Has Lennar gobbled up the Department of Public Health?

by Diane Wesley Smith

I represent a group of residents and business professionals in Bayview Hunters Point. I also grew up in Bayview Hunters Point (BVHP), as did most of my colleagues. What is happening here is a shame. After a six-month investigation, we see no way to fix this shameful situation without the help of the media.

For months we have been trying to find out if there is anyone or any organization that is designed to help our community who can do so without interference from Lennar. The Bay Guardian referred to Lennar as the company that gobbled up San Francisco. We didn’t believe it at the time. We believe it now.

BVHP is being gobbled up. We are going to stop it; we must! We cannot leave a legacy of drug use, teen pregnancy, an employment rate that is so high it is un-American and little opportunity for real economic change – which must happen through education, on-the-job training and internships.

Many of us professionals who could help make that happen are being hindered by Lennar. We are being given the run-around. Meeting dates are being changed at the last minute, or cancelled.

Our goal is the raise the employment level in our community by providing professional job training and internships. Most of us are real estate professionals. As we began to investigate exactly how clean is the land and how we community real estate professionals might participate in the marketing and selling of properties here, a nightmare began to unfold.

We have seen Lennar gobble up our community. They are sitting on our boards – the CAC, the PAC and will be on the QPE which they are forming with the help of their representatives. They are making decisions that are self-serving.

These boards, which are supposed to protect our community, are not doing such. The members of these boards are even getting rides home, being taken to dinner by Lennar or its affiliates.

Our community is being left behind. Millions of dollars have been spent here. Has the standard of living improved for the residents? No. Has the standard improved for certain board members? Yes. Have we tried to speak on behalf of the wealth disparity in our community? Yes.

However, these community boards only want to hear from people who do not conflict with the plan they have with Lennar. This is an exclusive plan, not an inclusive plan. Has a deal been struck? Why else is everything a secret?

Why are you here?’

We spoke to many people Thursday about their health concerns. As realtors we felt it our social responsibility to convey this information to the medical director of the Department of Public Health, Rajiv Bhatia, at their training meeting on Friday afternoon.

When we went to the meeting, which was moved from 4634 Third St., the Window on the Shipyard, to 1390 Market St., but the door was locked. After knocking, I was allowed to enter.

At that point, Dr. Bhatia stopped the meeting and asked me, “Why are you here?” I began to tell him that I was representing BVHP and the health concerns I heard last night.

He said, “You are spreading propaganda. I think you are here with a hidden agenda.” This coming from the SFDPH’s medical director.

He then stood over me, intimidated me and asked me to leave. This happened each time I tried to share with these people who were going to me in my community the very next day going door to door.

I found out that Lennar pays for the studies conducted by the SFDPH. Dr. Bhatia told me that there is nothing wrong with the air or the dust and that people couldn’t possibly be experiencing health care problems.

When I begged to differ, he came and stood over me again and asked me to leave. Other people were allowed to ask questions, but not I.

Hmm … there is definitely poison somewhere. Is it Lennar, the soil, the dust? I don’t know, but something is very, very wrong here.

Diane Wesley Smith can be reached at 1dianesmith@comcast.net.