Francisco Da Costa and Espanola Jackson at the RAB meeting.


Espanola Jackson addresses the meeting.

THE RESTORTION ADVISORY BOARD

Most former Department of Defense (DOD) bases have Restoration Advisory Boards (RAB). The primary purpose is for the RAB to work closely with the base command and help facilitate the cleanup of the base. Facilitate proper and maximum use of former Base Closures.

Many former bases have been converted for commercial use but in the case of the Presidio of San Francisco the U.S. Congress designated it as a National Park. Bases have toxic problems and National Parks should be free of them - therein lies a fine line - cleanup and the RAB.

Any clean up at a National Park should meet higher standards. This is because National Parks attract visitors and every precaution should be taken to keep the visitors from harms way. Especially children.

Until a couple of years ago the Corps of Engineers (COE) was tasked to do the clean up under the very able administration of David Wilkins. The National Park Service (NPS) an inept federal organization with NO understanding nor ability to perform minor clean ups - time and time again interfered with the COE. Pressured the Presidio Trust to do the clean up and we have a BIG MESS on our hands.

A pact was created between the NPS and the Presidio Trust and the two agencies decided to challenge the COE and perform the rest of clean up them selves. Since over 80% of the Presidio of San Francisco come under the jurisdiction of the Presidio Trust - the Trust has the burden to do the rest of the clean up. The pact gave the Presidio Trust $99 million dollars and the COE washed their hands forever. Good riddance to bad rubbish as far as the COE was concerned constant interference from the NPS.

I have been monitoring the clean up very carefully. My subjective opinion is that the COE did a very good job. The COE was very open and has a lot of experience. The COE manages millions of acres of federal land all over the United States and the territories. The COE specializes in clean ups, marshlands and wet lands. They maintain dams, canals, bridges, and do the real engineering. In short they have the intelligence and the know how. They are also very open.

The Presidio RAB met yesterday, August 13, 2002 at the Presidio Officers Club. Espanola Jackson was there to announce to the RAB - that the First People of the San Francisco area should be represented on the RAB. Rosemary Cambra was a permanent member when the COE facilitated the RAB. Since then, the Bylaws have been changed and the RAB membership has been increased to 20 members. I saw NO diversity representative of the City and County in which I reside - but then many a times what I see no one does!

Joel Skidmore who has supported the Muwekma Tribe was present at this meeting - now and then I request him to witness the state of affairs.

The RAB had an agenda that it followed and among the many topics discussed was landfill E. Landfill E, which was well mapped by Montgomery Watson about 6 years ago. This site is considered a hot spot - in layman's term very toxic.

Site E is a landfill and much of the material dumped into this site came from the Letterman Hospital. Piliminiry tests done about 6 years ago detected elements of methane gas and also some radioactive substances. Lots of lead. A huge amount of acidic oils from the residue of the Eucalyptus Trees that abound in the area. Current tests could reveal more.

For all practical purposes this large site one of many at the Presidio of San Francisco should be totally cleaned up. This particular site has over 18,000 tons of landfill soil plus that should be removed and disposed off site. The cost could run to $20,000,000 easily and more.

Right now, after all this time the Presidio Trust under the able guidance of Chris Nelson, the Trust point of contact is looking at the data from this site. Various wells have been bored and Chris Nelson says the results are not in. I am sure he will share the results with the PUBLIC and that together as stakeholders we can arrive at some mitigation that has some logical consensus and benefits the majority.

Landfill E is linked to a big plan that the NPS has in mind. The NPS wants this site clean so that it can carry out a plan it has had in mind for ages. It wants to open a RIPARIAN CORRIDOR - restore Cow Hollow to its former days of glory. Beware, when the inept NPS has a plan! The NPS wants to create a stream by Halleck Street and see this stream flow all the way to Crissy Field. In my opinion this is a far-fetched dream.

We all know that the present Crissy Field Project is a joke. The man made lagoon is not functional. The beaches bordering Crissy Field have and being eroded. More dogs roam, defecate at Crissy Field and humans watch in glee. This is not a marshland it is a dog's playland.

This so-called Riparian Corridor is very expensive and money should be spent else where to attain better goals and objectives. The Presidio Trust has made many mistakes in the past. The Presidio Trust should not fall prey and tow the line or rather bite the bait of confusion.

The NPS is offering the Presidio a ploy - under some vague guise where the NPS will not spend much money and if the Presidio Trust falls for this ploy it will waste a lot of money. Millions.

Right now the Presidio Trust has only $99,000,000. The Trust has bought some cleanup insurance linked to this capitol. Landfill site E should be cleaned in toto. The toxic soil removed and disposed off. This will cost the Trust in access of $20,000,000, even more. A couple of other cleanups and the Presidio Trust will be left holding an empty bag. Cleanups that meet regulatory standards are very expensive.

