There's something scary happening in Bayview–Hunters Point, and it's not the redevelopment bulldozers.
For some reason that I find hard to understand, community leaders like Willie Ratcliff and Marie Harrison, who are opposed to the Redevelopment Agency's plan for that neighborhood, have signed on with a frightening gang of radical right-wing property rights advocates. The result: Harrison was standing at an antiredevelopment rally last week urging voters to support Proposition 90, almost certainly the worst piece of legislation to face California voters since Proposition 13 devastated local government in 1978.
Prop. 90 would indeed limit the ability of government agencies to seize private land for other private projects. That's why the redevelopment foes like it. But it goes much, much further. Under Prop. 90, no local government could do anything — anything — that might reduce the value of private land without paying the owner compensation. That means no new tenant protection laws (which could cost a landlord money). No more zoning laws that reduce the maximum development potential of a lot (of course, that means no zoning controls against luxury condos that would displace local business and residents in Bayview). No new environmental or workplace safety laws.
It also places a swift and powerful kick to the midsection of any effort to seize Pacific Gas and Electric Co.'s local grid and create a real public power system; under Prop. 90's rules, that would be prohibitively expensive.
I talked to Harrison about this, and she told me she "didn't read the law that way." But this isn't just a matter of opinion; it's clear fact, and everyone with any sense realizes it.
It gets worse: I was at a New College event Sept. 29 when Renee Saucedo, the immigrant rights lawyer, asked everyone to vote yes on 90. She told me she trusted Ratcliff and Harrison.
Prop. 90 is almost unimaginably bad. If its supporters can make inroads in San Francisco, I'm very afraid. SFBG