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As one of his parting acts before leaving for higher office in January, Mayor Gavin Newsom is overhauling the board in charge of overseeing the massive redevelopment of Treasure Island.
The decision to replace three or possibly four members of the Treasure Island Development Authority board of directors has sparked protests from some residents of the island and a few San Francisco supervisors. The critics point out that one of the ousted board members is the only member who lives on either Treasure Island or Yerba Buena Island and represents the interests of island residents — though the mayor vows to find a replacement.
Newsom has announced that he is not reappointing Treasure Island resident and development authority board president Owen Stephens. In his stead he appointed Larry Mazzola Jr., the son of plumbers union boss Larry Mazzola.
Mark Connors, president of Good Neighbors of Treasure and Yerba Buena Islands, said he is concerned about what will happen when more than half of the Treasure Island Development Authority board members are new as the redevelopment project’s final review and approval come up next year.
Island residents will have to be relocated as the redevelopment project gets underway and are negotiating transition agreements with the city and the main developer, Lennar Corp.
“She’s someone who we have found to be very supportive of Lennar and very supportive of development and not as responsible in an equal way around the environmental concerns,” said Jaron Brown of People Organized to Win Employment Rights, a group that organizes for economic opportunity among low-income workers, African-Americans and Latinos. “She’s an advocate for development.”
In response to questions, a representative of the mayor’s office forwarded a statement by e-mail that it had addressed to San Francisco supervisors.
“Larry Mazzola Jr. has been appointed to succeed him without any assurance to island residents that there would be representation,” Daly said. “It wasn’t until island residents called me up and did the fax and e-mail thing that the mayor’s office started changing their tune.”
“For the chair of this commission, who happens to be the only resident of Treasure Island, to have to apply — this is backward,” Daly said. “I think there may be some patronage involved in some of the particular appointments. To allow the outgoing mayor to do that is incorrect.”
The mayor has the authority to appoint seven members of the board (not including Daly), with approval from the Board of Supervisors. Whoever becomes mayor in January when Newsom leaves to become lieutenant governor could reverse the appointments.
Alison Hawkes is a freelance reporter based in San Francisco, and is also the online editor of BayNature.org. She primarily covers environmental stories and has contributed pieces to public radio programs at KQED and KALW in San Francisco, The World, and NPR’s Morning Edition. In a former life, she was a newspaper bureau chief covering the Pennsylvania state capital, then moved into radio at Deutsche Welle in Bonn, Germany. She has a master’s in science journalism from Columbia University. Alison spends her off-time hiking the Bay Area and snooping around farmers markets for something tasty to eat.
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