Lennar’s $3.3 million chump-change financing may yield itself billions
by Patrick Monette-Shaw
Question: What do you get when you stir into the soup $3.3 million in campaign financing from the powerful Lennar Corp.; mix in two nephews of Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (one nephew by way of marriage, Mayor Gavin Newsom, and the other nephew, Laurence Pelosi, a former vice president for acquisitions for Lennar Corp. and Newsom’s former campaign treasurer); and season the mix with Newsom’s “dream team” of political advisors?
Answer: You get Proposition G, boiled and bubbled onto the June 3 municipal ballot. Might you find, ladled into the mix, potential conflicts of interest?
Mayor’s staff admits why Proposition G is on the ballot
Michael Cohen — who was reported in April 2007 as employed with the Mayor’s Office of Base Reuse, but was later identified in April 2008 as being employed in the Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development, and who, according to public records, at last report earned $194,637 in 2007 as an attorney in the City Attorney’s office, not on Newsom’s staff — has noted why Proposition G is on the ballot: “The only legal reason we are going to the voters is Monster Park.”
If Proposition G were only about overturning voters’ previously approved financing of a new stadium at Monster Park, the City could have sponsored such pared down legislation by placing it on the ballot without a signature petition drive and without selling out Bayview Hunters Point in a lucrative deal for Lennar.
The mayor’s office is not telling voters that one of the real reasons behind Proposition G is to authorize a swap of state park lands for new “parks” that will be flexed between “green” stadium parking surfaces for stadium events and also serve as “public playing fields” at other times. Will these new “parks” be constructed of green “Astroturf” that can flex to accommodate both parking and public soccer fields?
Why would Lennar report campaign spending of $3.3 million on what is not a legally-binding agreement, but is instead a non-binding redevelopment measure — unless Lennar stood to gain a substantial return on its campaign financing investments? Proposition G is obviously not just about Monster Park.
Follow the yellow-brick-road money
If the phrase “follow the money” ever applied to ballot measures facing voters, the $3.3 million Lennar Homes of California, Inc., has reported financing through May 22 to convince voters to defeat this June’s Proposition F and to pass Proposition G over the Bayview Hunters Point land grab should be of great interest, if only because San Francisco is about to hand a gift to Lennar Homes and Lennar Urban worth billions of dollars, in both the value of the land being gifted to Lennar and the eventual sales Lennar will reap from market-rate housing. Financially-troubled Lennar will do so without being required to complete cleanup of the toxic Superfund site, promising pigs can fly.
Lennar, with the backing of Newsom’s political dream team, spent $52,000 to gather enough signatures to place Proposition G on the June ballot – at $4.00 per signature – suddenly subverting over a decade of community-based planning. The San Francisco Examiner, along with other major media outlets, has obscured the fact that Proposition G was put on the ballot at the last minute through a signature campaign. This is likely the largest amount ever spent to gather enough signatures to place a measure on any San Francisco municipal ballot. Greasing the wheels by spending $52,000 to place a measure before voters worth billions is chump change to Lennar.
To ensure Proposition G’s passage, Lennar has paid $106,000 to David Binder Research to conduct poll after poll and various focus groups to gauge public opinion about Proposition G. Given this unprecedented level of polling spending, Proposition G may be in trouble. Proposition G may be facing public opposition, but Binder’s polling results haven’t been released publicly.
Despite claims to the contrary, there is nothing whatsoever in the legal text of Proposition G that guarantees any precise percentage of housing that will be designated as “affordable.” Lennar, under the non-binding Proposition G, may end up building only market-rate housing in the Bayview Hunters Point “redevelopment” scheme.
The 750 acres in the Bayview affected by Proposition G is likely valued, at minimum, at $1 million per acre, or $750 million. But many of the acres along the waterfront are valued at much more, and depending on the eventual use sitting on top of any given acre, the 750 acres — which Lennar will acquire free and clear if Proposition G passes — are estimated to be worth several billion dollars. Do San Franciscans really want to simply hand over land worth billions of dollars to a private developer based on the exceptionally vague language contained in the legal text of Proposition G?
