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Bayview Redevelopment Plan foes submit ballot measure petitions

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 in
the area."

"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 are

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 financing bonding.

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 "community revitalization."

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 said,

"They thought nobody had enough nerve to try, but they miscalculated.'

Copyright © 2006 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.




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