By Steven T. Jones
San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera has invalidated the referendum that challenged the Bayview Hunter’s Point Redevelopment Plan, ruling that it didn’t include all the documents that the more than 33,000 people who signed it needed to make an informed decision.
“They didn’t have the redevelopment plan itself for voters to evaluate,” Herrera spokesperson Matt Dorsey told the Guardian just after the decision was released Sept. 19.
But Willie Ratcliff, the Bayview Newspaper publisher who helped funded and coordinate the referendum drive, told the Guardian that they carefully consulted with both city officials and their attorneys to ensure the documents complied with state law.
“We expected the city would try to look for a way out and of course we’re going to fight them in court,” Ratcliff said.
The Elections Department had ruled Sept. 13 that the referendum had enough valid signatures to stop the plan. The Board of Supervisors then had the option of repealing it or submitting it to a popular vote. But board clerk Gloria Young is now required by law to invalidate the referendum and only a judge can now make it valid.
The board, which approved the plan on a 7-<\d>4 vote in May (with supervisors Tom Ammiano, Chris Daly, Ross Mirkarimi, and Gerardo Sandoval in dissent), could still act independently to repeal the plan and submit it to a vote, as recall campaign coordinator Brian O’Flynn is urging. “The will of the voters should be respected,” he told us
The plan would put about 1,500 acres in Bayview-<\d>Hunters Point under San Francisco Redevelopment Agency control, set new development standards, and collect all property tax increases into a fund that would go toward projects in the community. Opponents fear the plan would displace current residents and gentrify the area.