San Francisco’s two costliest ballot measures
Ignoring Newsom’s $6 million campaign in 2003 to buy himself election to mayor, the highest amount spent on a ballot measure in San Francisco’s history prior to the June 3 Proposition G facing voters is the $2.7 million spearheaded by PG&E in the 2002 election cycle to defeat Proposition D, a City Charter amendment that would have made the Public Utilities Commission the primary provider of electric power to San Francisco residents and businesses. Proposition D was opposed by then Supervisor Gavin Newsom, who is ever deep in PG&E’s back pocket. PG&E, after all, wants to keep its business providing electricity.
In October 2004, the San Francisco Ethics Commission voted 3-0 to issue a $100,00 fine against the “San Franciscans Against the Blank Check – No on D Committee” and its treasurer, Jim Sutton, for the committee’s and Sutton’s failure to file timely disclosure reports of two late contributions totaling $800,000 during the November 2002 general election. Sutton and Nielsen, Merksamer, Parrinello, Mueller & Naylor LLP, Sutton’s former law firm, took full responsibility for failing to file the required reports. The fine was contingent upon the Sacramento Superior Court’s entry of final judgment for civil penalties against the No on D Committee, Sutton, and PG&E. Between the fine paid to the San Francisco Ethics Commission and a separate $140,000 fine paid to the state’s Fair Political Practice Committee, the No on D Committee paid $240,000 in fines for violating campaign finance laws.
Now, Newsom and his political allies are backing the Proposition G transfer of City property to a private developer in what is likely the worst public-private partnership the Newsom administration has dreamed up. According to disclosure statements on the San Francisco Ethics Commission’s campaign finance database Web site, Lennar Homes of California, as an independent expenditure committee, has financed $3.3 million through May 22 in an effort to pass Proposition G ($2.26 million in independent expenditures) and to defeat Proposition F ($997,000 between independent expenditures and non-monetary contributions), including a $52,500 monetary contribution to the San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee for unspecified purposes.
On May 20, Lennar filed a late Independent Expenditure Committee report suddenly announcing another $186,150 in spending for Proposition G and a second late contribution of $89,534 on behalf of the “Committee for Real Solutions for Housing – A Committee Opposed to Proposition F” and on May 22 filed additional disclosure statements bringing Lennar’s total spending to at least $3.3 million. It is unknown how much more Lennar will spend between May 23 and June 3, but Lennar’s total campaign financing promoting Proposition G and opposing Proposition F have already been the largest financing in San Francisco history to pass a ballot initiative, surpassing PG&E’s $2.7 million spending on Prop D in 2002.
Lennar’s campaign financing binge and an incestuous web
Of the $3.3 million Lennar has financed through May 22, its binge financing is revealing.
Carmen Policy, former president of the San Francisco 49ers, has been paid $40,915 in an effort to lure the 49ers back to San Francisco. Fat chance.
“Do San Franciscans really want to simply hand over land worth billions of dollars to a private developer based on the exceptionally vague language contained in the legal text of Proposition G?”
Johnnie L. Carter Jr., who voters just threw off of the Community College Board, has received $26,896 to enlist support among Black San Francisco voters. He’s not the only African American working against the best interests of residents of the Bayview, since five Black ministers have been reported to have cut development deals with Lennar to foist unwanted development on Bayview community residents, and since James Bryant’s A. Philip Randolph Institute has received funding from Lennar too (more below).
