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Twenty years ago, the city of San Francisco moved thousands of its homeless and low-income residents into former military housing on Treasure Island, a small artificial land mass whose 55 years as a Navy base left it covered in toxic radiation. Today, construction on the island has it on track to becoming a bustling, upscale extension of the city. The problem is, some of those residents from 20 years ago are still there. So are thousands of others who have moved in since. So is the radiation.
At the March 2018 Treasure Island Restoration Advisory Board meeting, remediation project manager Dave Clark “recollected” that, between 2006 and 2016, the Navy unearthed 1,280 radiological objects, one for every two residents. By contrast, on Sept. 13, San Francisco Chronicle reporters announced the “startling” discovery at Hunters Point of a single “radium deck marker about the size of a silver dollar” near condos on 75-acre Parcel A, which was transferred to the city in 2004 – startling because “contamination ... was cleaned up years ago.”
At 11:00 a.m. Monday, April 16, 2018, community organizer Steve Zeltzer introduced former Treasure Island residents Andre Patterson and Felita Sample, who had been invited to speak at this press conference where whistle-blowers exposed the malfeasance of remediation contractor Tetra Tech on Hunters Point and Treasure Island. “I want to introduce two people today who’ve been personally affected by the corruption and the coverup at Treasure Island."
Treasure Island (TI), part of San Francisco’s District 6, according to various censuses, is the third most diverse neighborhood in the U.S. Seventy percent of tenants are Black or Latina/o, and the majority are low-income. The Anti-Eviction Mapping Project and Eviction Defense Collaborative (EDC) documented District 6 to have the most eviction cases represented by the EDC in courts in 2016. The island’s better housing units, on the northwest side, are destined for redevelopment in the form of new, upscale apartment buildings as part of a larger development project.
After 18 years subjecting San Franciscans who were homeless, poor and mostly of color to massive toxic hazards and environmental racism on radiation and chemically contaminated Treasure Island, the Treasure Island Development Authority (TIDA)’s redevelopment consortium – Five Point, Stockbridge Capital Group, Lennar, Wilson-Meany, John Stewart Co. and other financial interests – seem to be attempting to induce tenants to leave the island while forestalling possible legal roadblocks.
It’s 2016, 40 years since Muhammad al-Kareem founded the New Bayview, now renamed the San Francisco Bay View, in 1976. Inspired by Malcolm X, he wanted to bring a newspaper like Muhammad Speaks to Bayview Hunters Point. He’ll tell the story of those early years, and I’ll pick it up now at the point when my wife Mary and I took over in 1992. Watching our first paper roll through the huge two-story tall lumbering old press at Tom Berkley’s Post Newspaper Building on Feb. 3, 1992, was a feel-like-flying thrill we’ll never forget.
On May 29, 2015, on the Golden Gate Bridge side of Treasure Island, smelly brown chocolate ooze began to gush from the Lundgren family’s 1201-B Bayside Drive faucets. The other side of the island had just trembled. Between the Job Corps grounds and the San Francisco Bay Bridge, Lennar Corp. engineers had penetrated 50 feet of soil with huge vibrating bores.
Yerba Buena Islanders’ Icarus-like plunge from their remote mountaintop into the contaminated air, soil and water of Treasure Island’s radiological and chemical cleanup zone is imminent. This was the main topic at the Treasure Island Development Authority board’s Wednesday, April 8, 2015, annual on-island meeting. Yerba Buenans facing fall 2015 eviction who normally don’t attend because they feel unheard and their issues ignored, presented their concerns.
Public housing is home to over 1.2 million families across the nation, mostly the elderly, disabled and low-income women with children. The Bay Area is home to thousands of them. In an effort to save public housing in Oakland, Richmond, San Francisco and nationwide, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, D-Calif., wrote a letter to President Obama on Dec. 10 condemning the Rental Assistance Demonstration program, or RAD.
Eviction attorney Charles Tillman Ramsey is in the race to be Richmond’s next mayor. Competing candidates include Mike Parker of the Richmond Progressive Alliance (RPA), City Councilman Nat Bates, and Uche Uwahemu, CEO of Cal Bay Consulting Group LLC. Voters will choose when they go to the polls in November for the next general election.
Damian is clear that people should feel their home is a safe, healthy place. If parents’ and their children’s health is compromised or damaged, they should not be retaliated against for going to management and asking them to fix unsafe conditions. “Do not let fear keep you trapped where you’re not happy and not getting your issues addressed,” advised Damian. “You have your children to keep in mind.”
The plan to privatize and sell our public housing projects in San Francisco and across the nation is harmful to the poor, elderly and disabled, including the thousands of union workers who have spent years maintaining our public housing units. Thousands of union workers are presently facing job losses due to public housing privatization schemes.
University Avenue Cooperative Homes (UACH) is to be leased to Resources for Community Development/UACH, LP, in a “ground lease” agreement with the City of Berkeley for only $1 (one dollar) a year for 55 years. The sweetheart deal will be voted on later this evening by the Berkeley City Council. The meeting begins at 7 p.m. in Council Chambers, 2134 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Berkeley.
Berkeley is on a trend of gentrification and class genocide, making all of their so-called affordable housing, such as the University Avenue Cooperative Homes, unaffordable, discriminating against low-income communities of color with forced displacement through draconian policies to profiteer on, such as the recently proposed sit/lie law.
Residents of affordable housing developments live in fear that renovation schemes will end up displacing them. To stop a new threat of displacement in Oakland, pack the CEDA meeting Tuesday, March 10, 2-4:30, Oakland City Hall Hearing Room 1, first floor.
In a huge victory for the tenants of the California Hotel, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Richard Keller ruled to keep in place a temporary restraining order against Oakland Community Housing Inc. (OCHI), stopping the corrupt nonprofit housing developer from evicting the tenants or shutting off the utilities at the historic hotel.
On Oct. 15, Daniel Landry, a long-time resident of the Fillmore’s Martin Luther King-Marcus Garvey Co-op, sent a letter to the co-op’s management agent, John Stewart Co., requesting information that, according to the co-op’s by-laws, all shareholders have a right to see. This information included minutes from board meetings and details of the contract that the King Garvey Co-op has with John Stewart Co. Little did he know the turmoil that would follow.