77, has lived in the Hunters View housing project in Hunters Point since 1946. She has been a vocal advocate for the interests of public housing tenants for many decades. She does not support the Brown-endorsed candidate for supervisor.

"I worked for Willie Brown wholeheartedly when he ran for mayor," Green remembers. "I knew him when he first came to San Francisco. He was a funny guy, man, he could crack a joke. After he became mayor, I do not know what happened. Seems like people that didn't need anything got everything, and the needy people got nothing. He's been tearing down these projects, splitting up families, it's terrible.

"I know how hard I worked for Willie. You can kick me once, but you can't kick me twice."

by Peter Byrne and John Mecklin
(This cost and had an impact on BVHP) Sunday Jan 4th, 2004 11:31 PM
W.L. Brown: A Public/Private Partnership
Mayor Willie Brown has made official decisions benefiting business entities that are partners in the mayor's own private business endeavors. Is this intersection of Brown's public decisions and private finances a coincidence - or a conflict of interest?
By Peter Byrne and John Mecklin

Over the last four years, the California Public Employees' Retirement System has invested about $21 million in the development of a 1,000-acre golf course community north of Sacramento known as Whitney Oaks.
At first glance, the project seems typical of the many public/private real estate partnerships recently backed by the retirement system, widely known as CalPERS. The system, an investing giant that boasts more than $150 billion in total assets, provides most of the capital. A real estate adviser contributes financial expertise. A developer is brought on board to manage the project and, it is hoped, bring high returns to public pensioners.

In one respect, however, the Whitney Oaks project almost certainly is not a typical CalPERS real estate investment.

The partners in Whitney Oaks include a firm in which San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown has long held ownership. And two large entities involved in making the Whitney Oaks project profitable -- and, thereby, involved with Brown's personal financial fortunes -- have benefited greatly from official actions taken by Mayor Brown and his administration.

This intersection of Brown's private finances and public acts creates apparent conflicts of interest that can be summarized in a direct, if perhaps oversimplified, way:

1) Willie Brown benefits financially from a publicly funded real estate deal near Sacramento.

2) Those who help him make money near Sacramento reap the bounty of development decisions Brown and his subordinates make in San Francisco.

One potential conflict involves CalPERS itself. Since backing the Whitney Oaks project, CalPERS has benefited enormously from Willie Brown's official actions.

Almost immediately upon taking office, Mayor Brown began publicly supporting the Catellus Development Corp.'s long-stalled plans to build Mission Bay, a multibillion-dollar development in the China Basin area of San Francisco. Brown's advocacy was successful: Catellus has received city permission to press forward with the project.

Brown's support for Mission Bay benefited not just Catellus, but also CalPERS, which, according to public documents, owned more than 40 percent of Catellus at the time the Whitney Oaks project started. CalPERS subsequently was able to sell more than half its Catellus stake on extremely favorable terms -- terms made possible, at least in part, by the city's new attitude toward Mission Bay.

A second apparent conflict involves the Lennar Corp., of Miami, Fla.
A Lennar subsidiary is paying the owners of Whitney Oaks for the right to build one section of the Whitney Oaks development. Meanwhile, Lennar won a hotly contested competition and was selected as master developer for the former Hunters Point Naval Shipyard -- even though a consultant to the city Redevelopment Agency recommended another bidder get the award.

Whitney Oaks is located about 20 miles north of Sacramento, in southern Placer County, one of the state's fastest-growing contributions to urban sprawl. A mere whitecap on the tidal wave of development breaking on Sacramento's exurbs, Whitney Oaks is in many ways an unexceptional, midsized, retiree-friendly golf course development.

Its entrance is marked by stylish stone pylons embellished with distinguished deep-green signs emblazoned with a Whitney Oaks logo faintly reminiscent of a royal coat of arms. Beyond the pylons, what once was savanna and rolling woodland has been graded and laced with streets that describe a series of minicommunities, some with model homes ready for inspection. Inside one of those models, potential buyers can examine a wall-sized photograph showing that oak trees once carpeted the hills of the area. Outside the showroom, however, the developed vista is a moonscape, cleansed of vegetation except for the fringes of the golf course, where a few lonesome stands of blue oaks, valley oaks, and live oaks survive, and the corner of Old Oak Tree Street, where a handful of staked striplings shoot up in a tiny environmental preserve required by the state.

The Whitney Oaks development is split into distinct enclaves bearing high-toned, slightly WASPy names: Sterling Collection, Meritage, Springfield. Depending on the enclave and type of construction, homes will sell for anywhere from $120,000 to $500,000. The enclaves each appear to be connected to a different home builder.

For example, Renaissance Homes, a subsidiary of the Lennar Corp., is building four- to six-bedroom residences in one of the enclaves, named, for what seems an obvious reason, Renaissance Whitney Oaks. The homes are large, luxurious, and set on oddly tiny lots.

According to CalPERS documents, Whitney Oaks has about 1,800 single-family lots. The residences built on these lots will surround a golf course -- which has already been completed -- designed by professional golfer Johnny Miller. The development includes 340 acres designated for schools, parks, and other public uses.

CalPERS documents show that the retirement system is providing about 90 percent of the acquisition and development capital for the Whitney Oaks project. The remaining equity in the project comes from two sources. One involves the principals in a La Jolla-based firm called Newland Capital Advisors LLC.

The final major player in Whitney Oaks is a partnership of two lawyers that held about 4 percent of the project -- until the lawyers, CalPERS, and Newland quietly cut yet another partnership into that 4 percent piece of the deal. This secondary investor in Whitney Oaks is named Live Oak Associates III.

And Live Oak III is where Willie Brown comes in.
According to financial disclosures on file with the state and city governments, Willie Brown has acquired interests in three Live Oak Associates partnerships since 1984. These limited partnerships -- known as Live Oak Associates, Live Oak Associates II, and Live Oak Associates III -- are headed by two attorneys, William A. Falik and Jonathan A. Cohen, who also have organized other firms in which Brown has invested.

Brown is a limited partner in the Live Oak groups, meaning that he is an investor, not an active manager of the ventures. The mayor's most recent public disclosure values his interest in each of the three partnerships at somewhere between $10,000 and $100,000. It is unclear whether those values represent initial investment, or that investment plus appreciation and reinvestment of profits over the years.

Brown apparently has made relatively few public statements about his Live Oak investments, and the financial disclosures he is required to file as a public official have reported only small amounts of income from them. Attempts to contact Brown through his press office Monday were unsuccessful.

(Falik says that Brown has invested with him since 1982. Although acquainted with the mayor, Falik says, he generally talks to Brown's longtime aide, Eleanor Johns, about the mayor's Live Oak investments -- which, Falik believes, are too minor to constitute conflicts of interest. "I feel it's not fair if I was prohibited from having the CalPERS investment," Falik says, "just because a certain limited partner has a less than 1 percent interest in the partnership.")

A survey of California land records shows that the three Live Oak partnerships have invested, at times in combination with major developers, in thousands of acres of land across the state. And two of the Live Oak partnerships appear to have been quite successful.

According to a "status report" to Live Oak investors obtained recently by the Weekly, the original Live Oak Associates partnership, founded in 1984 and sometimes known as Live Oak I, had a "total return" of 685 percent by July 1995. Public and private documents suggest this partnership has invested primarily in Sacramento-area real estate.

Live Oak Associates II also appears to have met with success since its creation in 1985, mostly through investments around Sacramento (among them a partnership with Tad Taube and Joseph Benvenuti, two of the area's most influential developers, in 1,600 acres of land in southern Placer County). Live Oak II also owns a portion of a strip mall in Los Angeles valued at more than $5 million.

Live Oak III was formed in 1991, and since then has invested in several properties in Northern California.

Its most ambitious venture was an attempt, in cooperation with other developers, to turn thousands of acres of rice fields in southern Sutter County into a series of planned communities with a projected population of 100,000. After years of bitter political and legal battles, that venture foundered. The leaders of Live Oak III looked around for opportunities to recoup their Sutter County losses.

They looked around, and found Whitney Oaks.
The so-called "Newtown" development in southern Sutter County was first proposed in 1989. Large landowners in the area wanted approval to turn low-lying rice land into planned residential communities on a massive scale. Live Oak III and Ahmanson Residential Development Inc., a firm controlled by real estate magnate Howard Ahmanson, were major players in the attempt to develop southern Sutter County, eventually buying or otherwise controlling thousands of acres of open fields, largely through a partnership known as Sutter Bay Associates. (An odd political note: In Sutter Bay Associates, Ahmanson, a noted right-wing advocate who has taken anti-reproductive choice, anti-gay rights, anti-gun control and pro-"traditional family values" stands, was technically partnered with Willie Brown, an owner of Live Oak Associates III and a stalwart of California's old-guard Democratic left.)

In 1992, the Sutter County Board of Supervisors approved a series of agreements with the prospective Newtown developers, but the approvals created enormous political turmoil, much of it based on environmental concern. The next year, an election changed the makeup of the previously pro-development board. The new board rescinded the approvals. Lawsuits were filed, but the Newtown proposal died, and subsequent attempts to gain approval for large-scale development in the area have also failed.

The failure of Sutter Bay had a profound effect on Sutter Bay Associates and Live Oak III. A spokesperson with Washington Mutual Inc., a current owner of Ahmanson's Sutter Bay interests, says the firm lost millions on the Sutter Bay venture. According to recent interviews with limited partners, Live Oak III also suffered significant losses that apparently continue to impact investors.

Many limited partners say that the Live Oak general partners, Cohen and Falik, began to branch out, seeking other real estate projects that might help recoup some of the losses their investors incurred at Sutter Bay.

Whitney Oaks was one of those projects.
Cohen and Falik apparently began negotiating with CalPERS and Newland on Whitney Oaks early in 1995. In the summer of 1995, the Live Oak III limited partners voted to invest in Whitney Oaks, after being apprised by Cohen and Falik that CalPERS was the major money player in the project, many limited partners and partnership documents say. Then-Assembly Speaker Willie Brown was one of these limited partners.

In the end, a complex partnership was formed among CalPERS, the principals of Newland Capital Advisors LLC, and Falik and Cohen. This group agreed to pay $17.5 million for a 1,075-acre plot of land in Rocklin, a small city northeast of Sacramento. The purchase was consummated in November 1995.

The public/private partnership formed to develop Whitney Oaks is, indeed, complex. Willie Brown's ownership stake is buried deep within that complexity. And CalPERS has withheld some key documents relating to the project, claiming their release would injure the retirement system's competitive position in the real estate industry.

Early this week, Bryan Bailey, the CalPERS project manager for Whitney Oaks, said that he did not know Willie Brown was an investor in the project until SF Weekly began questioning it. "We do not drill down that far," he said. A representative of Newland also said she was unaware of Brown's affiliation with Whitney Oaks.

As if its ownership structure did not provide enough complexity, the owners of Whitney Oaks have also hired a developer for the project. CalPERS documents obtained by SF Weekly are inconsistent in identifying the developer. Sometimes, the developer is listed as Live Oak Associates. In other documents, the developer is identified as Live Oak Enterprises, a business established by Falik and Cohen.

Brown is a partner in Live Oak Associates, but there is no indication he holds a stake in Live Oak Enterprises (although it does provide management services to Live Oak III).

CalPERS has declined to release documents showing how much the developer of Whitney Oaks is eligible to earn. After initially agreeing that Live Oak Associates was the developer, CalPERS and Newland staff later insisted that Live Oak Enterprises had been hired as the developer. CalPERS and Newland gave multiple, conflicting, nonconclusive explanations for CalPERS's repeated listing of Live Oak Associates as the Whitney Oaks project developer.

The developer question aside, an investigation by SF Weekly shows that Live Oak Associates III -- a partnership in which Willie Brown has long been an investor -- clearly holds ownership in the CalPERS-backed venture that is developing Whitney Oaks. More than 10 limited partners in Live Oak III spoke to the Weekly in detail about the partnership's investment with CalPERS, and correspondence Cohen and Falik have sent to Live Oak investors describes the Whitney Oaks investment in extremely precise terms.

The bottom line: A partnership between CalPERS and Newland owns 96 percent of the Whitney Oaks project. The other 4 percent is owned by a partnership between Cohen and Falik, the two general partners of the Live Oak Associates partnerships.

And Live Oak Associates III owns a little less than 1 percent of the project.

According to a July 1995 Live Oak status report, Live Oak III partners had an opportunity to invest about $200,000, for a potential (but hardly guaranteed) return of $2.2 million -- or, approximately, 1,000 percent.

When CalPERS decided to bankroll the purchase of Whitney Oaks, Willie Brown was in his final year in the state Assembly, and at the end of a 14-year run as speaker. In fact, the purchase was consummated just a few weeks before Brown won the San Francisco mayoral runoff election against Frank Jordan in early December 1995.

While he was Assembly speaker, Brown "moonlighted" as a lawyer. His private law practice was large, lucrative, and controversial. He was repeatedly criticized for accepting large legal retainers from clients with significant interests in state legislation. Brown repeatedly responded by insisting his private legal work did not involve legislative or state agency matters.

Because San Francisco mayors are forbidden from employment outside government, Brown sold his law firm before taking office. During the mayoral campaign, however, Brown's legal clients became an issue; many news reports questioned whether Brown might be tempted to favor former clients if or when he became mayor. Particularly, Brown's relationship with the Catellus Development Corp. came under fire.

According to the San Francisco Examiner's Lance Williams, then-Speaker Brown took in nearly $400,000 in legal fees from Catellus from 1982 to 1994. And it was clear Brown would have to deal with Catellus and its long-stalled Mission Bay project, somehow, if he became mayor.

Brown responded to the criticism in a variety of ways, at times suggesting he would refrain from mayoral action that would affect former clients, out of concern about the appearance of conflict of interest. At other times, he indicated he would recuse himself only when the law required it. But once elected, Brown demolished any notion he would abstain from matters relating to Catellus by fiercely advocating for a new plan for Mission Bay.

