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Sunday, July 3, 2011

SF Public Utilities Commission and the Sewer System Improvement Project.


The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission met at 1800 Oakdale in the Bayview at the Southeast Commission Facility on June 28, 2011 at 4 pm.

The SFPU Commissioners were given an opportunity to address some of the issues facing the community at large - and also how millions of dollars - will be spent on Arts, Job Training, and a host of other issues. Some of these issues were discussed and other hopefully will be in the near - future.

The SF Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) has NOT been transparent in the past and this time around - some of us feel that we have speak up so that the TRUTH - is told and told with facts and empirical data.

The first time around when the Water System Improvement Project (WSIP) was initiated - now as this project is at its tail end - millions of dollars linked to outreach and related issues - were NOT addressed properly - and over one hundred million dollars were - wasted.

This time around with the SSIP there are millions of dollars as much as $300 million for Outreach and at the meeting held on June 28, 2011 - millions of dollars were doled out to AECOM and PARSONS as much as $150 million for ten years.

This process is still open since the community at large has no clue who will do the real outreach - and how exactly this will be done.

The community in the Bayview Hunters Point has not received Accountability and Transparency - in all the years - especially since 1987 when the Southeast Facility was built - to serve the community and more our youth - from the SFPUC.

It was meant to address Quality of Life issues - as has been stated in the Southeast Commission Mission Objective - this has not happened - these issues are critical to evaluate - so that the Mission Objective - may be exercised and implemented.

It is time the SFPU Commission have more people of color - representing the diversity of San Francisco as Commissioners.

The Commission as it is now - represents the interest of the Mayor of San Francisco - if the Mayor is corrupt - then it follow the deliberations of the SFPU Commission follow suit. Make no bones about it - for the last 20 years the SFPUC has had a sordid history - and before that as the Water Department - all documented.

I say this because I attend the SFPUC meeting regularly - and if I do not - watch it on SFGOV TV and what I see I do not like. I am also privy to documents that I have in my possession.

I attended - the SFPUC meeting on June 28, 2011 - and spoke up a couple of times - and the Commissioners paid attention to what I commented on.

The Bayview Community is perhaps one of the very few communities that has a Raw Sewage Plant stark naked in the middle of the community.

The Digestors that hold the treated sewage sink to high heaven. One large digestor lid is open and is known to breed mosquitoes and other insects that adversely impact - thousands.

The WEIRS that hold treated sewage by the Bay are in disrepair - adversely affecting the Bay - the so called secondary effluents - many a time turn out to be half-treated sewage. The reasons given are many - but, the matter of fact is that the Bay is adversely impacted.

The Treatment Plant has neared on some occasion - salt water backing into its system - if this happens the entire system - will have to come to a grinding - halt.

The system that takes eighty percent of the City's sewage - is old and cannot meet the current requirements and need. Some of the sewage should be diverted to the Ocean side Treatment Plant by the San Francisco Zoo.

The Presidio of San Francisco sends all its sewage all the way to the Bayview. This sewage can be diverted to the Ocean side Treatment Plant.

This time around - billions of dollars will be spent on the Sewer System Improvement Project (SSIP) - and when eighty percent of the raw sewage from the City comes to the Phelps Raw Sewage Treatment Plant - that as I said is stark naked and situated in the Bayview.

A Task Force was established of Community Members - and the suggestion made by them - noted in a document that is available for the community at large.

Other documents are there - including the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) - that is on the SFPUC website - linked to the SSIP.

The Bayview community sharks are now circling and circling seeking out money that they think they can get - without any due process - and this is not so.

We are a Nation of laws - but for a long time - certain entities and now an entity such as RDJ Enterprise is setting itself to get some money - and use the money for dubious purposes.

The SSIP will expand over three Billion dollars and about two percent will be spent for arts and five percent - hopefully for outreach and job training - opportunities.

What bothers me is, how outsiders - and helped by mostly Black sell outs - are positioning themselves to do harm to the community.

This opportunity is the only opportunity to revive the community. Some of us have put pertinent suggestions in writing - but, the response from the SFPUC has not been - forthcoming.

It is not that something positive can be done but the effort must come from the SFPUC and its inept - leadership.

The window of opportunity is very narrow - and there are too many sharks in the water.

The community must not only have a plan - but have the right leadership with a viable plan to deliver.

Francisco Da Costa
Environmental Justice Advocacy