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Lennar seeks license to kill Part II

Submitted by Reporter on Tue, 12/25/2007 - 10:00pm

Standing on shaky ground: Opponents charge illegality of Shipyard-Candlestick ballot measure

"This framework is not intended to be, and will not become binding to the City, the (Redevelopment) Agency, or the primary developer Lennar, and no legal obligation will exist unless and until the parties have negotiated, executed and delivered mutually acceptable agreements based upon information produced from the CEQA environmental review process and on other public review and hearing processes." - Conceptual Framework for Development: Mixed-Use Revitalization Project for Candlestick Point and Parcels A-3 and B-E of the Hunters Point Shipyard, April 12, 2007

"San Francisco seeks Navy's help in effort to keep 49ers: Mayor wants Hunters Point Shipyard transferred to city to speed toxic cleanup" - San Francisco Chronicle headline, March 8, 2007
Environmental justice demands the cessation of the production of all toxins, hazardous wastes and radioactive materials, and that all past and current producers be held strictly accountable to the people for detoxification and containment at the point of production.

Principles of Environmental Justice

Shane Meer denies he is a paid signature collector for the Shipyard-Candlestick revitalization measure slated for the June 7, 2008, general municipal election in San Francisco. He stands at the West Portal transit tunnel every day of the week eagerly asking those he encounters if they are registered to vote in San Francisco and if they will sign a petition he claims will make "Lennar developers clean up the Shipyard."

Last week I corrected Shane on the misinformation he imparts to San Francisco voters and asked him why he does not wear the badge that identifies him as a paid signature collector required by the Department of Elections. Shane denies he receives $2.50 for every signature he so compulsively collects and offered me an article with a news photo of Mayor Gavin Newsom announcing that the federal government has secured $82 million to clean up the Shipyard.

I offered Shane a copy of the Preliminary Hazardous Materials Remediation Plan for the Shipyard Candlestick Revitalization project documenting the City's intent to "dirty transfer" Shipyard Parcels B, D and E by April of 2011 in an effort to meet the May 2013 expiration of its lease of the stadium at Candlestick Point and parking area to the 49ers.

According to that plan, the City intends to assume responsibility for completing the remaining environmental remediation, except the radiological cleanup, with financing by the Navy through an Environmental Services Cooperative Agreement grant.

The Hazardous Materials Remediation Plan also documents that, "to date, the Navy has spent almost $500 million on the remediation of the shipyard, far more than on any other closed Navy base in the country. Of course, the Navy still has along way to go and may need to spend at least that much money or more to finish the job."

Lennar Corp. is the sponsor of the "Jobs, Parks Affordable Housing" initiative, a proposed ballot measure for the June 2008 general election in San Francisco that attempts to repeal the June 1997 Proposition D and F Candlestick Park stadium measures and enact legally binding rezoning changes at Candlestick Point including the rezoning of state park lands.

It is being circulated illegally and in clear violation of the California Environmental Quality Act, which requires that a CEQA environmental review be certified prior to the implementation of land use changes with potential significant negative impacts to human health and the environment.

In fact, the April 12, 2007, Conceptual Framework for Development: Mixed Use Revitalization Project for Candlestick Point and Parcels A-3 and B-E of the Hunters Point Shipyard clearly stipulates the following on page 18: "This framework summarizes the initial development concept for a proposed project and certain essential terms to be included in any future transaction documents. This framework is not intended to be and will not become binding on the City, the Agency, the primary developer Lennar, and no legal obligation will exist unless and until the parties have negotiated, executed and delivered mutually acceptable agreements based upon information produced from the CEQA environmental review process and on other public review and hearing processes."

Under the June 1997 Proposition F, the people of San Francisco adopted a policy that Candlestick Point and the surrounding area was the most suitable location in San Francisco for the construction of a new 49ers stadium. Proposition F established a Special Use District for Candlestick Point allowing for a 1.4 million square foot stadium, entertainment and shopping center.

The June 2008 ballot measure currently being circulated for the necessary 7,500 voter signatures due by Feb. 4, 2008, does little more than offer non-legally binding promises to build housing and offer jobs to the community of color with the lowest median income and highest unemployment rate in the city. A community that is being rapidly displaced by the ravages of the redevelopment "bulldozer."

