Blogging Bayport Alameda

September 7, 2006

Oops, he did it again…

Filed under: Alameda, Alameda Point, Development, Measure A — Lauren Do @ 9:50 am

So, I guess it is official then, Bill Davidson has become the mouthpiece for David Howard aka keepmeasurea.  Shall we be bold and call him a “shill”?  Nah…but it is starting to get a bit on the ridiculous side. 


And the original, which was also duplicated on Wikipedia.

But the student veers off a little from the teacher and proposes this to Don Roberts’ gentle readers:

The Yerba Buena Gardens web site gives credit to Helen Sause for getting the project done and given the similarities to The Fillmore redevelopment, it’s easy to see why she was recognized in Justin Herman’s name. Her supporters will quibble that she “inherited” the project.  But surely the first-mate-promoted-to-captain sinks with her ship, doesn’t she? And why not reject the Justin Herman award on principle, if that spirit offends her?

First, did Helen Sause ever say that she was offended by the spirit of Justin Herman?  Yes, he was in control of the Redevelopment Agency when they made a very misguided attempt at urban renewal, but it’s not as though he didn’t do anything good for the City of San Francisco, it’s too bad that his name is being used in  a negative connotation in order to prove a point and make a very tenuous association between the Western Addition project in the 50-60s and the Yerba Buena project.

Here is an analysis of Justin Herman from San Francisco Planning and Urban Research (SPUR):

During the Alioto tenure, Justin Herman, the person responsible for guiding the Agency during its early years, died. A summary report on Agency activity, written almost entirely by Herman and published just weeks after his death, gives a rare glimpse of the man and his era. As Executive Director of the Agency from 1960 until 1971, Herman oversaw the construction of a number of schools, playgrounds, churches and low-income apartments. He was the architect of much of the changing face of San Francisco at that time. But for all of the benevolence he bestowed, “redevelopment” remained highly controversial. Much of the reason lies in the fact that urban policy in the 1950’s through the 1970’s was distributed in a top-down fashion. It was formulated and implemented by “experts” who knew what was “best” for cities and communities – even in cases where the cure might seem worse than the problem. This professional detachment was to be incendiary when applied to the simmering unease that existed in the many communities of color in San Francisco at that time. Even the subsequent projects in Hunters Point and India Basin, begun during the tenure of Herman, would not automatically erase decades of bad feelings. 

Additionally, Justin Herman was the head of the Redevelopment Agency, but Wilbur Hamiltonwas the project director for the A-2 portion of the redevelopment.  Much like Helen Sause was project director for the Yerba Buena project.  So do we blame Wilbur Hamilton for “…dislocating thousands of Japanese, African Americans, poor people and other minorities.” or is the blame still on Justin Herman?  And if the head of the redevelopment agency is to be blamed for the results of a project, then it should be noted that Wilbur Hamilton was the head of the redevelopment agency during the Yerba Buena project.  It can only be one way folks.  Either it’s Helen Sause, project director = Wilbur Hamilton, project director or Wilbur Hamilton, head of redevelopment = Justin Herman, head of redevelopment, it cannot be Helen Sause, project director = Justin Herman, head of redevelopment. 

Besides, when did Helen Sause come on board anyway, because according to SPUR’s website the Yerba Buena project was:

…not adopted until 1965, and not implemented until a series of lawsuits were settled in the 1970’s, it was conceived of early in the 1950’s. Yerba Buena grew from a concern over having a skid row dotted with parking lots, junkyards, bars, and residential hotels on the edge of downtown.

In the course of implementing a plan for Yerba Buena, the Agency built a considerable amount of low and moderate-income housing, instituted a successful employment assistance program, and found itself dealing with social and public health issues to a greater degree than had ever been anticipated. Yerba Buena had its origins as a federally financed slum clearance project. It evolved into a project that embodied the replacement of federal funds by private sector and local monies, with consequences on the very shape of future redevelopment projects.

The spread of misinformation continues with the help of Don Roberts.


  1. I’d like to recognize that this 6-degrees-of-seperation like slander is the same employed by the anti-theater people against Kyle Connor, the project developer. Kyle worked for the company that ran the South Shore cinemas that have been much maligned (I never attended them but I hear the malignment is justified). However he ran a theater for the company in Petaluma (or therebouts, I don’t have the exact city off the top of my head) which has never been considered run-down or poorly run.

    Anti-theater people (those supporting the republican slate), continue to tie him directly to the South Shore Cinemas which he was never involved in. These types of attacks are really appalling.

    It speaks to the weakness of an argument when one cannot dig up actual dirt on a person and therefore attempt to smear them with someone else’s past. Don Robert’s site is very good at this as he never editorializes on mis-characterizations that speak to his own feelings, only ones he disagrees with (that’s when he prints the disagreeable letters at all).


    Comment by John Knox White — September 7, 2006 @ 10:35 am

  2. Lauren – I know you don’t like to believe it, but there a vast number of Alameda residents that belive in Measure A, question HOMES and want their voice to be heard.

    Comment by keepmeasurea — September 7, 2006 @ 11:21 am

  3. It looks like we’re running over some familiar territory again here, so I’ll spare you all a repetition of the arguments I’ve made elsewhere.

    For more background on the Yerba Buena Gardens project and Helen Sause’s role in it, please see my second comment on the “Manhattanization” thread.

    For more discussion of Mr. Howard’s and now Mr. Davidson’s suggestion that HOMES and others who are interested in examining a modification to Measure A must be fans of 1960’s-style “urban renewal,” please read my comment on the “Tom Billings” thread, as well as my first comment on the “Manhattanization” thread.

    In parting, I’ll say that I don’t doubt that there are a number of HOMES skeptics and opponents to any modification of Measure A out there who want their voices to be heard. I just wish they would focus a little more on facts and original analysis and a little less on second-hand propagation of Six-Degrees-of-Kevin-Bacon-style innuendo.

    Comment by Michael Krueger — September 7, 2006 @ 12:15 pm

  4. Yeah, I’d expect those VAST Measure A supporters would be posting on the keepmeasurea blog to “have their voices heard”, especially in an area where they’d be supported by like-minded individuals. It’d be a natural fit.

    Yet they don’t.

    It’s a curious thing.

    Comment by Dave S. — September 7, 2006 @ 1:24 pm

  5. It is so dissapointing to see the keepmeasura supporters continue to rely on personal attacks, inuendo, and falsehoods, rather than be willing to discuss the issue openly. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a (sorry to use it)”fair and balanced” discussion?

    Comment by Doug Biggs — September 7, 2006 @ 2:17 pm

  6. Well, let’s not paint ALL of the keepmeasurea supporters with the same brush… because I’m genuinely curious to hear from the VAST number of supporters instead of their self-proclaimed appointee or three.

    Comment by Dave S. — September 7, 2006 @ 2:52 pm

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