EYES OF DEATH
It is a shame that in this day and age many still practice racial discrimination and racial profiling without a second thought. The Bayview Hunters Point has a history where the African American community has been treated worse than second class citizens have.
We all are fully aware that the environment plays an important role in our lives. Those of us who are educated and have the means will not live in areas that are polluted - more so if we can make a choice. However, those who cannot make a choice have NO immediate say and it behooves us to empower those who are victims of toxins and pollution to better their environment. This is only a first step and this first step is long due.
Pacific Gas and Electricity (PG&E) has been polluting Bayview Hunters Point since the 1920's. That aged power plant we see sitting by Heron Head Park has caused a lot of damage. The toxins this plant has spewed out has killed many. Today hundreds more suffer from asthma and other chronic lung diseases which have affected thousands of innocent constituents living close by. That entire area is polluted.
There has been some movement among some community leaders to fight PG&E. How ever this commitment has not been consistent with ethical standards.
If, I as a leader know that PG&E has been instrumental in killing our infants, our children, our youth, and our elders Ð I would NOT accept one single cent from PG&E for my own profit. I would NOT work for PG&E because working for PG&E is giving tacit support that I as a community leader accept what PG&E is doing.
It is a shame that in our community we have several community leaders who are working for PG&E. When these leaders meet you face to face they agree that what PG&E is doing is wrong. Yet, as I stated they do not hesitate one single moment to accept money. It is even more disgusting when these so-called community leaders tell you that they represent the people. They do not represent the people at all.
It makes matters even more complicated when other selfless community leaders are not aware that there are some crooks that call themselves community leaders and sell the community. I understand money is required to put bread and butter on the table but one does not do that at the expense of ethical principles Ð at the expense of one's community.
The community has stated many time that the PG&E plant at Hunters Point should be shut down. Mayor Willie Brown promised to close it down in 1998. Just like he promised to move the Bayview Raw Sewage Treatment Plant to Brisbane around the same time. As things stand PG&E will be in operation until 2005 at least. This is a shame.
Some years ago PG&E and other power plants agreed to set aside some money as mitigation fees. $47.5 million was set aside. $13.5 million was set aside to help the Bayview Hunters Point constituents. The language is very clear Ð the money should be spent in Bayview Hunters Point and it should be used to help the constituents of the area who have suffered from the pollutants.
To date not one single cent has been used to help the infants and children who suffer from asthma and other chronic lung diseases.
$1.5 million was given to a company to do electrical audits. If you join this cooperative for $20.00 you get a package consisting of some light bulbs, shower heads, and a few other accessories Ð all of which can be purchased for some little money.
Over $800,000 was given to Literacy for Environmental Justice to build a Living Classroom at Heron's Park. This site is the most toxic and is next to the PG&E plant. Most in the community know nothing about this Living Classroom.
Another $1.5 million was given to the Arboretum which is situated in the Golden Gate Park. Some of this money has been earmarked to train 12 horticulturists. This could have been done at the facility next to the Southeast Community Facility at 1800 Oakdale.
Another $400,000 to an entity to set up a library with information about the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard which already exists at the Public Library near Revere Street.
You can go to the City and County of San Francisco web site and check out the facts and learn more about the grants, under the Department of Environment (DOE).
I strongly feel it is time for the Federal Bureau of Investigation to visit these organizations and those organizations I mentioned Ð all of them who got this money. Find out exactly what criteria was used to give so much money without a single cent spent on our infants, our youth, and our seniors who have and are suffering so much from the pollution.
We all know when the weather is hot how difficult it is to breathe. There are infants, youth and seniors who are suffering all the time and no one seems to care. Some talk about the pollutants and how the constituents suffer in a general way but it is time you all go to City Hall and tell the Board of Supervisors how you feel and what you feel should be done. Tell them about this $13.5 million which has not been spent on you who suffer daily.
While most people know what PG&E is doing daily Ð the Mirant Power Plant is no better. Diesel vehicles keep spewing killer toxins into the air. The 3rd Street corridor if it was monitored for one single day and all the diesel vehicle fined would easily bring in over $100,000 a day. I say this because most of the diesel trucks do not meet the mandated standards and spew toxins into the air. Special filters can reduce the toxins but no one cares. MUNI buses too contribute to this calamity.
Every day on 3rd Street I see hundreds of youth hanging around and doing nothing. This is a waste of talent. How ever even as they hang around 3rd Street in the open they are slowly killing themselves breathing the toxins from diesel vehicles and other pollutants.
Soon MUNI Light Rail will make its appearance. The roads will be torn open and toxic material like asbestos will be piled up Ð here, there, and everywhere. Asbestos is a killer and has killed many that worked at the Hunter Point Naval Shipyard. Today, piles of asbestos piled by Catelus Corporation and MUNI further down by 3rd and King Ð reach Hunters Point and beyond Ð asbestos goes where the wind takes it.
PG&E, Catelus Corporation, MUNI, and other entities should set aside Mitigation Funds and earmark the money for infants, youth, and seniors. Some of it can be earmarked for health and others for training. In any other community this would have been done but not in Bayview Hunters Point.
It is just a matter of time when PG&E will tear down those huge concrete tanks you see by the PG&E plant. Near by the homes will be blasted by dust - and with the dust, there will be contaminants. For sure you will find asbestos.
Now is the time to stock respirators and other paraphernalia to meet the enemy. Has any one approached you from PG&E and to told you about the removal of the tanks? Has anyone told you not to go anywhere near that area for the entire time the tanks will be removed? Children especially should be kept away from the soon to be demolished PG&E fuel tanks.
It is not too late to look out for each other. There was once a community that really cared and it is not too late to return to those happy times. United we can turn many things around.
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