These crushing personal accounts of lives living, lived and lost on Treasure Island, are a clear indictment against the white supremacist, racist, capitalist, profits-over-people developers, the U.S. Navy and government entities, which intentionally continue to withhold information and refute any danger and harm to residents suffering and dying from extreme toxic conditions of their harmful living space.
A perception shift is emerging due to deliberate indifference perpetrated upon citizens by those in power, which this country has witnessed in the criminal behavior in the Flint Michigan Water Crisis. Whereas ignorance and propaganda by those in power convinced citizens that those behind bars are “the worst of the worst,” we are learning that this narrative has been a tactic to distract and the truth is that the “worst of the worst” are more frequently those we entrust to protect our health and wellbeing.
On Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020, a press conference was held in front of San Francisco Superior Court, at 400 McAllister, at which San Francisco Attorney Stanley Goff and lead plaintiffs and former Treasure Island residents Andre Patterson and Felita Sample publicly announced a “class action lawsuit and complaint for damages,” arising from public and private exposure to toxins on Treasure Island.
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.
After 18 years subjecting San Franciscans who were homeless, poor and mostly of color to massive toxic hazards and environmental racism on radiation and chemically contaminated Treasure Island, the Treasure Island Development Authority (TIDA)’s redevelopment consortium – Five Point, Stockbridge Capital Group, Lennar, Wilson-Meany, John Stewart Co. and other financial interests – seem to be attempting to induce tenants to leave the island while forestalling possible legal roadblocks.
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.
Four brave Treasure Islanders who've spoken out about the radiation and other toxins sickening residents have learned they face swift retaliation engineered by the powers-that-be. Mitchell Herrington lived on Treasure Island from 1999 to 2013, when he was harassed off the island by eviction. During his tenancy, Mitchell lived with a roommate who worked for Shaw Environmental. The fact that this Shaw employee had to be protected by a hooded hazmat suit suggested the serious danger of contamination present in his cleanup zone work.
A “space mountain,” “a behemoth,” “a colossus,” “a palace for Jabba The Hut” and “a half-baked baked Alaska” – that’s how columnists have described George Lucas’ $400 million 300,000-square-foot Museum of Narrative Art, a collection of Americana and Hollywood memorabilia. On May 16, 2016, San Francisco Supervisor, Aaron Peskin, appeared on CBS Bay Area talk show “Matier in the Morning,” where he reintroduced Treasure Island as a site for the project.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
Gentile, soft-spoken Sandy Agee represents a group of African-American Bayview Hunters Point residents who thought they escaped radiation and chemicals that the Navy dumped at the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, turning it into one of the nation’s most radioactive EPA Superfund sites. They discovered the Navy also carpeted their refuge, Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay.
The City of San Francisco appears to be launching a discriminatory retaliatory eviction targeting its Treasure Island toxin whistleblower, Kathryn Lundgren, and her family. Lundgren, mother of three teens, has repeatedly sounded the alarm outing the City and the Navy for collusion in neglecting to warn her and her unsuspecting neighbors that Treasure Island is a radioactive dumpsite saturated with chemicals, toxic mold, asbestos and lead.
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.
On Nov. 13 the San Francisco Chronicle ran a lead story written by the S.F.-based Center for Investigative Reporting. The story was about the radioactive contamination of Treasure Island, a former U.S. Navy base in the middle of the Bay. This story is important in and of itself but also because it once again unearths the region’s role in the birth of the atomic age and also highlights the radioactive legacy that continues to haunt us.
Davey D interviews Minister Christopher Muhammad, leader of the Stop Lennar Action Movement, on Hard Knock Radio about Lennar's latest mischief-making. Tell the SF Board of Supervisors to tell Lennar 'No guns at community meetings' Tuesday, April 20, 2 p.m., SF City Hall Room 250. Pack the Supervisors' Chambers as they vote on a resolution condemning Lennar.
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