The Valencia Gardens in San Francisco are no more; the Public Housing has been razed to the ground. The over 800 poor people who lived in the complex had to take refuge here, there, and everywhere. So much for our very caring Mayor Willie Brown and his cronies who run the San Francisco Housing Authority.
There are plans to demolish 18 more Public Housing sites and displace the residents without any care or thought. Of course some of us try to say aloud this is a caring City, the City of San Francis Assisi. But then who in the world today really cares for the down and out - the poor and those who have fallen out of luck. Perhaps, John Burton and Angela Alioto and Francisco Da Costa.
Benny Bufano loved San Francisco and those of us baby boomers and a little older loved his art. Just in front of the Davis Opera House is one of his art pieces. The plague on the side suggests it is a Brown Bear but look as you may - it is a White Polar Bear. Me thinks some one made a mistake or perhaps the artist wanted us to ponder and figure out if it really makes a difference.
But let us talk a little bit about the Valencia Gardens and Benny Bufano who wanted the residents to enjoy his artwork. Benny loved the poor and his heart was big. Herb Caen who did his best to cover the city with who is who and caring tit bits often squeezed a line or two about Benny Bufano. Benny has his art all over San Franciso. One could take a tour from one end to another end of the City, making stations viewing one art piece and then moving on to another all over the City and County of San Francisco.
But I said let us talk about the Valencia Gardens and Benny Bufano's art, which he wanted the poor to enjoy - it is MISSING. City officials, the Art Commission, and concerned citizens are all trying to figure out this mystery. Who will solve the mystery? What has become of our City? Why disrespect Benny Bufano who did so much for our City?
Benny Bufano's art is worth thousands of dollars. This City which has lost its ethics with a corrupt Mayor at the helm of affairs has now chosen to remove precious art and send it away. It is missing and no one wants to take responsibility for the missing art. It should NOT have left the jurisdiction of this City and County of San Francisco.
Rumor has it that the art pieces have been sent to Philadelphia - yes Philadelphia the City of Brotherly Love for safe keeping. And you know what - it is just a matter of time before they never make it back to San Francisco.
Whoever is responsible for this act should be fired. It is a shame that Our City not only disrespects a loving and caring artist but also disrespects the constituents who lived at Valencia Gardens. It is a shame that our City under Willie Brown has become so corrupt that crooks keep fleecing the coffers of our City. Again and again crooks get away with murder and most of us are looking forward to the day this Lame Duck Mayor goes away forever. Now in broad day light they steal our art.
In the meantime the Federal Bureau of Investigation should investigate this case. Let those behind this dastardly action be given fair justice. The Benny Bufano artwork should be returned to the City and placed fittingly for the poor to view. Perhaps the new Museum taking shape at the Golden Gate Park should accommodate a section for this piece of art and state that it was created for the poor and those in Public Housing.
Just like our prisons have been taken over by the Private Industry. Our Public Housing is being turned over to Private Industry. HUD and San Francisco do not have the money to fix and operate Public Housing. They also do not have the ability to provide good service to the poor.
Private Industry has been invited to take over Public Housing. Private Industry will kick out the poor. Tear the building down. Build Market Rate Units and make money. Bottom line it is all about making money - it is not about caring and giving.
Let us not forget Benny Bufano's art and let us NOT forget the Muwekma Ohlone. This land belongs to the Muwekma and the strangers stole it from them. Benny Bufano's art was taken to Philadelphia in broad daylight. It was stolen without the Public knowing.
Let us bring some decency to the City and County of San Francisco. Let us give some respect to Benny Bufano. Let the crooks be exposed. Let those who are decent bring this City back on track. Let us not forget Benny Bufano and let us not forget Saint Francis Assisi.
Polar Bear by Benny Bufano.
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