Letters

No Man's Island
We are writing to set the record straight on the Treasure Island Development Authority ("Treasure Island Giveaway," The Grid, May 21). Reporters George Cothran and Chuck Finnie seemed shocked that the authority will be run by "mayoral appointees." Where's the scandal? The mayor appoints all members of virtually all commissions in San Francisco. That is his job as the chief executive of the city. As the legislative branch of the city, the Board of Supervisors decides the policies under which city agencies will do business and, by the way, we have the right to reject commission appointments -- including appointments to the Development Authority.

Contrary to Cothran and Finnie's statement that the authority will be able to sell or lease property "entirely as the [authority] board sees fit," our board continues to have the power to accept or reject all contracts and leases on Treasure Island, as we do with other city departments. Should Treasure Island become a Redevelopment Project Area (a decision which requires the Board of Supervisors' approval), it will be subject to the same approval processes as other project areas in San Francisco, including board approval of the redevelopment plan for the island.

There are other facts that Cothran and Finnie either failed to mention or were too lazy to check. For example, under state law, Treasure Island directors will be required to adopt a conflict of interest code, which would impose on them the same standards and financial disclosure requirements as all other city commissioners. On the question of housing, the board has already endorsed an agreement with the Treasure Island Homeless Development Initiative (TIHDI) to manage 375 units of low-income housing already located on the island and serve as a hiring agent for many of the jobs that will be created.

Finally, Cothran and Finnie neglected to give their readers the real reason the board voted for the creation of the authority: It sets up one management team for running the island rather than three different, bureaucratic agencies with different agendas and procedures. This will allow Treasure Island to be developed sometime in our lifetimes, rather than long after we face such critical needs as creating jobs for former welfare recipients.

The only question we have is this: Was it "sloth" or "brainlessness" that led Cothran and Finnie to leave these facts out of the story?

Supervisor Barbara Kaufman
Supervisor Michael Yaki
San Francisco

George Cothran and Chuck Finnie respond: Supervisors Kaufman and Yaki are correct in stating that supervisors "have the right to reject commission appointments -- including appointments to the Development Authority." The supervisors will have 30 days to produce a supermajority of two-thirds to reject a mayoral appointment. The board has no say over mayoral decisions to fire said directors.

Kaufman and Yaki cite the city charter as support for the following: the "board [of supervisors] continues to have the power to accept or reject all contracts and leases on Treasure Island." The charter says only that the board has the right to rule on leases of property owned by the City and County of San Francisco. As the supervisors well know, the title to Treasure Island will never be held by the City and County of San Francisco. It will be held by the Port, the Redevelopment Agency, or the Development Authority.

Kaufman and Yaki state the Development Authority directors will be required to adopt a conflict of interest code akin to those governing other city commissioners. Great!

Finally, as for plans for low-income housing on Treasure Island, California law prohibits it. So, the supervisors are free to endorse away, but had better get the lawyers busy.

Out of The Gap
If the treatment The Gap Inc. receives from the city is so preferential ("Falling for The GAP," May 28), why would it ever want to relocate? But, if The Gap ever does decide to move its corporate headquarters, I hope it chooses an underdeveloped country -- where most of its clothing is made.

Don Davenport
Western Addition

De-Generated X
Why is it that Michael Batty feels he's achieving something by trying to undermine someone else's work ("The Young and X-less, Part 9," Riff Raff, May 28)? Is he so insecure that he needs to assume the role of protector of the city's hipster population in order to gain some "cred"?

Of course Doug Rushkoff knew what was going on in Riff Raff the last few weeks. I mentioned it to him myself, as did some of his other friends and acquaintances in the Bay Area. The fact of the matter is nobody really cared until Batty decided to publish the so-called "surprise ending" to the book.

Advance copies are sent out to people who the publisher hopes are professionals and peers. Reviews don't have to be positive, but Batty chose to respond like a 12-year-old with a felt tip pen and a copy of the yearbook. It's too bad he ended up damaging someone else's work and reflecting so badly on himself as a journalist.

Andrew Mayer
Mission

Bottle Fed
I wasn't aware that it took champagne, posters, and a PR bunny to make Willie look like a fool ("Anatomy of a Press Kit," Unspun, May 28).

Brad Wilson
SOMA

Corrections
Our May 21 feature story "Queen of Sixth Street" mistakenly reported that John Elberling was elected to the Sixth Street Project Area Committee.

The May 28 Eat column mistakenly reported that only parts of Peregrine are accessible by wheelchair; all of it is.

Our apologies.

 
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