No Such Thing as a Free Treasure Island: Obama

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Treasure Island viewed from above.

    According to a letter written recently by an aide, President Barack Obama doesn't support a proposal that would give Treasure Island, along with a bunch of other closed military bases across the country, to local city governments for free.

    Which puts another snag in the plan to redevelop the former naval base into a transit-oriented village hooked to San Francisco by a new ferry line.

    Allow us to back up a bit: in November of last year, when Obama had just been elected, hopes were that the long-stalled sale of Treasure Island to San Francisco would have been fast-tracked for the city's $40 million offer: 1) to get the federal government a little couch change for a few burritos, and 2) to get some local economic stimulus going. The whole thing has been 13 years in the waiting, after all.

    The latest idea, then, which had cities such as San Francisco scoring properties like Treasure Island for free, might have been too good to be true, even given its bipartisan support.

    The administration's reasoning? That giving land away like that might encourage redevelopment agencies to "flip valuable properties they obtain at no cost for profits that can be used for purposes unrelated to redevelopment," whereas an actual sale might, say, help with environmental cleanup of said properties. Perhaps a Redevelopment Agency pinky swear would suffice?