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No mo’ Fillmo’: African Americans excluded, ignored and disregarded by SFHA

March 13, 2014

Pack the SF Housing Authority Commission hearing Wednesday, March 13, 4 p.m., City Hall Room 408

by Wilton Watson

The African American community in San Francisco is angry and upset at the Mayor’s Office of Housing (MOH) for its blatantly exclusionary, poorly written and narrowly focused Request for Qualifications (RFQ) document. The document’s purpose was to qualify eight teams to own and operate eight public housing clusters in San Francisco.

SFHA logoSan Francisco Housing Authority (SFHA) disqualified without explanation Wings of Eagle, an African American development team united together to compete for the right to own and operate public housing in Bayview Hunters Point and Western Addition clusters 2 and 8. The action by SFHA seems to be at odds with the MOH Initiative on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

“It felt like we were excluded again,” stated a consultant to Wings of Eagle.

The team qualifications were turned in on Friday, Feb. 21, 2014, and the results were emailed on Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014. In all, 11 teams met the qualification thresholds; eight teams were chosen. The Wings team was not.

Qualification scores

The Wings team asked for the qualifying scores but were told that no information would be forthcoming or any protest allowed until after the San Francisco Housing Authority Commission had given approval to award the public housing clusters. SFHA was not forthcoming with the total number of team applications.

Dr. James McCray, executive director of the Tabernacle Group and a member of the Wings of Eagle team, asked, “How can they (SFHA) get down from 11 qualifying teams to eight qualifying teams in less than one day?” Dr. McCray stated “The qualification process is tainted by well established corporate entities.”

According to Ronald Batiste, president and CEO of Eagle Environmental Construction, “Anger and resentment towards the Mayor’s Office of Housing runs deep, particularly among African American developers, general contractors and subcontractors, who are typically ignored when large contracts in African American communities are awarded to large out-of-state and instate developer and general contractors.”

San Francisco Housing Authority (SFHA) disqualified without explanation Wings of Eagle, an African American development team united together to compete for the right to own and operate public housing in Bayview Hunters Point and Western Addition clusters 2 and 8. The action by SFHA seems to be at odds with the MOH Initiative on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

A few facts are noted by the business development manager of Eagle Environmental Construction: “Of the eight clusters, only clusters 2 and 8, which are in the Western Addition and Bayview Hunters Point, have the same out-of-state developer, and cluster 8 has the largest instate affordable housing company, while the other six clusters have local developer teams.

“Seven teams have pairing partners. One team had no pairing partner at all. Those facts suggest a flawed decision making process and a disregard for African American community talent.”

A couple of questions were posed by Wings of Eagle team members:

  1. Do the teams who are deemed qualified to own and manage public housing have established relationships in the African American communities they will be serving?
  2. Why were we denied access to our score?
  3. Why the rush to approve the eight teams?
  4. Who really wrote the RFQ? Was SFHA given any help to write such a narrowly focused RFQ, which seemed to exclude instead of include?
  5. Why are two large companies partnered in the same cluster 8, which happens to be in the African American community?
  6. Why do so few developers bid on large affordable housing projects in San Francisco? Why are they the same major bidders? Why do they seem to win the majority of the major bids? HOPE SF has many of the same bidders as the current proposed project.

On Thursday, March 13, 4 p.m., at City Hall in Room 408, the San Francisco Housing Authority will meet to approve ownership and operation of public housing clusters in San Francisco. Residents from Bayview Hunters Point and the Western Addition will come together to oppose set ownerships by any means necessary.

Wilton Watson is business development and project manager for Eagle Environmental Construction, 1485 Bayshore Blvd, Suite 374, San Francisco, CA 94124, wwatson@eec-corp.com, office 415-715-1450. To learn more, please also contact:

 

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