The battle for the forgotten district

The future of San Francisco will be written in District 10. Who's ready to be the next supervisor?

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The Bayview's attractive to developers, but some fear the price will be the community's diversity and affordability.
PHOTO BY JUDITH CALSON

sarah@sfbg.com

This November, when voters in District 10 — the largest, sunniest, and most diverse of the city's 11 supervisorial districts — replace termed out Sup. Sophie Maxwell, they'll be making a selection that could have pivotal implications for the entire city.

That's because the next supervisor from southeast San Francisco inherits a district that is home to some of the city's biggest environmental and public health challenges, as well as the most potential for development that will determine what kind of city San Francisco becomes.

District 10 is where you'll find the most polluted and most underdeveloped lands in San Francisco, areas that could either be transformed into models of a sustainability or, in the words of Tony Kelly, the president of Potrero Boosters Neighborhood Association, "be turned into a toxic Foster City."

District 10 is where the slaughterhouses, tanneries, and glue factories set up shop and used the bay as a dumping ground. It's where the smokestacks of coal and oil fired power plants polluted the air. It's where the Navy filled the Bay, built a shipyard at Hunters Point and loaded parts of the first atomic bomb onto the USS Indianapolis in 1945.

District 10 is where the bottom fell out of this industrial economy in 1974, when the Navy left, taking with it people's jobs, pay, and hopes for a home of their own and a better future, particularly for what was then a predominantly African American population.

And District 10 is ground zero for plans that will triple the population and double the number of homes — homes that likely will only be "affordable" to Google executives and retirees from Marin, forever changing the face of San Francisco's southeast sector. Critics fear that will accelerate what has been a steady exodus of black residents, replaced by megadeveloper Lennar's vision for a new D10.

It's against this dark history and difficult present that a wide open field of more than a dozen candidates are vying to replace Maxwell, who came to power in 2000 and has had a mixed voting record in her decade on the board. Sometimes, Maxwell was the eighth vote that let the progressive majority on the Board override Mayor Gavin Newsom's veto and pass trailblazing legislation. Other times, she was the swing vote that allowed the moderate minority to carry Newsom's water.

So, in addition to D10's many internal challenges, this seat could determine the political balance of power on the Board of Supervisors, placing all the more importance on voters in this long-marginalized part of town.

 

DISTRICT OF DISCONTENT

Eric Smith, a biodiesel activist who has thrown his hat in the D10 ring, says that there is a lot of frustration in the air, and looking at the problems the district is facing, it's hardly surprising that it has what nearly every candidate agrees is a fractured political culture.

"The Bayview, the Hunters Point Shipyard's toxic Superfund site, the homicide rate, unemployment, poor public transportation, dwindling services and community resources have made D10 one of the city's largest melting pots of discontent," Smith said.

Smith's words were spoken while the Elections Department was verifying signatures earlier this month on a second failed effort to qualify a petition to recall Maxwell.

Bayview resident and D10 candidate Marie Franklin didn't support the attempt to recall Maxwell, but she understood it as "a frustration movement."

"People are sinking in the sand, we've already lost so many of them, and they felt Sophie wasn't doing anything for them," said Franklin, who praised Maxwell for helping get Franklin's apartment building complex renovated — a job that was completed 18 months ago, at a cost of $65 million, creating 500 local jobs.

Comments

I always laugh when The Guardian periodically moans about the state of District 10. The concern of The Guardian staff, as shown in this article, extends as far as wondering if D-10's voters will do the "right" thing and put a "progressive" on the Board of Supervisors - therefore enabling all of The Guardian's preferred legislation to be rammed past a mayoral veto - which somehow means the voters of D-10 are going to benefit how exactly? The white progressives who control the Democratic party in this city don't care about the concerns of black voters - if they did there would have been a larger hue and cry when urban renewal programs took place in the 1970s and destroyed much of black San Francisco.

And somehow I imagine that The Guardian was prolly applauding the loudest when the Navy left the Bayview back in the 1970s. Showing once again that blind adherence to ideology, in this case military=BAD, always trumps the concerns of the poor and minority voters of this city when it comes to The Guardian's advocacy.

