Bayview residents launch petition drive against
By Angela Hokanson, Bay City News Service
June 5, 2006
SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) - Members of the community group Defend
Bayview-Hunters Point today announced a drive to collect 30,000
signatures in the next month to allow San Franciscans to vote
during the Nov. 7 general election on the Bayview Hunters Point
Redevelopment Plan, which was recently passed by the San Francisco
Board of Supervisors.
The redevelopment plan was approved by San Francisco Mayor Gavin
Newsom on Thursday after being passed 7-4 by the board of supervisors
on May 23.
Members of the community group Defend Bayview-Hunters Point,
which was formed in the last two weeks once it looked as though
the redevelopment plan would pass, want the plan to be put before
San Francisco voters on the November ballot.
The members of Defend Bayview-Hunters Point oppose the plan on
several grounds, saying that the plan allows the San Francisco
Redevelopment Agency to use eminent domain to seize businesses
and homes in the Bayview Hunters Point area and give them to private
The redevelopment agency's approach is "fundamentally flawed"
and the agency has no track record of community development, said
Brian O'Flynn, a member of the group.
Members of the group cited the redevelopment agency's policies
that displaced residents in the Fillmore and Western Addition
districts in the 1960s as evidence that the agency is not motivated
by the well-being of the communities in which it works.
According to the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency, the purpose
of the plan is to eliminate blight, create affordable housing,
and spur economic development in the Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood.
Marcia Rosen, executive director of the redevelopment agency,
said that comparing the redevelopment agency of today with the
agency that implemented urban renewal policies in the Fillmore
and Western Addition in the 1960s is not fair because at that
time the agency was following federal and city redevelopment policies.
According to Willie Ratcliff, publisher of the SF Bayview newspaper,
the redevelopment plan seeks to take away property rights from
Bayview Hunters Point residents and "further run African-Americans
and people of color out of this city.''
"The whole plan is flawed. The whole plan is a big lie,"
O'Flynn said that the 1,361 acres of land added to the redevelopment
project area - the largest redevelopment area in the city's history
- makes the land area too big and is a cause for concern.
The redevelopment agency delineated such a large swath of land
to "grab the tax base," of that area, O'Flynn said.
The opponents of the redevelopment plan have 30 days to turn
in the necessary signatures, according to Doug Comstock, a member
of Defend Bayview. The board of supervisors then has the opportunity
to either repeal the ordinance that codified the redevelopment
plan or put the issue before the voters in November, Comstock
Voters would then vote in November either for or against the
ordinance that passed the redevelopment plan, according to O'Flynn.
The leaders of the petition drive are confident they can collect
30,000 signatures in 30 days and that the voters will reject the
redevelopment plan if they are able to vote on it in November.
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