In an interview just days before Brown's mayoral inauguration, the Examiner quoted the mayor-elect as saying that building Mission Bay would be one of his top priorities, and that he'd be calling Catellus the day after he was sworn in as mayor. Brown also suggested the development could move more quickly with encouragement from Catellus' largest shareholder -- CalPERS, which then owned more than 40 percent of Catellus.

"I'll place a call to the people who actually own Mission Bay," Brown was quoted as saying. "We're not talking about a profit-seeking organization, we're talking about an entity under public control that simply must protect the beneficiaries' investment. That's a different agenda."

Catellus' hopes of developing Mission Bay had been bottled up for years. The city approved a development plan for the area in 1991, but Catellus found the plan so restrictive that it wasn't profitable to build. In 1995, the company walked away from the plan, and wrote off $84.8 million in losses.

But a reversal of fortunes followed quickly after Brown took office. Catellus gained approval of a new Mission Bay plan calling for construction of millions of square feet of office space and thousands of residential units. Approval came in October 1998 with the strong support of Brown, who actively and successfully campaigned for the University of California, San Francisco to locate a new biotech-oriented campus in Mission Bay. Some of the land for the new campus was, in fact, donated by the city.

Approval to move forward on Mission Bay removed a longtime thorn from Catellus' side. After 15 years of defeat at the hands of slow-growth activists, Catellus now had a centerpiece project -- involving hundreds of acres of prime San Francisco real estate -- ready for development.

As the fortunes of Catellus rose, so did the fortunes of the California Public Employees' Retirement System. The system had bought a huge chunk of Catellus stock in 1989, owning as much as 46 percent of the firm at one time. As a real estate recession took hold and then deepened in the early 1990s, however, the stock plummeted in value, drawing intense criticism of the investment.

Catellus' own annual reports indicate that the approval of Mission Bay -- an approval championed by Willie Brown -- improved the firm's financial position. Of course, other factors were also involved in the improvement in Catellus' fortunes, including other real estate investments in Illinois, Oregon, Colorado, and California.

Still, the trend is clear: When Brown took office, Catellus stock was hovering in the $6.50-per-share range. Early in December 1997, as Catellus' new plans for Mission Bay were sliding toward city approval, CalPERS sold nearly 19 million shares of its stake in Catellus at slightly more than $17 a share, reducing its percentage of ownership from more than 40 percent to about 18 percent. In effect, the retirement fund made some $200 million from the rise in stock prices between early 1996 and the time it sold its shares.

Somewhat paradoxically, it is this run of good fortune that helps create a two-step appearance of conflict of interest involving Willie Brown and the state retirement system:

1) Brown aids Mission Bay -- and Catellus, and, therefore, CalPERS -- in San Francisco, helping CalPERS recoup much of the paper loss it had suffered through its investment in Catellus.

2) CalPERS backs the Whitney Oaks venture and, consequently, aids Live Oak Associates III, which just happens to count San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown among its investors.

Next to Mission Bay and the Presidio, the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard is one of the most valuable pieces of soon-to-be-developed real estate in San Francisco. To be sure, sections of the former naval base have massive environmental problems. But the area also boasts some of the city's best bay views. The contract to develop the decommissioned shipyard, which is in the process of being returned to city ownership, is truly a one-of-a-kind opportunity.

The Lennar Corp. is the lead partner in a group that was recently awarded a San Francisco Redevelopment Agency contract to oversee the conversion of the shipyard to civilian use. The redevelopment contract became politically controversial in 1998 because some of Mayor Brown's close associates -- including Yber-lobbyist Billy Rutland, trucking contractor Charlie Walker (known sometimes as "The Mayor of Hunters Point"), and local Democratic Party insider Natalie Berg -- had been hired as consultants by the companies competing for the contract.

Struggling to avoid the appearance of favoritism, the Redevelopment Commission -- which is appointed by the mayor -- brought in the major accounting firm of KPMG LLC to review the qualifications of the three finalists. Then, at a public hearing last month, the commission rejected KPMG's recommendation, and, in a surprise vote, chose the Lennar-led group as master developer of the former shipyard.

All while Renaissance Homes, the Lennar subsidiary, was working away on its section of Whitney Oaks, in partnership with CalPERS, Newland, and the Willie Brown investment vehicle Live Oak Associates III.

Lennar officials did not return phone calls this week seeking comment on possible conflicts involving Whitney Oaks.

Throughout his political career, Willie Brown has been a lightning rod for ethics criticism. Much of this criticism has focused on the seemingly inherent conflict between his duties as one of the state's most powerful officeholders -- speaker of the Assembly -- and his work as a private attorney for some of the state's most prominent businesses. Time after time, critics have pointed at supposed conflicts; time after time, those conflicts have been vague, attenuated, incomplete.

While in the Legislature, Brown did indeed represent many clients who benefited from governmental action. But Brown never was shown to have represented a private client for the purpose of winning a state government approval over which Brown had official sway. He adamantly insisted his private law practice was perfectly ethical, and all but taunted critics with a personal style that included Porsche automobiles and Wilkes Bashford suits.

As revealed to this point, the public record contains no direct evidence of a tie between Willie Brown's interest in Live Oak Associates III and his actions in favor of CalPERS or the Lennar Corp. Such evidence as does exist is circumstantial, and subject to varying interpretation. In other words, there is no transcript of a conspiratorial conversation between Willie Brown, CalPERS, and Lennar to scratch one another's wallets.

But the Whitney Oaks project raises serious ethics questions about Willie Brown -- questions that differ fundamentally from those raised in the past about his former law practice.

The Whitney Oaks questions do not involve a vague, indirect, incomplete connection between Brown's actions as private lawyer and public figure.

At Whitney Oaks, documents show definitively, Brown himself stands to profit privately from the financial backing of a public agency, CalPERS. And just as definitively, the public record shows that the mayor's official support of Mission Bay has profited CalPERS.

The appearance of tit for tat seems all but inescapable:
It is clear that CalPERS funded Whitney Oaks, and that Live Oak Associates III, which counts Willie Brown as a partner, is part of the project.

It is clear that Willie Brown's successful effort to restart Catellus' Mission Bay development was a factor that helped put millions -- perhaps tens or even hundreds of millions -- of extra dollars into CalPERS's coffers.

And it is clear that Whitney Oaks and the approval of a new Mission Bay plan have moved forward during roughly the same time period.

It is unclear, however, whether Whitney Oaks and Mission Bay -- and the roles of Willie Brown and CalPERS in each -- are connected by more than appearance and shared timing.

Likewise, the simultaneous involvement of the Lennar Corp. in Whitney Oaks and a major redevelopment project in San Francisco may be simple happenstance. Lennar is, after all, a huge real estate firm with wide-ranging interests.

Still, obtaining city approvals for major projects is always a primary concern of developers who hope to make money in San Francisco, and the projects in which CalPERS and Lennar have interests here are not small, or peripheral. They are major, and central to the development of the city.

State and local conflict-of-interest laws prohibit a public official from participating in public actions in which he has a private economic stake. One section of the state Government Code puts it this way: "No public official at any level of state or local government shall make, participate in making or in any way attempt to influence a governmental decision in which he knows or has reason to know he has a financial interest."

According to his own financial disclosure statements, Mayor Brown's investment in Live Oak Associates III is significant and enduring. Other limited partners in Live Oak III have been well aware of the partnership's investment with CalPERS in Whitney Oaks. As a longtime speaker of the Assembly, Brown is, or should be, familiar with the workings of the state retirement system. In fact, one member of the CalPERS Board of Administration is appointed jointly by the speaker of the state Assembly and the Senate Rules Committee.

Brown's interest in Whitney Oaks does not appear to be huge; he has disclosed a $10,000 to $100,000 ownership in Live Oak Associates III, but that partnership apparently owns less than 1 percent of Whitney Oaks. How much Live Oak III might profit from its 1 percent stake seems likely to vary, depending on the success of the development. Whether Willie Brown's interest in Whitney Oaks has been or will be large or direct enough to reach legal definitions of conflict of interest is certainly a debatable question.

Still, Brown's own public utterances show he knew that CalPERS was a major owner of the Catellus Development Corp., and had a major stake in the Mission Bay project. The available record shows that, at the very least, he ought to have known he was also involved in a private business deal with CalPERS, and in a prima facie conflict of interest.

David Pasztor edited and helped research this article.

by San Francisco Resident
Monday Jan 5th, 2004 11:24 AM
After following this story and seeing all the comments, it truly bared out what truly happened in Hunters Point, and how the community people were disenfranchised.
It highlighted the environmental injustice and environmental racism that was imposed upon that community all in the name of a buck by a crooked politician and his cronies (developers and the ordained). What it has exposed is the people of Hunters Point never had a chance, because of the city's grip and the special interest greed, to rob the community of what ever was due to them. It is shameful the politicians allowed this to happen with disregard for that community's people. The main stream news stayed away from the story until you allowed it to be featured on your newswire. It showed that community was robbed of multi millions of dollars that they desperately needed to survive while enduring toxic hell. The story bought the special interest big business plans and schemes from under the table into clear view of what they have perpetuated on the Hunters Point community. The broken promises, the payoffs, the manipulation of a politician who said He was doing it for the community and paying particular attention to affirmative action. What he was really doing was trying to move the people out in rapid order so his developer gentrification plan would work. That community has suffered more that any other community or district in San Francisco, while paying more taxes than many other communities. The facts in your newswire feature spoke for themselves my heart bleeds for that community’s people. What San Francisco allowed to happen to Hunters Point People is at best shameful.
by Matthew Hirsch
(A Benefit to himself not the Community) Monday Jan 5th, 2004 7:31 PM
Willie Brown gives us a last reminder of what we're ushering out, and his political appointees saddle the next mayor with a deal that will limit the public interest possibilities of the Hunter's Point redevelopment area.

The mad scene outside the Dec. 2 Redevelopment Commission meeting was one final, vivid reprisal of Mayor Willie Brown’s obstinate approach to San Francisco neighborhoods. It was also yet another indication that for many, the Dec. 9 mayoral election will be a referendum on Brown’s machine-driven governing style.

Dozens of private contractors filled tiny Room 416 where the meeting was taking place while neighborhood activists packed the hallway outside. With San Francisco sheriffs guarding the doors, several Bayview-Hunters Point residents began chanting, “Let us in, let us in!” all to no avail. Of all that transpired inside the Redevelopment Commission meeting, the image of Brown striding through a throng of neighborhood activists, surrounded by an entourage of guards and ushered cautiously into the meeting room, was most telling.

Brown slid past the crowd of people opposed to the planned redevelopment of the Hunters Point Shipyard, urged the commissioners to sign off on the controversial project and won unanimous approval. The commission agreed to turn over nearly 100 acres of the Shipyard to the Lennar Corp. and later extended exclusive negotiations with Lennar for the remainder of the 500-acre Shipyard, at Brown’s urging.

The redevelopment decision ties the next mayor into a binding legal agreement with Lennar, a pact that promises more than $14 million to developers but few specific community benefits. Many opposed to the agreement questioned the timing of the decision, because no construction can begin at the Shipyard until the U.S. Navy finishes clearing toxic contaminants from the land.

One week before the mayoral election, the Lennar contract figures to be an issue only if Gonzalez wins. Gonzalez’s economic development plan calls for projects to deliver social equity and environmental sustainability - aspects not guaranteed by the agreement with Lennar. Meanwhile, Gavin Newsom has already come out in favor of Lennar projects at the Hunters Point Shipyard and Treasure Island. This difference, according to Willie Ratcliff and Marie Harrison of the San Francisco Bay View newspaper, could throw District 10 (which Angela Alioto won last month) in favor of Gonzalez.

Posted by Staff at December 4, 2003 06:33 PM

by Lisa Davis
(For the benefit of Community Residents?) Monday Jan 5th, 2004 8:18 PM
Arrested Development
Mayor Brown is pushing for quick approval of a Hunters Point Shipyard redevelopment plan that gives a lot to homebuilding giant Lennar, and not nearly enough to the city or the shipyard's neighbors
lisa.davis [at]

One afternoon in late September, Mayor Willie Brown broke into his out-of-town schedule to conduct a conference call with a group of citizens from southeast San Francisco. For some weeks, the group -- which includes residents, environmental activists, and artists from the Bayview neighborhood and is known as the Hunters Point Shipyard Citizens Advisory Committee -- had been reviewing a plan for the first phase of development at the former Hunters Point Shipyard.
For the past 10 years or so, the 500-acre shipyard, a federal Superfund site, has been the subject of a massive, still incomplete environmental cleanup by the U.S. Navy. After completing the cleanup, the Navy is to transfer the shipyard land to the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency, which plans to remake the area as a mixed-use community.

In his call, the mayor urged members of the advisory committee to work quickly in reviewing the first phase of the project, which the Redevelopment Commission is expected to consider -- and most likely approve -- as early as next month. This development deal would be the largest in recent city history, an agreement to build out what is often jokingly referred to as "the last 500 acres in San Francisco." The first phase of development includes the improvement and sale of 93 acres of that land. If the plan gains approval, a group led by the Lennar Corporation, America's largest homebuilder, would eventually turn the acreage into improved land for some 1,600 houses and 300,000 square feet of commercial space.

Those present for the mayor's call say he suggested the advisory group spend only a short time -- perhaps 30 days -- reviewing the first-phase deal. And it's no secret that Mayor Brown wants the Lennar deal done before he leaves office at the end of the year; it would be a permanent part of Brown's mayoral legacy. Later, though, some committee members harrumphed, saying that the deal has taken 30 years to get to this point, and the mayor should cool his heels while they look at what City Hall has in store for them.

A good, long look at the first phase of shipyard redevelopment may well be in order. A review of documents related to the project, supplemented by interviews with a wide variety of interested parties and experts, reveals potentially serious problems in a deal that seems generous to its developer and less than fully advantageous to the city of San Francisco or residents of the Bayview.

If the Phase 1 agreement is signed, the city will have hired a developer to build out a Superfund site where the full extent of toxic pollution is not yet known. Navy contractors have yet to complete significant portions of an environmental assessment of the property, which has been the subject of one toxic surprise after another. State and federal environmental regulators have not yet approved any of the property for transfer. And the Navy has yet to sign an agreement specifying how the land will be transferred to the city.

