A failure of leadership

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by Marie Harrison

If you haven’t noticed, the Bayview is a really small town. We all know who’s up and who’s down; who’s right and who’s wrong; who knows and who doesn’t have a clue. Some of my “worthy” opponents appear to think that we’re not only blind but dense as well. Let me tell you that most of my neighbors are short of dimes but penny smart. In spite of that, I need to set the record straight on a couple of important items.

First, my mothers on the hill – those strong, well-organized women who have been working and struggling with me for years – were shocked to hear it said that they had nothing to do with the closure of the Hunters Point Power Plant. I had one angry resident call me and tell me that the current District 10 Supervisor is taking full credit on her website for closing that ugly and polluting monstrosity. Apparently, if you can believe her website, she “fought for Environmental Justice for Hunters Point Residents by winning the closure of the Hunters Point Power Plant.”

It’s funny, having spent 10 years on picket lines with Greenaction and community folks, in negotiations with regulatory agencies, in meetings between Bayview residents and city and state agencies, on trips with the mothers from Hunters Point Hill to meet with the Independent System Operator in Folsom, doing environmental justice trainings for the past governor and his staff, I don’t recall ever seeing our esteemed Supervisor’s face. That she should take credit for the unstinting work of so many of our residents is shameful.

In another effort to shine, she also takes credit for “helping to negotiate the best deal in the country for the transfer and clean-up of the Naval Shipyard.” BEST DEAL? After more than 15 years of “cleanup,” the Shipyard is still a toxic mess – and now Lennar is moving forward to build residential housing on the site. Like the Big Dig in Boston, one of the largest and most corrupt construction projects in U.S. history, the Naval Shipyard is one of the biggest boondoggles of all time. I think it’s fitting that our current leader wants to take credit for it.

Let’s examine a few other claims on my opponent’s website:

  • Apparently violence is under control in the Bayview. The current Supervisor apparently hasn’t stepped outside her home in a while. According to her website, she has been “demanding action to create community policing for neighborhoods hardest hit by violence.” It is a hard truth that leaders don’t just “demand action,” they take action. Our community put together a Community Violence Prevention and Safety Plan that has received no support from our current leaders.
  • I confess I had to chuckle when I saw that our current Supervisor has contributed mightily to the creation of jobs in the Bayview by winning employment for “neighborhood youth at the new Home Depot.” Let’s get real! Our community has the highest unemployment in the City, and this Supervisor is declaring victory because she has been promised a few part-time positions that haven’t yet materialized.
  • My heart broke when I read that she had also “protected neighborhood character and locally-owned businesses.” Please take a walk down Third Street and tell me that our local businesses have been protected. This is one of the most shameful legacies of the current administration.
  • She has taken credit for initiating “City action against AIMCO, owner and manager of four subsidized housing developments.” I know I covered this in last week’s column, but it’s good to reiterate, our Board of Supervisors also issued an $85 million bond package to enrich AIMCO, already the largest U.S. corporation in its field. Yep, the same guys that she is taking credit for going after.

As you can tell, someone is shoveling cow pies in our direction. It’s time we opened the windows and aired out the joint. Let’s start again and see if we can get some real truth into this campaign.

There’s a great deal we need to be doing to move this City forward. I’m depending on you to prove the powers that be wrong when they say we won’t turn out to vote in this upcoming election. There’s a myth going around that we don’t give a damn, and I know it ain’t true. As always, please write me at marie@greenaction.org if you have any comments or questions.