The battle for the forgotten district - Page 2

The future of San Francisco will be written in District 10. Who's ready to be the next supervisor?

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The Bayview's attractive to developers, but some fear the price will be the community's diversity and affordability.
PHOTO BY JUDITH CALSON

"There are 654 units here, and they were uninhabitable," Franklin said. "There was black mold, rain falling inside. We had people living worse than Haiti."

Franklin, who said she is running because she "knows the history," came here in 1978, when she and her son were living in a car after a fire left them homeless. She said the Bayview was a totally isolated area, barely part of mainstream San Francisco.

"There were no taxis, no services," she recalled. "Nobody would come here, it was the stigmatized area where no one was accountable to provide services."

The Bayview — which in some ways is the heart of D-!0 — wasn't always a black community. But African Americans have been living here for 70 years, dealing with all the racism, denial of services, poverty, and pollution. And it bothers Franklin that 85 percent of the 10,500 homes that Lennar plans to develop won't be affordable to the elderly, disabled, unemployed and low-income people who currently live in the Bayview.

"We need to preserve the diversity of the community and make sure their issues and information will flow to City Hall," she said. "You must give the people a handle. If you don't reach out, they'll slip. That's why folks out migrated.

Whoever succeeds Maxwell will be a central player in addressing some very big and dirty issues: the future of the Navy's radiologically impacted shipyard at Hunters Point, Lennar's massive redevelopment plan for the Shipyard and Candlestick Point, the polluting power plants, replacement of stinky digesters at the sewage plant, and the SF Hope public lousing rebuild.

There's also the chance to address violence and crime. James Calloway, a candidate who has long worked in Bay Area schools, told us he believes that education and jobs are part of the keys to rejuvenating the district.

"Job opportunities are not as plentiful in the district," Calloway said. "When I was a kid, you could walk down Third Street at 2 a.m. Now I wouldn't walk down it at 9 p.m., and I know the area."

Calloway is hopeful that the massive redevelopment plan, if done correctly, could start the district's comeback. "Not a lot of black folks stay here when they have extensive education," he said. "But it's not only them. Many were displaced by redevelopment and had no way to go back."

 

ELECTION UP FOR GRABS

The largest of the city's 11 electoral districts, D10 is a huge triangular piece of land in the city's southeast sector that was used as an industrial dumping zone for decades. Today, the district runs from the Giants stadium at AT&T Park to the 49ers stadium at Candlestick Point and encompasses Mission Bay, Potrero Hill, Dogpatch, India Basin, Portola, Little Hollywood, and Visitacion Valley. It's also crossed by two freeways that isolate it from the rest of the city, and is home to a large number of crumbling housing projects that are in the process of being rebuilt.

Candidate Ed Donaldson grew up in the projects until he was 10 years old, when the Redevelopment Agency kicked his family out in the 1970s. "We landed on our feet, but others weren't so lucky," said Donaldson, who works as a housing counseling director at the San Francisco Housing Development Corporation.

"There is a sense that the Bayview and Visitacion Valley have not been included within the San Francisco family," Donaldson said. "There is a sense of being forgotten."

In 2007, Donaldson co-founded the Osiris Coalition to tackle the city's dormant Certificate of Preference program, in which the Redevelopment Agency issued a document to displaced residents and businesses in the 1960s promising that they could return.

He also tried to rescue some 700 foreclosed properties and recycle them as affordable housing stock. And now he is trying to prevent the city from bulldozing seven SF Hope projects without guaranteeing residents that they have right to remain.