Unanswered Questions: The South of Market Community Forum


Mad Man Marlon - Posted on 23 February 2011

Author: 
Marlon Crump/PNN


"Jane Kim is a park's champion and an advocate."
Words expressed by Phil Ginsburg on behalf, and support of newly-elected S.F. District 6 Supervisor Jane Kim. Ginsburg is the General Manager of Recreation and Park Department for the City and County of San Francisco, CA.

A community forum panel took place at the Bessie Carmichael Elementary School, on February 16th, 2011 in San Francisco's South of Market District. (SoMa) Myself, and my fellow POOR comrade, Muteado Silencio attended this community meeting. As a community ourselves who live in her district, we needed to be here. Who's talking about us, who's talking with us, and for us as a community motivates our routine re-porting and sup-porting.

No voices would be taboo..............even when we're heard.

Insight was needed by us as to what S.F. Supervisor Jane Kim plans were going to be for her constituents.

After an estimated five block travel through chilly winds, we arrived just in time to hear the forum panelists address everyone in attendance. The community members were diverse, primarily of multiple Asian ethnicities (among others) and cultures. The meeting was held in the school's cafeteria.

Community organizers involved for tonight's meeting were the United Playaz and SOMCAN. The forum panelists were San Francisco departmental head employees here for a dialogue discussion.

They were from the Department of Public Health, Board of Education, the Recreation and Park Department, the San Francisco Police Department's Southern Station, the  Redevelopment Agency, and the Department of Public Works. Angelica Cabande, organizing director for SOMCAN facilitated the discussion dialogue.

Issues raised were pedestrian, public safety, accessibility for the Gene Friend Recreational Center, and plans for Victoria Manalo Draves Park. (across the street from the school)  The transparency that took place were primary concerns of complaints regarding the park, and ongoing unsavory activities occurring in it. The residents who lived in this area expressed their concerns of not being secure and safe.

A police sergeant on the panel pledged that his department would address their concerns.

Everyone was allowed to bring forth questions, concerns, and grievances to the panelists. However, everyone's answers were postponed until the meeting's end due to the "interest of time."

As I stood in line to speak to the panelists, I myself began to hear each speaker. Criticisms ranged from lack of traffic safety, neighborhood protection, and scarce beneficial resources became instantaneous to my ears. One speaker expressed his efforts to receive a small business license, but was unsuccessful. He seemed discouraged in displaying his words to them. His greatest fear was that he wouldn't be able to support himself unless he got his license.

In a two-sided circulated community flyer, I viewed a chronology of concerns. One paragraph indicated that the SoMa community "wasn't against advocating for adequate funding for the rec center and park." Another was how funds are never really allocated into the community, regardless. Also indicated in the flyer were allegations of discrimination against the United Playaz staff; and refusals to allow them partnerships into their programs.

Some students raised an awareness that somewhat shocked not only me, but some attendees regarding the school food distributed to them: Poorly prepared portions, limited, and unsatisfactory meals were given to them daily. Hydra Mendoza, the school board president quickly rose from her seat to assure everyone that the food "was much better than it was five years ago."

She also stated that the city was the process of pouring funds into the school district.

"Where is the city going to get these funds considering its continuous claims of alleged shortfalls and deficits for the schools?" I asked myself, while dining on slices of pizza and sliced portions of sandwich rolls provided at this meeting.

Moreover, if these accusations made from the youth speakers were indeed valid; how can the city and/or state expect for all children, especially in elementary to function and focus in their education without proper nourishment?

"I just have a couple of questions for Supervisor Jane Kim." I said to them while shifting my eyes towards Kim's direction meeting her's. "One of them is how do you feel about the Eastern Neighborhood's Plan to "re-zone" the Mission District? The other is, what are your thoughts regarding the opposition against this plan to remove the Red Stone Building, and replace it with a condominium?"

For what felt like to me was just a typical two-hour dry doctored dialogue, with the panelists bearing remain-to-be-seen promises. After the meeting adjourned, I approached Supervisor Kim for her to respond to my series questions I had asked earlier on. I was curious about Kim's thoughts about the Eastern Neighborhood's Plan to "rezone" the Mission District, and removing the Redstone Building.

She immediately introduced me to her staff members. It felt in this instance as if my questions would be unanswered. I extended an invitation for her to come to the next POOR Community Newsroom. Kim couldn't promise she'd attend. If she was unable to, one of her reps would be sent instead.

"I'm interested in attending some of those meetings." Kim said to me, referencing the meetings held by the Redstone Building tenants concerning the building's future.

"Roughly about five people have asked her (Kim) to come the meetings, but she hasn't shown up, nor has any of her representatives." My comrade, Elder Scholar Bruce Allison would later inform me. "One of them was a resident of Adair Alley. ( He's asked her to come to the meetings, due to the project's plan to build forty parking spaces in it. This would be an inconvenience for him to even leave out of his home."

(Panelists present at the forum included:The panelists part of the SoMa Townhall evening meeting forum: .Colleen Chawla, Director of Grants, and Special Projects for S.F. Department of Public Health. .Hydra Mendoza, President of the San Francisco School Board of Education. .Phil Ginsburg, General Manager of Recreation and Park Department. .Courtney Pash, of the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency. .Mohammed Nuru, of San Francisco Department of Public Works. .Unknown sergeant from the San Francisco Police Department)

Articles of opposition against the proposed development plan:

http://poormagazine.org/node/3373
http://poormagazine.org/node/3380
http://missionlocal.org/2011/01/opposition-builds-for-condo-complex-near-redstone-building/

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