Bayview Redevelopment Plan foes submit ballot measure
By Elizabeth Daley, Bay City News Service
August 31, 2006
Community activists submitted a petition Wednesday to challenge
a plan approved on May 23 by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors
to redevelop the Bayview neighborhood, according to one of the
plan's lead critics.
Willie Ratcliff, editor of the San Francisco Bay View, said 32,820
signatures were collected and submitted to the city clerk just
before a 5 p.m. deadline to put the redevelopment plan to a future
vote. He said he is certain that there are enough signatures.
The Bayview Redevelopment plan was sponsored by Supervisor Sophie
Maxwell, who represents and lives in the Bayview, and signed into
law by Mayor Gavin Newsom.
Marcia Rosen, the Executive Director of the San Francisco Redevelopment
Agency said members of the Bayview community "worked with
officials for ten years since 1997 and held over 600 public meetings
over the ten year period to come up with this plan."
According to Rosen, strong support in the community for redevelopment
remains, but acknowledged that there "was a very lively and
active debate at the board of supervisors," of which Ratcliff
was a vocal member.
Rosen speaks of the project as a "long-term equitable revitalization
project" that will include provisions for affordable housing.
Ratcliff speaks of the plan as a "way to push gentrification
"Anytime you come out with the right to take something you
disrespect the community," Ratcliff said, referring to the
eminent domain law
that gives government agencies the right to seize property.
Rosen says there are prohibitions against the use of eminent
domain. She says "there is no possibility people will be
driven from their homes and that the plan prohibits the use of
eminent domain for taking homes"
Ratcliff counters, "that's what they say, but they've been
lying all these years, why should we believe them now?"
Ratcliff said previous redevelopment plans caused displacements
in the Fillmore and Western Addition areas. "Big developers,
insurance companies and none of it will be spent to help the people,"
Ratcliff said. He said he feels redevelopment "discriminates
against people of color."
Rosen says state redevelopment law defines what neighborhoods
She says the goal of redevelopment is to "build on the neighborhoods
assets in strengths by making strategic investments, not to displace
people residents." She said "there is no intent to use
the force of government to take over."
Funding for the redevelopment plan comes from property taxes
from the Bayview district through a process called tax increment
The process involves a 30- to 45-year earmark of property taxes
from the Bayview district. Over that period of time, all property
taxes from the Bayview district will be used for what Rosen terms
Rosen says this will not cause any increase in property taxes
or lack of funding to education in the area. It will, however,
decrease the tax revenue for the city of San Francisco as a whole.
Rosen says if there is an election about this plan she hopes
"people read the plan and talk to Bayview residents who authored
the plan before they go to vote."
Developers "didn't think anyone could stop them,'' Ratcliff
"They thought nobody had enough nerve to try, but they miscalculated.'
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