Project Red Flags
As cited in our initial post here, HVSafe was prompted last month about several shenanigans pertaining to the process and conflicts of interest that have transpired in this project.
Read our Part 1 for background on the project here.
In this post we will drill down on areas that raise red flags.
The Freeway Commemoration Project
under the radar
We’ve heard rumblings of a $50k contract for this project. We have an open inquiry to San Francisco Parks Alliance; as of the date of this post we have not received a response.
Committee and Jury Selection Process
As cited in part 1, HVNA Members Gail Baugh1 and Ben Zotto have controlled both the Committee and Jury selection process. We’ve looked up and down on the project’s website to find details about this aspect of the project to no avail. We have also reached out to San Francisco Parks Alliance on this note; as of the date of this post our inquiries have gone unanswered.
Community Outreach for Committee and Jury
We’ve spoken to neighbors, point people, and businesses in Hayes Valley; all were unaware and had not been contacted to be considered as a committee member or juror.
When HVSafe got wind of this project earlier this summer…it was only with the two design finalists; it is unclear how we got to this juncture nor were there other design concepts/teams presented to the public prior.
Conflicts of Interest with Finalist: Team Mark Baugh-Sasaki + Envelope
- Mark Baugh Sasaki: Gail’s son
- Allyson Feeney: Gail’s daughter in law
- Doug Burnham: lease holder of Parcel K/Proxy
Conflict of Interest with Committee Member and Juror
- Babs Early: lease holder/manager of Parcel R and S/ Hayes Valley Art Works (HVAW) & Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association (HVNA) Board Member
The most daunting indication/tale of this project process having gone south is the noticeable differences between the two proposals: one is a *grandiose urban renewal plan while the other at least presents itself in line with the ask/RFP.
*Team Mark’s Proposal:
- Scope is inflated; plan is of the likes of a boulevard improvement project.
- Budget and timeline is extremely bloated and unrealistic.
- Plans do not factor in the parcels that the City voted for to be developed for affordable housing. (Proxy space and Hayes Valley Art Works are depicted in the renderings.)
It’s worth noting that community input is only a consideration in choosing the winning design. In other words the decision is in the hands of the jury; this highlights the necessity for the jury to be a fair and impartial representation of the community.
After the presentations of the 2 design finalists the process only allowed for 4 days of community input. Thanks to the Supervisor’s Office this time has been extended however, we remain leery of the process due to the following findings:
The initial voting form only required the voter to choose between the 2 finalist or ‘other. That’s it! Voters did not need to identify themselves nor was there a mechanism to prevent someone from voting multiple times.
10 days later the voting form was extended with the following set of questions:
The 3rd version of the voting form is different yet again and requires the submitter to have a Google account:
It goes without saying that the voting process was not well thought out and raises a big question in regards to fairness.
We hope that these points provide you a good understanding of the numerous concerns that we have with the process that has unfolded.
Lastly, while this project is one of great significance for Hayes Valley we ultimately question the pace of this project with such minimal community input and transparency. Per the web archives dated April 16, 2021 we noticed that the project website indicated that project proposals would be “presented to the community in 2021 or 2022”. Let’s hit the reset button and allocate proper oversight to ensure equitable community input in order to get this right.
1 Gail Baugh is a past HVNA president. Many residents and activists suggest a proclivity for “pulling strings” in order to influence Hayes Valley politics.
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