Somalia By The Bay?

I truly wish for the sake of all San Franciscans, that there was a good, honest and realistic development project forthcoming for Treasure Island.

As the former Executive Director for Treasure Island, I was exposed to certain realities regarding the intricacies and complexities of any development relating to that Island, and I will share a few of them with you below.

1. With a current City budget deficit approaching $600 million dollars thanks to the mismanagement of this administration and this Board of Supervisors, where is the quoted $105 million dollars going to come from to supposedly pay for the project?

2. Even if the true cost was only $105 million dollars, why are we now paying that amount for only 450 acres of the total 550 acres available that we could have had for nothing five years ago when there was a much stronger and more expensive real estate market, and with none of the major problems being resolved? (And surprise – who benefits from the control and development of the remaining 100 acres that the City does not buy?)

3. In this latest fantasy scheme, the Mayors office says that the Navy has agreed to do the toxic cleanup. Any novice base re-use developer knows that the navy will only clean up according to federal standards, and not to State or local requirements that are much more stringent and many times the cost of federal standards. This alone will add tens of millions of costs to S. F. taxpayers.

4. Treasure Island is man-made of seismically unsafe toxic landfill 8 to 15 feet deep and sits on top of one of the strongest quake fault lines in the State. The cost to taxpayers to stabilize the perimeter of the Island and to eliminate the present rate of “sinking” will be in the hundreds of millions of dollars and has been documented in multiple in-depth studies commissioned by the Treasure Island Development Authority. Without the proper seismic stabilization, soil remediation and toxic cleanup, how is the Island going to support the three 60 story high rises, 6000 new homes and commercial center, or the 40 acre organic garden that this mayor is dreaming of?

5. The partners quoted in the development scheme are Wilson Meany Sullivan, a planning and development firm that I assume will want to get paid for their work, and Lennar Corp. and Kenwood Investments, two corporations that I believe are experiencing solvency problems of late.

Why would this happen, you might ask? What interest would the mayor’s office have in operating a failed development like Treasure Island? The answer is simple: smoke and mirrors. A quick-fix poster board attempt to win image. It looks good. That is, before actual analysis.

I think what we have here is an example of Gavin Newsom once again exploiting the issue and selling out the City’s best interests in order to boost his rapidly declining poll numbers.

The only entity that makes out under this scheme, if it indeed will ever happen, is the Navy who has nothing to lose. My advice to this mayor is go back and see if you have any political donors left that you can coerce into a “sweetheart deal” so that you can continue to keep the “Treasure Island Fantasy” alive until you are finally out of office.


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