Tags Carol Harvey
Tag: Carol Harvey
Liz Washington dedicates her story to Treasure Island mothers suffering Child Protective Services’ human rights abuses. Liz Washington’s Tenderloin apartment door rattled. Bursting in, hands on guns, San Francisco cops grabbed her nursing infant. Liz’ daughter remembers her mom’s screams. “‘Please don’t take my baby!’” Even after moving to Treasure Island, Liz never escaped CPS’ ravenous appetite for masterminding abductions of her daughter and sons.
Child Protective Services has repeatedly used an endless litany of flimsy excuses to perpetrate traumatic thefts of Liz’ four children, all the while judging, blaming and shaming a low-income mother who, against all odds and multiple child abductions, with incredible courage, has kept her family together and raised four independent, intelligent and peaceful children. She is currently in court again and fears she may lose to adoption her two youngest sons forever because of their health problems caused by toxins on Treasure Island.
The social worker phoned. “We’re taking custody of Chris and Michael.” The boys were transferred to foster care in Oakland. The irony of this institutional child theft was that, after four months living off-island, despite a heavy fast food diet, the boys got better. Their stomach aches and painful constipation slowly dissipated. For Liz, the common denominator was that they were not drinking polluted island water. When they returned, so did their stomach aches.
Treasure Island resident Liz Washington and her children exhibit many of the most serious toxic mold symptoms rampant among all islanders who constantly touch, ingest or breathe air filled with black mold spores. After moving to Treasure Island, everyone in the Washington family began to endure year ‘round swollen lymph nodes, sinus infections, nose and throat irritation, phlegm, runny noses, coughing spells and colds. Liz recently battled short-term acute bronchitis.
Since 2000, when the family moved to the island, everyone has been plagued by mild to severe respiratory and gastrointestinal problems that they believe are caused by island pollution. These illnesses, however, have given Child Protective Services a pretext for repeatedly taking Liz’ children and placing them in foster care, accusing this devoted mother of dereliction in her child-rearing.
Loud pounding exploded on Liz Washington’s townhouse door on Treasure Island one day in 2005. A large African-American woman stood outside on the stoop. When her children's father cracked open the door, four burly male cops stormed in from behind her and pushed their way into the house. The worker announced coldly, “Someone at the school called CPS on you. I’m here to take your kids.”
In 1999, San Francisco cops pounded on Liz Washington’s door and burst in with their hands on their guns. “It was like they were going to be in a shoot-out,” said Liz. Flourishing an unreadable paper that she could not identify as a warrant, they snatched her three children, literally grabbing her nursing infant from her arms. This brutal act began the chain of events that ended with the family’s long imprisonment on Treasure Island.
On May 29, 2015, on the Golden Gate Bridge side of Treasure Island, smelly brown chocolate ooze began to gush from the Lundgren family’s 1201-B Bayside Drive faucets. The other side of the island had just trembled. Between the Job Corps grounds and the San Francisco Bay Bridge, Lennar Corp. engineers had penetrated 50 feet of soil with huge vibrating bores.
On Treasure Island May 28 and 29, 2015, the earth trembled and shook in a fenced-off location between the Island Cove Market and the Starburst Barracks. Engineers from Lennar’s vibro-compaction geotechnical subcontractor, Jafec USA, repeatedly sank four huge vibrating shafts 50 feet deep into Treasure Island fill, testing for the effect on the soil, groundwater and mud of the man-made island.
In May 2015, I crashed the Treasure Island Flea Market. It’s held on the island on the last weekend of each month – that would be this weekend. As they wander the Great Lawn looking for bargains, I doubt shoppers know that this noisy affair called Treasure Island Flea is happening around them on what Naval Environmental Coordinator Keith Forman reported was the site of an old World War II POW camp.
Yerba Buena Islanders’ Icarus-like plunge from their remote mountaintop into the contaminated air, soil and water of Treasure Island’s radiological and chemical cleanup zone is imminent. This was the main topic at the Treasure Island Development Authority board’s Wednesday, April 8, 2015, annual on-island meeting. Yerba Buenans facing fall 2015 eviction who normally don’t attend because they feel unheard and their issues ignored, presented their concerns.
With Yerba Buena islanders’ displacement imminent, six community members were present and vocal during the April 8, 2015, on-island meeting. The small group established politely assertive staying power. They asked a question which has for years remained front and center in collective City awareness. Where will the Treasure Island Development Authority get redevelopment funding?
Is the Treasure Island Development Authority (TIDA) board hearing San Franciscans’ concerns about radiation and chemical contamination, earthquake liquefaction risks and displaced persons’ relocation rights? Actually, no! Employing blocking techniques that capitalize on the fear of speaking in public, the formidable TIDA board is plowing ahead with Redevelopment, insisting on – while resisting – public input.
This week tens of thousands of people in the United States flooded the streets to demand racial justice. It is one of many issues that have been building for years, reaching the tipping point and seeming to explode in a national awakening. We also saw that in the last two weeks with national protests for living wages. Four years ago we listed 15 crisis issues that the country needed to face; poverty wages and the injustice in criminal enforcement, including racially abusive police practices, were two of them.
On Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014, crowds in Clipper Cove bleachers cheered Chinese Dragon Boat races, completely unaware that, at that same moment, on the island’s far end, Treasure Island residents were suffering years of infrastructure collapse and being flooded out. While the Treasure Island Development Authority rakes in admission fees, it is taking no action to rebuild island infrastructure for current residents or protect them from the ravages on their health of flooding, mold and radiation.
Common wisdom holds that Island authorities have simply abandoned the buildings and infrastructure to crumble until they are razed during the redevelopment build-out phase, which will not start until 2015 and could last over a decade. In the process, they seem also to have abandoned the low-income people they enticed to the island, who are providing rent and securing the infrastructure until the island can be rebuilt for rich condo owners.
“I’m trapped and it sucks. Our lives are in danger. I must get out of here but can’t afford it. We are guinea pigs in a big radiological experiment. I know how the Alcatraz prisoners felt hearing the City’s sounds and laughter, but unable to be there. (Island management) is so slick at promoting life on the island, covering up the Navy’s mess and shushing us.”
Generations of Treasure Island residents are living with radiation from the Navy ships exposed to the atomic bomb tests at Bikini in the South Pacific, which were brought to San Francisco to see if they could be cleaned. Though the Navy has the data, it never conducted longitudinal studies of adults and children it impacted with radioactivity. Help the people of Treasure Island win justice at the RAB meeting Tuesday, Aug. 19, 7-9 p.m., Casa de la Vista, 191 Avenue of the Palms, Treasure Island.
After working vigilantly to protect her kids from asbestos by moving out of an asbestos-filled home in Bayview Hunters Point onto Treasure Island, Sandy Agee found she had literally jumped from the frying pan into the fire. At this writing, Sandy and two of her children are exhibiting worrisome physical symptoms they developed only after moving to the island. Sandy’s blood tests came back positive for “thyroid problems.”
The Girls and Boys Club departure is sobering for island parents. It establishes that a venerable organization refuses to participate in exposing young people – their children – to radioactive and chemical poisons it knows to a certainty exist at its former site. What if Job Corps and the other small island businesses employing many young people followed suit?