THE SCHLAGE LOCK COMMUNITY PLANNING WORKSHOP (1/14/07)
Visitation Valley has had a long history and one well know by many that have traveled down south along the Old Bayshore and further south of San Mateo, San Jose and further away to Santa Clara. Right by Arleta and Bayshore stands the Schlage Lock Company a very large complex that ceased its operations in the late 1990s.
The Visitation Valley Citizens Advisory Committee has NOT had any meaningful dialog with the "community" participating as equals. Left out are the thousands of hard working decent folks from the Philippines, the Chinese, the African Americans, others that have lived in the community for years. Visitation Valley after all is a well established working class community with a lot of children.
In 1999 the Ingersoll Rand Company the parent company that owns the building and land decided to stop operating. At one time hundreds of folks from Visitation Valley and near by communities such as Portola and Bayview Hunters Point worked at the Schlage Lock Company.
At one time Home Depot chose the Schlage Lock Company to establish one of its many stores. How ever the community led by Fran Martin and a few others decided that the community did not want a Big Box. Some were concerned about traffic issues.
Then just like that Sophie Maxwell the dubious District 10 Supervisor had her eyes on the Schlage Lock Company. She partnered with Fran Martin who is always looking for opportunities and these two one of a kind opportunists decided that is was time to bring in San Francisco Redevelopment Agency to hand over the land and build homes.
Some years ago I contacted the Department of Toxic and Substances Control (DTSC) and pointed out to some underground tanks and other toxic elements and sites in the vicinity of the Schlage Lock site. Some remediation was undertaken but there is a lot to be abated. The whole area has been polluted because of the past nature of operations and toxic waste production - much from the Santa Fe railroad operations. Sophie Maxwell and Fran Martin have no clue about the toxicity. They are on the take and working with some consultants and developers to make hay while the sun shines. We cannot afford to place innocent folks in homes surrounded by the worst type of pollution.
The San Francisco Planning Department (SFPD) has set a very bad precedent acknowledging the dubious plans and policies suggested by the District 10 Supervisor such as the Visitation Valley Community Benefits Plan that is a clone of the failed Better Neighborhoods Plan.
Some years ago a Concept Plan was designed again using the SF Planning Department as a lead agency. Very little meaningful dialog has been had with the Pilipino Community, less with the African American community, the Latino Community, and the Chinese that are now the majority and reside in the Visitation Valley, Little Hollywood, and surrounding area.
Again and again dubious folks like Fran Martin are working with some SF City Officials pushing for policies and projects funded by grants and City money with little Accountability and less Transparency.
I have attended many of the meetings called workshops and have a witness in Espanola Jackson who has lived and understands the community for over 45 years. Some 12 years ago Sophie Maxwell came from some where into out community. No one respects her except the White Folks from Potrero Hill to whom she panders and pussyfoots.
It is critical that the City and County of San Francisco gather Empirical Data linked to the Air Pollution and the near by Brisbane Petroleum Tanks. Take an inventory of the fuel tanks not yet abated around the Schlage Lock Company and beyond. Study the pollution impact from the Santa Fe Operation less then 100 feet from the Schlage Lock Company. Some call this area too toxic to clean and suggest capping the area. What ever it is Health and Safety concerns come first.
The freeway is within a stone's throw and freeways such as 101 South favor particulates and other cancer causing elements. To date no Environmental Impact Report is available and the one that will be done should focus on Cumulative Pollution and Quality of Life issues. From time to time Concept Plan Workshops and related issues are held at places like the Church of the Visitation at 6555 Sunnydale Avenue, the Visitation Valley Elementary School at 55 Schwerin Street, and Community Hall on Raymond Street.
It is critical that meaningful workshops are held with the community and that pertinent decision making are not left with corrupt and dubious folks that have been on the take and are on the take. That includes the District 10 Supervisor that has no clue about Superfund Sites and less about Cumulative Pollution in and around the Schlage Lock Company site.
Ken Rich the Plan Manager, Claudia Flores the Planner, and especially Tom Evans mean well. How ever there are political forces and others that should not waste the time of these City employees when we still do not have a sound Environmental Impact Report and Ingersoll Rand Company reluctance to sell the property. Try Eminent Domain and this matter will go to Court and stay there for decades.
Sophie Maxwell prodded by Fran Martin is looking to use Eminent Domain to steal the land and build homes so that the crooks can profit.
Mayor Gavin Newsom is behind a Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) that does not represent the community.
The Mayor thinks he can move the people and plan a project without in put. He failed with the 49ers and all those grandiose plans. He failed trying to bring the Summer Olympics and place the Olympic Village in the middle of Chernobyl that is Hunters Point Shipyard.
Mayor Gavin Newsom failed when a couple of Propositions passed by the constituents did not want housing with the City and County of San Francisco proposing Bonds to fund such dubious enterprises. The Mayor will fail and fail big time if he sides with San Francisco Redevelopment Agency (SFRA) and messes with Visitation Valley.
The Mayor's Visitation Valley CAC linked to the Visitation Valley Concept Plan is flawed because they do not have qualified and sincere representation. The diverse community is not represented and out reach should be done to embrace the community and especially the youth. The concept plan linked to the Schlage Lock Site, the revitalization plan linked to the Leyland/Bayshore Commercial District, and the New Leland Avenue streetscape project all have been rubber stamped by a few that do not have the better interests of the community. This mishap will come to haunt the planners and bite the few crooks in the butt.
Even as some dubious meetings and planning is going on in Visitation Valley the near by communities such as Portola District and the Sunnyvale Area is kept out of the dialog. Thousands of folks from Visitation Valley shop at the San Bruno Avenue Corridor for example. No one knows what is happening at Visitation Valley and while we are neighbors the Mayor and the SF Planning Department has not taken this important factor into consideration.
Twenty five percent of the populations affected in the area of planning linked to the Visitation Valley Concept Plan are youth. Not one meeting has been held to bring in the youth and ask their opinion about Open Space, Schools, Recreational Facilities, Health Care, Training and Jobs, Child Care, and so on and so forth.
There are those that talk the talk but very few that can walk the walk. One look at the MUNI 3rd Street Light rail says it all it ends in the middle of no where right by the former Schlage Lock Site. One would have thought it would go all the way to Geneva and connect to Mission and beyond. Now, do you know Fran Martin was our key representative on transportation issues and has failed to represent the community?
There was a time when several SF Planning Workshops were held to address the Eastern Neighborhoods that included the Bayview Hunters Point and Visitation Valley and beyond. We sat at these meeting and gave our input. Then suddenly all these plans were shelved and the entire area given to SF Redevelopment Agency. First as a Survey Area, then as a Project Area - the same will be the fate of Visitation Valley.
Over 33, 200 signatures were collected to stop SF Redevelopment Agency. The SF Department of Election validated and certified the signatures only for Sophie Maxwell, Aaron Peskin, Dennis Herrera, and Mayor Gavin Newsom to invalidate the signatures using the City Attorney to fight the people. Surely 33,200 could not be wrong? We filed a suit and that will teach the Mayor and especially Sophie Maxwell a lesson. Be slow and very careful with Visitation Valley. We have seen inept policies turn into mandates and if WE, the community do not like what we all see - we can see the dubious characters too many to name in court. For sure Fran Martin and Sophie Maxwell will be named. So be it.
Ideas and concepts.
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