Takeaways from MOCAC Meeting (3.21.22)

…the Freeway Commemoration Project continued

Representatives of HVSafe attended Monday’s MOCAC Meeting. The Freeway Commemoration Project was item 6 on the agenda. We share our observations in an effort to provide an update on what the Commemoration Committee is seemingly up to. Our goal is to keep you informed of this looming project which will impact Hayes Valley while we continue to advocate for a new and transparent approach.

Highlights:

  • While the agenda did reference a vote on a ‘resolution’ by Robin Levitt — it was not accompanied with the actual resolution language. This fact brings into question an improper approach applied by SF Planning Lead Dylan Hamilton and the people who make up the body of the Freeway Commemoration Project. If the intent was to inform and prompt Hayes Valley Proper, they failed. 🚩🚩🚩
  • The resolution proposed by Robin encapsulates extremely well what has transpired with this project; you will find it below. It was only read upon the request of several attendees.
  • We had heard that Dylan with SF Planning was leaving the MOCAC Committee; at the meeting he announced he will remain in charge of the project; for this reason he should have recused himself from this matter. 🚩🚩🚩
  • Worth noting while conducting this portion of the meeting we found him to be short, unsavory and downright rude. Our POV of sharing this observation is critical because we believe how City Agencies comport themselves with attendees/representatives of the community is significant. Providing a level of impartiality is necessary for civic engagement; it sets the tone and comfort level for community members who seek to engage.
  • The majority of attendees were members of the Commemoration Project. This was by all accounts an ‘inside job’ to get those who have a personal stake in the project to this meeting.
  • Surprisingly, the Chair person admitted she had not seen the ‘winning design by Team Mark Baugh-Sasaki + Envelope. This is very concerning. How a Chair person has not reviewed the pertinent material that the MOCAC Committee oversees is perplexing. 🚩🚩🚩
  • The vote on this resolution was: 3 in favor, 4 not in favor and the Chair person abstained. 🚩🚩🚩
  • Robin a long time resident and MOCAC Committee member has cited being constantly obfuscated and blocked when voicing his concerns and objections on the process that has unfolded. This was very evident when he put forth a genuine effort to provide the history and background about the project process during Monday’s meeting. He distinctly recognized that a new class of committee members had recently only been appointed/come on board and thus had not been privy of the pertinent history which was the basis for the resolution. Dylan abruptly cut him off.
  • 3 of the 4 votes against the passage of Robin’s resolution were by the new MOCAC Committee members. 🚩🚩🚩

Commentary included:

  • A representative of SFPA referenced the stats of the illegitimate vote that we pointed to here as a means of corroborating that they had conducted a satisfactory amount of community outreach.
  • A MOCAC Committee Member suggested that because the Commemoration Project Committee’s work spanned during COVID perhaps the community wasn’t paying attention or was distracted (we agree!).
  • A Commemoration Project Committee Member stated he was insulted by the proposed resolution.
  • Another Commemoration Project Committee Member explained she was confused by the reference of there being no input by the MOCAC committee.
  • One commenter boasted about interest by “private donors”. 🚩🚩

Proposed Resolution Motioned by Robin Levitt:

WHEREAS the MO/CAC initiated the Freeway/Octavia Boulevard Commemoration with the intent to tell the story of the freeway removal in the context of the SF Freeway Revolt as well as let the public know who the community activist Patricia Walkup Walkup was and why Patricia’s Green is named in her honor, and

WHEREAS the M/O CAC approved funding for the commemoration, and

WHEREAS it was initially expected to take six months and instead took over 2 1/2 years to choose a commemoration design with no oversight or input as to the final outcome by the MO/CAC, and

WHEREAS the final design went way beyond the original scope with a cost that is expected to exceed the budget outlined in the RFP by millions of dollars making it impractical and unlikely to be built, and

WHEREAS the final design was selected by a jury without any MO/CAC and very limited community input, and

WHEREAS during the final phase of the process there was no MO/CAC representation on the Commemoration Committee, and

WHEREAS the final design team chosen includes the son and daughter-in-law of a Commemoration Committee member, constituting an apparent egregious conflict of interest.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the MO/CAC does not endorse the chosen Freeway/Octavia Boulevard Commemoration design by Envelop AD and Mark Sasaki-Baugh and urges the City not to fund its implementation.

Closing thoughts:

  • We respect Robin’s emphasis on revisiting this project with a simple approach applied; focusing on a plan that does not include a grandiose plan for the boulevard is commendable.
  • With all the claim that the Commemoration Project Committee has made about sufficient community outreach we find it peculiar that there was no prompt community wide about Robin’s resolution being on the table, as it was clear the goal of this meeting was to shut it down.
  • The 3 long standing current MOCAC Committee members were in favor of the resolution. In our view this speaks volumes about their position which is aligned with ours.

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