Lennar's plan illustrates San Francisco's redevelopment problem


Today, the Board of Supervisors confirmed that though they are elected officials, they have been told that they can't do anything except second a massive redevelopment plan for the Bayview that was developed, first by Mayor Willie Brown and then by Mayor Gavin Newsom's administrations. in cohoots with Lennar, an out-of-state private developer, and approved by a bunch of Brown and Newsom's political appointees.

"At this point, a deal has been done and the Board has been neutralized," Arc Ecology's Saul Bloom said today. "It says a great deal about the process."

Bloom spent today visiting the supervisors to explain the problems with the current Lennar plan, including a bridge that is proposed to be built across the environmentally sensitive Yosemite Slough.

"Sup. Ross Mirkarimi said the bridge plan reminds him of the exact same through way that was argued for during the Fillmore plan," Bloom said."That would never happen now, at least not overtly,

Bloom added that shopping the no-bridge alternative around to the Board today wasn't exactly uplifting.
"The sense we got was that we were dragging a dead body around."

So far, Board President David Chiu has taken major heat by deciding to suggest a narrower bridge rather than no bridge.

But at least he took a stand. That is more than can be said for those colleagues of his on the Board that sat silently through the July 13/14 proceedings, presumably making sure they can be reelected with the help of deep-pocketed developers.

Here's hoping that this latest redevelopment charade convinces the progressives on the Board to reform the Redevelopment Agency, so that private developers and political appointees can no longer trump the legitimate concerns of the residents of San Francisco and their duly elected supervisors

And no matter what people in the Bayview have been led to believe, the sad truth if that the promised jobs and housing aren't likely to happen any time soon.

"The developer is not going to be running hog wild out there," Bloom observed. "Part of the sad trick is that the only rush was for them to have control over the property."

Bloom predicts that the plan will ultimately be headed to court.
"They will have lawsuits and elections to contend with," he said. "The message that the environmental community takes away from all this is that it doesn't pay to play well. No matter how much you spend to try and ensure that litigation is not the only way to obtain the desired outcome, ultimately the message that comes back from the city and the developer is, 'Sue us!' That brings out the worst political conduct not the most appropriate."

The good news? Lennar's Treasure Island's EIR is on the street, and environmental justice advocates should be fully versed in reading such hefty tomes and figuring out where the body is buried. The bad news? Redevelopment and the Mayor's Office still control the process.