The Presidio of San Francisco has changed a lot and with the Trust in charge of most of the Presidio one never knows what to expect. As we have reported on this web site the Presidio Trust Implementation Plan (PTIP) was designed to circumvent the Final General Management Plan (GMP) and the Final Environmental Impact Study (EIS).
Those stalwarts who are interested in the day to day affairs of the Presidio, the larger interests of the majority of the Presidians, Citizens of San Francisco, the Bay Area and the Nation are now just waking up to face hard reality. One such group that has been taking the lead and has made some headway:
So, now we have the Trust and they are much more crafty then the NPS. Steeped in crooked ways learned from other Redevelopment Schemes they have come here from Colorado and elsewhere to teach the citizens of the Bay Area a lesson or two. Little knowing that the citizens of the Bay Area are very open minded but will not tolerate nonsense - for too long. This back and forth policy linked to the PTIP was clearly meant to circumvent the GMP and the EIS. How ever never did the Trust expect the citizens of the Bay Area to be astute and discern. Astute enough to make the Trust realize they cannot bluff the people and take them for a ride. So, the Trust keeps postponing and will they say some time in July, 2001 - reveal to the public - the ins and outs of the PTIP. We will see......
The Trust keeps harping they have to be self sufficient by the year 2013. Right now they have money pouring in from the Real Estate investments. The exorbitant rents bring in millions. The NPS chose to fore go investing in the housing but the Trust - well steeped in Redevelopment nuances have made millions and will continue to make millions. The Trust has over 40 million to work with now.
Espanola Jackson and I attended the last Trust Board Meeting. It was a joke. Three Trust employees were called to give a presentation on the Toxic Cleanup, the Forest Management Plan, and the Historic Buildings. At the end of the presentations some of us spoke. I spoke and addressed all the three issues. I did this primarily because all the three issues were projects that I dealt with - having established the Infrastructure Group, the Maintenance and Technical Support Group, and working for the Real Estate and Property Management Group.
I was given just two minutes to speak and so had to make my points very sustinct and understandable. On the toxic clean up - I asked the question how clean is clean?. Millions of dollars have been spent by the Trust but all they do is talk. No real clean up. I clearly stated that the Army Corps of Engineers did a good job. As you all know the Army handed over $100 million - $25 ever year to finish the clean up. So far the Trust has done nothing much.
The Presidio Forest are over 100 years old and many of the trees have to be felled. I requested the Trust to use the trees by milling them and helping artist carve and make objects of wood. I chose not to go into detail as I had time constraints.
As to the Historic buildings I stated that for years they were left vacant and that much damage has been caused to them. It would be prudent for the Trust to put the restoration and rehabilitation programs linked to the historic building on fast track.
There was a time at the Trust Board Meeting set aside for comments. Espanola Jackson and I addressed the issue of the Muwekma Ohlone. Come July 31, 2001 we should hear the decision enforced by Judge Urbina and we can take it from there. The Department of Interior, the National Park Service and the Trust have been put on notice.
The Trust Board was not too happy listening to Espanola - who as most of you know is very forceful and blunt. As shareholders and partners both of us stated that we would like to sit on the table with the Trust and address the pertinent issues at stake.
The Muwekma exercised their right of "first refusal" and claimed forty per cent of the Presidio of San Francisco. So, once the issue of sovereignty is settled - the Muwekma and the Trust become equal partners. The NPS too - that is if they ever realize the mistakes they have made in the past - are ready for real dialogue.
The Presidio Neighborhood Groups are all fully cognizant of the status and role of the Muwekma Ohlone. I have met and have on going meetings mostly by telephone with many members. Members of the Press - The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and other well known journalist have interviewed me. They are all very well aware that once a tribe is recognized the rules of the game - change!
The energy crisis has hard hit California. The Presidio of San Francisco has an " energy crisis" - it has to plan its development. Right now a lot of energy is wasted on the Presidio. The Trust does not have a blue print at hand - never had one. As a matter of fact the NPS never had one. When the Army was there - there was no metering system. Pacific Gas and Electric would send the Army one bill and the Army would pay up. Those days are gone - but it has been over 7 years now and there is no blue print in place - linked to saving energy. And of course there is lots of talk about being "sustainable". In fact right today the Trust wastes a lot of energy and keeps bluffing the people that this and that is done - but the reality and the fact is - hot air!
Most of the buildings still have old wiring. Most of the buildings still have light fixtures that devour energy. Most of the buildings have lights on when there is no need to turn them on. The high voltage power lines are antiquated and the electricians treated like babies. Most employees do not feel like working for the Trust and go to work with disgust. I just happen to know most of them - for many years and they do not lie to me. They may to Mr. James Meadows who does not have " an open door policy!".
The Lucas Digital Center is on slow track. The dot.com busts and the general feeling about anything linked with Digital and Internet companies are now suspect - factors like energy consumption, toxic waste, housing, traffic, transportation, sewage, and so on are factors that are studied in detail. Many dot.com companies on the Presdiio are on their way out - fore most among them Alexha Internet - they have cut over sixty percent of their work force.
The PTIP was initiated to circumvent the final GMP and the final EIS. The PTIP is a failure and I stated this in my long letter to the Trust many months ago. It would be prudent that the Trust be up front with the citizens of the Bay Area and San Francisco. Please do not test our resolve!
The Presidio Post and the Presidio Trust web site keep posting rosy articles but the fact of the matter is that " nothing much is really happening that benefits the majority of the citizens". Also, as long as the Trust receives one single dollar from the government they are mandated to be accountable to the tax payer. Open your eyes!
The Presidio Trust has sent a letter to the Union Leaders of the LaborersŐ International Union of North America that they do not want to negotiate with them. This after having discussion for over nine months. This is wrong. The rights of the workers and the rights of " fair play" are factors very important in any democracy. All workers who work at the Presidio be they working for the Trust or the NPS should have their legal rights protected.
The Presidio of San Francisco was a Military Base. All Veterans should be given an opportunity to work at the Presidio of San Francisco. They after all shed their blood for this Nation and won rights that we may be free. Especially those who served in the Army. Let us have the Memorial Services at the Veteran Administration Cemetery on Memorial Day and at other times. What is very important is that our Veterans are given jobs - so that they can put bread and butter on the table. This is important and the Trust and the NPS too should be fully cognizant of this important fact. Hundreds of federal rules and regulations state so.
I was shocked to hear one Union member address the public at the Trust Board Meeting how one Trust employee was denied his rights. How the Union fought for this rights. How the Union at great fiscal loss, won the case, only to realize that the Trust employee could not be reinstated as he passed away - from his illness and adverse actions inflicted on him by the Trust.
Let us keep our eyes open......
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