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Mayor shakes up Treasure Island development board, ousts only resident

SF Public Press/Way Out West News
 — Nov 16 2010 - 11:48am

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.

The development authority oversees operations of buildings that house some 2,400 residents on the former Navy base and is playing a primary role in reviewing and approving the $5 billion redevelopment of Treasure Island, the first phase of which is scheduled to begin next year.

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.

The Board of Supervisors rejected the junior Mazzola last year for the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District.

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.

“We’ll have a whole bunch of new people who haven’t heard our concerns,” Connors said. “The question that everybody is asking is, it’s coming right after an election and before the mayor moves into a new position. Quite frankly, it makes us nervous.”

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.

Among Newsom’s other picks are Larry Del Carlo, president and CEO of Mission Housing Development Corporation, and Linda Richardson, whom the Board of Supervisors already approved for the Treasure Island board last week. Richardson, a member of the city’s Human Rights Commission, has been actively involved in various offices overseeing Lennar’s other major redevelopment project in the city, at the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard.

“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.”

Resident protests eventually prompted the mayor to promise that one seat on the development authority board will remain with a resident of one of the islands. He opened up an application process in October that ended on Monday. However, the new appointee would replace a fourth member of the board, Doug Shoemaker. Connors said he opposes that move and several others because they will lead to a lack of continuity.

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.

“Although not required to do so by the TIDA Bylaws, Mayor Newsom is committed to appointing a Treasure Island resident to the TIDA Board,” the statement read. “On October 15, the Mayor invited interested Treasure Island residents to apply for one of the seven seats. The deadline for submission of applications is today, November 15. An appointment will be announced soon after the applications are reviewed. Like you, Mayor Newsom believes that calling the island home provides a unique experience and a voice for the community as we embark on a new era for Treasure Island.”
Outgoing Supervisor Chris Daly, who is an ex-officio member of the development authority board, said at last week’s Board of Supervisors meeting that Newsom’s promise does not make up for a the unexplained way that Stevens was dismissed.

“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.”

Daly rejected a comment from a representative from the mayor’s office at the meeting suggesting that Stephens apply for the open resident seat.

“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 Treasure Island Development Authority board will be responsible for overseeing and approving more than a dozen crucial development agreements with Lennar next year, including certification of a recently completed environmental impact report, the redevelopment plan and green-building specifications.

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.

The Board of Supervisors is scheduled to vote Tuesday on two of the mayor’s nominees, Mazzola Jr. and Del Carlo.


This is far more important than the question of the selection of our next interim Mayor. What is at stake is the robbery of 450 acres of land from the People of California by the US Navy in Collusion with the Rich and Powerful in our Local Democratic Party, and their development of a new Manhattan Island in the middle of the San Francisco Bay. For $110 million of Lennar payoff money, Newsom and Willy Brown et al, are greasing the way for the Lennar Development Company to become both their protected master-developer of this New Manhattan Project, as well as their political clique's top campaign contributor for decades to come. This is an act of official corruption not seen in many decades in our State of California. According to asking prices for land on the Waterfront, the Treasure Island property is worth $20 Billion alone, as is, without development. This is felony graft.

When I built the fist Wireless Ethernet Networks in California in 1999 - 2000, the Fairmont Hotel Tower was my main Antenna. No one knew what WiFi was at that time. I had eight large neighborhood cells working at Pac Bell Park, three parts of the Financial District, North Beach, Fisherman's Wharf, the Western Addition, and Civic Center. I had just opened a link to extreme high speed wireless internet to all of Treasure Island when Pac Bell could not even deliver DSL. My business plan was what Willy Brown tried to promote and then turned over to Gavin Newsom on his way out the door. Newsom tried to shop my specifications and still - 10 years later - San Francisco has no Citywide free Public Utility comprised of state of the art extremely fast wireless access to the Internet. Linda Richardson, who then had just lost her Supervisor's seat in the year 2000 election, was who participated in the extortion of Mayor Brown, and who delivered the Mayor's demand for $250,000 to $500,000 for permits from Mayor Willy Brown back in 2000 or I was told (by Linda Richardson) that I would not get permits for the Communication Bridge USA Inc. The fact that I had delivered extreme WiFi to Treasure Island and Pac Bell Park is always forgotten. Neither have fast bandwidth now. San Francisco is still basically in the dark, where cities all over the world begin to deliver very fast wireless networks for internet access. If you want to see the iPhone in a real wireless network, you have to travel to Saint Petersburg to try the Yota Network. My experience is that Linda Richardson works for Willy Brown and Willy Brown works for Lennar and PG&E among others like ATT, and no US Attorney has the balls to do the investigation as when people do (like Kevin Ryan) they get fired.

I objected to the EIR presented to the Planning Commission and the Treasure Island / Yerba Buena Islands Redevelopment Project last August 12th, 2010. I objected at the hearing and I objected in writing by the official deadline that came and went in early October 2010. As a serious Candidate for Mayor in 2011, this issue is huge to me. I have a long experience with Treasure Island and have lived there for 2 months back in late 2007. It's nice to see Chris Daly voice concerns for the community.

When anyone goes to the Planning Department to study the published EIR that the Planning Department will not publish on line, it's clear why no one in the officialdom of San Francisco wants any one to see the proposed EIR. Forget the garbeldygook language in two very thick volumes. The State law on these EIR documents is that they are to be easy to read. This one is not easy to read. When you do drive over to look yourself, just go to the graphics portion of the reports to see what will be built there on the Islands. The "Two" - 40 Story Towers and the "One" - 60 Story Tower, reveal the beginning of the new skyline of the New Manhattan in the bay. Those three towers are not respectful of global warming, new ocean levels or a residential/small business neighborhood "complete new community". Those three towers are a clearly only a good start on what we are not shown: 500 or more new 50 to 250 story new high-rises in our San Francisco Bay. The Planning Department is already considering a new BART tube from Richmond thru the Islands on the way into San Francisco proper. Views of the Golden Gate are blocked to all crossing the bay on our new Bay Bridge, and more.

My questions are simple. (1) Where is clear title for the State Land from the US Navy? After WWII, the Navy was to return the State Land to California? (2) Where is the Navy's authority to escape the Law in the US Defense Land Confiscation Federal Codes regarding return of State Lands to the 50 States? (3) Where does the 1850 Federal Wetlands Act fit into this deal? All that law dictates that the 450 Square Acres belong to the People of California, not the US Navy, to sell to anyone. The Navy is supposed to clean up the land and return it to California clean and clear of environmental damage. That environmental damage and the cleaning up of that damage is glossed over by Mayor Newsom's Lennar Corporation Monopoly Public Development Friends. Lennar's contracts with the City and County need be investigated, and where malfeasance found - those must stop for review and the guilty parties must be prosecuted, including Mayor Brown if needs be. Some one has to stop the corruption at City Hall.

Who is looking out for the Public's Interests and the Community Welfare of the People of California and the People of San Francisco in this process? This is another reason I am running for Mayor of San Francisco in 2011. When elected, I will replace this whole body and include a balanced community input on the new advisory commission. I will call for the resignations of all Department Heads and all appointed Commissions to take place 30 days after I take my oath of office, for my review and re-hire or replacement. We need a clean start in San Francisco. I fully intend and guarantee the removal of corruption in the operations of the City and County of San Francisco under my Administration.