“Social justice” lawyer Roberta Achtenberg, a former San Francisco supervisor albeit only for two years, and a former assistant secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, Department of Housing and Urban Development under former President Bill Clinton, has been paid $20,569 by Lennar. She was appointed in 2008 to the board of directors of the Bank of San Francisco and is chairwoman of the California State University Board of Trustees. These days, Ms. Achtenberg is reported to be the go-to gal for contractors since resigning from San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors in 1993. Not uncoincidentally, her unsuccessful bid for San Francisco mayor in 1995 was run by then newbie Eric Jaye, now Gavin Newsom’s chief political strategist.
But these three – Policy, Carter and Achtenberg – are small fry among recipients of Lennar’s largesse.
Four law firms have raked in $343,138 for legal services. That buys a lot of legal opinions. It is unclear how the $275,000 in new spending Lennar reported on May 20 was spent and whether additional legal services were obtained.
At least $1.1 million has been spent by Lennar on TV ads, e-mail and voice messaging and print campaign materials, excluding another $173,094 spent by subcontractors on the TV and print media ad campaign.
Add to that $767,607 spent through May 22 on so-called “consulting services.” Feeding at the trough of Lennar’s spending is the “dream team” of consultants assembled by Newsom, Feinstein and Pelosi to ensure passage of Proposition G and to defeat Proposition F, a who’s who cast of San Francisco’s political consultants, all of whom are Newsom cronies, who have been paid handsomely for Proposition G consulting gigs.
Jim Stearns of Stearns Consulting has received $91,374 from Lennar, and that’s not counting another $130,799 paid to Stearns’ firm for database creation, Web site development and printing and campaign materials. But speaking of Newsom’s chief political strategist, Jaye’s political consulting firm Storefront Political Media has been paid $152,767 by Lennar. Jaye has hired Jennifer Petrucione, Newsom’s former chief deputy director of communications (also called Newsom’s deputy press secretary), to work at Storefront Political Media. Storefront Political Media received an additional $492,949 for various subcontractors related to the $1.1 million in television ads, e-mail and voice messaging and campaign materials.
Doctor of all spin doctors, Sam Singer of Singer Associates has been paid $108,597 by Lennar’s independent expenditure committee. Singer has elsewhere been reported to be a Lennar spokesperson.
Another political consulting firm — Terris, Barnes & Walters — has been paid $176,733 by Lennar to provide even more consulting services. Terris, Barnes & Walters received an additional $440,629 for various subcontractors related to the $1.1 million in television ads, e-mail and voice messaging and campaign materials.
Finally, Lennar has paid Mayor Newsom’s former Deputy Chief of Staff Alex Tourk $83,366 in consulting fees to Tourk’s new start-up company, Ground Floor Public Affairs. Tourk had been Newsom’s former campaign manager before the scandal erupted about Newsom’s affair with Tourk’s wife. Singer also reportedly handled public relations for Ruby Ripey-Tourk. In addition, Tourk’s Ground Floor Public Affairs group has been paid another $210,156 by Lennar for various Ground Floor Public Affairs subcontractors.
And of interest, in addition to $52,500 in monetary contribution to the San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee for unspecified purposes, Lennar has contributed either directly to or through subcontractors $21,250 for various slate mailer cards to a variety of political groups in San Francisco, including the Asian Pacific Democratic Club, the San Francisco Republican Party, the San Francisco Women’s Political Committee, the Alice B. Toklas Democratic Club, the Chinese American Voters Education Commission and the Plan C Voter Guide.
As Sarah Phelan noted in “The corporation that ate San Francisco” (San Francisco Bay Guardian, March 14, 2007), the “incestuous web of political connections” involved in the project range from Redevelopment Agency commissioners appointed by Newson and his predecessor Willie Brown to the nephews of Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi: Newsom, Pelosi’s nephew by marriage, and Pelosi’s other nephew, Laurence Pelosi, who used to be vice president of acquisitions for Lennar and now works for Morgan Stanley Real Estate, which holds Lennar stock. Laurence Pelosi also used to be Newsom’s campaign treasurer.
