Environmental organizations and residents warn against consequences of Lennar’s ‘Prop Greed’

“On Monday morning, a delegation of elected officials and ministers from Alameda and Contra Costa counties who organized to fight environmental racism in African American neighborhoods came to Hunters Point to see and hear for themselves from the people who are suffering the effects of toxic dust from the Lennar development at the Hunters Point Shipyard. Minister Christopher Muhammad, flanked by Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson and Oakland City Councilwoman Desley Brooks, led them on a tour of ‘hot spots’ in and around the Shipyard, pointing out the range of oppression residents must face, including the ‘gang injunction’ that criminalizes young people in Oakdale public housing adjacent to the Shipyard, as we walked to the Parcel A development where Lennar poisons our people for profit while the mayor, the San Francisco Department of Public Health and other regulatory agencies look the other way,” says Bay View publisher Willie Ratcliff, who participated in the tour. To restore the health of the people and sanity to this madness, Bayview Hunters Point residents urge San Francisco voters to vote Yes on the community’s Proposition Fairness and No on Lennar’s Proposition Greed.
-Photo: Francisco Da Costa

Environmental organizations and residents warn against consequences of Lennar’s ‘Prop Greed’

‘They are trying to blind us from the truth,’ said Esselene Stancil, and getting ‘desperate,’ says Supervisor Chris Daly

San Francisco – Environmental organizations hosted a press conference Tuesday to urge close reading of Lennar Corp.’s Proposition G. With safeguards “anticipated” and “promised,” one of North America’s largest developers hopes to buy over 700 acres of southeast San Francisco for $1. Uniting environmentalists are concerns about Lennar’s dubious environmental record, losses of marshland to highway construction and plans to build an astro-turf parking lot to replace developed parkland.

“San Francisco needs to recycle Lennar’s glossy fliers and read the actual text of this initiative,” explained SF Tomorrow Director Julian Davis. “People need to know about Proposition G’s environmental consequences. This is a ploy to pave parks for profits.”

Despite the Lennar’s promises to clean up toxics at this site, environmentalists point to the text of Propsition G. Section 9 of the initiative states that “the final development plan for this Project Site may be materially different from the Project,” depending upon “certain variables, including, for example and without limitation, market changes, economic feasibility and the timing of the 49ers departure from Monster Park.”

Two of these excuses are already present in light of recent news. Last week, the 49ers announced plans to move forward with their relocation to Santa Clara. And Lennar’s stock price has declined 20 percent since the company announced a $1.9 billion loss in 2007.

“It’s deceptive advertising. Lennar promises the Bayview a park, but what they deliver are 15-story luxury condos and an astro-turf parking lot.”

Other speakers at the press conference, held at noon on the City Hall steps, were, for the Sierra Club, former San Francisco Chapter Chair John Rizzo, San Francisco Tomorrow Director Julian Davis, People Organized to Win Employment Rights (POWER) Project Manager Alicia Schwartz, BART Director Tom Radulovich, League of Conservation Voters San Francisco Chapter President Deep Jawa and Hunters Point residents.

In a Bay Guardian story about the press conference headlined “Blasting Lennar’s land grab,” writer Maria Dinzeo quotes Esselene Stancil, a resident of Bayview Hunters Point since the 1950s, who said: “I have seen many changes in the Bayview, and this change is not for us. We have plenty of parks. What we need is to take care of the ones we have. They promise us houses, but there are no houses being built out there that people will be able to afford.”

“It’s just another gimmick that these corporations always have. They are trying to blind us from the truth. But don’t let them fool you,” she advised.

Dinzeo pointed out that Proposition G – called Proposition Greed by activists – calls for thousands of “luxury condominiums, chiefly in the Candlestick Point area, complete with a bridge connecting their wealthy owners with the freeway. John Rizzo of the SF Chapter of the Sierra Club said that Prop. G’s plan to build a thoroughfare through Yosemite Slough is just another way of economically marginalizing Bayview residents. ‘This bridge is specifically for residents of the luxury condos in Candlestick Point so they don’t have to drive through the Bayview and look at poor people,’ said Rizzo.

“Rizzo also noted the dubious nature of the Prop. G campaign that promises the Bayview jobs, housing, and a new park. ‘It’s deceptive advertising. Lennar promises the Bayview a park, but what they deliver are 15-story luxury condos and an astro-turf parking lot,’ he said. ‘The Bayview deserves real parks, and maintenance of those that already exist.’”

Last year, in a major expose, the Guardian dubbed Lennar “the corporation that ate San Francisco.” (See www.sfbg.com/entry.php?entry_id=3084&catid=&volume_id=317&issue_id=373&volume_num=42&issue_num=28.)

In commentary published at FogCityJournal.com, Supervisor Chris Daly gave an example of Lennar’s desperation, with the community’s Proposition F – Prop Fairness – leading Lennar’s Prop G in the polls, despite the $2.23 million Lennar has already spent on the measure.

“They’re so desperate, yesterday they were giving out t-shirts for votes! They even sent me their Facebook invitation, ‘Hey Go down Early to City Hall and vote! You will be getting a free t-shirt if you go … Yes on G!! No on F!!!!!’ (By the way, in typical Lennar fashion, they closed up the messages section, due to quite the backlash from the progressive-leaning local Facebook community.)

“While I’ve previously posited that Lennar is trying to buy this election, I never thought they’d stoop so low,” concluded Daly.