But what the June 2008 ballot measure seeks most is complicit approval of a conceptual plan for mixed use revitalization of Candlestick Point and Parcels A-3 and B-E of the Hunters Point Shipyard, described as 790 acres of "the largest area of underutilized land in the City." The implementation of that plan depends on the early "dirty" transfer of the Shipyard's remaining 425 land acres.

Board of Supervisors Resolution No. 59-07 was adopted on Feb. 13, 2007. It is titled "Redevelopment of Candlestick Point and the Hunters Point Shipyard for an integrated mixed use project including a new 49ers stadium" and resolves that "the Board of Supervisors urge the Navy and the environmental regulatory agencies with jurisdiction over the shipyard, working in cooperation with City departments, the Agency and Lennar, to take such actions as may be required to facilitate the expeditious hazardous materials remediation and transfer by the Navy of the shipyard and to integrate remediation with the development plan, so that the remaining parcels of the shipyard may be redeveloped to achieve tangible public benefits for the BVHP community as soon as possible."

Standing on shaky ground


Lennar may seem to be “king of the mountain” now as it goes to the June ballot to expand its hold on San Francisco from the HP Shipyard to Candlestick. But how long can it hang on with its stock at junk bond level in the midst of the mortgage meltdown? Photo: Liz Hafalia, Chronicle
The California Geological Survey of 2004 identifies that Shipyard Parcels D and E and the entire Candlestick Point region is situated in a seismic hazard zone defined as "areas where historical occurrences of liquefaction indicate a potential for permanent ground displacements requiring mitigation." Hardly the place to build a 1.4 million square foot stadium retail complex!

Even more "shaky" is the fact that Parcels D and E of the Shipyard, slated for dirty transfer to the City under the pretense of meeting the 49ers deadline for stadium construction, are the largest and most toxic parcels on a property classified by the EPA as a Superfund site. The Naval Shipyard represents one of the most contaminated pieces of urban property in the United States. Navy and public records show that radioactive wastes, toxic heavy metals, PCBs and other pollutants were disposed of on this site.
At the December meeting of the Shipyard's Restoration Advisory Board, the Navy presented preliminary plans to delineate a region of Shipyard Parcel D as "Parcel 49" - nicknamed by the Navy as the site where radioactive soil and buildings are being excavated and remediated as a candidate site for the 49ers stadium.

The most ground shaking revelation, however, is the fact that the Shipyard-Candlestick Revitalization Plan and its June 2008 ballot measure attempts to secure voter enacted legally binding changes to the Candlestick Point and Hunters Point Shipyard integrated redevelopment plan that is fundamentally illegal and can be legally challenged due to the City's failure to complete a California Environmental Quality Act review of the proposed land use changes.

According to the Legal Division of the San Francisco City Attorney's Office, opponents of the measure can retain an attorney to challenge the proposed ballot measure at the deadline of completion of the signature-gathering phase on Feb. 4, 2008.

On Nov. 6, 2000, 86 percent of San Francisco voters supported Proposition P, a non-legally binding measure calling for the cleanup of the Shipyard to residential standards. It was passed by the Board of Supervisors as an ordinance in May of 2001 and signed into law by then Mayor Willie L. Brown Jr.
On April 29, 2004, Mayor Gavin Newsom and Speaker Nancy Pelosi "strongarmed" a reluctant Navy to execute a conveyance agreement to transfer Parcel A of the Hunters Point Shipyard to the City for Lennar at a time when Laurence Pelosi, the mayor's first cousin and campaign treasurer and Speakers Pelosi's nephew, was director of naval base acquisitions for Lennar.

Pelosi was aided by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, whose husband owns Blum Capital Investments. Feinstein has signed onto Lennar's June 2008 ballot measure despite the fact that she faces Federal Elections Commission violations stemming from her husband's well documented financial investments in development activities at Treasure Island, Mission Bay, the Hunters Point Shipyard, Candlestick Point and in other projects in Bayview Hunters Point ... including the Bayview Hunters Point Health and Environmental Resource Center!

Contact Bay View Health and Environmental Science Editor Dr. Ahimsa Porter Sumchai at (415) 835-4763 or