Phelan noted both Newsom and Laurence Pelosi are connected to lobbyist Darius Anderson, who hosted a fundraiser to pay off Newsom’s campaign debts. Phelan reported in April 2007 that former mayor Willie Brown’s former head of economic development was then Lennar Urban’s president Kofi Bonner who, while working “for the Redevelopment Agency, recommended hiring KPMG Peat Marwick to choose between Catellus, Lennar and Forest City for the Hunters Point project.” In the end, Redevelopment Commissioners ignored a consultant’s advice, voting to award the redevelopment project to Lennar.
But as late as May 21, 2008, Bonner appears to have possibly been promoted to being a Lennar regional vice president.
Labor’s divided endorsements
Predictably, labor unions are a house divided in regards to Propositions F and G. Service Employees International Union, which represents approximately 13,000 San Francisco city employees, many of whom are African American, mailed its voter guide to union members in mid-May without a recommendation on either Prop F or Prop G, saying only that both initiatives were “still under consideration.” It reached the no recommendation despite the fact that James Bryant, president of the A. Philip Randolph Institute (APRI), is SEIU Local 1021’s appointed political education committee chairperson and despite the fact APRI has been paid $58,203 by Lennar as a subcontractor to Ground Floor Public Affairs. Bryant requested funding to help defeat Prop G from both Local 1021’s political education fund and its Social and Economic Justice fund. A complaint regarding Bryant’s potential conflict of interest was filed within the local, since Bryant hadn’t revealed Lennar had already funded APRI nearly $60,000.
For its part, the San Francisco Labor Council announced on May 16 that it struck a deal with Lennar Urban to guarantee that 3,500 affordable homes will be constructed in the Hunters Point Shipyard – Candlestick Point areas and throughout District 10. In addition Lennar agreed to commit $27.3 million for “hundreds” more affordable homes throughout District 10; it is not yet known whether the additional hundreds of units will be placed off-site from the Bayview redevelopment area, away from the gentrified upscale market rate condos planned for Parcel A.
Remarkably, on Tuesday, May 20, Labor Council Executive Director Tim Paulson said the new deal’s exact terms are still “being lawyered up,” just 14 days before the June 3 election. And the so-called “shopping list” reported in the City Star newspaper on May 21 contained no provision for the cleanup and toxic remediation of the Superfund site in the Bayview.
Even more remarkably, the City Star reported May 21 that “in an emotional address,” Newsom claimed the new agreement with the Labor Council will make Lennar “legally bound to build what’s right,” despite the fact that Proposition G is not a legally-binding agreement; it’s a non-binding redevelopment measure, which Newsom must surely know unless he is seriously misinformed. The City Star also reported on May 21 Newsom claimed, with Lennar Regional V.P. Bonner in attendance, that the Bayview project is not about Lennar as the developer, who “could be replaced by another firm [even] if [Proposition G] is passed.”
Huh? Is Newsom again speaking out of both sides of his mouth, and doesn’t that hurt? Voters have been led to believe all along that Lennar will be the developer, and now two weeks before the election Newsom is suddenly telling voters that Lennar could, and may, be replaced? I have to wonder if Newsom consulted Pelosi’s other nephew, Laurence Pelosi, before making such an about-face statement just two weeks prior to the election.
But voters are not voting on a separate last-minute deal between the Labor Council and Lennar, which deal appears to still be being written. Voters are voting on the legal text of Proposition G (albeit however vague its actual language), and there is no language in Proposition G specifying a precise percentage that will be dedicated to affordable homes. Lennar may eventually renege on its “deal” with the Labor Council, just as Lennar reneged on previous plans to build any rental units on Parcel A.
Lennar’s expected lucrative sales
Although the development plan for Parcel A had initially called for including in the mix low-income rental units, Lennar single-handedly changed the composition of the first 1,600 units to be built. The first 1,600 to be sold will all be at market rates, with no rental units for low-income residents.
