Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Plaza 16's 'Hail Mary' Moratorium Ballot Plan Revealed

Since I'm not part of the cabal of nonprofits and their allies running the Plaza 16 "community" organization, I've not been privy to how the steering committee has arrived at the decision to put the group's name, time and energy into a development moratorium ballot prop for this November.

I've monitored Plaza 16 coordinator Andy Blue's cheerleading posts on Facebook and learned of signature gathering in recent weeks to qualify the initiative for the fall election. Why bother with the trouble of democratic engagement with the public in a town hall or two to see if the "community" beyond the nonprofits backs the ballot prop route?

A recent public records request to Joseph Smooke, Sup. David Campos' legislative aide and former member of the Plaza 16 steering committee who is a founder and current coordinator of the PeoplePowerMedia video news service, produced this email June 10 to Smooke:

"This is a Hail Mary pass and I'm not a good candidate to 'bottom line' a moratorium initiative, but I have a strong belief that without one, the Mission will continue to gentrify rapidly.

"Though NOT a member of SFHAC, I'm on their mailing list and go to their public events. I'm also a licensed remodeling contractor, and know the developer mindset. If the Mission community does not mount a moratorium initiative in 2016, the developers will declare victory, increase land speculation, file more projects, evict and gentrify on steroids. This is especially true if they believe there will be an initiative in 2016.
"Giving developers a full year to consolidate their financial and political power is a terrible idea. The current activist "A" team has too little bandwidth to take on a huge moratorium initiative. So bring in a "B" team.

"The Mission community clearly wants escalation. The community will feel betrayed if the only deliverable is a few hot protests followed by the steady juggernaut of eviction, displacement and socio-economic cleansing."

The email is from David Carlos Salaverry, who is the paid staff coordinator of Save The Mission, a new arm of Plaza 16 with the same old Mission and housing leaders in charge.

Salaverry attached a three page Word Document laying out the Plaza 16/Save The Mission's campaign and fundraising plan for their electoral effort. Sure would be great if we had democratic agreements with our "community" leaders who shared such documents with the rest of us, but until such time as genuine transparency and accountability are integral to Plaza 16, let's be grateful with have the power of open govt laws and folks who request and disseminate public records.

You can read Plaza 16's campaign plan here.

A bit of money must have been raised because the campaign leaders are paying up to $50 an hour for signature-gatherers.

This image has been recruiting paid workers for Plaza 16's campaign and has been circulating on social media. In the middle, it reads: "Keep your freedom to live in SF. Join nonprofits: Causa Justa, MEDA, PODER & more."

Does Plaza 16 and the nonprofit cabal pulling its strings have any plans to eventually hold public meetings open to all, to communicate a bit of their campaign plans with folks who don't work at these organizations?

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