On the financial front, the group that would develop the first phase -- a partnership among Lennar and two local firms -- stands to benefit significantly if redevelopment commissioners approve the deal. To be sure, Lennar has spent millions of dollars on planning for, and meeting with the community about, the project. Still, the deal seems to all but guarantee Lennar repayment of its predevelopment costs and a large profit, while insulating the developer from almost all risk.

For starters, if the deal is approved, Lennar will be developing land it did not have to buy. (The military is under a congressional mandate to clean up the land and turn it over to the city.) More than half of the cost of building basic infrastructure for the land -- streets and sewers, among other things -- will be financed through public bond sales. Once the infrastructure is in place, Lennar will be in line to receive a huge chunk of the profits from the sale of land -- or it could sell the land to itself. And Lennar would be relieved of the largest risk involved in developing the shipyard -- the risk of future lawsuits over environmental problems -- through environmental insurance paid for from proceeds of the land sale.


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by Gustav a San Francisco resident
Monday Jan 5th, 2004 8:59 PM
I have been monitoring both newswires and what I saw was appalling the lack of coverage by mainstream media on a suffering community’s people. Is this from political patronage? I did see the Fang family received money from the city so I understand why they don’t want to write on the subject despite their printing plant, and some of their offices are in that community. I see the Chronicle finally wrote something but, not much considering how much coverage the independents have done. Is this Hearst Policy of Racism? Or catering to big business, and special interest? What San Francisco truly needs is a major newspaper that will cover all the local district important stories instead of a lot of puff pieces. Hats off to the University Journalism Departments, maybe the new journalist will encourage new ideas, and more complete reporting of important news.

Bronstein and his paper missing in action
by Sandra Friday December 26, 2003 at 04:56 PM

No wonder I don't subscribe to the Chronicle anymore they don't cover anything of substance out of Hunters Point just shootings. The really big local stories just get lost in their publication. Seemly the weeklys have covered and the independent media have done a far superior job in recording the news stories fit to print. As reflected by the universities Journalism Departments. I am all for the Chronicles declining circulation, maybe Sharon saw something we didn't.

Why isn't the mainstream media covering this story?
by Kim Friday December 26, 2003 at 08:18 PM
This is a travesty of justice, why isn't the main stream media covering all of these important government reports and journalism reports? Is the main stream media supporting a new type of racism? Or are they racist too? It seems that that there needs to be a government sponsored conference to cover these issues. I live in Potreo Hill and we are fighting the installation of the so called peaker plants that would further erode the environment in our area, we will join with Hunters Point to fight on all of these fronts.
Where are our politicians? Probably reading the Chronicle and missing the boat, however we won’t miss the boat come election time.

by Chuck Finnie and Lance Williams
(FBI probe focuses on bayfront property proposals) Tuesday Jan 6th, 2004 12:06 AM
More recently, according to authoritative information obtained by The Examiner, the FBI demanded that a city agency turn over records related to Lennar Homes, a subsidiary of Lennar Corp. of Florida, which won Redevelopment Commission approval in March to build housing on the 500-acre Hunters Point Naval Shipyard.

The Port industrial park proposal and the shipyard redevelopment project both involved controversial city trucker Charlie Walker, a friend, political supporter and former law client of Mayor Brown. Walker is a focus of the FBI city contracting probe.


When a Florida development firm, Lennar Corp., began assembling a team last year for a bid on the rights to another piece of the southeast Bayfront, the 500-acre Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, it also turned to Walker. As its local jobs broker — a firm that would be charged with ensuring people from the Bayview were hired to work on the project — Lennar retained the Bayview Hunters Point Builders Exchange, another of Walker's companies.

Joe Petrillo, a lawyer for Lennar, said the developer wanted to get better connected to the people in the neighborhood.

Walker also brought connections — not only to Brown, but also to the then-Redevelopment Commission President Lynette Sweet, treasurer of Walker's nonprofit.

On March 30, when the commission selected a developer for the shipyard, Sweet voted to give the contract to Lennar, joining three other commissioners on a 4-3 vote to reject a consultant's recommendation that the project go to another firm.


Lennar steals Hunters Point deal

San Francisco's redevelopment agency gave development rights for Hunters Point Naval Shipyard to a team led by Lennar Corp. -- abandoning the recommendation of an outside consultant. The Lennar team, which is also redeveloping Mare Island in Vallejo, won a 7-0 vote and beat out Catellus Corp. and the consultant's pick, Forest City Enterprises. The agency said Lennar had done a better job mustering community support and was the best off financially



Current Status of CA Base Reuse: Hunters Point Naval Annex

A report is prepared by: California Trade and Commerce Agency Office of Business Development - February 1999


The City of San Francisco has retained Peat Marwick to analyze three development proposals for the 500-acre former Hunter's Point Naval Annex (BRAC 1991). Three development groups were chosen to implement the City's reuse plan from among those that responded to an RFQ in 1998. The Plan includes a master-planned, waterfront community of residential, commercial mixed-use and light industrial uses. The three successful respondents include Forest City Development, Lennar/BVHP Partners/ Mariposa Management/Luster Group and the Catellus Development Corporation/WDG Ventures, Inc.

Upon receipt of Peat Marwick's recommendations and following a public hearing, the Redevelopment Agency Commission is expected to make a final decision on March 23, 1999.


by Da Community
(The Community needs Your help) Tuesday Jan 6th, 2004 9:28 AM
The series of articles show a definite conspiracy to defraud the community, while catering to big business and developers meanwhile the community suffering from toxic hell continues. The complete disregard by major media to cover these events made them part of the cover-up of the ripping off a community suffering from major civil rights violations evidenced by the history of attachments to the main story. It seems to have taken several paths showing the sellouts of their own community for a buck, while they claim they are working to benefit the community. It is hard to conceive how when they see their own people suffering and being ripped off they can subscribe to this. The city departments that are supposed to be serving that community using their millions of dollars in expenditures using it to suppress the community and holding the underserved community in toxic hell, without the dollars to fight their way out. There needs to be an investigation of this, and a prosecution of those departments’ representatives. The city’s administration who put on a campaign to gentrify the community, while giving the community lip service, we are doing what is best for you while lining their pockets and their friends pockets while the community suffers from a lack of jobs, borderline homelessness, lack of good health care, and evictions, gentrification hanging over their heads, those people should be prosecuted. Their needs to be a full State Investigation, and a full Federal Investigation, many dollars slated for this poor community have been re directed, and the community ripped off, while leaving the community people still suffering all types of Economic and Environmental Health problems. The large polluters need to be exposed for their contributions to the ill health of the community and fined daily and that money given to the community until they see they had better find a better way to deal with the community. The politicians and the Democratic party needs to be put on notice that the community voters will be voting with candidates and a party that will allow the community to live under normal conditions and not an economic, toxic, ill health cloud. Demonstrations should be put on in front of or at major media locations in San Francisco exposing their racist stance of not covering a community in need and suffering from their lack of coverage of the real issues of the community. We hope other activist and communities will come to the aid of the Hunters Point People and their plight.
by Adriel Hampton
(Poor left out of Prop. J equation) Tuesday Jan 6th, 2004 11:04 AM
Next big election fight: middle-class housing
Poor left out of Prop. J equation.
Adriel Hampton
Of The Examiner Staff
Published on Monday, January 5, 2004
A huge political fight greets San Francisco straight out of the holidays, a follow-up to the hard-fought mayor's race. The battleground is two relatively tiny swaths of land that serve as this year's centerpiece for the affordable housing debate.
Proposition J, the so-called Workforce Housing Initiative put forth by the Chamber of Commerce and mayor-elect Gavin Newsom, may become the most controversial issue in the March election. It will require The City to dedicate $2 million for an immediate set of planning reviews that would clear the way for condominium towers to be built for middle- to upper-class buyers.

A large coalition of neighborhood associations, tenant groups, politicians and small builders, including those in the nonprofit sector, has lined up to fight the measure. The majority of the Board of Supervisors -- including Matt Gonzalez and conservative Tony Hall -- opposes it, saying a policy debate would have benefitted residents of all income levels. The supervisors could amend Prop. J only after 10 years, a time in which the Chamber estimates developers would build 10,000 units in the designated areas.

Two zones would be set aside for the new housing: the downtown area, bounded by Market, Kearny and Clay streets and the Bay; and the central waterfront, bounded by Mariposa Street, Islais Creek, Interstate 280 and the Bay.

Prop. J would blunt efforts by neighborhood groups or activists to carve concessions -- such as height modifications or affordability to poorer residents -- out of housing developers in the affected areas.

"If this attempt to trump good planning practices succeeds, it will set a dangerous precedent for neighborhood planning throughout The City," argue planning commissioners Sue Lee and Lisa Feldstein, Hayes Valley activist Peter Cohen and former deputy mayor Brad Paul in the ballot guide. "Instead, a broader group of stakeholders should sit down with The City and design a comprehensive homeownership program that benefits all working families."

Nearly 40 percent of the housing would be price controlled for those earning $64,000 to $110,000. Approximately one-third of San Francisco households falls into that bracket. The remainder of the condos could be sold at market rates. The 2003 median home price was $568,000.

Should Prop. J pass, the "workforce" and other price-controlled condos would sell for less than $250,000 for a one-bedroom unit and less than $400,000 for a three-bedroom, which is still out of range for the working poor, but deemed reasonable for many downtown workers.

The measure has strong financial backing from the Chamber, which allotted $7,500 last month for 17 ballot arguments, developers and real estate brokers and provides the first test for Newsom, who campaigned strongly on the issue of middle-class housing.

"I have friends who love San Francisco. They work here, they worship here, they spend their days in San Francisco. But they go to sleep in the East Bay or beyond," Newsom supporter Richard Ow wrote in Chamber-financed arguments. He contends The City is losing a generation of middle-class families who cannot afford market rates but fail to qualify for government subsidies.

Development has been the defining issue in San Francisco politics since the 1970s when new high rises led to anti-growth efforts that crested in the 1986 office development cap known as Proposition M. Efforts to revise that measure in 2000 met with defeat.

The current strife, however, pits those who would like to proceed with housing for the downtown workforce against advocates for low-income tenants and preservationists concerned with neighborhood consequences. Prop. J also wakes the coalition that helped defeat Proposition R, a 2002 measure that would have allowed the conversion of thousands of rental units into condos in a Supervisor Hall-backed effort to turn more tenants into homeowners.

Rich DeLeon, a political scientist who has written about The City's land wars, called it "very typical San Francisco," for an important issue such as workforce housing to be decided at the ballot box instead of through a consensus approach.

"Something so central as this should have a long conversation, real outreach," he said.

He added that the issue of whom the new development would house will define the campaign as well as the dynamics of the just-finished mayor's race.

"In the immediate wake of the runoff, people want reason to oppose anything Newsom proposes," he said.

The Chamber markets the proposal as a quick, cost-effective route to a vibrant downtown, a revitalized neighborhood to bridge the South of Market and Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhoods and a way to attract and retain nurses, firefighters, police and other skilled workers.

"When night falls, downtown empties," Lee Blitch, president of the Chamber, writes in argument for the ballot handbook, which will be shipped later this month. "The restaurants and shops are deserted. This is an area of San Francisco that is incredibly vibrant during the day and is a deserted, dark wasteland at night. ... The Workforce Housing Initiative will help bring about a renaissance for downtown."

by Francisco DaCosta
(frandacosta [at] Tuesday Jan 6th, 2004 3:21 PM
Check this out:


The City and County of San Francisco's PLANNING DEPARTMENT has with intent
made deliberate mistakes to deceive the constituents of San Francisco by
noticing false dates, incorrect information, and convuluding language that
borders on deceit and disinformation by falsely noticing the Negative
Declaration on the Housing Element in the local newspaper - The Independent.

The notice has been sent during the Holiday Season so that the constituents
are at a disadvantage and there has been NO PUBLIC MEETING about this false
Negative Declaration on the Housing Element. In fact there has been no
Environmental Impact Report and absolutely NO consideration of having an
informed dialog with the Public at Large based on empirical data and the
housing element. Previous data used has been false and misleading.

The State of California and the Federal Bureau of Investigation should put
the City Planning of San Francisco Amit Ghosh and Gerald Green on notice.

The City Attorney and other enforcement departments and agencies should
mandate that City Planning of the City and County of San Francisco re-notify
the constituents of San Francisco is a proper and correct manner. It is
important that the dates be correct, the notice very clear, and the content
specific and factual.

Failing that it is right that City Planning be taken to Court in violation of
many laws and regulations the most prominent being Title 6 where constituents
most affected are those who are poor and of color. Those that are misinformed
because they do not have the real fact and are LIED to. There is intent by
the City and County Planning Department to exploit poor and constituents of
color to adversely harm the environment, the health and well being of the

poorer constituents, and in general harm and adversely impact Quality of Life
Standards affect all San Franciscans.

Time and time again San Franciscans have protested against San Francisco City
Planning and time and time again City Planning has with intent adversely
impacted the Quality of Life Standards and put San Franciscans in Harms Way.

Francisco Da Costa
Environmental Justice Advocacy
4909 3rd Street
San Francisco, CA 94124

PH: 415-822-9602

by People fed up with Environmental Injustice
(Time for change) Wednesday Jan 7th, 2004 7:18 PM

We look forward to the seating of a new administration, we will be fair and wait and see if the new Administration decides to be fair to the Residents of Hunters Point.
Unfortunately that clock will start ticking immediately for the new administration looking for rectification of the Environmental Injustice and Environmental Racism of the last eight years, which amplified the suffering of Hunters Point Residents. People are presently mobilized and they are in no mood for any more broken promises, while the special interest and the developers rob the community blind with the help of a few sellouts. They and their special interest, and developer friends will be exposed for who they are to the full community and they should not expect understanding for their past misdeeds. The community will lean on Federal and State Agencies to do their jobs, the community suffering has to stop. The courts will be used to seek equalization of past misappropriation of funds and manipulated decisions. The media will be used, and a call to activist throughout to demonstrate against any more of the same old crooked business.
The people of Hunters Point have stated they want a normal healthy life style with economic balance so they can raise their families. Whole scale gentrification is not an option if others think so watch the polls. See who stays around and see who gets kicked out of office. It is an opportunity to do the right thing with ethics, morality, and balance we will watch the appointments to the various commissions throughout the city, which department heads which one go, also what happens to the special assistants.

by Francisco DaCosta
Thursday Jan 8th, 2004 9:25 AM
The Housing Element should have been in place at least 3 years ago so that the State of California gets the best empirical data to project our Housing Growth in the next ten years. On Transportation too.
Side by side with the Housing Element the Transportation Document also permits the State to better understand the so called Transit Corridors and the benefits all San Franciscans would enjoy to travel using more Public and less private transportation.