At market rates, these 1,600 units are expected to each sell for the San Francisco median price of $836,000, in 2008 dollars. Lennar stands to sell $1.38 billion in homes and condos on Parcel A, with a commitment to build zero affordable housing or rental units among the first 1,600 units built.
The legal text of Proposition G waffles by vaguely claiming that somewhere “between about 8,500 and 10,000 residential housing units” will be built, but Prop G doesn’t anywhere mention what percentage of the units will be “affordable.”
An analysis prepared by the brokerage firm CB Richard Ellis (CBRE) for Mayor Newsom claims that 25 percent of the planned 9,500 units will be affordable. Presumably the remaining 7,100 units will be sold at market rate. At the median price of $836,000 per home, Lennar stands to sell the 7,100 units for $5.94 billion.
But Newsom’s office has not revealed that CBRE has been a partner financing many of Lennar Corp.’s deals around the country. Does Newsom have an ethical conflict of interest accepting reports from CBRE (rather than Newsom soliciting reports from independent observers) at the same time CBRE may potentially end up backing Lennar’s financing in the Bayview?
Elsewhere it has been reported that Lennar has entered into a deal with Scala Real Estate to potentially build 17,000 units of housing on the Bayview Hunters Point sites, not the nebulous 8,500 to 10,000 housing units the legal text of Proposition G claims will be built. If 17,000 units will be crammed into the Bayview in a Lennar-Scala financing deal, and assuming 25 percent will be “affordable,” 12,750 units could conceivably be sold at market rates. At the current median sales price, Lennar and its partner Scala, potentially stand to earn $10.659 billion in market rate sales of 12,750 units. And voters are supposed to seriously believe Newsom’s office has not been apprised by CBRE of the lucrative sales in the billions?
And why the conflicting information about the total number of planned units? The legal text of Proposition G in the voter guide says “about” 8,500 to 10,000 units. CBRE claims 9,500 units, while the Lennar-Scala financing deal stipulates 17,000. What number of units are voters actually voting on?
Will Lennar ever clean up the Shipyard?
Proposition G’s tag line is “Clean Up the Shipyard.” But language in the legal text of Proposition D regarding clean up and remediation of the toxic Superfund site is limited to a single phrase that states only in the “Policies” section the project’s clean up should be “fiscally prudent” and, “to the extent feasible, use state and federal funds to pay for environmental remediation on the Project site.” “Fiscally prudent” and “to the extent feasible” are buzz words; Proposition G contains no guarantees that full remediation of the toxic Superfund site, required by Proposition P in 2000, will ever occur to clean up the Shipyard to residential standards.
In November 2000, fully 86.4 percent of voters who cast ballots for Proposition P on the 2000 ballot passed the measure, which was a statement of policy that San Franciscans expect the federal government and the Navy to clean up the extensive pollution at the Hunters Point Shipyard. Proposition P was put on the ballot by Supervisor Tom Ammiano and then-Supervisor Mark Leno, and the 2000 voter guide featured a paid argument supporting Proposition P by then candidate-for-supervisor Sophie Maxwell, who is now District 10’s Supervisor.
The shipyard remains on the National Priorities List, a list of the most polluted facilities in the nation, and is the only federal Superfund site in the City. Eight years later, Proposition P remains on the books, requiring that the shipyard be cleaned to a level that would enable unrestricted use of the property, the highest standard for cleanup established by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. But the will of the voters is now being ignored by the City in its rush to simply hand 750 acres over to Lennar Corp. without first completing cleanup of the shipyard to unrestricted use level, and in the City’s rush to get the Navy to turn the remaining five parcels in the Bayview over to the City.
To date, the Navy has only transferred to the City one of the six parcels in the Bayview, Parcel A, consisting of only 63 acres. Only Parcel A has been cleaned up. When the San Francisco 49ers announced their intention to move the franchise to Santa Clara County, Sen. Dianne Feinstein was suddenly able to find a mere $82 million in federal funds to hand to an embarrassed Newsom to clean up 27 acres in the Bayview for Lennar’s proposed replacement site for a new stadium, but the Navy has estimated it will take at least $500 million to clean up the entire Superfund site.
