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Rincon Hill Lion Roared at City Hall Tonight

When neighbors unite and stand up for what’s right, we will be heard in City Hall.  Tonight, Rincon Hill’s long term LIVABILITY is intact because BayCrest Towers Residents took time off of work and away from their regular activities to unite and stand up for what’s right. 

The design for 430 Main / 429 Beale has been continued until May 14th in order to give the developer a chance to hit the reset button, so-to-speak, and to ENGAGE the Rincon Hill community for earnest input and to find a better design for the proposed building that mitigates the significant negative impact on the open spaces of BayCrest Towers to the north of the site.  This is what was desired by the Rincon Hill community – the Planning Commission put the brakes on the current design and asked the developer to work with the community.

The Planning Commission hearing today, April 9, 2009, was the first time many of my neighbors at BayCrest Towers had attended such a meeting – for some, it was their first time entering our beautiful San Francisco City Hall despite living here for years.  It is quite amazing that we were able to organize as quickly as we did, considering there was no existing building e-mail list and many of our older residents do not have Internet access at home.  BayCrest Towers is a working person’s building … we’re not millionaires, but we united and stood up for what was right tonight.

I am so proud of my neighbors for showing up at City Hall and SPEAKING up to the Planning Commission about Case Nos. 2007-1121XV, 430 Main / 429 Beale.  I know it sounds corny, but my eyes were tearing up a little listening to the very eloquent, substantive public comments my neighbors made.  When I became involved in the Howard Dean presidential nomination campaign in early 2003, I embraced the idea that “We have the power!”  Tonight, my neighbors in Rincon Hill proved to themselves that “We have the power!” if we unite and stand up for what’s right.

The video of the 4/9/2009 Planning Commission meeting is now online, and I invite you to watch the meeting starting about 2 hours and 20 minutes deep (click on the agenda item, 12A to see the start).  Again, I am so very, very proud of my Rincon Hill and BayCrest Towers neighbors tonight.  While facing probably around 50 or more building trades and construction workers who only see the short-term benefit of a job without regard to the long-term effects on the Rincon Hill neighborhood, my neighbors still walked up to the microphone and told the Planning Commission how they would be negatively impacted.

If you signed my online petition, I want to thank you very much.  I turned it in to the Planning Commission with all 260 signatures when I gave my public comments.

It is a shame that this project pitted working people against working people at the Planning Commission meeting, but that’s what happened.  Rincon Hill is full of construction projects today – many construction trades jobs will be created at the Transbay Temporary Terminal, the Transbay Transit Center, Block 8 and Block 11A of the Transbay Redevelopment Project Area, and 333 Harrison Street … and some day, after the developer and Rincon Hill neighbors find a more agreeable design, jobs will be created at 430 Main/429 Beale. 

Living in one big construction zone in Rincon Hill and right under the Bay Bridge, I believe BayCrest Towers residents … about 500 people or so … deserve to be CONSIDERED and their only open space in the neighborhood, the middle and end courtyards, maintained with access to sunlight and air as much as possible.

See you at the May 14th Planning Commission meeting … let’s hope that the developer works with us so that we will be there to support the project along with the building trades workers next time.

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