Text and photos by Sarah Phelan
On Wednesday night, as folks were getting ready to watch President Barack Obama’s speech about health care, the State Assembly voted 69-1 in support of an amended version of Sen. Mark Leno’s SB 792.
Leno’s bill, which is now back in the Senate, gives the State the authority to sell 23 acres of Candlestick Point State Recreation Area for $50 million.
Assemblymember Tom Ammiano was the lone dissenter on Leno’s bill with seven others abstaining or not voting.
Those voting “aye” included Assemblymembers Fiona Ma and Nancy Skinner. Florida-based developer Lennar, which has entered into a public-private partnership with the City of San Francisco to redevelop 770-acres at Hunters Point Shipyard and Candlestick Point, is arguing that it needs these additional 23 acres of prime waterfront property to build luxury condos, if the rest of its massive redevelopment plan is to pencil out.
Initially, SB 792 would have allowed the State to sell 43 acres of Candlestick Point State Recreation Area, the Bayview’s only major park, for condos. As such, it faced stiff opposition from the Sierra Club, Arc Ecology and Friends of Candlestick Point Park.
In its amended form, SB 792 authorizes the exchange of 23 acres, thus preserving 20 acres of existing parkland—a compromise, Leno says, that secured the neutrality of these three key environmental groups.
“I am especially pleased that after months of negotiations, amendments to SB 792 resulted in the neutrality of the Sierra Club, Arc Ecology and Friends of Candlestick Point,” Leno said.
So, what does SB 792’s passage mean for the park’s ecological integrity? And won’t the impact of removing 23 acres from the Bayview’s only major park be magnified, once condos and high rises have been built?