Surely Pelosi, Feinstein, and Newsom haven’t forgotten Proposition P passed by 86 percent of the electorate. Why haven’t Feinstein or Pelosi been able to find the remaining $412 million in federal funds needed to comply with Proposition P to clean up the remaining 687 acres? And why are Pelosi, Feinstein and Newsom rushing to take over the shipyard before the federal government finishes the full cleanup work?
Investigative reporter Sarah Phelan quoted current mayoral spokesperson Nathan Ballard in “Unanswered Questions” (San Francisco Bay Guardian, April 4, 2007): “Insisting that Lennar will not be asked to take over the cleanup, Ballard claimed that ‘if the city pursues an “early transfer” with the Navy, a specialized environmental remediation firm, not Lennar, would finish certain elements of the cleanup.’”
The legal text of Prop. G mentions nothing about Ballard’s claim that a special environmental remediation firm will be utilized. It is clear Proposition G will let Lennar off of the hook for cleaning up the shipyard, so Prop. G’s tag line about “cleaning up the shipyard” is offensive spin control at its worst.
Without thorough remediation, worsening Bayview health outcomes
As Dr. Ahimsa Porter Sumchai, a medical doctor and 2007 candidate for San Francisco mayor, noted in a presentation to UCSF medical students in February 2008 titled “Black Flight” (regarding the flight of African Americans from San Francisco), a study conducted 13 years ago documented that the heavily polluted Bayview Hunters Point community had hospitalizations for chronic illnesses four times higher than the state average. This is due, in part, to the fact that although the Bayview Hunters Point district has less than four percent of the City’s residents, it has one third of the City’s hazardous waste sites, containing four times as many toxins as other City neighborhoods.
The 1995 study documented that hospitalization rates for asthma, congestive heart failure, hypertension, diabetes and emphysema were 138 cases per 10,000 in the Bayview, compared to the statewide average of 38 cases per 10,000, even after earlier San Francisco Department of Public Health studies had identified excessive rates of breast cancer, leukemia, childhood cancers and cardiorespiratory diseases in Bayview Hunters Point. The incidence of infant mortality and birth defects in the Bayview also exceed citywide averages.
“The shipyard remains on the National Priorities List, a list of the most polluted facilities in the nation, and is the only federal Superfund site in the City.”
Mayor Newsom’s mother, who moved her children to Marin County following her divorce, is reported to have died from breast cancer in 2002. Marin County is thought to have a high incidence of breast cancer, just as women under age 50 in the Bayview Hunters Point area are reported to have twice the rate of breast cancer as women in the rest of San Francisco. Isn’t this a compelling reason that Newsom should ensure complete toxic remediation of the Shipyard prior to turning over 750 acres of still-not-cleaned-up land over to Lennar, and an even stronger reason voters should reject Prop. G?
Community activists try to halt Black Flight
The glut of deceptive Yes on G mailers hitting San Francisco mailboxes falsely assert that Supervisor Chris Daly single-handedly put Proposition F on the ballot. But that spin control ignores the fact that it was community activists in the Bayview Hunters point who initiated placing Prop. F on the ballot by collecting the first 6,000 of the 11,000 signatures collected. Daly merely partnered with Bayview community activists, in much the same way that Newsom “partnered with” Lennar.
As Sarah Phelan also noted in her major investigative story “The corporation that ate San Francisco” (San Francisco Bay Guardian, March 14, 2007): “Part of the problem is systemic: The Redevelopment Agency hands over these giant projects to master, for-profit developers who can then change the plans based on financial considerations, not community needs.” If Proposition G passes, it will exacerbate displacement of African Americans from San Francisco. African Americans are already three times more likely to leave San Francisco than any other ethnic group.