As to the Riparian Corridor the NPS can raise the money through its for profit sister National Park Association and run its plan through the RAB and the stake holders. If all the elements are met the NPS may be given the blessings but in my opinion the NPS is suspect. Craig Middleton please have your experts brief you on this project.

The RAB also discussed the issue about the allegation of the Presidio Trust employees and the toxic barrels that were buried and which supposedly the Environmental Protection Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation did not find buried anywhere in the vicinity alleged. Every story has many sides and let me say this is the tip of the iceberg.

The issue before us is that there are hot spots all over the Presidio of San Francisco. As I have mentioned many times Battery Caufield and Battery Wagner are polluted. Other batteries too.

My primary concern is the watershed - a lot of which abound under the jurisdiction held by the Presidio Trust. The Lobos Creek watershed, the Marina watershed, the Coastal Bluff watershed are all at risk. They are at risk because the longer WE take to clean and abate the Presidio of San Francisco - the damage to the watersheds will be perennial.

Some 6 years ago Montgomery Watson a very reputable firm did some very good studies. I have access to all this pertinent information in map form and written documentation. The Presidio Trust thought they could get hold of this information and many on going feasibility studies. Montgomery Watson maintained the information was ‘proprietary”.

The Presidio Trust refused to do business with Montgomery Watson and the lot of valued time, information, and expertise was lost. The NPS could have helped but the NPS has never been a real partner - it always wants to be on the receiving end. In other words into free bees!

I attended the RAB meetings - religiously a couple of years ago. No more. It is fun to see the all WHITE RAB members discuss the Presidio of San Francisco as if it was an all white enclave. When will the Presidio RAB learn that this board should be a diverse representative - as diverse as the population of San Francisco. Wake up Presidio RAB - wake up to reality. Too much whip cream is bad for health!

I intend to comment at an up coming meeting called by Supervisor Gavin Newsom to discuss Presidio Issues. I hope to talk about the watersheds and other pertinent issues facing all the stakeholders.

The Presidio of San Francisco is a National Park. The decisions made should incorporate the views and ideas of the stakeholders. In order to facilitate this dialog - good information should be presented to the PUBLIC at large. This is not being done.

The Presidio Trust has a web site - time the Presidio Trust presents to the PUBLIC all the toxic sites. Show the PUBLIC the state of the watersheds. Reveal to the PUBLIC the progress made with its Forest Management Plan. Point out the direction it has taken to address its raw sewage problems and how it still exports its excreta to Bayview miles away to the South.

It is very true that the Presidio Trust does NOT have a good relationship with many of its employees. The Presidio Trust is too top heavy. The Presidio Trust does not want to give the Trust Employees bargaining rights. It has shut its door to the Equal Employment Commission. It has hundreds of complaints and many out standing cases before the Equal Employment Opportunity and the Merit System Promotion Board. It has cases in Federal Court.

The San Francisco Magazine exposure of James Meadows and his cronies like Steve Hood and Bruce Anderson has sent a signal to many constituents about how the Presidio Trust did business. Goons from Colorado controlled the Presidio Trust and ran it like a Correctional Facility - complete with hunting dogs and guns!

It is interesting to see the Presidio Trust try to make another come back with former employees from the Port Authority and the City Planning. These crooks working with some Trust Board members hope to hood wink the PUBLIC. It is difficult to bluff the people and the PUBLIC all the time.

The Presidio Trust RAB has a difficult assignment and is about to open a can of worms. It will NOT be able to address the complexity of the cleanup and abatement. The Presidio Trust wants to cap toxic landfills. Has done NOTHING much regarding asbestos and the numerous buildings that need repairs. Many buildings in the Fort Scott area are filled with asbestos dust and this abatement will cost millions.

Besides, many of these buildings have to be brought to seismic standards. What should have been done years ago - has not been done - and every year the price tag double if not triples - that is how the abatement and cleanup cards get stacked up.

An O'Hara on the RAB felt his pride was hurt when the alleged toxic barrels were not found and much damage done by the Press and Congresspersons Nancy Pelosi and George Miller. O'Hara lives in a fantasy world - he does not even fathom that the RAB has not begun to understand the enormous tasks that lie before the RAB. The RAB has an important job before them - right now they are just so confused they do not know where to start.

There are so many fuel tanks that should be removed. The Presidio has infrastructure that is very old - many of the old pipes corroded. When it rains many of the basements flood. Doyle Drive will come to haunt the Presidio Trust - some want to build Doyle Drive underground and the NPS wants the Riparian Corridor to flow in the path of the proposed Doyle Drive. Only 3% of the Presidio of San Francisco have been archeologically surveyed. Many of the toxic sites are near sensitive archeological sites. Many Whites do not want to respect nor acknowledge the Native Americans.

Again the standards set by the Department of the Interior have been over look and in many cases ignored. NEPA is a foreign word when projects are reviewed. Lies abound and more lies. For all practical purposes the entities want to hood wink the constituents and convert the Presidio of San Francisco into a Commercial Park.

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