WILLIE MAYS BOYS AND GIRLS CLUB (6/18/08)
Life is for the living not the living dead. The Willie Mays Boys and Girls Club is a renovated former facilities linked to one named the Milton Myer Gym and the other the old - Boys and Girls Club, built many years ago by the United States Navy.
It has been four years now that both these facilities that catered to the youth in and around Kiska Road the Hill as we like to call it- Hunters Point to those that hear about it from afar - were closed down, adversely impacting thousands of innocent children and families.
The youth are our treasured resources and our future. Others use clichés such as the youth are our future - some really man what they say but most love to spew that hot air and adding to the adverse impacts of the situation.
Most remember Ruben Smith aka ³Smithy² he was a good, wise man that took care of the youth. With his passing away - a Legend that silently did what most did not dare to do - he walked the walk and has left his treasured imprint forever. History must be proud of the fact that his dedication saved hundreds of lives and made this universe a better place.
As the youth will tell you he was ³down² with the youth from the Hill. So, with his passing - we ask who will truly take his place? At the brand new Willie Mays Boys and Girls Club that opened recently - June 16, 2008 the Basket Ball Court is named after Ruben Smith. Now, that he would like and I hope he smiles on the youth from above.
I know the Program Manager who hails from the famous SF Looper Family like his father Leroy Looper and brother Malik Looper Esan Lopper wants to do the right thing. He has my total support.
I had the pleasure to meet him in the presence of Ruben Smith years ago before ³Smithy² passed away and expressed my vision and concerns for the Hill. As the Director, of Environmental Justice Advocacy - I must speak the truth. Often times when you speak the truth - it hurts because this Society loves to think everything is a ³bed or roses². It is not - especially when it comes to the poor..
In the four years it took to figure out what was good for our youth. The policy makers ³the living dead² chose with ³intent² to shut down the Joseph Lee Gym and the facilities that I have mentioned linked to the present renovated Willie Mays Boys and Girls Club. There was NOT one program in place to accommodate the youth - that lost their only Safe Haven - the two Recreational Facilities. Both shut down at the same time! Go figure.
These folks without any consideration caused thousand of youth to be adversely impacted. Many were arrested for hanging around the corners because they had no Safe Haven - no Recreational Facilities to go to. Today, because of the decisions made - hundreds are locked up incarcerated, and worse off.
I know many of them and they tell me the truth. I cannot spell out what they think about those that could have done better - and they will not forgive those that ruined their lives. One so called representative - stands out in the decision making for the worse - and she is a woman whose name is Sophina Maxwell.
I have written about the Joseph Lee Gym that opened some months ago but has fewer youth that participate then before. I used to go to the Night Basket Ball games and just hang around with Captain Rick Bruce and others who did what it took to make the Hill and the area around the Opera House a better place.
We have the ³living dead² who really have no clue about the living. Around the Hill the air is polluted with heavy levels of lead, mercury, arsenic and so on. Add to this the radiological elements linked to the Superfund Site that is the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard and you have a recipe for disaster.
Now, add to that the Asbestos Structures that Lennar BVHP LLC bombarded the community with. The many Notice of Violation (NOVs) and the trucks carrying polluted soil through the neighborhoods and thinking nothing of the adverse impacts meted out to the community. The particulates from the Power Plants, the millions of vehicles that ply near by and that is what prompted the Bay Area Air Quality Management District to give the area an F - linked to Air Pollution.
There is no enlightened community in numbers, educated on issues, given the opportunity to dialog on issues linked to pollution vetted out for the good of the community. When I write and speak out about these issues - the ³living dead² and that includes Mayor Gavin Newsom - think less of what is said and gives a hoot what is happening to our children.
The Plantation Mentality has not changed and no one in the Main Press is doing any investigative reporting. So, now we have a brand new facility and named after Willie Mays. Some think that is good. But could it be better?
I challenge Willie Mays to help test the health of our children and better their lives - they suffer from too many ailments. Bloody noses, headaches, pain in their joints, lack of appetite, vomiting, hyper-tension and so on. Could Daddy Willie Mays - now that you are part of the equation - help the children and address Quality of Life issues at Hunters Point?
The Hunters Point Naval Shipyard must be cleaned or abated? The facilities that make up the Willie Mays Boys and Girls Club were built by the United States Navy - part of the era. This is a reminder for us to think of the past history - and remind ourselves that Depleted Uranium was tested many years ago at the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard. Of course Sophie Maxwell would not know anything about that.
