October 27, 2000
Francisco Da Costa
Spokesman: Muwekma Ohlone Tribe
Presidio Trust Implementation Plan (PTIP)
Attention: John Pelka, NEPA Coordinator
REF: Presidio Implementation Plan (PTIP)
I am addressing certain pertinent issues to you and the Trust on behalf of the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe. The First Peoples of the Bay Area and of the Presidio of San Francisco. In 1989 before the Presidio of San Francisco, was handed over to the National Park Service, the Muwekma Ohlone exercised their right of first refusal linked to Base Closure.
The Muwekma Ohlone Tribe has also been in continuous communication with the NPS and the Trust on all important matters linked to the draft and final General Management Plan (GMP) and the draft and final Environmental Impact Study (IES) since 1989. The Presidio Trust Implementation Plan (PTIP) is being studied and monitored today in detail.
The Muwekma Ohlone Tribe has been attending and monitoring the Presidio toxic clean up and is on the Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) as a permanent member.
Every Request For Proposal, every lease, all of the feasibility studies, the failed Crissy Field Project, the clean up of the Presidio both Area A and B, archeological findings and surveys, anything that is of importance to the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe is being and has been documented and is being monitored.
The recent charade of meetings at remote locations, linked to the PTIP does not come as a surprise to the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe and we may add to informed entities who have been following the developments at the Presidio of San Francisco.
The Muwekma Ohlone trace their ancestral roots to 10,000 years on the Presidio of San Francisco. They are the ONLY tribe that has patrimonial jurisdiction over the Presidio of San Franciso. In recent times in 1972, documented human remains linked to the Ohlone have determined that their known presence was established on the Presidio dating 1300 years!
Both the Trust and the NPS is fully cognizant of this important fact. It is very important for us to state this important fact. Strangers who came years later should not have a better say than those who have patrimonial jurisdiction! This applies to other Native American tribes who are fussing up to some of the entities that manage the Presidio of San Francisco.
The Muwekma Ohlone participated actively in the first Partnership Council deliberations leading to the final GMP at the request of the NPS. We sat with the key players and know them well. Some of them can run away from us but cannot from the important issues!
Subsequent, to the final GMP and the final EIS, the NPS chose to follow a philosophy that did not respect the Muwekma having sole rights, the only ones that enjoyed patrimonial jurisdiction over the whole of the Presidio of San Francisco. Their tirades with some neighboring tribes do not and will not stand the test of time.
Crissy Field is Ohlone Sacred Burial Ground. The Crissy Field managers did not respect the Muwekma Ohlone requests to stop this ill planned project. Today, this project is a total failure. Millions of dollars are being spent to replace the eroding beach at Crissy Field. This money could have been spent elsewhere to the benefit of many.
Even though Area A falls within the jurisdiction of the NPS, the Trust always harps that it too is a mutual partner in this international fiasco, a project that is and was an experiment of sorts at the expense of the tax payer and thousands of donors and volunteers!
In order for us to comment on the PTIP it would be important for us to state certain facts that we feel we should point out to the Trust and subsequently to the NPS. These facts are stated after much experience going to the days when Sixth United States Army and Presidio of San Franciso had jurisdiction over the Presidio of San Francisco. A period of stability and proven management with accountability.
The information pointed out in the Financial Concepts Workshop by the Trust is misleading. The sections Paying for the Presidio and the Financial Forecasting Model are an insult to anyone who really understands the operations and administration of the Presidio of San Francisco.
At this juncture we would like to comment on the statement made by the Trust, that several years of experience permit it to better understand the Presidio of San Francisco and execute required changes to the final GMP and the final EIS as necessary and especially linked to Area B.
As the spokesman for the Muwekma Ohlone let me categorically state that the Trust has not learned anything much in the few years it has operated the Presidio of San Francisco since 1996. The Presidio of San Francisco is worse of today than it ever was. The final GMP and the final EIS had the support of the community at large and input of qualified experts. The same cannot be said of the policies or transitional blue prints that the Trust is implementing.
The PTIP consists of a charade of meetings at far off locations. Each meeting is formulated to achieve a pre-planned goal and moderators and facilitators do all in their power to attain pre-conceived goals. This fake operation will come to haunt the Presidio of San Francisco, as it has right now.
Perhaps if we spell out the fundamentals, we may be able to pursuade the movers and shakers what the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe sincerely feels. As we have stated only the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe has PATRIMONIAL JURISDICTION over the Presidio of San Francisco.
