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Shipyard pollution 
threatens all San Franciscans

by Marie Harrison

Director, ABCDpac

In our community, so many of us have forgotten that we have certain guaranteed rights under one of the most powerful documents ever given to man, outside of our God given right to life and his commandments.

This document was paid for with the blood of our forefathers in a war to end all wars with the notion that all mankind will never again have to endure what has come to be known as cruel and unusual punishment. I give you the Constitution of the United States of America and its first 10 amendments, the Bill of Rights.

At the top, before all else, the preamble states, “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” 

Thus, the rights guaranteed to all Americans are guaranteed even to the people of Bayview Hunters Point, Visitacion Valley, Potrero Hill and every other district in this city, who have already suffered and will continued to suffer until the Hunters Point Shipyard and other toxic sites left unclean either by the military or by privately owned toxic generating facilities are completely cleaned up.

The Bill of Rights states that no one should be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment. It doesn’t differentiate by color, religion or place of origin. 

It is our right to demand justice, and demand we must because the history of Bayview Hunters Point shows that unless we take a strong stand against what’s wrong and the neglect of our rights, we then fall prey to the kind of injustice that we have contended with far too long. 

Taxation without representation

In our district, we have one of the highest rates of home ownership, thus we pay an abundance of property taxes. Yet we are not getting the full protection guaranteed us. 

The reason that the United States of America split from England was taxation without representation. 

Remember the Boston tea party? 

When we go to the polls on Nov. 7, we will be electing a new Board of Supervisors by district, so that every district will have an advocate - so that districts like ours will no longer be taxed but not represented. 
After the election, if we elect a strong representative, our District 10 supervisor, along with other enlightened supervisors, can take an issue that the people agree on - like Shipyard cleanup - and see that it is done.

After the election, when the people demand it, the Board of Supervisors must do it. This cleanup is one of the things that we the people demand. And that demand is coming from not only Bayview Hunters Point and District 10, but from people all over San Francisco. Pollution is carried by air and water. It knows no boundaries.

Environmental Illness

Now let’s take a look at just what is important about a complete cleanup. First, we must prevent Environmental Illness (EI). EI is a general category of diseases which are caused by any of a wide variety of substances in our air, water, and food. They include numerous chemicals, molds, yeasts, fungi, pollens and other biological or artificial substances which can have adverse effects on the body.

Let this help you to better understand what EI is. In 1991, when the United States went to war with Iraq, service personnel were exposed to numerous chemicals and biological substances. The illnesses they suffer are known as the Gulf War Syndrome. 

Why is this important to those of us who were not in the Gulf War? Because many of the same chemicals were used in the Hunters Point Shipyard - and many of our community folks show symptoms of EI but have not known what is making them sick. 

In addition, many conventional diseases are actually EIs too. Cancer, arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, and perhaps even HIV can be caused or made worse by environmental toxins. However, mainstream medicine ignores much of the well documented evidence of these facts.

In summary, EI is a family of chronic diseases involving immune memory distortion and resulting in auto-immune illnesses displaying symptoms in the brain, nerves, joints, and skin, as well as the respiratory, endocrine, gastrointestinal, and vascular systems. 

This should be a real eye opener for everyone. There is a reason why every three to four children you meet on the streets or in a school within District 10 has one or the other of these diseases. There is a reason why we need to erase the invisible lines that divide us, that keep us from seeing that the pollution that is making us sick in the Southeast section of the City threatens everyone in San Francisco.

Website a wealth of helpful information

The importance of Shipyard cleanup to our health is only one of the issues that I have been working on. This is only one of the reasons why I need to be elected to the Board of Supervisors and why I need your vote and support so that my work can go forward and we never again lose as much ground as we have in the past few years. 

Are you curious about environmental illnesses and the toxic waste at the Hunters Point Shipyard that causes them? Read all about it through the link on my website to Immunology Medical Associates, doctors who specialize in these issues.

Remember what I have always promised: If you hide it, I will find it, and if I find it, I will tell everybody. 
On my website are many more links that will connect you to all kinds of useful information. Some of it you may already know, but I believe that when you see it all together, then and only then can you make a truly informed decision. 

Protecting the rank and file

The wealth of information on my website will help you decide not only who you should vote for on Nov. 7 but what you should be demanding today and from whom. You know as I do that we have never had real accountability from any of our elected officials nor from any of those who were appointed to special positions.

The hundreds of appointees at City Hall owe their loyalty to the person who appointed them and rarely feel accountable to the people whose taxes pay them. They did not go through the process that regular City employees have gone through - a process that helps to keep City workers honest and accountable to the people they are paid and sworn to serve. 

This is yet one more reason why I want to be your supervisor. I will work with other supervisors to stop the special placements of people who did not go through the process and who owe their allegiance to one person, not the people whom they serve. And by limiting special placements of appointees, I want to protect from displacement my many neighbors who are regular bona fide rank and file unionized City workers. 


                                                          Marie Harrison © 2000