Many of us San Franciscans have been to the old Mint at 5th and Market or closer to 5th and Mission. Thousands of tourists use to visit the Mint and see the gold bullion and other prize collections of the United States Mint. We all can recall 1849 and when Gold was struck in California.

Then, we had the 1989 Earthquake but much before that the plans were in the making to close the Mint at 5th and Mission. The new United States Federal Treasury Building at the end of Market Street and other Mint buildings could and have taken over what was once at the old Mint that is not closed but will open as a Museum. It is a Land Mark building and millions have been collected to make something of it.

But, that is not the nature of this story. By the old Mint some wise guys have decided to create a Mint Plaza. So that people can sit down and sit and be merry and watch the pigeons fly by and more.

Plants and flowers will inspire people and lovers and others will bring good vibrations to this Mint Plaza. The trees are in and some workers have tiled the Mint Plaza and when no one was looking I took some steps - and pretended that I inaugurated the Mint Plaza. Well, every one wants their 5 minutes of fame.

I crossed the street to take a good look and what I saw I did not like. I remember some months ago before the Land Use the matter came about closing Jessie Street. That side street on Mission that some used when one wanted to get to Market Street in a hurry.

No left turns on Market - so you could make a left on Jessie and then an immediate right and be on 5th Street and then be Scott free. If not go all the way down, down, Mission till you find a street of make a left.

So, Jessie Street is history. Now, you will be able to go and join your friends and the pigeons at the brand new Mint Plaza. There will be eats, drinks, sights to see, and cuisines of a kind for the discerning palate. But, forget that short cut and spew more toxins in the air or whatever. Did I say I crossed the street and did not like what I saw from across the street galore. You see as one grows old - we tend to forget and you start a sentence and lead some one - some where, and before you know it - you wonder did I start a sentence and where was I going.

Well, I saw a stack but I kind of figured there were more. So, hence the investigative reporting that leads you to places and makes things the likes of this issue interesting. I went to a higher place with my camera and behold I saw two stacks.

But before I could Eureka - I saw smoke coming out from these stacks. Yes, black smoke - we call them particulates - very dangerous and when these particulates get into your system - you die. So, hidden is a power plant and mostly probably Pacific Gas and Electric runs it.

So, did anyone do an Environmental Impact Study and so do the planners think they can get away with murder?

Nave people sitting and enjoying in this brand new plaza with pigeons as their friends and all the time they are there breathing fumes from all the traffic but more these highly dangerous particulates from the two stacks. Check out the photographs.

In this case it will be the rich and the famous who will be displaying their outfits - show off their bodies, neutralizing the foul air with rich perfumes and smiling at the pigeons. Inhaling particulates and thinking all the time - that all is fine.

If children are included they will get their dose of particulates - too.

Let us be very careful where and when we build our parks, schools, plazas and stuff like that. Do not be fooled by what you see at ground level. Look up and see around and do some investigative work.

Take a good look at the photographs and then look at the Mint Plaza web site - it all looks good minus the two killer stacks that are very polluting.

Mint Plaza website


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