Unanswered questions - Page 2

Behind the Newsom-Lennar-Chronicle offensive on Hunters Point lie serious issues that are hard to ignore
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Jackson doesn't believe the cleanup will cost $300 million, a figured touted by Cohen, but she questions where the cleanup money will come from.

"Only white folks will be able to afford the 8,900 housing units that Lennar is proposing to build near the stadium," Jackson said.

The Chronicle's overwhelmingly positive coverage of the mayor's shipyard plan came shortly after Lennar Urban president Kofi Bonner wrote to the Board of Supervisors and the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency claiming that articles in the Guardian and the Chronicle about Lennar's asbestos and dust problems at the shipyard and the lawsuit by employees "are full of errors, inaccuracies and misinformation."

Asked what errors Bonner was referring to, Lennar spokesperson Sam Singer told the Guardian, "My main complaint is with the lawsuit, which contains numerous false allegations, and with the Chronicle's article, which called these employees 'executives.' " Lennar has not requested any corrections of Guardian articles.

Asked about the lawsuit's claim that Bonner sat by and allowed the alleged discrimination to happen, Singer told us, "Kofi is one of the leading African American executives in the nation." Neither Bonner nor Lennar vice president Paul Menaker, who are both named in the whistle-blower suit, returned the Guardian's calls as of press time.

Attorney Angela Alioto, who represents the three African American Lennar employees suing the company, told the Guardian that Singer's defense of Bonner is "racist."

"Just because Kofi is African American means he couldn't discriminate?" Alioto asked.

Equally disturbing is the Mayor's Office's reliance on Lennar for accurate information about the developer's performance at the shipyard. When the Guardian contacted Newsom press secretary Nathan Ballard for comment about Lennar, he wrote to the Guardian, "You might want to give Sam Singer a call. He's the spokesperson for Lennar and can really answer questions about that stuff ... accurately."

After making it clear that we wanted Newsom's perspective, not Lennar's, Ballard wrote that the Mayor's Office is "confident the systems we have in place will protect human health," an answer that dodges our question about the violations that happened over a six-month period in 2006.

Insisting that Lennar will not be asked to take over the cleanup, Ballard claimed that "if the city pursues an 'early transfer' with the Navy, a specialized environmental remediation firm, not Lennar, would finish certain elements of the cleanup. And the city will have extensive oversight over any such work."

Ballard refused to comment on the suit brought against Lennar by three of its employees but went into detail about the Restoration Advisory Board, which he said was "created by the Navy to advise the Navy."

"The city created its own Citizens Advisory Board independent of the Navy for local input from the Bayview community," Ballard claimed.

He also maintained that the "Navy is and will always remain legally responsible for paying for the cleanup. Over the last three to four years, we have secured more cleanup money for the shipyard than any other closed Navy base in the county. We intend to have those robust funding levels continue."

This was also one of the most toxic bases in the country, which is why the conversion effort has been difficult. Plaintiff Guy McIntyre also alleges it is complicated because of chicanery.