The injustice continues with Ahimsa Porter Sumchai’s ongoing exposure of the relentless suffering and death attacking the residents of Bayview Hunters Point – the result of the U.S. Navy’s poisoning the land with no cleanup or accountability, handing it off to profiteering developers, years of government and corporate corruption and greed, and crimes against humanity, culminating in three federal Superfund sites now confirmed.
At the March 2018 Treasure Island Restoration Advisory Board meeting, remediation project manager Dave Clark “recollected” that, between 2006 and 2016, the Navy unearthed 1,280 radiological objects, one for every two residents. By contrast, on Sept. 13, San Francisco Chronicle reporters announced the “startling” discovery at Hunters Point of a single “radium deck marker about the size of a silver dollar” near condos on 75-acre Parcel A, which was transferred to the city in 2004 – startling because “contamination ... was cleaned up years ago.”
Hunters Point and Treasure Island are historical Siamese twins, inextricably linked by Navy nuclear activity and toxic dumping. As Tetra Tech’s fakery and malfeasance is exposed, Hunters Point is receiving massive attention, but Treasure Island victims continue to be poisoned and evicted, attracting scant notice and no help. Taxpayers are footing the bill to the tune of billions for massive Navy remediation, botched cleanups and two redeveloped, but toxic, Naval bases, where, in the end, no one can safely live.
For both armed and unarmed combat, the United States military is unparalleled in the world. So, when the U.S. Navy points the finger for its bungled Hunters Point cleanup at Tetra Tech to deflect from its own liability, it’s a carefully thought-out advance strategy that has worked for decades on contaminated Naval bases around the globe.
The Navy is withholding from San Francisco taxpayers that, to jump-start billions for FivePoint Holdings, a branch of the Lennar corporation, it is fast-tracking Treasure Island redevelopment. San Franciscans remain uninformed that because the Navy is conducting 20 simultaneous building demolitions and site excavations, 39 chemical digs, and 820 radiation, arsenic and petroleum removal actions, islanders are currently hard-hit by wind-borne toxins.
The air has gotten worse, not better. So these are some of the things that are caused by the dust, the construction and the latent chemicals they have not cleaned up since World War II – plus the current concentration of light industry just outside our neighborhood that all blows into our neighborhood. Yet currently less than 1 percent of African Americans who live in Bayview work in that area and reap the economic benefits. All we get is the pollution and death.
We read with amazement Matier and Ross’ announcement in the Sunday, May 15, Chronicle that San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee is “in talks with George Lucas” about “housing his collection of illustrative art and Hollywood memorabilia” on “a site already approved for redevelopment on Treasure Island.” The genius who conceived the “Star Wars” saga must not yet know that the place is thoroughly saturated with weapons grade chemicals and radioisotopes with half-lives of never, like plutonium and cesium 137, and that the Navy is not doing a bang-up job of digging the poisonous stuff out.
Environmental injustices are forced upon people of color and disadvantaged minorities. This is a fact and not a subjective feeling or statement. Prison officials and ACA inspectors attempt to cover up and downplay the fact that numerous Texas prisons have contaminated water supplies and Texas Correctional Industries employees force prisoners to work in toxic environments. Does anyone think the U.S. government will intercede on our behalf?
Lennar’s track record in Bayview Hunters Point and on Yerba Buena Island clearly demonstrates a pattern of offering assurances they will provide poor, Black and Brown people affordable housing, then finding ways to renege on their promises and kicking them out. Join the protest by residents of Bayview Hunters Point, the Mission and Treasure Island at Lennar’s sales office at 645 Howard St., between Second and Third in downtown San Francisco on Thursday, Jan. 28, at noon, for a rally and a quick march to US EPA headquarters.
In the September 2015 edition of Prison Legal News, Panagioti Tsolkas of the newly formed Prison Ecology Project wrote a scathing article that shed light on a serious problem at a prison located in Navasota, Texas. Dangerous levels of arsenic have been found at the Wallace Pack Unit. “How could the American Correctional Association continue to give Wallace Pack Unit passing marks and rave reviews if the drinking water is contaminated with poison?”
Behind a chain link fence on Site 6’s northern border across Avenue M from the island’s Wastewater Treatment plant, the Navy stores, moves out and continually replaces a trail of thousands of large boxcar shaped containers full of radiologically toxic materials to be shipped off-island. “There have been several (high-radiation) shipments and about a thousand intermodal (containers) of radium waste shipped from Treasure Island.”
Think of Treasure Island as an iridescent green glowing ghost ship whose prow divides the blue waves as it navigates San Francisco Bay waters gliding northwest under the Golden Gate Bridge. On the tidy front lawn of your market rate or low income Site 12 rental brought to you courtesy of The John Stewart Co., it is as if you are standing at the bow of the radioactive vessel as it carries its toxic contents ever forward into a stunning red-gold sunset.
In 2006, using this poster, Bayview Hunters Point activists gathered over 33,000 signatures in 90 days on our refendum petition. But City Hall tossed it. Now that the California Supreme Court has reinstated a similar Pleasanton referendum petition, can BVHP find lawyers to take ours back to court ... and win back our community?
Prop G is not about development – it’s about land banking for the future. Lennar will sell off its affordable housing obligations to nonprofits, then hold out to maximize its return.
Due to the toxicity of the land, Lennar is able to acquire land in poor areas, such as the Bayview, for next to nothing. Lennar then develops the area, building market value homes that current residents cannot afford, driving them out of their neighborhood.
Efforts to “dirty transfer” uncleaned shipyard parcels as proposed in the conceptual plan and the June 2008 ballot measure represent a direct violation of a city ordinance.
Now that we know how that negligence has endangered an upscale white neighborhood in Florida, will anyone in Hunters Point stand up in Lennar’s defense?
The resolution does not compel any action but calls upon the city to halt construction, order health assessments and communicate these reports to the district and the public.
It would be a liability to accelerate the transfer of a federal Superfund site from the National Priority List with the data gaps that exist in the characterization of this property. The city admits it cannot clean up the Shipyard’s radiation-contaminated sites, which comprise the bulk of Parcels D and E. Parcel F, the Shipyard’s underwater region, has not been adequately studied.
On Friday, Sept. 21, 2007, Mayor Gavin Newsom claimed “the CDC and the California Department of Public Health agree with the San Francisco Department of Public Health that there was no significant health risk created by the grading activities at the shipyard.”
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