Posted by Lucretia the Trollop on Feb. 23, 2010 @ 7:33 pm

Thank you Sarah for this in-depth article. The rest of the local media has largely ignored or glossed over these issues. Now's the time for all SF residents to fight in solidarity with D10 residents to ensure a positive, inclusive path (free of corporate meddling) leading up to elections.

Posted by Guest joe sciarrillo on Feb. 23, 2010 @ 11:13 pm

I don't understand...

Census data show that by 2000, Asians were the largest racial group in the district (30 percent), followed by blacks (29 percent), whites (26 percent), and Latinos (19 percent).

Although Bayview's population was 50 percent African American at the time of the 2000 census, it didn't turn out the vote.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 24, 2010 @ 9:54 am

District 10 is comprised of more than just the Bayview district. District 10 includes Dog Patch, Central Waterfront, parts of Potrero. Bayview district is 50% black, but the District 10 is only 29% black. I hope this helps.

Posted by Guest on May. 03, 2010 @ 3:10 pm

From a progressive standpoint, we can quickly eliminate Malia Cohen (tight with Newsom) and Lynette Sweet (supported toxic gentrification under Lennar as Redevelopment president) from the running.

So what about Eric Smith?

While Smith is attending scads of events selling his candidacy and at least subtly hinting (but -only- hinting) that he is critical of Lennar corporation's role in the Bayview, there are some big red flags with Smith's candidacy.

I first learned about Smith when, as an environmental organizer, I became progressively more and more alarmed by the insane push to switch combustion engines to crop based biofuels and started working to stop it. (If you don't get why biofuels are incredibly bad, go to http://biofuelwatch.org.uk/ and you will quickly discover why they must be abandoned immediately before they do even more harm to the planet than global warming itself).

Because of severe crises created by crop biofuels both Berkeley and Seattle have canceled their biodiesel programs, and San Francisco is now, futilely, attempting to come up with some sort of 'sustainable' standard for biofuels, which is essentially impossible. Biofuels cannot and -must- not ever become a large industry.

Yet as a member of the Biodiesel Access Taskforce, Eric Smith has continued to push hard for biodiesel to become a 10 million gallon per year booming industry in San Francisco, even in the face of growing overwhelming evidence that biofuels are a disaster.

And In a desperate attempt to save that industry from criticism for burning crop based fuels, Smith and others on the Taskforce have pushed for an even more alarming biofuel option; to make biodiesel out of 'waste' slaughterhouse parts from the vastly -more- environmentally destructive factory farm meat, dairy, egg, and fishing industries.

The absolute last thing this planet needs is for the factory animal farming and fishing industries to get a huge profit boost from selling animal based biodiesel as the price of oil goes up.

The troubling thing about Smith as a candidate, is that when I started spreading the word that a toxic, animal parts rendering biodiesel plant was being pushed on the Bayview Hunters point in District 10 without environmental review, District 10 residents emailed Smith to get his opinion.

Luckily I got copied on Smith's response, in which he deceptively backpedaled and claimed he was neutral on the plant (when in fact he had been an ardent supporter) and then he even flat out lied to that potential voter claiming that he had heard that the animal parts that would be used to produce fuel at the plant would come from local restaurants and 'Safeways', when Smith knew full well that the bulk of the biodiesel feedstock would come from factory farm slaughterhouses. I know that he knew this. because I had just publicly debated him on the point at Biodiesel Taskforce meeting just a couple of weeks before, in which he admitted, and tried to justify, the use of slaughterhouse wastes.

So while Smith may be hinting at having better policy positions, we need to take a deep breath and seriously question whether or not to elect yet another D-10 supervisor who will say one thing to the public, while pulling maneuvers behind the scenes for destructive industries.

We need a true progressive to step out in District 10 and clearly commit to be a solid champion for the community against corporate and developer schemes and abuses.

And top on the list toward that commitment is to say loudly and clearly, repeatedly, in public, that she or he will not rest until Lennar Corporation is kicked out of San Francisco and District 10 permanently.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Feb. 24, 2010 @ 11:22 am

So, the Navy left in 1974. That's over 35 years ago. Why is that responsible for black unemployment today? No one under 50 could ever have worked for the Navy, so why is the Navy leaving still an excuse for black unemployment?

