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Protest Ethnic Cleansing in Bayview-Hunters Point

Wednesday, September 27, 2006
3:30 PM - 5:30 PM
Event Type:
Kimberly Rohrbach
Location Details:
Meet at 3rd St. and Williams, from which point the rally will proceed to 3rd and Palou

On Wednesday September 27th -- the 40th anniversary of the Hunters Point Uprising -- join Bayview-Hunter Point ( BVHP ) residents and supporters at a rally to to stand up for the right of BVHP residents to develop their own community. Demand an end to police brutality, harrassment, and occupation in BVHP; and demand that City projects in BVHP employ BVHP residents at living wages.

The latest assault on the BVHP community comes in the form of a thirteen-page opinion written by City Attorney Dennis Herrera, which claims to invalidate the successful referendum petition recently supported by over 33,000 San Francisco voters who expressed their opposition to the BVHP land grab currently being promoted by the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency and certain folks at City Hall ( foremost amongst whom include Mayor Gavin Newsom, Supervisor Aaron Peskin, and Supervisor "White Power in Black Face" Sophie Maxwell ). Stand up against urban renewal aka black removal, and demand an end to the ethnic cleansing in Bayview-Hunters Point that is being conducted in our names -- whether to create so-called affordable housing for white folks, to feed bodies to CA's vast prison-industrial economy, or to attract corporate capital ( not to mention, the attention of the International Olympic Committee ) to San Francisco.

For more background, read the article below recently published by Willie Ratcliff, BVHP resident and publisher of the San Francisco Bayview:

City Hall declares war on the people of Bayview Hunters Point

by Willie Ratcliff

“This is a last-ditch effort to deny the people the right to take part in their government.” That’s what I’m telling the press who are calling in response to news received just this morning that the San Francisco City Attorney has issued a 13-page opinion claiming to invalidate the referendum petition on the Bayview Hunters Point Redevelopment Plan. According to City Attorney Dennis Herrera, the opinion was requested by Mayor Gavin Newsom, Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin, District 10 Supervisor Sophie Maxwell (BVHP is in District 10) and the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency. The City Attorney’s press release (at the bottom of this message) and the full opinion are posted front and center on his website,

With the 40th anniversary of the Hunters Point Uprising of Sept. 27, 1966, only days away, this sounds like a declaration of war against the same people who protested then and are protesting still against police brutality and for jobs, economic equity and the right to develop our own community and control our own destiny. In 1966, when Hunters Point youngsters, furious when police shot 16-year-old Matthew Johnson and killed him, blocked the cops from entering their neighborhood east of Third Street, the mayor called in police sharpshooters to line up on Third Street execution style and fire into the Bayview Opera House, where terrified children had sought refuge, and called in the National Guard, which sent tanks – yes, tanks! – lumbering up and down Third Street.

In 1966, the mayor was trying to drive Blacks out of San Francisco. In 2006, the mayor is still trying to drive Blacks out of San Francisco. Our answer 40 years ago or 40 years in the future is clear: “We shall not be moved!”

Our referendum petition was signed, according to the San Francisco Department of Elections’ official certification letter issued Sept. 12, by 33,056 San Francisco voters. People all over the city understood that the Bayview Hunters Point Redevelopment Plan, which proposed to add 1,361 acres to the 800-plus acres of our neighborhood that the Redevelopment Agency already controls, is nothing but a land grab. People all over the city knew that in California, redevelopment is officially described as “repeopling” and that by signing the petition, they were saying, in effect, “Not in my name!”

Our petition was drafted with the advice of several attorneys who specialize in the law governing referendums and redevelopment. And it was thoroughly examined prior to circulation by the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors, who in turn consulted with the City Attorney, and by the Director of Elections. On the petition form that people in our neighborhood and all over the city eagerly signed is printed the entire text of the Redevelopment Plan Ordinance passed 7-4 by the Board of Supervisors. That’s what the law requires.

But in his “Opinion No. 2006-01,” apparently the first formal opinion he has issued this year, the City Attorney takes 13 pages to answer the question whether our petition should also have reprinted “documents incorporated by reference in the Ordinance, including the Redevelopment Plan.” He lists 10 documents – motions and resolutions and the CEQA findings as well as the 62-page Redevelopment Plan – that he says should have been reprinted as a part of each petition form and lugged around by the hundreds of people who gathered those 33,056 signatures.

If that’s what the law governing referendums really requires, the people have as a practical matter no right to petition their government. It was hard enough for us – poor people in San Francisco’s poorest neighborhood – to pay the printing bill for tens of thousands of four-page, legal size petitions. If each form had been the size of a large book as the City Attorney’s opinion would require, not only their cost but their weight and bulk would have made circulating them economically and physically impossible.

I also want to correct a misleading statement in Section A of the City Attorney’s opinion. He writes, “[W]e understand that here the circulators did not at any time on or before filing the Petition on August 30, 2006 ask the Clerk of the Board or the Director of Elections to review the sample Petition or to provide advice regarding the required form of the referendum petition against the Ordinance.” Well, not only did we most definitely consult with both the Clerk of the Board – who was very helpful – and the Director of Elections, but I still have an email from the Clerk containing some of her advice.

This sudden reversal by City Hall is a pure power play – an attempt by the powerful to crush the powerless. But even the so-called founding fathers admitted that governments derive “their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed,” and we do not give our consent.

Is City Hall the only powerful player trying to roll over us? No, I think it’s the big developers who are drooling to take a big bite out of Bayview Hunters Point, the neighborhood with the most sunshine and the most spectacular views in San Francisco. Those developers donated over $40,000 to the re-election campaign of our so-called representative, District 10 Supervisor Sophie Maxwell, according to her latest campaign finance report. She is the prime sponsor and champion of the land-grabbing Redevelopment Plan.

If the big developers and their puppets, the mayor and his minions, win this war, they’ll have made what may be the largest urban renewal land grab in the nation’s history: some 2,200 acres of San Francisco, the city with the highest priced land on earth.

But this is our home. Our roots run deep. Many who live here today – and their parents and grandparents – were driven out of the Fillmore, world famous as “Harlem of the West,” decades ago by Redevelopment Agency bulldozers that destroyed the homes of over 5,000 Black families and more than 200 Black-owned businesses. This time, we shall not be moved.

How you can help

The City and County of San Francisco has declared war on us, and we will need a war chest to fight back. I’m looking to hear from attorneys who want to help – call me at the Bay View, (415) 671-0789 – and contributions to pay for this new battle and the remaining bills and loans from the petition drive. Please make checks payable to Defend Bayview Hunters Point and mail them to P.O. Box 470156, San Francisco CA 94147.

We believe the power of the people will ultimately prevail, and we are counting on your help to confirm the truth of last week’s editorial headline, “People power stops Redevelopment land grab.”

Many of you have not seen the editorial in last week’s printed Bay View because our website,, which used to get 2 million hits a month, is not yet back online. It was badly hacked the week of July 7, and our webmaster, Terone Ward, with the collaboration of a team of experts from South America, has been working feverishly to rebuild it.

Added to the calendar on Mon, Sep 25, 2006 8:21PM
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