When San Francisco voters head to the polls on June 3 to consider Propositions G and F, at stake will be Lennar Corp.’s and the City of San Francisco’s sellout of African American residents in Bayview Hunters Point to the tune of billions of dollars, following the costliest initiative campaign in San Francisco’s history.
Handing tax increment funds to the Redevelopment Agency
Dr. Sumchai also notes in “Black Flight” that tax increment financing – which Proposition G is premised on – will directly impact San Francisco’s municipal budget by diverting City revenues to the Redevelopment Agency. The part of tax increments that would otherwise go into the City’s General Fund – averaging 12 percent – will be lost and can only be used by the Redevelopment Agency.
Therefore, money to build malls and hotels will be permitted, but no new financing for basic City services, such as police, firefighters, nurses or librarians, will be generated. Sumchai rightfully notes that cities cannot use redevelopment money to pay for salaries, public safety or maintenance, by far the largest share of municipal budgets.
Jeopardizing a state park … for a promise of “green science and technology”
Sarah Phelan also notes in “Promises and Reality” (San Francisco Bay Guardian, April 23, 2008) that there are serious environmental concerns regarding vague promises in Proposition G that new parks will be built on other parcels in the Bayview in a land swap for a state park that will be rebuilt to contain luxury condos. A major restoration effort to preserve the Yosemite Slough would be destroyed by trading parcels for replacement parks that don’t provide adequate habitat, particularly if Lennar’s plan to build a bridge over the Yosemite Slough is allowed to proceed.
There’s a reason that the Sierra Club and the San Francisco League of Conservation Voters took out paid arguments in the voter guide against Proposition G: Proposition G is a deceptively bad deal for the City’s Southeast parks and the environment, since it will place a nine-lane, $60 million bridge over the Slough that will endanger a bird nesting restoration area that has taken years to plan, and $11 million to create.
Proposition G promises to build 2 million square feet of “green” science, technology, biotechnology or digital media offices for research and development and industrial uses. Where does Newsom and Lennar plan to cram 2 million square feet of such offices, along with up to 17,000 housing units, into the Bayview without affecting valuable parks and open space?
The operating clause in Proposition G may be the single vague phrase contained on page 163 of the voter guide, that states “or a combination of these uses” will be built, without providing precise language voters can trust.
‘G’ is for gentrification and giveaway of the Bayview
Who knows what San Franciscans will eventually get — since the Bayview Hunters Point Redevelopment Plan developed over the last decade has been suddenly usurped by the vaguely-defined Proposition G that was only first discussed in public late in 2007, and then rushed to the ballot?
A lesson should be learned from the 1999 Proposition A to rebuild Laguna Honda Hospital. Voters were led to believe 1,200 skilled nursing beds would be built, but the vague language of the Prop. A bond measure guaranteed no such thing.
Proposition G stands for gentrification and giveaway of the Bayview: It gives away 750 acres free of charge, gives away the health of Bayview residents, gives away a requirement to clean up the shipyard, gives away a state park, and gives away tax increment financing to the Redevelopment Agency. Voters should reject the vaguely worded, open-ended, nonbinding and giveaway language of Proposition G.
While Lennar’s recent mailers turn reality inside out claiming Proposition F contains false promises, it may be Proposition G itself that is riddled with false promises. Don’t be fooled: Six City supervisors, including Mirkarimi, Ammiano, McGoldrick, Sandoval and Peskin, along with Supervisor Daly, have not endorsed Proposition G. It has been only Supervisors Maxwell, Alioto-Pier, Chu and Elsbernd, along with Bevan Dufty, who recently admitted to casting “boneheaded” votes, who have gone along as Newsom loyalists endorsing Proposition G, hoping to ride the mayor’s coattails to higher elected office.
As prominent African American activist Espanola Jackson has noted: “I know a scam when I see one. Don’t buy their lies. Vote No on G!”
Patrick Monette-Shaw can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.