As usually happens the corrupt City Planning headed by Gerald Green and Amit Ghosh were more interested in pandering to huge developers who pay the planners to expedite projects, other crooks too to do their bidding. What is good in the best interest of the constituents of the City and County of San Francisco is very, very low on the City Planning's agenda and Totem Pole.

The most corrupt Mayor Willie L. Brown Jr. did all in his power to shelter corrupt special interests and big developers in San Francisco. Mission Bay and the many Live/Work lofts that have sprouted all over the City would never have been constructed if it were NOT for the very corrupt lame duck Willie L. Brown Jr. who will be out of office January 8, 2004. Good riddance of very bad rubbish.

It is imperative that any Housing and Transportation documents have the best interests of the constituents of San Francisco. That a document called the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) be attached to the Housing and Transportation document.

Of course City Planning would never go this route because City Planning is not about to follow rules and regulations. City Planning with Gerald Green as the Czar has broken every single law and right now he spends more time outside his office NOT serving the needs of the people of San Francisco. The same with Amit Ghosh you cannot reach his inept Planner Phd not by telephone nor by e-mail.

The State of California should have had the Housing Element document a long time ago so that it can fund the City and County of San Francisco on major projects linked to Housing and Transportation.

The State can also except a minimal document wherein the City Planning declares that the Housing Element as a Negative Declaration - meaning that there are NO major obstacles that the City and County of San Francisco and the City Planning have encountered. No major impacts that will ADVERSELY IMPACT the thousands of San Franciscans who live in this great City.


Again and again at numerous meetings both the City Planning Commissioners and City Planning have sided against the people and for methods bordering on deceit. City Planning and the Planning Commissioner can look you straight in the EYE and LIE.

There are 4 City Planning Commissioners who do Willie Brown's bidding and they should resign. I say they should resign and leave town. We do not need corrupt jack asses from New York and Chicago to come over here and screw with our values and the Quality of Standard Living. Enough is enough. Let's us void the boyd!

City and County of San Francisco Planning should be totally reorganized. It is a shame that the turn over is so high and the frustration of the few honest workers so high that no one wants to work where NO laws and regulations are followed.

The present interim Planning Director, Green the Director who is out of the office most of the time, and Amit Ghosh are so pompous in their attitude that they need suspended and removed from office. Simply disgusting the way they talk to you as if they are omnipotent.

The people of San Francisco are fed up with City Planning and the Planning Commissioners. That includes the past City Planning Commissioner President who is now on trial for taking bribes.

This is the only City that allows thousands of units to be built on a toxic dump like Mission Bay. This is the only City that first allows thousands of units to be built and then thinks about sewage and energy issues. In all other Cities and Counties - Infrastructure has to be in place first and then Developers can build homes and other facilities.

Again and again be it on Ricon Hill, in the Mission, in the South of Market Area, in North Beach, in Hunters Point and Bayview - City Planning has NOT followed standards because it has no ethics.

Again and again CONDITIONAL USES have been embraced to break laws and regulation. We even had a City proposition on height limits but San Francisco City Planning thinks nothing of side stepping the Proposition and defending the interest of developers who are in it for the money and not for Quality of Life Standards.

Recently the San Francisco City Planning notified the PUBLIC by posting a false notice, full of mistakes in the local Independent newspaper during the Christmas holiday season - declaring the Housing Element meets all the elements of a NEGATIVE DECLARATION. This is plain wrong and a slap on the face of those who really care about this great city we call San Francisco.

Amit Ghosh has to be removed from office and so have Binder and Green. I hope Gavin Newsom sees to it that these parasites have no place in any Planning Decision that Adversely Impacts the Health and Welfare of all San Francisco. Also Safety Issues and the downing of Quality of Life Standards.

The City Attorney should study the notification linked to the Negative Declaration and order City planning to re notify the constituents of San Francisco. How ever we need to have a series of Public Meetings and some of them before the City Planning Commissioners all over the City and County of San Francisco.

The Planning Commissioners would do well to visit the neighborhoods who are affected rather then bluff the constituents from City Hall where they connive and try to fool the people using convoluted language.

Down with this so-called BOGUS Negative Declaration linked to the Housing Element that makes no sense and which the City Attorney should declare null and void.

by Community interested people
Thursday Jan 8th, 2004 11:15 AM
One of the departments that should be investigated now is the Department of the Environment, and their funded programs. The Head of that organization has allowed his organization to be used to suppress the community, if you read the Human Rights Commission report it shows a lot of their failures with intent or contempt for the Bayview Hunters Point Community. Look into their conflict of interest, who was funded, effectiveness of program delivery, racism, etc.
The people of Hunters Point Bayview deserve better, they deserve effective program delivery not serving special interest, and political insiders. Time and time again the community has pointed out failures, and ineffective delivery, and time and time again this program has continued on its insensitive course leaving the residents to pay the price.
It is now time for an effective environmental administrator with ethics to head that program, who is responsible for what his programs and staff do, the time for excuses is over. The community needs to be served ethically and efficiently.
by Francisco Da Costa
(frandacosta [at] Thursday Jan 8th, 2004 4:49 PM
San Francisco Environment (SFE) formerly known as the San Francisco Department of Environment has not been fair to the constituents of Bayview Hunters Point.
Again and again millions of dollars set aside as mitigation funds and money set aside to address Energy Issues having the constituents play a major role have been used by SFE to pay salaries to their employees - pandering to Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) and throwing bread crumbs to the people of the Southeast Region which includes Bayview Hunters Point. The two aging toxic polluting power plants should be shut down. The over 2000 commercial businesses in the Bayview Hunters Point, the real Industrial Area should be targeted so that these businesses can be helped with state of the art machine tools and other upgrades to reduce wastage of energy. To date the constituents have not got from SFE nor PG&E empirical data so that we the advocates can make calculated and progressive choices. Again and again and again we attend meetings and at all these meetings - misinformation and disinformation is the hidden agenda spewed out to us. We are NOT interested in the few energy saving Christmas Lights and rare Torchiere Light Exchange programs. Such programs are insulting to the educated constituents.
We want Solar Projects, Wind Projects, Tidal Project, other Energy Reducing Programs with the constituents getting paid to do the jobs. SFE who are mostly White and do not live in the neighborhood should stay away because they cannot feel with the constituents. They are there because they make huge salaries pandering to PG&E and working against the best interests of the community. People like Maurice Campbell, Lynne Brown, Andrew Bozeman, Don Paul, and many others genuine advocates are the people who should be involved with the projects. Again and again I see trained Natural Resources Defense Council affliates who are all suspect:
We the people cannot be fooled all the time. Enough is enough.

Francisco Da Costa
Environmental Justice Advocacy

by Willie Ratcliff & Homeless News
(Need more proving Racism in S.F?) Thursday Jan 8th, 2004 10:01 PM
67 percent of SF homeless are from Bayview Hunters Point

In the last few years, the complexion of San Francisco’s homeless
population has changed. Activists estimate that 85 percent of the
City’s 14,000 homeless citizens are Black.
Editorial by Willie Ratcliff - San Francisco Bay View - October 31, 2002

Now we know. The loss of 23 percent of San Francisco’s Black
population – 20,000 Black people gone in the last decade – did
not solve what the City perceives as its “Black Problem.” No.

While 20,000 Black folks lost their homes and left the City, another
nearly 10,000 – from Bayview Hunters Point alone – lost their homes
yet stayed in the City, homeless.

That’s right. According to the Mayor’s Office of Housing, there are
approximately 14,000 homeless people in San Francisco, and 67
percent of them come from Bayview Hunters Point.

In the last handful of years, in a dramatic transformation, the
complexion of San Francisco’s homeless population has turned

Activists estimate that 85 percent of the City’s homeless citizens are

So the “Black Problem” in San Francisco has merged with the
“Homeless Problem,” scaring some at City Hall out of their wits.

Out of his fear of homeless people and his hunger to be mayor,
Supervisor Gavin Newsom invented Proposition N, naming it a
compassionate-sounding “Care Not Cash.”

If Newsom’s bulging money bags and his friends in high places
succeed in out-polling those of us who still have a conscience
and some common sense and Prop N becomes law in Tuesday’s
election, thousands of our neighbors who no longer have a home or
anything else of monetary value will have their General Assistance
checks slashed from about $359 a month to a meager $59 a month.

Many of them will die.

Thus Prop N is Newsom’s “Final Solution” to San Francisco’s
“Black Problem.”

San Francisco has always been hostile to Black people, more
hostile in some ways than the Deep South. A few years ago, the
City’s Redevelopment Agency admitted that back in the days of
urban renewal – known in the Black community as “Negro removal” –
its purpose in bulldozing 5,000 Black homes and 200 Black
businesses was to drive all Blacks out of San Francisco.

Since then, as Blacks fell from 16 percent to less than 8 percent
of the City’s population, San Francisco lost one of the major
attractions that make it the world’s favorite destination.

It lost the Black-owned jazz clubs that generously poured music out
into the streets of the Fillmore. It lost its soul.

But despite Redevelopment’s best efforts, not all Blacks who were
driven out of the Fillmore left the City. Many Fillmore refugees
moved to Bayview Hunters Point.

So now, by decree of Newsom and his corporate sponsors, it is
Bayview Hunters Point that must be repeopled and the people of
Bayview Hunters Point, now homeless, who must be eliminated.

Now, right now, is the hour of decision for each of us. Will we
vote? Oldtimers say that Bayview Hunters Point used to “vote
100%.” And will we vote for genocide or will we hold high the
freedom banner?

The big businesses supporting Prop N – and opposing the public
power that Prop D will bring – are the same businesses that
refuse us jobs and contracts and credit and even put us under
surveillance when we dare to walk into their stores and restaurants.

I won’t let them drive me out of San Francisco, and I hope you won’t

I won’t let them intimidate me into voting for Prop N and the death by
starvation of my brothers and sisters.

I won’t let them frighten me away from the voting booth.

I simply won’t do business with businesses that won’t do business
with me.

And I simply won’t vote for Prop N, Newsom’s “Final Solution” to the
“Black Problem.” Please join me. If all people of good will vote No on
Prop N, we can reclaim the soul of San Francisco.

Oakland Measures EE and FF

Since the police invasion on 10-11 of Thurgood Marshall High
School, I am compelled more than ever to oppose any police force
that looks at African Americans as the enemy. Like San Francisco,
Oakland to a large extent has that kind of police force. That’s
why the Black Panther Party was formed. And today, the trial of
the notorious “Riders” proves that police supremacy is more
repressive than ever.

Now Oakland’s Mayor Brown, with Measure FF, wants to impose new
taxes to raise $60 million to put 100 new cops on the street.
That’s more police repression at a cost to taxpayers of $600,000
per cop!

Why would anybody vote for that? As Oakland Police Chief Richard
Word himself said, referring to the “Riders,” “How can we expect
to police the community if we can’t even police ourselves?”

While I urge you to vote No on Measure FF, I urge you to vote Yes
on Measure EE. Measure EE is the culmination of years of
organizing for Just Cause – adding the requirement to the law
that landlords must show a good reason to evict people from their
homes. And unjust enrichment is not Just Cause.

All that poor people have is each other. When we’re driven from
our homes, we lose those friendships and neighborhood connections
that are vital to our survival.

The big businesses and their political puppets who support Prop N
and oppose Prop D in San Francisco and who support Measure FF and
oppose Measure EE in Oakland are the same ones who lock us out of
living wage jobs, redline us out of business opportunities that
would enable us to employ each other, evict us from our homes and
then, as if we weren’t down and out enough, sic the cops on us
and our children.

Thanks to the San Francisco Organizing Project for revealing the data
on how many homeless people come from Bayview Hunters Point.
source page:

Kevin Williams a Contract Specialist working for the Human Rights Commission, who was bold enough to expose the crooks who were fleecing millions of dollars from City coffers at the San Francisco Airport, was terminated today at 4:30 p.m. by Virginia Harmon the Director of the Human Rights Commission.

Kevin Williams was the one who also exposed the symbol of hatred the infamous " nooses" that were left at job sites where several African American work on City jobs.

The Queer Virginia Harmon one of the most inept and arrogant Directors cannot stand facing an intelligent African American man and she was bold enough to call Kevin Williams " a stupid nigger".

Kevin Williams has taken this matter to court and from all acounts this case which has received wide publicity will be ruled in his favor. In the interim this vicious woman Virginia Harmon has defied the Courts, the very principles that the Human Rights Commission has to uphold - and used every vicious method to taunt and belittle Kevin Williams.

A protest will be held on January 16, 2004 at 4 p.m. on the steps of City Hall in San Francisco and you are all invited to hear various labor leaders speak on the issue of discrimination. Virginia Harmon thinks that she can intimidate San Franciscans and is above the law. Well, as the days turn to weeks and then to months she will face justice and be brought to book.

Thousands of San Franciscans support Kevin Williams. It is left of Gavin Newsom and the City Attorney to investigate the Director of Human Rights Commission and bring her to book.

