Bayview Hunters Point residents
want moratorium on shipyard work
By Emmett Berg
June 6, 2007
Redevelopment at Hunters Point shipyard has become a sickening
reality for some Bayview Hunters Point residents because of reported
respiratory problems, even from formerly healthy youth and adults,
speakers told the Board of Supervisors yesterday.
Members of the Bayview Hunters Point community packed the Board
of Supervisors chambers, where people spoke one-by-one of health
problems that some said were concurrent with excavating and test
drilling recently in the former shipyard by developer Lennar Corp.
Asthma and bleeding noses were becoming everyday ailments even
for children who only go to school in the area, some said. Several
dozen speakers in all gave a unified view, from religious leaders
to youth and young adults.
Several said they were indignant that official city business
occurring that day would concern the Telegraph Hill parrots, but
the effects of construction activity they said were triggering
health problems now were going un-addressed.
"We haven't had anybody anywhere do any kind of testing,"
challenged Len Brown, a Bayview resident. "Everybody's aware
there's an epidemic out there in Bayview Hunters Point.
Representatives of the Department of Health or Miami-based Lennar
Corp. did not speak publicly following the testimony.
A Board of Supervisors hearing on the issues would come at the
end of June, Supervisor Sophie Maxwell said in an interview. Despite
a malfunction, testing to help ensure safety during the preconstruction
tests was continuing, the supervisor said.
Maxwell's district includes the former shipyard, which operated
for more than 100 years starting in 1870 and saw a peak during
World War II, a legacy that left behind extensive toxic waste.
Linking health effects to Lennar's construction activity was
uncertain, given that the Hunters Point community ranks as the
city leader in rates of asthma, cancer and heart attacks, Maxwell
"These problems have been going on for years," Maxwell
said. "Still these people have a legitimate beef. The Department
of Public Health has to answer to them. It's up to them to protect
the health and safety of city residents."
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