Methane Gas is found all over the Shipyard more on parcels E and E2. One ton of Methane Gas equals about twenty two tons of Carbon Dioxide. So, much for a Carbon footprint that pollutes and no one is paying any attention to.
Much, like Daddy Willie Mays knows about the Records about the hits and runs that pertain to Baseball. Some one must seat down and explain to the sage of rounds and bats - the Final Historical Radiological Document and its contents. The man must not lend his name to an area that could be likened to Chernobyl - why? Because health, safety and Recreation - all demand some decent standard, and pollution - is not it.
I was given a tour of the facility by the Program Director and thank him for his kindness and saw and felt the enthusiasm that fills his heart with joy. I know he would have been a better man had he had ³Smithy² as a helper. But, God has his ways and we can only go to a better place with a fine-tuned moral compass.
The filthy rich have given the ³Hill² money and that may seem to be good. I look around and there are no children. Missing in action that group of fourteen to eighteen year old - that are so vital in any community of importance. Where have all the flowers gone? We know.
The art center, the conference room, the library, the digital center, the basket ball court, the court yard, the inter-active garden, ping-pong and futball games are all good. The present youth, though few - must think what about those peers that are Missing In Action?
Who will bring some succor to the problem that was created when no Recreation Facilities were there for years and a vacuum created to entrap our youth and incarcerate them? Only to have brand new facilities but look upon the ghost of yester years and have tears flow - and remember.
The Willie Mays Boys and Girls Club has a Police Station and the Program Director says he insisted that the Station have an Open Door policy. Esan Looper feels when the SF Police Officers play with the youth - it helps the relationship.
There is talk of Hunters View and this Boys and Girls Club seems to be a preparation of that gentrification. The Joseph Lee Gym too took a heavy toll of youth - not much happening today as it did years ago. Why? Not even the Seniors - are happy with Joseph Lee Gym. The seniors before had their times for Poker Games - but now have to follow a tight schedule at Joseph Lee. Joseph Lee comes under the jurisdiction of SF Recreation and Park.
As for the Willie Mays Boys and Girls Club - it starts with the Juniors and Eighteen is that cut off date - when you are let loose to go with no Safe Haven to be found in the City and County of San Francisco.
Twenty five percent of the youth live in the Southeast Sector of the City we call San Francisco. The Bayview Hunters Point is NOT found on our SF Tourist Maps. Look for it - you will find a large Ad - and with it what it the last frontier has been relegated to - oblivion.
Our Community residents, especially in Public Housing - that have been in place are now being evicted at Hunters View and all over the Hill - better realize that all that is brand new is NOT for them. It is for those that will have the ability to stay ten years from now with certainty up on the Hill. Brothers and Sisters that is the truth.
Up on the Hill over sixty percent of the Public Housing has been permitted to run down. It is common to see sixty percent of homes - boarded up. All Navy buildings, given that HUD who is turn have leased the area to the devious SF Housing Authority. The jerks that make up the Housing Commission and its President are a disgrace to the Human Race.
You have Dwayne Jones operating at the Director of Communities of Opportunity and sitting on the SF Housing Authority Commission at the same time. Who is fooling whom? This man has single handedly sold out the Black Community.
Then there are the Samoans and the only Samoan representative Sulu Palega was booted out from the SF Housing Authority Commission - because he took a stand. Amos Brown is Black there is no doubt about that - but that is the extent of his representation and standing. He is worthless and more so as the Chair of the local SF NAACP Chapter. Plantation mentality encompasses this individual - some say his is Bi-Polar - whatever that means.
Sulu once worked with others to accommodate the Samoans at the near by facility - the other Boys and Girls Club a smaller facility that now has been designated as Head Start for young children. This facility has been bombarded by Lennar with Asbestos Structures. Now, how can one think of accommodating our children, the most vulnerable and not think about pollution and its adverse impacts?
This point is made to bring to the attention of those that are in charge of the brand new Willie Mays Boys and Girls Clubs - the Brand New Facility must be tested for Asbestos Structures, Heavy Metals, and other dangerous particulates.
Outside the Brand New Facility - lying open and uncovered crushed Serpentine Rock and dust. Some folks think all people of color are not informed. It would look bad for me to call in the Regulator Authorities and remedy the situation - but the matter of fact is - those in leadership position pushing for gentrification - knowingly, permit us discrepancies .
Those at Willie Mays must empower themselves to do the right thing. Take a stand and draw that line in the stand. Good leaders know the way, show the way and go the way. The Hill has stood for the worst and ³Smithy² will agree with me. Those few left - now it the time to reveal your ³mojo².
The Willie Mays Boys and Girls Club at Hunters Point:
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