Opposition to the Proposed Vehicle Triage Center (VTC) at Candlestick State Park - September 16, 2021

 

Statement of Position

We, the Residents of Candlestick Point, True Hope Square Community, and the Bayview Hill Neighborhood Association, are in opposition to establishing a Vehicle Triage Center (VTC) at the Boat Launch Site at Candlestick State Park.

 

Intention and Rationale

We are sympathetic to the challenges that have led to our fellow citizens succumbing to homelessness.  If you lose your housing in San Francisco, your only option might be to live in your vehicle.  We don’t want to criminalize or further marginalize an unfortunate social condition.  We are glad to hear that there are significant public resources[1] available to aid those in need.  We also trust that solutions will be developed that can help our neighbors overcome the challenges they are facing. 

 

Residents in the Southeast section of San Francisco have borne the brunt of bad economic development decisions and a disproportionate share of environmental hazards for too long. In fact, “residents of BVHP can expect to live on average 14 years less than their counterparts in Russian Hill.”[2] San Francisco’s General Plan acknowledges that Bayview-Hunters Point “has been the focus of some of the city’s most noxious and unhealthy heavy industries, including steel manufacturing, ship repair, junkyards, and auto wrecking.” The area still hosts the largest percentage of

industrial sites, brownfields, leaking underground fuel tanks, and a Superfund site when

compared to the same conditions for residents throughout the city.

 

Sacrificing six acres of recreational space, for the proposed VTC, that is used to offset unhealthy air quality and other health conditions that have long plagued this area is not in the public interest. In it’s own report, SF Environment writes that “access to parks, open spaces, and recreation facilities has been linked to more frequent physical activity, reductions in stress, depression, and inability to focus. Other natural aesthetic investments, such as trees, also provide similar mental health benefits, as well as an important source of natural cooling, shade, and pollution sequestration.”[3]  This is not the time nor place to continue the disenfranchisement of residents in this long-neglected part of San Francisco.  We demand consideration for maintaining a neighborhood that is comparable with the rest of San Francisco. To this end, we want to be clear about our position to oppose establishing a VTC at the Boat Launch Site at Candlestick Park.

 

  1. We don’t need a further concentration of poverty in the Bayview.  

 

  1. We have more than our fair share of homeless service centers located in the Bayview. We don’t need to have any more homeless encampments and service centers in the Bayview. Currently there are:

    • 3 navigation centers of the 10 in San Francisco (of which only 7 are operational)[10]

    • Bayview Access Point

    • Pier 94 site for 120 RVs

    • Neighborhood Food Pantries

    • Adult Coordinated Entry at Episcopal Community Services

    • Additional resources for advocates to work specifically in the Bayview

 

  1. We want to continue to use the Candlestick State Park as the recreation area it is intended to be. 

  • We don’t want vehicles parked along Hunters Point Expressway and Gilman Street that do not move for street sweeping.  We want enforcement of statutes and laws that are enforced routinely around the city.

  • We want to be able to walk from the surrounding neighborhoods to the park without fear for our health safety.

 

  1. We don’t want garbage and debris along the streets bordering Candlestick State Park. 

    • We don’t want illegal dumping[11] or hazardous waste along the street.

    • We want enforcement of statutes and laws that are enforced routinely around the city.

    • We don’t want the area overrun with pests such as rats, rodents and raccoons.

 

  1. We don’t want to give up six acres of recreational space within our community. We demand the $144 Million[12] in funding be provided to the park to bring it back to a usable recreation site.

    • We want the facilities repaired and restored for functional use.

    • We want the water access points repaired and restored for functional use.

    • We want safe pedestrian, bike, transit, and car access to the park

    • We want the necessary and regular enforcement for security of the park and for park users.