Francisco Da Costa
Environmental Justice Advocacy

The letter that was read into the record of the Redevelopment The letter that was read into the record of the Redevelopment Agency Commission representing the Chair Scott Madison of the Citizens Advisory Committee was not written by Scott Madison or entirely representative of his position. Scott was not at the Redevelopment Commission Meeting due to an operation. There needs to be a clarification on exactly what his position was since the Redevelopment Commission was influenced by his letter, representing his stance and the stance of the CAC. This is something the Ethics Commission needs to add to their investigation of the Redevelopment Agency Commission.
by Lynne Brown CFC
(l_brown123 [at] Sunday Jan 11th, 2004 11:10 AM
PO Box 885111
San Francisco, CA 94188
l_brown123 [at]

August 25, 2003

TO: Citizens Advisory Board Executive Committee
FROM: Lynne Brown, Convener

We are very concerned that the CAC Executive Committee has been asked by Lennar to approve an inappropriately rushed schedule for endorsement of the Disposition and Development Agreement (DDA). The DDA will be a lengthy and highly technical document that will govern the relationship between Lennar, the Redevelopment Agency, and the community for many years, at least through buildout of the first phase of Shipyard redevelopment. The details of this document will ultimately determine whether Shipyard redevelopment enhances economic opportunities and quality of life for existing Bayview-Hunters Point residents and businesses or displaces us. As primary stakeholders, we must insist of a process of genuine and comprehensive public review of the DDA.

In our estimate, a minimum of 90 days of review time must be scheduled before the CAC considers approval of the DDA. The schedule must accommodate the full membership of the CAC and the general public by providing for workshops and other opportunities to analyze and evaluate the DDA that the Agency and Lennar will be proposing.

We have already expressed concerns (7/22/03 letter from Arc Ecology to the Redevelopment Commission is attached) about the Term Sheet, including the interplay between the DDA and the Exclusive Negotiating Agreement, Lennar’s and the Agency’s respective rates of return and obligations, and the community benefits process. Technical details of the DDA will determine the extent to which Lennar and the Redevelopment Agency have addressed our issues. Approving the accelerated schedule for consideration of the DDA would deprive us of the opportunity to provide the CAC, the Agency, and Lennar with informed feedback.

To assist our participation in the process of Shipyard redevelopment, we are asking you to formally request the Redevelopment Agency to provide the full CAC and the public with answers to the following questions:
• What is the schedule for review and adoption of the DDA that Agency staff is recommending?
• What is the projected schedule for approval of the Conveyance Agreement?
• What is the expected schedule regarding the development of a concurred Finding Of Suitability to Transfer (FOST) for Parcel A? What is the schedule for publication of the HRA and assessment of the methane barrier breach?
• What other approvals (e.g., environmental review) will be presented to the CAC and the Agency for concurrent consideration with the DDA?

We propose that the Executive Board invite regulators involved with the Shipyard (US Environmental Protection Agency, California Department of Toxic Substances Control, the Regional Water Quality Control Board, and the Air Resources Board) and the Navy to make a presentation to enable the CAC and the public to better understand the relationship between the DDA and cleanup issues.

We would also appreciate your asking the Agency to provide the CAC and the public with the following financial information:
• Total expenditures, by year and general line item category, for the Shipyard Project Area;
• Revenues contributed to the Agency by Lennar;
• Revenues loaned to or provided from other sources; and
• Agency payments or reimbursements to Lennar.

In addition, we respectfully request the Mayor's Hunters Point Shipyard Citizens Advisory Committee to consider a motion at their next meeting urging Lennar/BVHP Partners to disclose publicly the names of all individuals and organizations, excepting officers and direct employees of Lennar/BVHP Partners, to whom they have made payments or contributions, or delivered by any means considerations of value, whether directly or through third parties, including contributions to public officials and candidates for public office, since initiating efforts to obtain exclusive negotiating rights and a disposition and development agreement for the Hunters Point Shipyard redevelopment project.

Finally, we would like you to add to the agenda of the next CAC meeting a discussion clarifying the jurisdiction of the Project Area Committee; in particular, whether they have any formal advisory responsibilities with respect to redevelopment of the Shipyard.

Thank you for your consideration. Please contact us if we can answer any questions or otherwise be of assistance.



Arc Ecology
833 Market Street • San Francisco, California 94103
phone: 415 495 1786 • fax: 415 495 1787 • e-mail: evebach [at]

July 22, 2003

San Francisco Redevelopment Agency Commission
San Francisco Redevelopment Agency
770 Golden Gate Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94102

RE: Hunters Point Shipyard Term Sheet

Dear Commissioners:

We are submitting the following comments on the proposed Term Sheet for Hunters Point Shipyard on behalf of the Community First Coalition. We hope you will take them into account as you consider the Term Sheet and as you move forward.

Yours truly,


Eve Bach
Staff Economist/Planner

Cc: Maurice Campbell

Lynne Brown

Marcia Rosen, Director

Don Capobres

Erwin R. Tanjuaquio, Secretary

Questions/Comments on Conceptual Framework for Phase I
Hunters Point Shipyard Redevelopment
1. Decoupling the Phase I Term Sheet from agreement for the rest of Shipyard is disadvantageous to the City and the community.
The proposed Term Sheet that disconnects redevelopment of Phase I (Parcel A and part of Parcel B) from the rest of the Shipyard erases whatever benefit the City and community might have gained from engaging a master developer for the entire Shipyard. Unfortunately this decoupling does not cure the lack of competition that is the primary disadvantage of using a master developer since the Exclusive Negotiation Agreement (ENA) continues to privilege Lennar. The result is that Lennar would be able walk away from redeveloping the rest of the Shipyard if it is not lucrative, but they retain their exclusive relationship with the City if it is. This enormously strengthens Lennar’s leverage in negotiations with the City.

Benefits Sacrificed by the Term Sheet - Theoretically there are several potential advantages to the City of have a single agreement with a master developer:
• It could ensure that all of the Shipyard parcels would be developed according to the Redevelopment Plan. (For the sake of discussion let us set aside community concerns about the Plan.)
• The costs of less profitable uses (such as industrial, open space, and public facilities) could be internally subsidized by more profitable ones (such as housing).
• Financial risk could to be spread over the entire project.
• Profits generated in the early stages of development would become available to finance subsequent development, reducing the need for outside capital (both public and private).

The City loses these benefits by decoupling the most lucrative Shipyard sites from the rest. Under the provisions of the Term Sheet, the City will be no better off in negotiating the next phases than if a master developer had not been chosen. The City’s starting point for negotiations with Lennar will be no better than if the City had to negotiate with a different developer. But since the ENA prohibits other developers from competing, the City may have to give Lennar a higher return than it would give to other developers under competitive conditions. If market conditions are bad, the proposed Term Sheet would increase Lennar’s negotiating leverage since it has no obligation to develop the more difficult Shipyard parcels. If the real estate market rebounds - especially if there is a great increase in land values due to major public investment in improved access - Lennar can capture a substantial proportion of the capitalized value of nearby public improvements, due to the lack of competition.

Subsequent phases of Shipyard redevelopment could be far less lucrative than Phase I. The sites are more contaminated and are to be developed primarily as industrial, public and open space uses with less housing as an economic engine. The City will probably have to give Lennar substantial public resources to develop the next Phases due to the collapsed market for commercial and industrial land. However, as a practical matter, Lennar can demand as a baseline return on capital it invests into the next phases of the Project the rate of return available to them elsewhere - on sites unencumbered with contamination or plans that mandate industrial uses and open space. In future negotiations, the City will in effect have to compete against Lennar’s investment opportunities everywhere else. Terminating the ENA with Lennar will not fully solve the City’s problem because other for-profit developers will demand similar return.

Having a stand-alone Phase I deal also means that in negotiating Phase II, Lennar can make the demand that the City match their potential return elsewhere, irrespective of their actual profits in Phase I. If Phase I profits exceed projections, Lennar will have no obligation to accept a correspondingly lower return in Phase II. If Phase I turns out to deliver only the projected return or less, there is some question, however, whether the City is committed to pay Lennar a higher-than-market rate of return in the next phase . The City, in the Response to Community Comments, claims that it is providing a rate of return to Lennar that it considers to be lower-than-market (if Lennar’s pre-DDA contributions are factored in -13%) in order to motivate Lennar to participate in subsequent phases, presumably to achieve a market rate of return (Lennar is seeking 25%) for the Shipyard as a whole. Since this commitment does not appear in the Phase I Agreement, we need clarification about this and any other undocumented commitments.

Even though the community’s highest priority for Shipyard redevelopment has been jobs and business opportunities, Lennar has consistently deferred most of the development that would generate these benefits to future phases. Burdening subsequent phases with the additional obligation to provide Lennar with higher-than-market returns suggests that community priorities will slip badly.

2. The City’s projected rate or return should be at least equal to Lennar’s?
The Term Sheet is structured to provide a nominal rate of return on capital contributed after finalization of the DDA of 25% to Lennar and 11% to the City. However the picture is more complicated because the Term Sheet is apparently designed to repay Lennar 12% on funds they loaned (between $10 million and $13.5 million) the Project prior to the DDA. The blended rate of return for Lennar is targeted by the Term Sheet at 13%.

The most obvious question triggered by this arrangement: What is the basis for assuming a lower rate of return for the City’s capital than for Lennar’s?

The differential does not appear to be related to a difference in risk since the City’s risk in this project is at least equivalent to Lennar’s.
• The financial risks are evenly shared by the City and Lennar (except to the extent that Lennar’s rate of return is higher).
• The risk that the City ultimately might not approve their project is not greater than the City’s risk that Lennar will not ultimately propose an acceptable project.
• Lennar’s risk of non-repayment is far less than the City’s. The Term Sheet assigns the first $10 million in Mello-Roos revenues (which are not subject to the vagaries of the real estate market and create no liability for Lennar) to Lennar, in effect subordinating the City’s claims to Lennar’s. The City is repaid only out of the proceeds of land sales.
• By committing only to horizontal development, Lennar avoids the larger risks related to vertical development, while capturing speculative increases in land value, and the capitalized value of public (e.g., federal cleanup funds, federal and state highway funds for new roadways, Mello-Roos) investment.
• Since Lennar will be in charge of Project accounting practices, and they will be structuring the transactions with vertical developers, the City risks reductions in its share of land sale revenue because of complicated deals that provide Lennar with financial advantages at the expense of sales price. The City’s right to audit does not fully address this risk.
• And, as explained above, Lennar does not face the risk of being outbid by competing proposals, but the City faces competition from Lennar’s other investment opportunities.

Lennar’s higher rate of return is not due to the relative size of its investment. Lennar is contributing $25 million; the City’s is contributing $30 million plus Mello-Roos proceeds.

The City could have borrowed funds for pre-DDA expenses at a lower cost than the 12% called for by the Term Sheet. For example, the City might have borrowed the funds from other redevelopment project areas or from City or County accrual funds at the City’s earning rate, or from a bank at a public borrowing rates.

In the final analysis, it is not even clear how Lennar’s return compares to the City’s because the Term Sheet is unclear about details: :
• Which of Lennar’s pre-DDA expenses were legitimate loans to the City that were needed for Shipyard redevelopment to go forward, and which were expenses bolstering their negotiating position? For example, does the City intend to repay Lennar the costs of outreach (by both Lennar and the City) to build public support for approval of the Term Sheet? For support of the various iterations of their proposal? For lobbying for a bridge across Yosemite Slough?
• Does the Term Sheet provide a return on funds the City fronted (i.e., those funds not loaned by Lennar) for pre-DDA expenses? What is the City’s rate of return on its pre-DDA expenses? What would the blended rate be if the City’s 11% return were spread to cover pre-DDA City expenses?
3. The very substantial value of the ENA itself does not appear to be taken into account by the Term Sheet.
There is no indication that the value of the ENA was backed out of the City’s debt to Lennar or factored into the rate of return in any other way, even though the City has given Lennar an asset with high value. The ENA, in reserving the entire Shipyard for Lennar to develop in both the near and far .future, has given them many of the benefits of land ownership (Even though Lennar must receive Redevelopment Agency approval for any Shipyard projects, they would have a comparable obligation if they owned a property outright in a redevelopment project area.) These benefits of ownership come unencumbered with any of the carrying costs (e.g., land costs, taxes, liability, operations and maintenance) or risks (toxic wastes, devaluation of the property for any other reason) an owner would have to bear. Some of the ownership expenses that Lennar avoids are direct costs to the City (e.g., foregone property taxes). The value of this asset needs to be included in the rate of return calculus so that it is not given to Lennar as a gift. .
4. Lennar’s Project must achieve baseline City objectives without relying on the City to pay for them as “enhanced community benefits.”
The Term Sheet needs to clearly state the minimum requirements and redevelopment objectives that any Project for the Shipyard must be designed to satisfy – i.e., threshold community benefits that must be provided by the development itself, not out of the City’s profits. Those objectives have been articulated in the many public meetings that gave rise to the Shipyard Redevelopment Plan, have been summarized by the Community Advisory Committee, and added to the Plan.

Given the substantial subsidies that Lennar will be receiving (free land and Mello-Roos funding), and the reasonable rate of return they are projected to receive (especially if they were recalculated to account for the value of the ENA), the Term Sheet should unambiguously require Lennar to meet those community’s objectives for Shipyard redevelopment as a part of the basic Project. This means that the Project itself must be structured to meet Redevelopment Agency goals for local employment and business opportunities, housing, affordable artists’ studios, open space, and educational other public facilities. These objectives must not be delegated to the City to meet with its share of Project profits, as the Term Sheet contemplates. The City’s community benefits funds must be reserved for amenities and programs that supplement the threshold benefits that the Project itself must provide.
5. A process must be specified prior to DDA finalization for allocating community benefits.
There are two main dangers associated with the proposed community benefits fund envisioned in the Term Sheet. First, there is the danger that DDA negotiations will assume that threshold community benefits can be paid for by the fund, rather than requiring them to be incorporated into the basic configuration of the Project. It appears, for example, that negotiation to date have already decided that the community benefits fund will have to bear the cost of making affordable units accessible to Bayview-Hunters Point residents rather than residents of the 3-county area of Marin, San Mateo and San Francisco. During the continuing negotiations of the DDA, City and Lennar must not be allowed reconcile their differences by assuming that the community benefits fund will pay for basic Project features (such as neighborhood-based standards of housing affordability, local contracting and hiring, on-site stormwater treatment and EIR traffic mitigations).

