The Candlestick farce - Page 2

Two commissions reject logic and common sense to promote Newsom's stadium agenda


Compounding the city's half-truths was the patronizing attitude of those commissioners who thought that their opinion of the DEIR should satisfy members of the public who hadn't had enough time to review it.

"I think it's an extremely well done document," Planning commissioner Michael Antonini told a crowd that had sat through five hours of testimony and been warned by Planning Commission chair Ron Miguel that they'd been thrown out if they spoke during others' testimony.

Bizarrely, planning commissioner Bill Lee tried to use the fact that the public wasn't making many substantive comments on the DEIR as an argument against giving anyone more time to read it. Commissioner Gwyneth Borden made the equally odd argument that since people are almost certain to sue the city over the DEIR, there's no reason to give an extension now.

And Miguel asked the public to put their faith in some vague meeting in the future rather than agreeing to what were asking for at the meeting. "I do believe that when all the comments are considered and answered and the final EIR comes before us and the Redevelopment Agency, that everything will come together," Miguel said.

By that time, Arc Ecology's director Saul Bloom, Jaron Browne of People Organized to Win Employment Rights, and POWER's attorney Sue Hestor told the commissioners that they believe the project's impacts on transportation, state park habitat, and the foraging requirements of the peregrine falcon had not been adequately analyzed. Eric Brooks of the Green Party expressed concern that sea level rise will be more pronounced than the DEIR projections.

Bloom also explained that a lack of adequate review time hindered his staff's ability to prepare comments in time for a hearing that came only a month after the DEIR's release.

Planning Commission vice president Christina Olague and commissioners Kathrin Moore and Hisashi Sugaya tried to extend the review period to February. As Olague pointed out, the commission recently granted a public DEIR review extension to a 15,959-square-foot parcel in Russian Hill, which is tiny compared to Lennar's 708-acre proposal in the Bayview, where residents have the city's lowest educational levels

But the Planning Commission's 4-3 vote against a February extension revealed how mayoral appointees ignore common sense once they have their political marching orders.


"This appears to be all about Cohen's fantasy of out-maneuvering Santa Clara to get the 49ers to move into a new Hunters Point stadium," Hestor told the Guardian.

Hestor also pointed to a Dec. 18 San Francisco Business Times guest editorial titled "Business Leaders Can Save the Niners" that Planning Commissioner Michael Antonini had clearly written before Planning's marathon Dec. 17 hearing.

"The editorial illuminates why, at the Planning Commission on Dec. 17, Antonini argued against any extension for public comment on the DEIR beyond Dec. 28," Hestor said, noting that Dec. 28 was the absolute minimum DEIR review period required under the California Environmental Quality Act — a review period that straddled Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Kwanza and Christmas (see Holiday Snowjob, 12/09/09).

Earlier this month, a coalition of environmental and community development groups, including Arc Ecology, the Sierra Club, the Potrero Hill Democratic Club, San Francisco Tomorrow, Literacy for Environmental Justice, Young Community Developers, the Neighborhood Parks Council, the South East Jobs Coalition, Walden House, Urban Strategies Council, India Basin Neighborhood Association, California Native Plants Society, Golden Gate Audubon Society, and the Bayview Resource Center, wrote to Mayor Gavin Newsom, requesting a 45-day DEIR review extension.