It's the same in Richmond, by the way, The shipyards closed 50 years ago, but that event is still the excuse for black unemployment in Richmond.

Grow up! Stop putting the blame on everything except where it belongs: dropping out of school, drugs, gangs, "acting white", 80% of kids born to barely "educated" young women. THOSE are the sources of poverty in the black underclass.

Poor, immigrant Asian kids go to the same crappy schools as poor blacks but the Asians do well. But most Asian families put a premium on academic success.

I would also put to you that the reason blacks leave SF is to get away from the crime, gangs and drugs. They, like everyone else, want to raise their kids in a better environment. No one is forcing them to leave.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 24, 2010 @ 12:30 pm

Hi there,
I totally agree to your comment about the D10 article. The black unemployment, crime and gangs has nothing to do with NAVY leaving 35 years ago, it is redicilious how they blame it to the pass instead of addressing real issues and current core of the problems.

Glad someone has objective standpoint!!!

Thanks again!

Tomas

Posted by Guest on Feb. 27, 2010 @ 11:02 am

Note to D10 Candidates: D10 is more then just the Bayview Hunters Point and Potrero Hill....

Posted by Guest from Vis Valley on Feb. 24, 2010 @ 1:22 pm

Just to clarify:

"Census data show that by 2000, Asians were the largest racial group in the district (30 percent), followed by blacks (29 percent), whites (26 percent), and Latinos (19 percent)." These statistics refer to the whole of District 10.

"Although Bayview's population was 50 percent African American at the time of the 2000 census, it didn't turn out the vote."
This statistic refers to the Bayview on its own, as a neighborhood within D. 10.

Hope that helps.

Posted by Guest Sarah on Feb. 24, 2010 @ 5:50 pm

This so-called forgotten district was where no white folks wanted to live when it was a Navy junkyard, and when white folks wanted to gentrify the Fillmore/WA. Well, now the white folks want that "glorious weather," "fantastic views," "commercial potential," and all those other white values, and reclaim what was previously considered a nuisance to SF. Hey, make up your mind!

Posted by FlipFloppers on Feb. 24, 2010 @ 11:57 pm

Great article. Thank you Sarah. The City and D10 benefit greatly from the sunshine.

What D 10 needs in my opinion is strong leadership. As Sarah outlines well, the opportunities and challenges facing D 10 are greater than any other district in the City.

Eric Smith brings a rare combination of passion, experience and a get it done attitude.

D 10 would be very fortunate to have Eric Smith help lead it into a brigher future.

Posted by Eric Bowen on Feb. 25, 2010 @ 9:41 am

If Eric Smith is so good for D-10. Let's see him prove it.

Let's see him make a rock solid public commitment to oppose Lennar Redevelopment contracts and projects in every single vote if he's elected, and to work diligently, without ever backing down, to eject Lennar from the City.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Feb. 26, 2010 @ 3:40 am

What a cosmic alignment in this edition of the bay guardian. Between this article and the article and editorial about prop 16 and the Evil PG&E taking over the world again the question of what to do about and with the forgotten district is simple. Forget about all the developer and politician schemes to line their onw pockets and screw over the current residents. All you gotta do is vote yes on prop 16 and the whole disaster will be put on hold until the voters can decide what to do with development there. Yes on prop 16, save california from developers aND POLITICIANS.

Posted by Guest The Marxist Republican evil one on Feb. 27, 2010 @ 5:41 pm

I am an African American male, resident of D10, and native San Franciscan and the controversy, and uproar over this election and the future of D10 should not be about race at all. D10 as a whole Potrero Hill, Dogpatch, Hunters Point, Bayview, Visitacion Valley is no longer a black neighborhood. Bayview/Hunters Point may still remain predominantly African American (for now) but preserving that should not be the responsibility of government, or public policy. If it is the will of people to be in a place then it is a matter of them doing their best to exercise that will.

