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Navy does damage control for Pelosi, Feinstein and Lennar as it continues to claim Treasure Island and Hunters Point Shipyard are ‘safe’

July 5, 2018

Another $22 million down the rat hole?

by Steve Zeltzer, KFPA WorkWeek Radio

Former Treasure Island resident Shelby Hall testifies at the June 19 RAB meeting that in 2001 they were told by the City not to allow their children to go near the contaminated sites on Treasure Island. – Photo: Labor Video Project

The U.S. Navy had its annual dog and pony show at the Treasure Island Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) meeting on Tuesday, June 19, 2018. The previous meeting included a Tetra Tech representative and a loud confrontation, but this time Tetra Tech representatives were not on the panel since there are now two Tetra Tech managers in federal prison for falsifying the cleanup records at Hunters Point and an ongoing grand jury investigation with likely more sealed indictments that could lead to further criminal action against the top management of Tetra Tech.

Since the scandal blow-up, however, Congresswoman Pelosi has arranged to get another $42 million from the budget reconciliation bill for more retesting on formerly tested contaminated land in the Superfund site at Hunters Point Shipyard. This is after $1 billion has already been expended by the U.S. government to clean up Hunters Point Shipyard and Treasure Island, which are both Superfund sites.

At the Treasure Island RAB meeting on June 19, the Navy brought in a new spokesperson, Kimberly Noble, who works for the Radiological Affairs Support Office of the U.S. Navy to provide a full report on how the “cleanup” was going. She claimed that the cleanup was properly done with “aggressive” extra protection and “caution” to make sure that there were no serious dangers from radioactive and toxic material on the island. She was unable to answer how deep the core drilling went on the different plots of land even though she was the “expert.”

Another Navy spokesperson, Rebecca Cardoso, at Treasure Island claimed that the work was done by a subsidiary of Tetra Tech called Tetra Tech EC that was involved in only a minor part of the testing at Treasure Island. However, Robert McClain, who was a health and safety inspector at Tetra Tech, reported on June 27, 2017, that he had seen a large amount of contamination with serious radioactive material and also he had seen that large amounts of radioactive material had been improperly removed.

He also reported that there were radium commodities underneath the public housing on Treasure Island as well as large amounts of dust and he personally knew residents who had been contaminated and had cancers he believed were a direct result of this radioactive dump site. When he reported this serious violation of health and safety he was terminated by Tetra Tech “for doing his job” and banned by the Navy from working at any additional sites. He also received a 33-rem radioactive contamination dose while working on Treasure Island.

Robert McClain, who was a health and safety inspector at Tetra Tech, reported on June 27, 2017, that he had seen a large amount of contamination with serious radioactive material and also he had seen that large amounts of radioactive material had been improperly removed.

Kimberly Ostrowski, who is the director of the Navy Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC), also claimed in an editorial in the San Francisco Chronicle on June 19, 2018: “The shipyard project and nearby areas are safe. The levels of radiation are low; exposure to these levels would not result in an immediate risk to human health and the environment.”

This must be very reassuring to the families and workers in Hunters Point Bayview and the many contaminated families on Treasure Island. They admit that there is no “immediate risk.”

When Noble and Rebecca Cardoso were questioned about the falsification of testing by Test America at Treasure Island, they were unable to say what Test America’s role was. In fact, Cardoso actually said that since Test America was one of the largest testing companies in the U.S., this was unlikely and “we have no reason to question the work that Test America performed.”

When they were asked about the serious health and safety problems of the tenants at Treasure Island, Cardoso suggested that they contact the San Francisco Public Health Department. A key spokesperson of DPH, Amy Brownell, has been telling the residents of the area that there were no real serious chemicals and toxins at Hunters Point Shipyard; they were getting sick from stress. As Dr. Ahimsa Porter Sumchai has pointed out, Brownell’s salary, in a deal made by the City and County of San Francisco, is paid out of funds paid by the developer Lennar corporation.

A key spokesperson of DPH, Amy Brownell, has been telling the residents of the area that there were no real serious chemicals and toxins at Hunters Point Shipyard; they were getting sick from stress.

