Ecologists Unwelcome After Criticizing City's Plans

By Matt Baume
|  Monday, Jan 3, 2011  |  Updated 7:30 AM PDT
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Ecologists Unwelcome After Criticizing City's Plans

SF Public Press on Flickr

The Heron's Head Park is a 24-acre public space and the location of the Eco Center.

Why is Arc Ecology no longer welcome in the Bayview? Some people suspect that it has something to do with the ecological organization's criticism of the city's redevelopment plans.

For thirty years, Arc Ecology has looked after the environmental health of the neighborhood, first fighting against nuclear weapons and then later working as neighborhood science advisers.

But the SF Redevelopment Agency recently decided not to renew a lucrative contract with them, removing a significant source of funding. Now, Arc must move to smaller offices.

The move came after Arc called attention to the city's plan to transfer property and build structures around Bayview, Hunter's Point, and Candlestick Point. The area is highly controversial due to historic, social, and environmental factors.

For years, Arc has been charged with evaluating the redevelopment of the economically depressed region. But they were suddenly left high and dry last year, despite recommendations from the state and a panel or experts that the city make use of the organization's extensive experience.

There's also a suspicious connection to Newsom's economic development office. A representative from that office gave Arc an oddly low evaluation, which was just enough to place the contract out of reach.

For its part, the city says that its evaluation was fair. But the unusual timing of the city's unusual evaluations are unlikely to convince Arc's supporters.

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