When people want to complain about the desires of "white progressives" and want to continue to lean on the issues of black crime, black unemployment, and gentrification they are ultimately guilty of keying on just Bayview/HP/India Basin and trying to make an election for an entire district about public policy assuming responsibility for the failings of a community. Sure the Navy departure had a massive ripple effect as well as the industrial business exodus, but when we cut to the chase of people being forced out, we are not talking about people who have secured a future, home, and life only to have it be taken away by eminent domain, (as in past redevelopment pushes), what we really are talking about is those in public housing. And while not all are guilty of the same circumstance, many of those in jeopardy of losing traction, have long put themselves in that place, if only because they counted on the lack of any outside interest in the ongoings of BVHP.

Well that interest is front and center now and has been coming since 1993 when the light rail was first announced. It gained steam with a new baseball stadium, and a mission bay master plan, is working its way through Potrero Hill and Dogpatch is upon BVHP and with no plans of stopping till it finishes in Visitacion Valley. Yes the Navy leaving 35 years ago was a blow, with huge ripple effects, and was clearly a precipitating event, but it was the response of people, and lack of response of government that created BVHP (specifically) as you see it today. The loss of jobs, spiked unemployment without a doubt, which was detrimental to such an unincorporated part of the City, but what it gave way to was a generation that followed and got caught up in the wild wave of drugs, gangs, broken families, death, and economic failure to advance and overwhelming apathy about carving out a new means of survival based on achievement, instead of settling for just "getting over." And more importantly "getting over" on the dime of public subsistence and neighborhood enterprise while waiting for jobs, opportunity, to come to the BVHP.

It doesnt take much study to see an older generation of African Americans in the Bayview who worked hard, saved, bought homes, raised families, and then to see their children who fell victim to lack of achievement, which they have then passed on to the generation to follow. So while policy and events may have set that in motion, it ultimately comes down to a community for not finding a new way not to follow the path that it is currently on. And that is what this election is about, not just for BVHP but for all of D10. D10 moving forward represents the possibility for incorporation, it means changing the path of a community, with the possibility for residential, commercial, economic, environmental expansion/redevelopment. Of course none of that should be steam-rolled over the people but for too long BVHP especially has stood in its own way, asking "what about me" when for far too long there has been an attitude the city owes those who have lived under harsh conditions a fresh start when they themselves have made no efforts to create that start themselves.

This election is about voting for a new direction period. The old path is going to be smashed, because D10 is no longer going to remain that un-incorporated district, it is going to have an influx of people, and culture that will redefine who and what D10 is. History of course should not be forgotten, nor residents ignored, but neighborhoods are made not by street planning, but by neighbors fighting for a common place, ideal. Fight for that, vote for that.

Posted by Guest Rob on Mar. 01, 2010 @ 11:10 am

Rob, your comments were well thought out and rational. I am very interested in speaking with you in person for a radio documentary I am producing for SF State.

Please contact me at the email address provided with any questions you may have.

If anybody else is equally passionate about this subject (our documentary is currently focusing on the changing nature of the neighborhood), then please, feel free to contact me also.

Thanks.

Posted by Guest Nick Carpenter on Mar. 11, 2010 @ 2:37 pm

Rob, your comments were well thought out and rational. I am very interested in speaking with you in person for a radio documentary I am producing for SF State.

Please contact me at the email address provided with any questions you may have.

If anybody else is equally passionate about this subject (our documentary is currently focusing on the changing nature of the neighborhood), then please, feel free to contact me also.

Thanks.

Posted by Guest Nick Carpenter on Mar. 11, 2010 @ 2:37 pm

March 1, 2010

Tim Redmond, Editor / Steve Jones, News Editor
re SFBG cover story 2/24/10-3/2/10 The Battle for the Forgotten District

I haven't edited a paper since college many decades ago, but your lead story sets a record for poorly focused and incomplete facts. Where are the who, what, where, when facts presented, related to the theme and compared? No logical analysis and development occurs in your writer's lengthy meander. Steve Moss, one of the two, perhaps three, viable candidates isn't even given a 1st name when he appears toward the end of the 17th full page column, in a single sentence talking to the author in Farleys. Who edited this mess? Surely not TR whose analysis of PG&E dirty tricks political practice is always a readers' delight.