We respect and treasure our land, a gift from God that we should take extreme care of, so that we can pass it on to our children. This is our land! It is in this context after much deliberation that we feel compelled to express and explain the dubious elements that are in place which hinder progress.
To further explain this point, when the Muwekma Ohlone exercised their right of first refusal we could have asked for all of the 1480 acres plus. We asked for land near the old U.S. Public Health Hospital and most of land around it which did not have any structures. The only structure being the U.S. Public Health Hospital.
The First People always practiced sustainability. This craze to say one thing and do another has never been the practice of the First People. It has of those that now rule the Presidio.
Again and again the entities that have ruled the Presidio of San Francisco in recent times have hood winked the public. The deals made at the Presidio of San Francisco linked to Real Estate are a shame. The millions of tax payers money spent on consultants is a shame. The millions that are given out in salary bonuses are a shame. The lies told to the public and Congress are a disgrace to humanity!
We all fully realize that the most important element for the Presidio to succeed is teamwork, understanding and partnership. Once this is in place two important elements that require any operation to tick are: ACCOUNTABILITY and TRANSPARENCY.
May we humbly state that none of these elements are in place at the moment at the Presidio of San Francisco.
Right now the NPS and Trust are not working as partners. The 100 million clean up money has not been spent as it should have been spent. The Trust and the NPS boasted that they would clean up the Presidio of San Francisco faster than the Army. The fact of the matter is that the Presidio is worse of today. The money is there earning interest! Very little clean up, lots of posturing!
Again and again the Trust has been stoned walled by the NPS in following through with the clean up at the Presidio. The RAB tries to convince the public that it is doing something but in actuality it is doing nothing - zip!
The Letterman Army Medical Center (LAMC) and the proposed Lucas Digital Center does not carry the weight of Transparency! Congress has been told that the Trust will rake in 3 million dollars. The public has been told 5 million dollars.
Some Trust management especially those at the top are concerned about the false statements but can do nothing. Most fear for their jobs. Recently a top Financial Analyst was put on Administrative Leave and has been asked to leave the Trust. She has been offered as much money as she wants.
The Muwekma asks why tear down the solid Letterman Army Institute of Research? The Muwekma asks who will vouch for the extra electricity, sewage, water, traffic hazards, noise, archeological survey, historic trees, that the Lucas fiasco will entail? Where in the final GMP and the final EIS does it cater to a complex as has been suggested by the mogul of fiction movies!
We know the Trust has fallen for the project but we also know that the NPS opposes it. So do many sensible entities and experts! How will this huge project with stand the principles of sustainability?
How much will it cost to clean up Battery Wagner and Battery Caulfield? We say over 30 million dollars to do a good job. Just on two batteries! Now, how can the Trust promise the world that it will clean up the whole Presidio of San Francisco, when we know of hundreds of toxic spots from maps provided to the public by Montgomery Watson, a reliable entity who know what they are doing!
Today, the clean up is behind schedule, it will be behind tomorrow, and in the mean time environmental concerns affect everyone. The relationship between the NPS and the Trust should not ever affect the public, the visitor, and the Presidio community! So much for progress, sincerity, and accountability.
The buildings and the housing units on the Presidio of San Francisco merit clean up. Federal dollars have been set aside for this clean up but right now nothing much has been done.
The Muwekma Ohlone believe that the main reason that the PTIP is being proposed is to circumvent federal dollars for purposes that are short term and do not meet the long range goals linked to the final GMP and final EIS as they stand today.
The tax payer has been taken for a ride before and is in for a longer ride this time around. It is a shame that in the Bay Area we do not have one single organization that stands up and asks for accountability and transparency! Not one!
We are fully aware that many who serve on the Trust in high positions today will not be at the Presidio of San Francisco in a couple of years. It is a pity that the first few years have permitted the Trust to borrow and spend millions of dollars, without detail accountability and infrastructure remedial and clean up analysis by any reputable organization. We say this because both the NPS and the Trust lack experts in this area.
We trust that the PresidioTrust we listen to the comments with an open mind and deal with the important issues with a vision that benefits the majority. That the Trust will be accountable and transparent enough so that every citizen can take part in the progress of the Presidio of San Francisco.
The Presidio of San Franciso is Muwekma Ohlone Land and should be respected. The land should be there for future generations to use and the negative elements contained therein removed. We look forward to better times and an understanding of values that have stood the test of times.
Greed and power should not hamper progress. Short time goals which benefit a few will come to haunt everyone. The Presidio of San Francisco is a National Park for everyone. Let it be there for everyone.
Francisco Da Costa