Question of intent - Page 4

As lawsuits and regulators probe Lennar Corp.'s negligent approach to development on Hunters Point, a new campaign seeks to give the embattled corporation even more control over SF

30, told us his agency's deposition and development agreement with Lennar wouldn't let the company indefinitely mothball its housing units: "The DDA gives Lennar and the vertical developers the option to lease the for-sale units for one year, prior to their sale."

While the agency has been criticized for failing to do anything about Lennar's problems on Parcel A and letting the company out of its obligation to build rental units, Blackwell said it is able to hold Lennar accountable.

"I feel like the DDA gives us all the tools we need," Blackwell told us. "We have opportunities to 'cure' whatever the contractor's default is, but we can't just arbitrarily shut things down."

But many in the community aren't convinced. With the grim housing picture and the 49ers saying they'd rather be in Santa Clara, the only certain outcome from passage of this ballot measure would seem to be a mandate for the city to turn over valuable public lands and devote millions of dollars in scarce affording-housing funds to subsidize the ambitions of a corporation with a dubious track record that is actively resisting public accountability.

True, Lennar has promised to rebuild the Alice B. Griffith public housing project without dislocating any residents, and the measure also allows for the creation of 350 acres of parks and open spaces, 700,000 square feet of retail stores, two million square feet of office space, and improved transit routes and shoreline trails.

But although the rest of the shipyard is contaminated with a long list of human-made toxins, would passage of the initiative mean an early transfer of the shipyard from the Navy to the city and Lennar? And with that shift, the requirement that we put even more faith in this corporation's ability to safely manage the project?

In October, Newsom, who was running for reelection at the time, told the Guardian he was worried about Lennar's ability to follow through on "prescriptive goals and honor their commitments."

"We have to hold them accountable," Newsom told us. "They need to do what they say they're going to do. We need to hold them to these commitments."

But how exactly is the mayor holding Lennar accountable?

In March, when the Guardian asked Newsom's office if he intended, in light of Lennar's Parcel A failures, to push ahead with plans to make Lennar the master developer for the 49ers stadium and Candlestick Point, the Mayor's Office of Communications replied by referring us to Sam Singer, who has been on Lennar's PR payroll for years.

On Nov. 18 the Chronicle reported that Singer was on the campaign team for the Bayview ballot initiative, along with former 49ers executive Carmen Policy, Newsom's campaign manager and chief political consultant Eric Jaye, Newsom's former campaign manager Alex Tourk, political consultant Jim Stearns, and political advertising firm Terris, Barnes and Walters, which worked on the 1997 49ers stadium bond and the 1996 measure for the Giants' ballpark, both approved by voters.

In recent months Lennar has asked the Guardian to send questions to its latest PR flack, Lance Ignon, rather than Singer. In reply to our latest round of queries, about lawsuits and air district violations, Ignon forwarded us the following statement: "The record is abundantly clear that at each and every stage of the redevelopment process, Lennar has been guided by a commitment to protecting the health and safety of the Bayview–Hunters Point community. Lennar has fully cooperated with all relevant regulatory agencies and public health professionals to determine whether grading operations at the Shipyard pose a health threat to local residents.