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Monday, March 22, 2002


citywide news from the neighborhoods

If attendance figures at recent community-wide meetings in BayviewHunters Point and the Mission District are any indication, the residents of these neighborhoods will address the long-term issues confronting them with unabated enthusiasm, if not the usual crunch-time ferocity.

A packed house at town hall meeting in BayviewHunters Point on March 2 linked the multiple concerns of police brutality, U.S. Navy environmental racism, economic abandonment, and local power plant pollution, reports PoorNewsNetwork reporter Gretchen Hildebran in the San Francisco Bay View of March 6. Marie Harrison of the SF Bay View and the Restoration Advisory Board for the Hunters Point Shipyard, opened the meeting by saying, “The environment we live in is so tainted, so toxic, that a three-year-old can’t go outside or breathe the air, a 12-year-old can’t stay in school because he can’t concentrate.” Panelist Dr. Ahimsa Sumchai described the toxins that have been found in the Naval Shipyard, adding that the agreement transferring the shipyard to the city for a speedy cleanup also seemed tainted. “Never in the history of conveyance agreements has a developer been named in the agreement. There always is a bid.” Some 20,000 people, 23 percent of the African American community, have fled the city during the past ten years, the article notes.

Nearly 400 people filled the ODC Theater in the Mission on February 12 for a meeting sponsored by the Mission Anti-Displacement Coalition (MAC), the Mission Council and the City Planning Department. MAC organizers are shaping a "people's plan," a community planning process pegged to what will occur as interim zoning controls end in June. Victor Miller reports in The New Mission News that district activists are wary about the next wave of dot.com-like gentrification, suspecting that it will be ushered in with the life-science industry associated with the Mission Bay project. A related story by M. Toby Levine examines the problems facing homeless people in the Mission. “For a person without a home, a decision has to be made. ‘Shall I walk 20 blocks to the Multi-Service Center south of Market and try to get a bed/mat or shall I return to the storefront I have slept in so many times before.’” Despite the generally bleak prospects for homeless people in San Francisco, Levine notes that the Mission offers several model programs, run by the Salvation Army, Dolores Street Community Services, and the Mission Housing and Development Corporation. These providers offer clothing, housing, food, counseling, health care, incidental monies, and GED education courses. The Mission Neighborhood Resource Center, which will open on Capp Street near 16th this spring, will also provide assistance to people who are marginally housed or in danger of losing their homes. Although not a shelter, Project Director Laura Carcagno Guzman explained in a February article, “One of the main goals is to offer a safe space to the homeless population.”