Most everyone who lives in the Bayview/Hunters Point knows about the Presidio of San Francisco. How ever many do not know that the Presidio belongs to them and that they have every right to visit it every single day. Why? It is a National Park set aside by Congress for all the people of the United States. It has 1,480 acres of land and hundreds of buildings and houses. A vast variety of other facilities -it is a City within a City. It has its own Communication Center, a Fire House, YMCA with a Olympic size swimming pool and basketball facilities, the largest Burger King, the Commissary and Post Exchange, the Veterans Administration (VA) cemetery, the Officers' Club, the United States Park Police, the Visitors' Center, a Bowling Center, Child Care Center - it is a City within a City.
Thousands of residents from the Bayview/Hunters Point were instrumental in building the Presidio of San Francisco. Many of them African Americans. Some of the residents will remember the time when their relatives helped build the Golden Gate Bridge. Others, the many buildings, roads, and other infrastructure that the Presidio of San Francisco boast. The Letterman Army Hospital and the Letterman Army Institute of Research are now being torn down. Many of our residents helped build these large institutions. Many of our residents were hospitalized in the hospital on their return from the Korean and Vietnam wars.
Many of our residents from the Bayview and Hunters Point are shocked when I tell them that there are over 450 Buffalo Soldiers buried at the VA cemetery - right in the middle of the Presidio of San Francisco. Most of us know the song sung by Bob Marley called Buffalo Soldier - but not many know about the real Buffalo Soldiers waiting for all of you to pay respect to them. These great Buffalo Soldiers are respected all over the world.
The Buffalo Soldiers were stationed at the Presidio of San Francisco much before the National Park Service which was formed in 1916 . The Buffalo Solders were the first to patrol the vast Federal Lands - later called the National Parks. The Buffalo Soldiers wrote the first Standard Operating Procedures - how to run the Parks. For decades those running the National Parks were all White. The Buffalo Soldiers all Black went on to do other great deeds.
Right now the Presidio of San Francisco is in the news. December 10, 2001 the Director of the Trust James Meadows who managed 80 percent of the Presidio resigned. He resigned because it was stated millions of dollars were mismanaged and many a project had huge cost over runs. The Trust was put in place by Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi and the Burton machinery - many of you long time residents will remember Phillip Burton. He had the great vision to set the Presidio aside and make it a National Park for all of you - but now it is a Park for the filthy rich.
There are plans to increase the population of the Presidio to 7,000 plus. There are plans to pump all the raw sewage all the way from the Presidio to the Sewage Plant situated in the Bayview. Does it not make sense for the Presidio to have a Sewage Plant right in the Presidio. They can build one and pump the secondary effluents into the Ocean which is a stone throw away. However that is not the case because we the residents permit it - their raw sewage journeys all the way to Bayview so that our residents can experience the stench that should be theirs in the first place. What a shame!
There is lot of good housing at the Presidio. Our residents should be entitled to some of this housing. Why? Our residents built a lot of the housing. Our residents served in the Army and worked as Civilians and should be given some consideration. The history of the housing at the Presidio of San Francisco and the residents of Bayview/Hunters Point is connected. Those who stay there now were far removed - yet they bask in the sun and we have to bear the stench of their making that stinks to high heaven.
It is important that we the residents of Bayview/Hunters Point attend some of the meetings at the Presidio and express our concerns. Call the Trust at (415) 561-5300 and ask to be put on the mail list. Your will receive a rich glossy newsletter which your tax payers money pays for. There are many intern jobs and other job opportunities - we the residents have every right to apply for them. Most of them good paying jobs. Visit the Trust web site at http://www.presidiotrust.gov
Now is the time to exercise our rights and demands our rights. We cannot avail of the best if we do not know how to fight for our rights. We have waited for too long and time and tide - do not wait for mankind - we have to cease the opportunity now.
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