The second danger is that the community fund will become a political slush fund used to build support for the project that Lennar proposes. A process for allocating funds and for oversight, needs to be defined well in advance of fund allocations.
6. The City’s commitment to spend 100% of land sale proceeds on community benefits needs to be clarified.
The City needs to adopt a policy that does not allow the community benefits fund to be diverted into Project costs (including Project administration), into the costs of administering fund programs , or to pay the City for services that it should provide without supplemental funding.

by Maurice Campbell
(mecsoft [at] Sunday Jan 11th, 2004 12:24 PM

Community barred from Redevelopment Commission meeting

by Maurice Campbell

Like hundreds of others who wanted to attend the Redevelopment Commission meeting last Tuesday, Bay View Associate Editor JR was barred from entering the meeting room, so he snapped this picture of the sheriff’s deputies blocking the door.
Photo: JR
By the time Bay View Hunters Point residents had completed their press conference on the steps of City Hall and made their way up to Room 416 for last Tuesday’s Redevelopment Commission meeting, the showdown over the city’s DDA (Disposition and Development Agreement) that would give most of the Hunters Point Shipyard away to the Lennar Corp., the room was already filled with supporters of Lennar and Mayor Willie Brown.

“What I found out when I came upstairs,” Marie Harrison, Bay View columnist and Greenaction organizer, told KPFA News, “was that people had their papers, their purses and everything holding seats for supporters of the DDA. The gentleman representing the Lennar company that my community is out to get rid of was standing at the door waving his folks in, and the guard says that he’s not being partial.”

KPFA reported that Redevelopment “Commission staff had asked the Sheriff’s Department to have extra deputies on hand for what they warned would be a ‘large, loud and possibly disruptive crowd.’ But the commission did not book a larger room to accommodate those numbers.”

The community was ushered into an overflow room where they could watch the proceedings on City Hall’s closed circuit TV. Residents who wanted to speak, however – even those with speaker cards – were barred from testifying by armed deputies blocking the door. More than 70 people had signed up to speak.

The crowd of Bay View Hunters Point residents, who outnumbered the Lennar DDA supporters 300 to 60, quickly overflowed the overflow room and filled the hallway, eager to testify. “We want in, we want in,” they chanted. Barbara George of Women’s Energy Matters asked sheriff’s deputies for the meeting to be moved to the Board of Supervisors’ chambers, which was not being used - a room large enough for the audience – but she said she was told, “People will put graffiti on the chairs.”

After the deputies told her that no seats were available in Room 416, she saw two people leave and managed to enter the room. There she counted 12 empty seats, signaling that fact to commission staff. Her signal was interpreted as “disturbing the peace.” Immediately, deputies handcuffed her so tightly that she can be heard on the KPFA tape crying, “Don’t hurt my wrists.” She was led away to the deputies’ room and held until it was too late to testify.

The entire incident was video- and audio-taped. Matthew Hirsch of the Bay Guardian left the overflow room to cover the incident, as did Bryant Edwards-Tiekert from KPFA. Well known attorney Sherry Gendelman of KPFA fame went right away to the room where Barbara George was detained, knocked on the door and identified herself as George’s attorney, but she was repeatedly denied access to her client. This denial of George’s First Amendment right to speak to the Redevelopment Commission and of her right to due process was witnessed by many people, including the reporters.

When Mayor Brown made his way through the crowd to defend the DDA, he needed several bodyguards to “protect” him from the community, who loudly booed and jeered him. The mayor was caught by KPFA on tape snarling, “Why are you being so stupid?”

The commission appeared to be shocked by the community’s opposition to the DDA. Environmental justice advocate Francisco Da Costa wrote later, “The SFRA commissioners had a look on their faces as if at any moment the crowd would lynch them.”

Inside Room 416, Mayor Brown addressed the commission, speaking of his “lofty goals” for Lennar’s development of the Shipyard and the “magnificent structures” like those “in Mission Bay” that will “rise out of the ground.”

As an incentive to share his enthusiasm, he held out a slim hope for jobs to the job-starved community. “Hopefully, in most cases,” he hedged, “as they rise, people who have lived in and about that area will be the ones who are creating the rise, who are doing the jobs. That’s what this is all about.” The DDA contains no guarantee of jobs for residents beyond temporary construction work.

In response to speakers’ complaints that they had not had time to fully review the 1,000-page DDA, the mayor complained that the people of San Francisco are “obsessed with process.” Hoping to railroad approval of the DDA during his last days in office, he demanded that the Hunters Point Shipyard Community Advisory Committee endorse the 6-inch-thick document in 30 days, though they were never even given all the attachments.

CAC subcommittees held more than 40 meetings in a month in an effort to fully review the complex agreement, said environmental justice advocate Francisco Da Costa. “This is ridiculous and speaks volumes about the prevailing corruption,” he observed.

“There has been no true community participation,” Marie Harrison told the commission. Added another resident, “We say shame on Lennar and the Redevelopment Agency for trying to ram this DDA down our throats without a proper public process.”

“It’s going to be like the Fillmore, where they went down with eminent domain and took all these people’s property, made them move and gave them less than the value of their stuff – actually just kicked ‘em out and moved ‘em out,” said a woman, referring to the Redevelopment Agency’s concurrent proposal to declare nearly all of Bay View Hunters Point a project area that would enable the agency to call in the bulldozers to replace the low-income neighborhood with mansions for the wealthy that would raise property values for the homes Lennar wants to build.

Chosen as “Master Developer” for the Shipyard by the Redevelopment Commission because of its homebuilding experience, Lennar, the nation’s largest homebuilder, is notorious for building new homes on its own dump in Florida. But, Bay View Hunters Point residents say, there is plenty of homebuilding experience right here in the community.

“I hear people getting up talking about all this expertise you got to have to build a house. And that’s all Lennar ever done was build houses,” testified Willie Ratcliff, Bay View publisher and president of the African American Contractors of San Francisco. He adamantly opposes the DDA or any means of giving away the Shipyard, taking it from the Black community that came to San Francisco to work there. Ten thousand Bay View Hunters Point residents worked in the Shipyard before it was shut down – many of them now dead from the toxic and radioactive waste that has caused it to be declared a Superfund site.

Residents wanting to testify against the DDA moved back and forth between the overflow room, where they could watch the proceedings on closed circuit TV, to Room 416. There, where they were kept waiting outside the door, unable to hear whether their names were called, they had no way of knowing when it was time for them to speak. Perhaps their eagerness to testify is what Willie Brown meant when he said that San Franciscans are enamored with process.

The commission eventually voted 5 to 0 to approve the DDA. We have since learned that they imposed some strict conditions that could reverse the decision later, so in the end this day may not be as dark as it seemed. But the community will have to stay on top of this issue. When we have those conditions in black and white, they will be published in the Bay View.

If all else fails, says Francisco Da Costa, “We will see the rascals in court.”

To hear the KPFA News report on the meeting, go to Maurice Campbell is the convener of the Community First Coalition and a member of both the Hunters Point Shipyard RAB (Restoration Advisory Board) that advises the Navy and the Hunters Point Shipyard CAC (Citizens Advisory Committee) that advises the mayor. Email him at mecsoft [at]
by The Community
(Coruption, Coruption, Coruption) Wednesday Jan 14th, 2004 10:19 AM
Major source of Homeless & Hopelessness

With Muni spending $20 Million a month on Third Street Light Rail with a very small percentage of contracts going to the local community, and very few hires only primarily as flag people or crossing guards.
With the Navy in their YTD contracting figures from last year, reflecting less than 1 percent going to local contractors from over $40 million.
With PG&E along with the San Francisco Department of Environment, showing that in the area of Energy Efficiency a $16 million dollar program, we have almost no local contractors or even people working for that local contractor.
With Redevelopment giving away the Shipyard, and locking the community out of any percentage of home ownership
With that you have the picture of Economic, and Environmental Racism, true Injustice in modern day times.
With that there need to be a massive change
by Da Community
(One more time) Wednesday Jan 14th, 2004 12:01 PM
In a Sign dedication ceremony today, (12-14-2004) for the Windows on the Shipyard; overlooking Parcel E of the Hunters Point Shipyard. Once again the community was not involved just a large contingent from San Francisco Department of the Environment, and the organization they funded mainly all white. Their speakers mainly all white, with no one representing the community. People of color were supposed to be silent and stand by quietly supporting what was taking place with a saying a thing.
Get the picture they from the outside know what is best for the community, and the community is too stupid to represent themselves. We guess silence is golden if you are black just pay the tax and keep your mouth shut.
by Anastasia Hendrix, Chronicle Staff Writer
(ahendrix [at] Thursday Jan 15th, 2004 6:06 AM
City workers: We were told to vote, work for Newsom
S.F. city attorney probes campaign charge by 9 street cleaners

Anastasia Hendrix, Chronicle Staff Writer Thursday, January 15, 2004


chart attached

Nine members of a city street-cleaning crew say a top official of the San Francisco Department of Public Works and supervisors of a nonprofit organization funded by the city agency pressured them into voting for Gavin Newsom for mayor and walking precincts for his campaign on election day.

The street cleaners told The Chronicle that Mohammed Nuru, the city's deputy director of public works, and Jonathan Gomwalk, executive director of the San Francisco League of Urban Gardeners, or SLUG, had applied pressure to vote and electioneer for Newsom by saying their jobs would be in jeopardy unless Newsom won the mayor's race.

The street cleaners -- part of a 45-member crew employed by SLUG who work under contract with the Public Works Department -- said they had been pulled off the job during the Nov. 4 general election and Dec. 9 runoff and driven to a Newsom campaign office where Nuru assigned them to walk precincts, knock on doors and distribute campaign literature.

In the week before the runoff, during their work shifts, street cleaners were told to appear at, or were given rides to, the Department of Elections at City Hall and were instructed by SLUG crew chiefs to cast absentee ballots for Newsom, according to the nine street cleaners.

"I felt like I was in another country, like it was some kind of dictatorship taking place," said Oscar Hollin, 47, one of the street cleaners. "I read about this kind of thing all the time, but I never thought it would happen to me."

After casting their votes, street cleaners were asked to turn over their voter receipt stubs to their SLUG crew chiefs, Hollin and three of his colleagues said. One of those three, Antonia Perkins, said a crew boss had peered over her shoulder as she marked her ballot.

"It made me really uncomfortable, because I was going to vote for the other guy," Perkins said, referring to Newsom's runoff opponent, Board of Supervisors President Matt Gonzalez.

Nuru and Gomwalk denied any wrongdoing.

Nuru said that he never pressured anybody do anything against his or her will and that he assumed that the SLUG workers who showed up at the campaign office had done so voluntarily.

Gomwalk acknowledged that SLUG had taken employees to vote but said it was part of a legitimate effort to teach political involvement to the street cleaners -- members of a welfare-to-work program.

Repeated attempts to reach the SLUG crew supervisors -- individually and through Gomwalk -- were unsuccessful.

City Attorney Dennis Herrera opened an investigation into the allegations after street cleaners complained to the San Francisco Human Rights Commission last week, according to street cleaners interviewed by investigators and other sources familiar with the investigation.

A city attorney's spokesman declined to comment. But the sources said one area of inquiry is whether the Public Works Department and SLUG violated laws that forbid spending taxpayer dollars on political activity.

Another focus, the sources said, is that Hollin, Perkins and two other street cleaners were laid off on Dec. 31 and whether that was done in retaliation for talking to The Chronicle. The street cleaners contacted the newspaper two days after Newsom's Dec. 9 victory and filed a complaint with the Human Rights Commission on Jan 6.

A spokesman for Newsom, who was sworn into office last Thursday, said that Nuru had served as a campaign volunteer but that the new mayor had no knowledge of the allegations or the investigation until being contacted by The Chronicle.

'Zero tolerance'

"There's zero tolerance for anything like that -- there was zero tolerance for that on the campaign, and it will be the same while he is mayor, " said Peter Ragone, Newsom's spokesman. "If there is due cause, there should be a fast and fair investigation."

SLUG's street-cleaning program employs welfare recipients, poor and homeless people, and convicts released on probation or parole to sweep the city's streets. It is funded almost entirely by the city.

According to interviews with Hollin and eight other former and current SLUG street cleaners, Nuru, Gomwalk and SLUG crew chiefs repeatedly told them their jobs and the future of the SLUG organization depended upon Newsom's being elected as Mayor Willie Brown's successor.

Five other members of the SLUG street-cleaning crew interviewed by The Chronicle - none of whom would be quoted by name -- said they hadn't felt pressured and weren't offended by the election-related activities.

Nuru said he did campaign for Newsom as well as for Kamala Harris, who unseated former District Attorney Terence Hallinan on Dec. 9. But he insisted that he had always worked on his own time and had not pressured anyone.

"If anyone felt like that, it needs to be addressed,'' Nuru said. However, he said, "I don't think these men can be forced to do anything -- we can barely get them to get to work and do the things we want them to do.''

Nuru, who was SLUG's executive director from 1991 until 2000 when he was hired by then-Mayor Brown as public works deputy director, added that "there's not a high level of education with SLUG people." He said "it's very possible" remarks he made had been misinterpreted by some of the street cleaners.

Gomwalk, the current SLUG executive director, said the group had urged street cleaners to participate in a Dec. 2 get-out-the-vote event, which Nuru said had been organized by the Harris for district attorney campaign. Gomwalk said SLUG's encouragement to cast votes had been part of a "civics course" to teach important life skills.

"We always try to encourage our people to be aware of the issues -- that is part of what we do, especially if they affect us, you know, like employment,'' he said, though adding that such lessons have never before involved going to vote at City Hall. "It's just part of the general civic awareness.''

A spokeswoman for Harris declined to comment. A campaign aide who the spokeswoman, Debbie Mesloh, said would contact The Chronicle to address the matter did not respond.

SLUG's Gomwalk said his organization didn't pressure employees to vote for any particular candidate but added that because of budget cuts, "we're not able to provide the level of supervision we'd like to."

He also said he didn't know anything about SLUG crew chiefs' requesting voter stub receipts from street cleaners after votes had been cast.

Stories don't jibe

But accounts given by the nine street cleaners interviewed by The Chronicle contradict the statements by Nuru and Gomwalk.

