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Supervisors vote to build mega condo, stadium complex on Superfund site

July 14, 2010


At a press conference Monday, July 12, on the steps of San Francisco City Hall, Louisiana environmental attorney Monique Hardin and environmental scientist Wilma Subra challenged the Environmental Impact Report for Lennar’s proposed development in the Hunters Point Shipyard. A speech by Jose Luis Pavon warning that the promise of jobs is empty because the project is exempt from local hire laws was disrupted by a pro-Lennar faction advocating for employment. – Video courtesy Brother Leon Muhammad, dean of Muhammad University and former chair of the Hunters Point Shipyard Restoration Advisory Board (RAB)

by Jaron Browne, POWER

Last night, July 13, the SF Board of Supervisors held a 10-hour hearing on the Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) for Lennar’s proposed 10,000 unit condominium complex, stadium and green tech development at the Hunters Point Shipyard Superfund site and Candlestick Point.

More than 200 Bayview residents and allies filled City Hall to demand that the Shipyard be FULLY cleaned before any redevelopment proposals are considered at the site. The hearing was a historic moment in the growing racial and environmental justice grassroots movement in San Francisco.

Reporting on POWER’s press conference the previous day, July 12, Sarah Phelan wrote for the San Francisco Bay Guardian: “Monique Harden, co-director and attorney for Advocates for Environmental Health Rights (AEHR) of New Orleans, Louisiana, pointed to ‘deep flaws in the environmental regulation system’ as a reason why low-income communities of color should be concerned about the proposed plan. ‘Why in the middle of an environmental crisis caused by BP in the Gulf am I coming to San Francisco?’ Harden asked. ‘Because San Francisco is providing unequal environmental protection to its residents. As a resident of New Orleans, I’m concerned that San Francisco is careening towards making a decision that can crush the future of Bayview Hunters Point.’” Behind Hardin are (standing) Michael Boyd of CARE and Jaron Browne of POWER, who each filed an appeal against the Lennar EIR, and (seated) Brother Leon Muhammad, former chair of the Hunters Point Shipyard Restoration Advisory Board, and environmental scientist Wilma Subra. – Photo: Luke Thomas, Fog City Journal
Bayview residents were joined by nationally acclaimed environmental scientist Wilma Subra, who is the leading scientist fighting the British Petroleum oil spill crisis in the Gulf Coast. Subra has decades experience fighting alongside communities around issues of health protection and cumulative impacts of toxic exposure. In fact, she was the scientist who worked with Lois Gibbs and the community in Love Canal, New York, in the fight that created the Superfund law (CERCLA) in the 1970s. (Find out more.)

The Supervisors voted to deny the appeal of the Final Environmental Impact Report that Wilma Subra and other leading scientists, national human rights lawyers and residents clearly demonstrated is inadequate, inaccurate and incomplete.

The EIR passed with a 8-3 vote at the Board of Supervisors. The eight NO votes to deny the appeal of the EIR were cast by Supervisors Sean Elsbernd, Michela Alioto-Pier, Carmen Chu, Bevan Dufty, Sophie Maxwell, David Chiu, Ross Mirkarimi and David Campos.

POWER and environmental justice allies thank and acknowledge the progressive Supervisors Eric Mar, John Avalos and Chris Daly who voted to oppose the EIR and endured incredible pressure from the opposition. We thank them for their principled integrity and their steadfast commitment to defend progressive values, environmental and racial justice.

POWER and allies also thank the Chinese Progressive Association, SOMCAN, Mujeres Unidas y Activas, GreenAction for Health and Environment Justice, Conscious Youth Media Crew, Poor Magazine, the Nation of Islam, Monique Harden and Advocates for Environmental Human Rights, Valerie Tullier and many others who filled City Hall with us into the late hours of the night. Lennar and the Mayor’s Office are pushing this project as fast as possible in order to settle Lennar’s growing financial problems. (Find out more.)

Willie Ratcliff, Bay View publisher and owner of Liberty Builders, testified at the showdown Tuesday before the Board of Supervisors that keeping Lennar as the Shipyard ‘Master Developer’ is not the only way. Local builders can develop Bayview Hunters Point employing neighborhood workers and on-the-job trainees to build truly affordable housing that benefits the existing community. And local builders know it’s too hazardous to begin development until the Shipyard Superfund site is completely clean. – Photo: Luke Thomas, Fog City Journal
Labor Council leaders, the San Francisco Organizing Project (SFOP) and ACCE (formerly ACORN) have also allied with the Mayor’s Office and Lennar because they believe that the project will create jobs and community benefits.

In our analysis, this vote by the Supervisors to accept the EIR opens the door for the community and workers to be exposed to toxic contamination at the Superfund site before cleanup is complete. In addition, the massive condominium development will further the crisis of African American displacement out of San Francisco.

During the hearing, the Planning Department acknowledged that some the “below market rate” housing is set at such a high income level that it is actually ABOVE market rate.

The struggle continues!

Our fight to influence the future of this massive development deal is far from over. The Lennar Corp. could face legal challenges if it moves forward the development project with a cover-up, not a full cleanup. POWER is building relationships with progressive planners who can help to advance development projects which serve the Bayview community.

Stay tuned for actions soon to follow!

Check out some news coverage from the hearings this week:

Jaron Browne, lead organizer for POWER (People Organized to Win Employment Rights), can be reached at jb@unite-to-fight.org or (415) 864-8372.

One thought on “Supervisors vote to build mega condo, stadium complex on Superfund site

  1. Patrick Hospes

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