Bayview activist calls for sit-down with District 10 Supervisor

D10 Supervisor Shamann Walton wears a “#Schools not Prisons” button. – Photo: Santiago Mejia, SF Chronicle

by Bob Black 

A long-standing member and activist of the Bayview community is calling for a sit-down with District 10 Supervisor Shamman Walton, saying that the hard issues plaguing the district are not being tackled.

“As my brothers and sisters of the Bayview say constantly, we need to put human lives first,” said Dwayne Gaines. “Our district leadership is putting other priorities first and our people are suffering. That is why I am calling for a sit-down to get this straightened out, once and for all.”

The pressing issues, said Gaines, that being addressed at best symbolically or by lip service include but are not limited to: cleaning up the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, including the allegedly safe Parcel A, as the toxic contamination is killing residents of the Bayview and affects all of San Francisco. 

“The people of Bayview Hunters Point are united and determined in their convictions that this Superfund site, one of the worst in the country, the Navy Shipyard, needs to be cleaned up to the highest standards. Our community is being poisoned, with people dealing with cancer and respiratory deaths and illnesses in specific. 

Dwayne Gaines – Art: William Scott

“The children are getting nosebleeds and suffering from asthma and other illnesses. And the powers that be are planning on building parks in these areas, which is unsafe and totally irresponsible. Don’t lie to people; we are not stupid. This must stop! 

“And this is increasingly urgent, as the sea level is rising and contamination – nuclear and chemical – will poison the Bay waters. This is a San Francisco problem, not just a Bayview problem. It is time to act now, before it is too late,” says Gaines. 

We need to put human lives first, but our district leadership is putting other priorities first and our people are suffering.

Millions of city funds are being spent on homelessness but homelessness is increasing, and homelessness needs to be solved. “We don’t need words; we need deeds,” said Gaines. 

The lack of jobs and safe recreational facilities that are free of toxic dust and contamination are fueling the feelings of abandonment and hopelessness, causing senseless incidents of violence. 

People cannot afford the high cost of Recology bills and end up dumping their trash on the streets, so a process needs to be in place where people can get trash relief, so they can get trash containers, and there should be public dumpsters that the city regularly removes so that the Bayview is not such a dirty place. “We need structural changes in place, so that Bayview Hunters Point is clean and maintained properly,” said Gaines.

Gaines also said, “The Bayview Hunters Point roads are in poor shape and need to be properly repaired. Let’s get the job done.”

Gaines graduated from Balboa High School and is a founder of Just Stop the Killing. He was involved in community campaigns such as collecting over 900 signatures to bring back the Number 15 bus. He has lived in the Alice Griffith apartments and helped with toy collection and distribution and the annual Christmas tree lighting. Dwayne is very proud of having worked with some of San Francisco’s finest, including Danny Glover, Danny Duncan, Cindy Herron of En Vogue, the late great Grady Wilkins, musical director of the Whispers, and DJ Dr. Funk. His godmother was actress and director the late Ruth Williams.

Gaines also recommends people watch the trailer of the film “Never Surrender: The Fight for Environmental Justice in Bayview Hunters Point.” Watch it at either https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-g5fXsgzfvM or https://www.brookes.ac.uk/research/units/tde/projects/just-neighbourhoods/never-surrender-film/.

Dwayne Gaines can be reached at juststopthekilling@gmail.com