Behind the continued effort to push forward with both the developments at Hunters Point Shipyard and Treasure Island are Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who have deep financial connections to this development of the Shipyard and Treasure Island. Feinstein’s husband, Richard Blum, financially pushed for the development; his company has the primary contract to build condos at Treasure Island. Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi’s nephew, Laurence Pelosi, was an executive of Lennar – in charge of real estate acquisitions – while she was pushing for the development and getting hundreds of millions for the “cleanup.”

Congresswoman Pelosi has long denied that there are any safety problems.

On April 25, 2018, in a statement, Pelosi claimed that “the Navy agreed with her request for the retesting of Parcel A at the former Hunters Point Naval Shipyard to be managed by the California Department of Public Health. The Navy and EPA assure us that this Parcel is safe.” At the same time the Navy and EPA had previously said that there had been massive falsification of the testing.

The continued silence by Congresswoman Pelosi, Sen. Feinstein along with Sen. Kamala Harris on the massive U.S. fraud is another indication that these politicians intend to plow ahead with the development and now have the backing of Trump’s U.S. Navy management.

The complete failure as well of federal OSHA and Cal-OSHA to carry out their oversight is also clear. Former Cal-OSHA Medical Director Dr. Larry Rose has said in the retesting at Hunters Point shipyard that using sodium iodide detectors without doing core soil sample testing to detect strontium 90 and plutonium 239 isotopes is obviously another ploy to do inadequate testing to rush through the declaration that Parcel A is totally safe.

The continued silence by Congresswoman Pelosi, Sen. Feinstein along with Sen. Kamala Harris on the massive U.S. fraud is another indication that these politicians intend to plow ahead with the development and now have the backing of Trump’s U.S. Navy management.

Cal-OSHA inspections of the health and safety conditions of all workers on the testing project must be part of the testing program according to Rose. The history and reality of this major radiation toxic coverup is that both federal OSHA and California have failed to investigate the systemic bullying, retaliation against whistleblowers and their terminations.

In July 2014, Test America Quality Assurance Manager Michael Madry and an OSHA whistleblower sent certified letters and documents to both Pelosi and Feinstein reporting that there had been falsification of testing at both Hunters Point and Treasure Island by Test America and received no response. He also submitted a complaint to the former U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag who now works for Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. She also refused to investigate the charges of massive criminal eco-fraud against the U.S. government at the Hunters Point Shipyard and Treasure Island.

The real cost has been the families and workers at both Treasure Island and Hunters Point Shipyard. Two of the speakers at the meeting demanded justice. Shelby Hall, a former resident, talked about how in 2001 they were told by the City not to allow their children to go near the contaminated sites on Treasure Island.

Former Mayor Willie Brown had been instrumental in arranging for the U.S. Navy to prepare the site to turn it over to the city for future million-dollar condos. In the meantime, they placed low income African American families and homeless on the Island.

The real cost has been the families and workers at both Treasure Island and Hunters Point Shipyard. Two of the speakers at the meeting demanded justice.

It should be noted that San Francisco Mayor-elect London Breed was a protege of Willie Brown and got a job at the Treasure Island development project without civil service testing.

“From the start, Treasure Island was Brown’s pet project,” notes a 2010 Found SF historical essay, which reports:  “Among the authority’s staff were a number of ‘special assistants,’ a cadre of city employees hired by the mayor without civil-service testing. A 2001 civil grand jury report noted that some were scrutinized in the press as patronage jobs. The report named several Treasure Island staffers, including former director Annemarie Conroy. London Breed, an unpaid intern in the mayor’s office who was promoted to development specialist and secretary to the board, now sits on the Redevelopment Commission. She defends Brown’s integrity: ‘He was really aggressive making sure the staff was by the book.’”

Melanie Williams, another resident at Treasure Island who lives there with her family, talked about how families had been poisoned during the “cleanup” in the last 20 years. She demanded that they really get to the bottom of what is going on.

It is clear that the massive cover-up and eco-fraud scandal is continuing and the failure of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and San Francisco District Attorney Gascón are all sitting on this explosive criminal coverup by San Francisco and California’s leading politicians.

Steve Zeltzer and the Labor Video Project can be reached at lvpsf@igc.org. Listen to his WorkWeek Radio show every Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. on KPFA.

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