On Nov. 4, the day that Newsom would end up first among nine mayoral candidates, former SLUG street cleaner Freddie Cavitt said Nuru had approached him and two other co-workers and told them to leave their jobs, remove their work vests and go with him to a nearby polling place.

"Mohammed (Nuru) picked me and two other workers up in his van and told us to go to people's doors and ask them if they voted, and if not, to hurry up and vote,'' said Cavitt, who said he had been fired a few weeks later over a nonelection-related disagreement with his supervisor. "I really didn't like the way that went down.''

Nuru said he recalled only driving Newsom campaign volunteers from a Newsom campaign office to a polling place.

Shortly after the general election, Nuru approached a group of street cleaners while they were sitting in a van eating lunch and delivered what amounted to stump speech for Newsom, said crew member Ricky Anderson.

"He (Nuru) told us it was important for us to go vote because if Newsom doesn't win this, I (Nuru) won't have a job, and you guys probably won't have a job, either,'' Anderson said.

On Nov. 28, according to Ali Nasser, another former SLUG worker, Gomwalk called a special meeting at the SLUG headquarters on Oakdale Avenue in the Bayview district to encourage everyone to participate in the vote drive organized by the Harris for district attorney campaign. Nasser said he had told Gomwalk he shouldn't tell people how to vote, but "he just ignored me.''

The next day, Nuru gave another speech instructing a group of SLUG workers to vote for Newsom before they began a Saturday morning clean-up session at a park, said Barie Williams, a former SLUG street cleaner who says he quit the program the next week largely in disgust over the directive.

On Dec. 2, one week before election, Hollin said he had been told by his SLUG crew supervisor to report to City Hall for a "special project.''

Once there, Hollin said he saw about two dozen other SLUG co-workers from across the city who had come in vans provided by the Harris campaign. "He (my supervisor) told me to grab a pen and one of those absentee ballots," Hollin said. "He told me, 'We want you to vote for Newsom, and if you vote for Newsom, we'll keep our jobs.' "

After initially hesitating, Hollin said, another SLUG crew supervisor came over to him and told him that, "We really need to get this vote in.'' Hollin said he resigned himself, grabbed the form and voted for Newsom, fearing his job was suddenly on the line, even though he had planned to vote for Gonzalez.

Perkins and another co-worker, Regina Lewis, said that they had received the same instructions and that afterward a crew supervisor had told them to hand over their voting receipts as they were leaving the voting area. "It was put to us like, nobody's going to get paid if we don't get these stubs,'' Perkins said.

After their votes had been cast, Perkins, Lewis, Hollin and the other SLUG workers were ushered to three chartered vans waiting outside City Hall, Hollin said. The vans drove to Harris' campaign headquarters, where they waited several minutes before they were told to get into SLUG vans that would drive them back downtown so they could "get back to work,'' Hollin said.

Hollin's co-worker Anderson, who wasn't scheduled to work on Dec. 2, said his supervisor had picked him up four days later during his shift and driven him to City Hall in a SLUG van so he could vote, reminding him on the way that a Newsom win was best to safeguard the program and his position.

Anderson said he had planned to vote for Gonzalez and was even wearing his yellow-and-black "Matt Gonzalez for Mayor" button on his vest when he cast his vote for Newsom.

"I felt that I was forced to vote for a candidate I was apprehensive about based on the issues,'' said Anderson, 43. As he left the voting booth, he said, his crew supervisor extended his hand and asked for the stub that had been taken from the ballot.

"He wanted that stub,'' he said. "Why it was so important I don't know, but he told me he was making sure everyone submitted their stub.''

What records say

Elections Department records confirm that Hollin, Perkins and Lewis voted by absentee ballot at City Hall on Dec. 2, as did Anderson on Dec. 6.

A week later, on the rainy Tuesday when thousands of San Franciscans headed to their polling places to cast votes, SLUG workers said they had been told to carry Newsom campaign posters while they walked up and down streets near the SLUG headquarters in the Bayview, when they would have otherwise been tidying up city streets.

Across town, Hollin said his supervisor had picked him and two of his co- workers up from their post in the Tenderloin and driven them in a SLUG van to Newsom's campaign office in the Mission District.

Nuru arrived shortly afterward, Hollin said, and told the SLUG workers to remove their vests with the city's Department of Public Works logo emblazoned on it. Nuru handed them Newsom political advertisements, Hollin said, and told them to go knock on doors in a nearby neighborhood to encourage people to vote for Newsom and hang the advertisements on doorknobs. City payroll records show that Nuru had taken off work on the day of the runoff and was not working on city time.

Nuru, who many at SLUG said they regarded as a de facto boss because of his former ties to the organization and his current role in the city's decision to keep funding the program, said he did not know the affiliations of those who had come in to the Newsom office that day, and assumed they were all volunteering on their own.

"I think I may have seen some of them around, but I don't know what their status at SLUG was -- my job that day was to help get precinct work done,'' he said.

He also said he could not recall telling anyone to remove their SLUG vest that day, but that if he had seen someone wearing such a garment when they arrived to volunteer at the office, Nuru said he would tell them, "Do you realize you have a city seal and nonprofit logo on? We don't want to act like we're stupid.''

Anderson and Hollin, who joined the program within the last year as they struggle to rebuild lives sidetracked by felony convictions, said they were convinced of just the opposite. Anderson served time for a 1994 armed robbery conviction. Hollin is on probation after being jailed for a domestic assault.

They said Nuru is savvy enough to know that most would be uncomfortable declining to do something that they had been directly ordered to do by a high- ranking city official -- even one who was working as a personal volunteer on that particular day.

Hollin said he had taken off his vest and put on a blue rain poncho and climbed into a truck with a supervisor who drove him to various homes. He had walked up to several doors along Geneva Avenue but, he said, he did not actually ring the doorbells or knock as instructed, though he did hang up the flyers.

At 8 p.m., the usual end of their shift, Hollin said, he and the others were driven back downtown and then headed home.

When he saw news reports of Newsom's surprisingly close victory, Hollin said his stomach churned. He started thinking about whether and how to contact a lawyer.

On Dec. 31, Hollin, Anderson, Perkins and Lewis said they had been called to the SLUG headquarters and laid off.

Gromwalk said the job cuts resulted from special Neighborhood Beautification Fund grant money running out. He said those laid-off had been aware of the pending cuts in advance and suggested they had made their allegations against Nuru and SLUG because they are disgruntled.

He said two other workers on the crew had been relocated to other assignments because "some workers are better than others,'' he said.

Wendy Nelder, the director of the Mayor's Office of Neighborhood Beautification, said SLUG had applied for funds to clean Polk Street for the last two years, but that the request had been denied and no grant had been given to the organization.

Hollin and the others said they believed they had been laid off in retaliation for talking to The Chronicle.

The whole experience has left him disgusted and disillusioned with the democratic process, he said.

"I believe that the people who died for this country, for this privilege (of voting freely), to have it snatched it away is a slap in the face to them, '' said Hollin, whose father is a World War II veteran.

"I may not be the most educated man,'' he said, "but I know about my civil rights, and I know that people aren't supposed to do this."

by Lance Williams, Chronicle Staff Writer
(lwilliams [at] Thursday Jan 15th, 2004 7:51 AM


S.F. gadfly stung for conduct
Affirmative action officer is fired at rights agency

Lance Williams, Chronicle Staff Writer Wednesday, January 14, 2004


A San Francisco affirmative action officer who claims the city harassed him because he cooperated in an FBI probe of municipal corruption was fired Thursday as Mayor Willie Brown left office.

Kevin Williams, 50, who said he had repeatedly sought to blow the whistle on suspected contracting fraud at the city's $1.8 billion airport expansion project, said he was fired from his $99,000-per-year post at the city's Human Rights Commission shortly after Mayor Gavin Newsom's inaugural.

In a letter, his boss, commission director Virginia Harmon, said Williams was being fired for "egregious" misconduct, including allegedly spending his workday preparing two different lawsuits he has filed against the city.

One suit, which goes to trial next week, claims Williams was demoted after a city executive blamed him for turning state's evidence and getting her indicted in 2000. The other suit claims the city had failed to root out widespread fraud and overbilling on the airport project.

David Tirapelle, a civil service hearing officer who reviewed the case found no credible evidence that Williams was being punished for his testimony or lawsuits and said he deserved to be fired.

"All actions taken against Mr Williams were based on his work performance, " said Linda Ross, chief labor lawyer for the city attorney's office. But in interviews, his lawyers, Eric Safire and John Scott, contended the firing was the city's latest attempt to punish Williams for blowing the whistle on corruption at Brown's City Hall. The city rushed to complete the firing "before Mayor Newsom had a chance to put a kibosh on it," Scott contended.

The timing was significant, said Williams.

"It's a message from Willie Brown -- I go out, you go out," he said. "It was important to Willie Brown, because he must feel that he always vanquishes an enemy."

Brown was unavailable for comment.

For much of his 18-year city career Williams worked at the airport, scrutinizing multi-million dollar public works contracts to make sure that firms owned by minorities and women got their fair share of the work under terms of affirmative action laws.

According to his lawsuits, he ran afoul of the Brown administration after the FBI launched a wide-ranging probe of suspected contracting fraud in 1999.

Williams said he was repeatedly interviewed by FBI agents, and testified three times before a grand jury. In 2000, the grand jury indicted Zula Jones, the top aide to Human Rights Commission director Harmon, for allegedly aiding a white-owned company in an illegal scheme to obtain millions of dollars of contracts that were supposed to go to minority firms.

The charges against Jones were eventually dropped. But while the investigation was under way, Williams claimed Jones pressed him to reveal what he had told the FBI and the grand jury. After she was indicted, Jones accused Williams of turning state's evidence against her, he claimed.

Williams contended Harmon stripped him of his management job and reassigned to him to the commission's downtown office, where he said he was given projects with impossibly tight deadlines and threatened with firing when he failed to complete them.

In filings connected to the civil service hearing, Harmon contended that Williams had done "virtually no work for a year." Although he had been told to stop, he spent many hours of city time on the lawsuits, she claimed.

Williams countered that most commission staffers used their computers for personal matters, and he said he had worked unpaid overtime to make up for doing personal business at work. The city disputed that, and in a decision reached on Mayor Brown's last day in office, the hearing officer affirmed that the city should fire Williams.

Safire, Williams' lawyer, said the firing would go into evidence in the wrongful-demotion case in federal court.

Williams also has filed a taxpayers' lawsuit in San Francisco Superior Court, alleging that the giant Tutor Saliba Co., lead contractor on the airport reconstruction project, had defrauded the city of millions of dollars by overbilling. Williams' taxpayers suit parallels a lawsuit filed in federal court by city Attorney Dennis Herrera, who also has accused Tutor Saliba of fraud in connection with alleged overbillings on the airport project. Tutor Saliba has denied wrongdoing. Neither of those cases is set for trial.

by Community People
(We need to understand your position.) Sunday Feb 8th, 2004 10:15 AM
We the people want to know what is your stand on the Redevelopment Commission giveaway of the Shipyard to the Lennar Corporation at the hearing of December 2nd 2003? We the Community know that it was a fast tracked deal by the old administration, which the community adamantly opposed. We would like to know what your position is on that matter. We appreciate your efforts to learn about the issues of the Low Income Community, and People of Color in San Francisco, it a good start there is more to understand like Redevelopment.

by Yup
(What is your stand Mayor?) Monday Feb 16th, 2004 6:56 PM
SLUG, the private clean-up crew that committed election fraud for Gavin Newsom for Mayor and Kamala Harris for District Attorney in 2003, and Willie Brown and his 49er Stadium Swindle in every election from 1995 through 2003, won a 4-year, $4.8 million Dept of Public Works grant in Jan. 2004.

SLUG, the private clean-up crew that committed election fraud for Gavin Newsom for Mayor and Kamala Harris for District Attorney in 2003, and Willie Brown and his 49er Stadium Swindle in every election from 1995 through 2003, won a 4-year, $4.8 million Dept of Public Works grant in Jan. 2004.

The story, with thousands of details, is in the SF Chronicle, 2/16/04 by Lance Williams and Mark Fainaru-Wada at:

This union-busting scheme of contracting out has not only been used by that good Democrat former "mayor" Willie Brown to commit election fraud with SLUG, SLUG has been engaged in willlful till-tapping to the tune of $75,000 for a double-wide trailer, $25,000 for overalls and baseball caps, $1400 in consulting fees, $500 for toys from Toys-R-Us, another consulting fee contract for $5,863 at the rate of $250 per hour, and $12,500 in gas credit card charges, with no verification as to whose car was being given this gasoline.

The good Democrats at the City Attorney's office defended the City in a lawsuit brought by DPW worker Anthony Baeza which exposed all these evil, illegal, election-frauding, till-tapping deeds.

Now we have the good Democrat Kevin Shelley, former San Francisco Assemblyperson, sitting in the Secretary of State's office claiming to investigate the election fraud of SLUG and its thug director, Mohammed Nuru.

Nuru was promoted by his fellow thug Willie Brown in 2000 to a top position at the Dept of Public Works, where he remains today, while he continues to supervise the agency that receives a city contract that is supposed to be monitored by the DPW. See:

Nuru continues to have close ties to other "nonprofits" that do business with the Department of Public Works.

We have yet to hear of the good Democrats at the City Attorney's or District Attorney's Office going after Nuru for obvious conflict of interest, till-tapping and election fraud.

The election fraud of the Democrat-Republicans in the 49er Stadium Swindle election, which Swindle was opposed only by Peace & Freedom Party and the Green Party, may be found a:

San Francisco residents, whether voters or not, must demand that:
(1) Nuru be fired immediately,
(2) SLUG's contract with the City of San Francisco be terminated immediately and forever;
(3) There be no contracting out by the Dept. of Public Works;
(4) All money for the above-described charges be returned to the City;
(5) Gavin Newsom and Kamala Harris resign.

