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Air pollution – Why would Planning Department approve a building that decreases BayCrest residents’ lives?

I’m always puzzled by a City that bans flavored tobacco – taking away the option for an adult to choose to buy flavored tobacco in San Francisco city limits – while at the same time the Planning Department staff recommends and Planning Commission often approves office buildings and residential buildings that WILL increase the poisons in the air for Rincon Hill and SoMa residents to breathe with no choice in the matter.  If you and I don’t breathe air, we’re dead.

Any amount of increase in particulate matter 2.5 shortens a person’s lifespan – just like cigarette smoke.  Now, our Planning Department writes documents indicating that the amount of poison these buildings add is “less than significant.”  That’s easy for people who do not live in SoMa to say, isn’t it?  Murderers shorten peoples lives …. does it matter if the murderer shortens a life by only 3 minutes? 3 hours? 3 days? 3 weeks? 3 months? 3 years?  Seems to me that a government entity knowingly deciding to approve a new building that science says will increase the poison in the air is committing manslaughter by any other euphemism, and that is more than significant to me.

Put another way – would the Planning Commissioners and Planning Department staff who agree that the increased PM 2.5 air pollution is increasing in our babies’ and senior citizens’ breathing air, but not “significant” enough to ask a developer to re-design the building so it does NOT increase poisons in the air,  also be willing to let a member of the public add a “less than significant” amount of rat poison to their drinks?  I mean, at least they would have a choice to keep drinking or not – while Rincon Hill residents cannot choose to stop breathing (unless they die). I provide this metaphor to make you stop and think ….. “less than significant” is a euphemism, right? I mean, would anyone sane poison their babies to any degree knowingly? I hope not.

In my personal opinion, shortening a person’s life should be illegal – and our Planning Department and Planning Commission should not have the right to act as a death panel for residents in South of Market where the air pollution is already bad, but our Planning Department and Planning Commission are given the opportunity to kill us prematurely when considering approvals of developments that WILL increase the air pollution poisons we breathe in our homes in SoMa.

So let’s not think that we’re such a great City when we allow our government to kill residents prematurely in order to enrich developers.  We need to vote for candidates with principles like “DO NO HARM” so that we’re not being killed prematurely by Planning decisions.

For now, BayCrest residents’ lives are not eminently being shortened by a new neighboring wall of development in addition to the harm already caused by so many office buildings and the high density of traffic related PM 2.5 they put in our air every week day, but that could change in 2 weeks when Planning again considers a building design that will likely  increase the air pollution babies, seniors, everybody – about 500 residents – breathe in to their lungs at BayCrest Towers. Let’s hope our Planning Commission decides to DO NO HARM and insist on developments that help DECREASE air pollution and lengthen lives – not INCREASE air pollution and shorten our lives.



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