 

  1. We demand investment in the Candlestick Area

    1. The road disrepair along Gilman, Hunters Point Expressway, and Harney Way needs to be repaired and made accessible immediately for cars, pedestrians, cyclists, and transit users

    2. The currently abandoned Candlestick development site needs to be maintained to the standards of projects such as Mission Rock

    3. The currently abandoned Candlestick development needs to be resuscitated so that much needed residential units (7000+) be built in order to provide permanent housing and amenities

    4. Brownfield redevelopments, like the Candlestick area, have an obligation to be remediated because they have, “significant environmental, economic, and social benefits”[13] all of which are gravely needed in this area

 

Representing Your Constituents

In addition to the points made in the Intention and Rationale discussion, the process by which this proposal was developed is of grave concern. The people that are Residents and homeowners in this area have not been included in the discussion of this VTC site in a meaningful way. There has been no public discussion or consideration of alternatives to the proposed VTC prior to the September 9, 2021 online HSH meeting[14]. The taskforce from which the recommendations were made, claims to have been working on this plan for 19 months. It is our understanding, however, that it did not start for this exclusive purpose and did not adequately staff area residents for decisions that impact area residents. 

 

If our elected representatives truly represent their constituents, ask yourself these questions:

  1. How many of the vehicle triage site working group members that recommended the Candlestick State Park as a location, reside within one mile of the proposed site?

  2. How many opportunities have area residents living within one mile of this site had to provide public comments on this site?

  3. Is five days a sufficient period of time between the first public briefing on the proposed vehicle site and the introduction of said proposal into the Board of Supervisors September 14th meeting[15]?

  4. What alternative responses have been proposed to solving the issues where 677 vehicles with inhabitants have aggregated in D10 with 154 drawn to the Candlestick area specifically as of August 2021?[16]

  5. What remedies are there for the disrepair and neglect for basic infrastructure and development in the Candlestick area, leading over 7000 residential units being years behind?

 

The solution is an equitable citywide distribution of the vehicle housed, not a concentration in the RV overpopulated Bayview and pursuing development of the area according to approved plans. Fairness and humanity dictate that we recognize that this is a city and regional problem, not exclusively in the Bayview. The Residents of the Candlestick Area respectfully request that the Board of Supervisors, the State Land Commission, SF Department of Housing and Homelessness, the Mayor's Office, the State Park Department, the SFMTA, the DPW and other agencies carefully review their authority and exercise it to the fullest extent as necessary to ensure the health, safety, and socio-economic wellbeing of the community and Candlestick State Park.

 

 

[1] $1.1B over 2 years: https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/S-F-has-an-unprecedented-1-1-billion-to-spend-16318448.php

[2]https://sfenvironment.org/sites/default/files/fliers/files/sfe_ej_sfhh_community_health_status_assessment.pdf p4.

[3]https://sfenvironment.org/sites/default/files/fliers/files/sfe_ej_sfhh_community_health_status_assessment.pdf, p28

[4] https://sfgov.org/ccsfgsa/current-san-francisco-supervisorial-districts

[5]https://sfenvironment.org/sites/default/files/fliers/files/sfe_ej_sfhh_community_health_status_assessment.pdf

[6]https://default.sfplanning.org/publications_reports/SF_NGBD_SocioEconomic_Profiles/2012-2016_ACS_Profile_Neighborhoods_Final.pdf

[7]https://sfenvironment.org/sites/default/files/fliers/files/sfe_ej_sfhh_community_health_status_assessment.pdf

[8] https://hsh.sfgov.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Candlestick-VTC-Community-Meeting-9.9.pdf

[9] SF Environment et al., San Francisco Healthy Homes Project: Community Health Assessment 15

(undated), available at

http://www.sfenvironment.org/sites/default/files/fliers/files/sfe_ej_sfhh_community_health_status_assess

ment.pdf.

[10] https://hsh.sfgov.org/services/the-homelessness-response-system/shelter/navigation-centers/

[11]https://sfpublicworks.org/calendar/public-works-ramps-special-operation-targets-illegal-dumping-bayview

[12] https://esd.dof.ca.gov/Documents/bcp/2122/FY2122_ORG3790_BCP4238.pdf

[13]https://sfenvironment.org/sites/default/files/fliers/files/sfe_ej_sfhh_community_health_status_assessment.pdf, p17

[14] September 9, 2021 meeting recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3WNEWXBgQzg

[15] https://sanfrancisco.granicus.com/player/clip/39357?meta_id=894549, at the 1hr17min50sec mark.

[16]https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/11vUcZK3M9V7f4LhLgCQKt17Ins6T220Lfgtc8Cyh7ro/edit?usp=sharing