Contact election-fraud "Mayor" Gavin Newsom at:
City Hall, Room 200
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
San Francisco, CA 94102

Telephone: (415) 554-6141
TDD: (415) 252-3107
Fax: (415) 554-6160
Email: gavin.newsom [at]
Press Office: (415) 554-6131

and all 11 members of the Board of Supervisors, regardless of which district you live in or whether or not you are a registered voter as follows:

Michela Alioto-Pier
District 2
(415) 554-7752
Michela.Alioto-Pier [at]

Tom Ammiano
District 9
(415) 554-5144
Tom.Ammiano [at]

Chris Daly
District 6
(415) 554-7970
Chris.Daly [at]

Bevan Dufty
District 8
(415) 554-6968
Bevan.Dufty [at]

Matt Gonzalez
District 5
(415) 554-7630
Matt.Gonzalez [at]

Tony Hall
District 7
(415) 554-6516
Tony.Hall [at]

Fiona Ma
District 4
(415) 554-7460
Fiona.Ma [at]

Sophie Maxwell
District 10
(415) 554-7670
Sophie.Maxwell [at]

Jake McGoldrick
District 1
(415) 554-7410
Jake.McGoldrick [at]

Aaron Peskin
District 3
(415) 554-7450
Aaron.Peskin [at]

Gerardo Sandoval
District 11
(415) 554-6975
Gerardo.Sandoval [at]
by Lance Williams, Mark Fainaru-Wada, Chronicle
(lwilliams [at] mfainaru-wada [at] Tuesday Feb 17th, 2004 9:55 PM
He transformed a tiny San Francisco gardening co-op into a national model for urban job-training programs. Then he emerged as City Hall's point man in a high-profile war on grime and graffiti.

But almost from the day in 2000 when he became an executive in the city Department of Public Works, there were complaints about how Mohammed Nuru, the dynamic protégé of then-Mayor Willie Brown, conducted the public's business.

Nuru has emerged as a central figure in a City Hall scandal involving alleged voting improprieties in the December runoff election won by Mayor Gavin Newsom. But according to public records and interviews, Nuru has been the subject of repeated complaints about alleged mishandling of taxpayers' funds.

Some staffers complained that Nuru, paid $150,867 a year, bent civil service rules to replace city workers with trainees from the San Francisco League of Urban Gardeners, or SLUG, the nonprofit he formerly ran.

Critics said that while he was a city official he pushed to extend SLUG's $1 million-per-year city grant for street-cleaning, and he allowed the nonprofit to charge the city thousands for unusual expenses: $75,000 for a double-wide trailer, $25,000 for overalls and baseball caps, $1,400 in consulting fees to a member of the SLUG board.

Once, Nuru allegedly ordered a DPW crew -- at a cost to the public of $40,000 -- to clean up a debris-strewn vacant lot near his home in Bayview- Hunters Point. Recently he was involved in requesting $70,000 in city funds to landscape another vacant lot in his neighborhood, city records show.

Some veteran DPW bureaucrats filed formal complaints, saying that when they objected to carrying out Nuru's orders, they were demoted or transferred.

Their complaints were made to the city attorney, then-District Attorney Terence Hallinan, and Public Works Director Ed Lee, among others, records show. The city never formally responded to the allegations, and no agency gave any indication it was interested in investigating, the complainants said.

The city attorney does not talk about investigations it is pursuing, said Chief Deputy City Attorney Lori Giorgi, but it takes "allegations of public corruption very seriously."

In January, nine former SLUG workers told the city Human Rights Commission that Nuru pressured them to electioneer and vote for Newsom for mayor. Nuru says he did nothing wrong, but now he is the target of a secretary of state probe of alleged election fraud, and the workers who complained in the past say the city attorney has started contacting them.

Complainants say that from the day he arrived at DPW, Nuru made clear he had been installed by the mayor to shake up a bureaucracy that Brown regarded as unresponsive, hidebound and racist. Because Nuru was the mayor's protégé, they contend, nobody wanted to take him on.

"Everybody was scared of Willie Brown," said former DPW maintenance manager Mel Humphreys, who said he was demoted and forced to retire because he objected to what he described as Nuru's use of city workers for private projects. "Nobody wanted to do anything about it."

Barbara Meskunas, president of the Coalition for San Francisco Neighborhoods and a critic of Brown , says Nuru's trajectory as a city official shows how business was done at Brown's City Hall.

"The guy thought it was still business as usual," she said of Nuru. Others, though, describe Nuru as a can-do administrator who makes the city a better place.

Nuru is "incredibly effective,'' said Isabel Wade of the Neighborhood Parks Council. "I know that he has lots of enemies at the city government level because he kicks butt and they don't like it."

Nuru and DPW Director Lee declined to be interviewed for this story.

Nuru was born in England

Nuru, 41, was born in Bristol, England, son of a British mother and a Nigerian father. As he once testified in an employment lawsuit, he was raised on a farm near Lagos, then came to the United States to study landscape architecture at Kansas State University. He graduated in 1987.

Over the next four years, Nuru said, he helped supervise big construction projects in Sacramento, Seattle, suburban Washington, D.C., and Saudi Arabia.

In 1991, he moved to San Francisco to work as No. 2 executive at SLUG, then a tiny nonprofit that maintained a network of community gardens. He had big dreams: At SLUG, he hoped he could use his love of gardening to somehow aid minority youth in Bayview-Hunters Point.

"I believe I have a green thumb," he testified. "And I also have a passion for training young people and getting people into the workforce ... getting them into jobs, welfare-to-work programs, young people who sold drugs . .. trying to teach them to become productive citizens."

Nuru took charge in 1994, and SLUG was transformed.

By the time he left in 2000, he told the Web site, SLUG's budget had grown 16-fold, to more than $2 million per year. It had a full- time staff of 30. Its workers -- many of them at-risk youth -- tended 40 urban gardens and a 4-acre organic farm in Bernal Heights.

SLUG's young workers were moving "from learning to weed to learning to read," Nuru said in a newsletter. Eventually, every SLUG graduate would be expected to go to college, he said.

At the heart of SLUG's expansion was Nuru's skill at winning grants. From 1992 to 2000, public records show that SLUG obtained more than $7 million in grants from the city.

The biggest came in 1998, when the Department of Public Works agreed to pay SLUG slightly more than $1 million per year for an ambitious welfare-to- work program in which employees work four days a week cleaning streets and spend a fifth day receiving job training.

SLUG won Nuru many friends in the Bayview, and the organization was praised by environmental groups.

"Working on the farm is planting seeds of hope among the garden interns themselves," Landscape Architecture magazine said in a 1996 article. "In effect, (they are) using the connection with the earth and the plant kingdom as a means of turning lives away from crime and despair."

Other plaudits came from the U.S. Department of Energy, which listed SLUG as a success story on its "smart communities" Web site; and from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which made Nuru the keynote speaker at its National Community Involvement Conference in 2000.

Nuru was an inspiring advocate for SLUG, said Tom Branca, who met him in the mid-1990s on the board of an East Bay clone of SLUG called EBUG. Nuru was "dictatorial but a nice guy ... able to pull whatever strings were necessary to get the job done," said Branca, chair of the department of Landscape Horticulture at Oakland's Merritt College.

Branca recalled a "really moving" speech that Nuru once gave at the American Community Gardening Association's convention in Toronto, in which he described how SLUG was turning around the lives of youngsters. "Mohammed's presentation almost brought people to tears," he said.

SLUG also drew Nuru into San Francisco politics. At a SLUG event in the Bayview, Nuru met then-Assemblyman Willie Brown. In 1995, a year before he obtained U.S. citizenship, Nuru volunteered in Brown's successful campaign to unseat then-Mayor Frank Jordan, he testified.

Two years later, Nuru told his staff, he helped deliver the Bayview on Brown's controversial measure to help build a new stadium for the 49ers. The measure eked out a narrow, 1,500-vote victory, but the stadium has not been built.

Nuru also volunteered for Brown's re-election campaign in 1999, he testified. In that election, The Chronicle reported, three former SLUG employees say Nuru told them their jobs depended on Brown's re-election and required them to walk precincts, attend rallies and work phones for Brown's campaign while they were supposed to be cleaning streets.

In 2000, Brown hired Nuru to the No. 2 job at Department of Public Works, the 1,500-employee agency responsible for maintaining streets, sewers, public buildings and trees. Nuru was nominally the top aide to director Ed Lee. But employees believed the real power was Nuru, who boasted of his ties to the mayor and sometimes met with Brown without Lee.

In a city that was increasingly blighted and dirty, Nuru emerged as the mayor's go-to guy on an ambitious cleanup campaign.

To address growing concern over litter, graffiti and filth, Nuru instituted a "district by district neighborhood beautification and cleanup schedule."

He mounted Operation Scrub Down, which sent street cleaning crews into "hot spots," where grime was bad or where complaints were intense. Homeless people complained that their belongings were being trashed by Nuru's cleanup crews, but the sweeps were popular with merchants and homeowners.

Nuru took a tough line at DPW, telling his staff that Brown had put him there to shake things up. As one former manager, John Cone, later testified in an employment lawsuit, Nuru quoted Brown as calling DPW's management "a bunch of racists that were discriminating and holding people back." Nuru vowed to "get rid of those white managers," Cone said.

Some DPW staffers complained that the new boss ignored city rules for the proper use of public resources.

In December 2000, Nuru ordered a DPW crew to use city tree-toppers to hang Christmas decorations for merchants along Third Street in the Bayview, former maintenance manager Humphreys told the Civil Service Commission.

Humphreys said he resisted, contending that DPW wasn't supposed to do work for private businesses or individuals. He said Nuru blew up and accused him of "not liking his people.'' The project was scrapped.

In an interview, Humphreys contended that in his early days at DPW, Nuru also ordered city workers to clean up a privately owned, debris-strewn vacant lot near Nuru's home north of Candlestick Park. Humphreys put the cost of the cleanup at $40,000, and said it violated policies on the use of public resources at DPW.

Last fall, DPW asked the mayor's Office of Community Development for $70, 000 to clean up a debris-strewn, city-owned lot four doors from Nuru's home. City records show Nuru as the original DPW contact on the request.

Shirley Moore of the Candlestick Point Bayview Heights Community Group said the project was worthwhile and long overdue. She said her group got no special treatment from Nuru. She called him a good public servant who was being victimized by the allegations of election improprieties.

"Nobody can hold a torch to what he's done for the city," she said.

Concerns about SLUG grant

Critics have expressed concerns that Nuru oversees a large city grant to SLUG, the nonprofit to which they say he still has ties.

"You don't normally hire the executive director of an agency that your department is responsible for funding and overseeing, and put them in charge of the agency and the funding," said Paul Boden of the Coalition on Homelessness, who clashed with Nuru over Operation Scrubdown.

In 2002, when SLUG's street-cleaning contract expired, Nuru helped it win a one-year, $1 million extension, records show. Last month, SLUG won a new four-year, $4.8 million DPW grant.

After joining DPW, Nuru kept close ties to other nonprofits that do business with the city. He is on the board of the Clean City Coalition and the Strybing Arboretum Society, both of which have obtained DPW grants. Closer still are his ties to the San Francisco Community Restoring Urban Environments, or SF-CRUE. Nuru incorporated this nonprofit, state records show, using his DPW office as its address.

After The Chronicle inquired about SF-CRUE, DPW Director Lee sent Nuru an e-mail Feb. 9 saying he had learned that DPW was using city funds to form and raise funds for a nonprofit. Lee ordered Nuru to stop it and said city workers must pay back any money received for work on the project.

Public records show that in 2001, Nuru became locked in a contentious internal dispute over city payments to SLUG.

To get paid on its $1 million-per-year street-cleaning contract, SLUG had to submit receipts to the city. But the city official who oversaw the grant, John Cone, began rejecting repayment requests.

As Cone later testified, SLUG wanted the city to pay consulting fees of $250 per hour to a retired DPW official who once oversaw the SLUG contract. Cone rejected the $5,863 invoice.

Cone said he balked at a $25,000 bill for SLUG uniforms, including bib overalls and baseball caps. Cory Calandra, Nuru's replacement at SLUG, wrote in a letter that uniforms were needed because SLUG crews "must live up to the reputation of San Francisco as a world class city."

Cone testified that the contract didn't permit the payment.

"I thought it was a misappropriation,'' he testified.

Cone said he also questioned $12,500 in SLUG gas card charges, saying: "You couldn't tell if they were filling up their own cars or somebody else's."

City records reflect other unusual billings by SLUG in 2001 and 2002, including $500 for toys from Toys 'R' Us, and $1,400 for one month of "weekly group meetings" with consultant Martha Henderson, who also was a member of SLUG's board of directors.

One wrangle focused on a $65,000 bill for a double-wide trailer. As Cone described the transaction, SLUG billed the city for the trailer, saying it would be used as a classroom to train SLUG workers "to get ready for the workforce" when their jobs at the nonprofit ended.

Instead, Cone said, the trailer was set up on DPW grounds, where city workers spent perhaps $10,000 to refurbish it. After that it was used as a training facility by the DPW.

Cone said Nuru had personally approved the expenditure. Cone protested it as a misappropriation of city funds: "What they did was they manipulated the (contract) money so it could be purchased and used for DPW."

In his testimony, Cone said he came under increasing pressure from Nuru to pay the contested SLUG bills.

Their conflict played out during a time of financial distress at SLUG. By the summer of 2002 SLUG couldn't always meet its payroll or pay its bills, and for a time it had been financially unable to tend community gardens, SLUG's director wrote to the city. Cone, in testimony, said he believed Nuru was pushing him to approve the SLUG expenditures because of the cash flow problem at the nonprofit.

Finally, Cone said, Nuru replaced him with another official who signed off on the disputed payments. Cone testified about Nuru last June in a deposition in connection with an employment lawsuit that DPW worker Anthony Baeza had filed against the city. The city attorney was an adversary, defending against the lawsuit and challenging the testimony. After Cone testified, an assistant city attorney objected that his testimony was irrelevant, but did not address his contentions.

Cone died of cancer Feb. 5. In an interview before his death, he said the city showed little interest in his allegations about Nuru until after reports of suspected voting irregularities. After that, they began calling.

Cone said then that he hoped the new mayor would address the matter.

"I have pancreatic cancer," he said. "I've had a good run, but I'm finished. I have no hatred for Mr. Nuru, but I do want to see DPW get back on track, and I'd like to see the taxpayers get what they're paying for."

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