Speaking of which, you should probably do an in depth interview with the Editor-Owner of the Potrero View, Steve Moss, who knows how to talk the about specific concerns of District 10; e.g.
• Bayview-Hunters Point education.
• Portola: Over-development, lack of affordable housing, and poor public transportation.
• Potrero Hill: Home and automobile break-ins, parking, open space, under- grounding of electric transmission and distribution lines, development, and poor public transportation.
• Visitation Valley: Poor transportation.

Posted by Guest mgt keyes on Mar. 01, 2010 @ 12:13 pm

I met Dr. Calloway a few years ago when he ran for a seat on the Board of Education.

Since my hours were cut at the Eddie Bauer store in Westfield Centre I would like to work on his campaign but am having trouble locating him.

I called the James Calloway listed in the phone book but his voice did not sound like
Dr. Callaway's.

Sarah, can you tell me Dr. Callaway's phone number or e-mail address ?

Thank you.

Posted by Joe Wu on Mar. 02, 2010 @ 6:56 pm

I met Dr. Calloway a few years ago when he was running for a seat on the Board of Education.

My hours have been cut at the Eddie Bauer store in Westfield Centre where I have worked for a few years so I have some time to donate to his campaign.

I don't think the James Callaway listed in the phone book is the candidate. The person who spoke on his answering machine sounded quite young. (Yes, I did leave a message just in case it was him.)

Can you please help me get in touch with Dr. Callaway ?

Thank you !

Posted by Joe Wu on Mar. 02, 2010 @ 7:02 pm

The white guilt this city's liberals impose on the need for token black leadership in
D - 10 is sick. Let's get a black person elected in D-2 or D-8 if they sleep better with a more diverse board. Give D-0 the most qualified candidate of whatever race - someone that won't rollover and let developers take the reigns and not pander to catch phrase progressive rigm1arole. You know what helps people that live in poverty - schools and jobs. Give D-10 a high school, apprenticeship programs, and long-term economic investment and fair banking practices and we might be able to get beyond the anti-community development recipe that has ripped out the potential of the black community that lived there.

The Navy might not be solely responsible for the lack of jobs in the Bayview - but no one wants cancer with there coffee either. Developing a small business in an area with a tough rep, little public transit, and no larger industrial or tech jobs to draw people with means into the area to spread their cash around and toxic waste is damn near impossible. What would draw people to spend money on Third St. How about a grocery store???

The city handed out money to restore Victorians in the1960s and 70s in Noe and the Castro. There is plenty of affordable housing in district 10 that needs a face-lift, and plenty of handymen that wouldn't mind the work. D-10 needs remedial investment, the gains of which will cost the city less in the long term. Financial planning 101 invest the cash - get the returns.

A supervisor with creative ideas, business development savvy, and community experience - who won't act as a puppet is what we need.

Posted by Guest d10 on Mar. 02, 2010 @ 9:22 pm

Rob, your comments were well thought out and rational. I am very interested in speaking with you in person for a radio documentary I am producing for SF State.

Please contact me at the email address provided with any questions you may have.

If anybody else is equally passionate about this subject (our documentary is currently focusing on the changing nature of the neighborhood), then please, feel free to contact me also.

Thanks.

Posted by Guest Nick Carpenter on Mar. 11, 2010 @ 2:38 pm

As a new resident of Silver Terrace, 1 block off 3rd Street, all I hope is that whoever gets voted in fast tracks as much gentrification as possible. The lowlifes and thugs have run this part of town for far too long. Time to get Giuliani on their asses.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 01, 2010 @ 6:31 pm

We need Rodney Hampton, Jr. somone from District 10 backyard, in the field, and someone that we know! We need someone who would just served the people; this is what a Supervisor should do!

Posted by Guest Rodney Hampton, Jr. on Jul. 18, 2010 @ 5:11 pm

Your comments were well thought out and rational. I am very interested in speaking with you in person or a live one-on-one interview.

Please contact me at the email address provided with any questions you may have to hamptondistrict@yahoo.com.

I am very much so passionate about this subject please, feel free to contact me also at 415-724-9252.

D10 must remove all toxic people, corporations, and leaders!

Thanks.

Rodney Hampton, Jr.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 18, 2010 @ 5:06 pm