Gray Panthers of San Francisco
April, 2006 Newsletter
On March 7 at City Hall, a dozen Gray Panther members joined with 200 other supporters in a spirited rally to stop the Redevelopment Agency’s land grab of 1,361 acres in Bayview Hunters Point.
Speakers from the BVHP community recalled the “urban removal” of African Americans from the Fillmore and Western Addition in the early 60’s. San Francisco has had a 20% decline in its Black population in the last 10 years. But Edith Smith voiced the resolve of everyone: “I am 84 years old. I am not going anywhere.”
Following the rally, people proceeded to the hearing inside City Hall. After a noisy confrontation with guards in the doorway, two overflow rooms were opened up to accommodate the crowd. All who wanted to speak were told they would be granted time to do so. Most of the meeting was taken up with the Redevelopment Agency’s presentation and recommendations.
Mayor Newsom and Sophie Maxwell sent letters supporting the development plans. Michael Cohn of the Mayor’s office assured us that the community would benefit, and the core of the project was the promise that increased future property taxes would stay in BVHP. He also promised that no resident would lose a home through eminent domain. Community people do not trust promises made.
This latest land grab is part of an overall Eastern Neighborhood
Plan to “redevelop” our city from Rincon Hill to Hunters Point
including much of the Mission district. This redevelopment will sacrifice
many small businesses and working class neighborhoods to erect 40,000
new high priced housing units. San Francisco does not need any more “market
rate” housing that prices most of us out of the city. Market-rate
housing is another dot com bubble ready to burst. It is time for a moratorium
on million-dollar houses and time to build affordable housing for the
people who live in our city and love it.
The Agency unanimously passed the plan that now must be presented to the Board of Supervisors, March 14, with three readings in May. We will be there with our voices.