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Mr. Bloom started with a quick history of the area around the shipyard and candlestick point. Once rocky outcroppings poking into the bay they were long hunting grounds of bay area Muwekma Ohlone native americans.

Things rapidly changed only in this century. The area was known as butcher town, and third street saw large cattle drives into the area. The area saw some chinese fishing villages spring up, when San Francisco’s city government began forcing out Chinese from downtown.

The first drydock was established there in 1867, built on solid rock. Landfill didn’t begin until around WWI, and the Navy took over the whole shipyward in WWII. It expanded greatly during the war, and for a few years after. This period saw the greatest influx of african-americans but the number of jobs began to fall after 1948, and by the 60s less than 1000 were employed (down from 14,000). The shipyard was closed in 1974, but it has taken that whole time to begin transferring the land to the city, complicated by the massic amounts of pollution.

Mr Bloom took us through all the various plans for changing these parcels of to liveable spaces, and the problems therein. How best to treat Yosemite slough (whether or not to build a bridge over it), how much of Candlestick Point State Park to cut into or expand, how best to get rid of the navy’s garbage dump, parcel E2.

He showed us the proposals and alternates, and all the proposals for where Candlestick Park might be built (at the end of the day, it seemed that the shipyard, given the transit needs, is a tremendously poor place to build a stadium).

In all that Mr Bloom emphasized 3 things:
1) This develeopment alone, some 700 acres of redevelopment, will bring 30,000 new people into the area — no small numbers that could radically alter the politics of the area. But with additional development in the east of San Francisco, the city has yet to take a comprehensive look at the transit needs of all these people in this part of the city.
2) The tremendous potential of the area, being one of the warmest sunniest places in the city, with amazing views, and despite the pollution, host to a tremendous amount of diversity of natural life.
3) That we have a say in the process about how this area turns out. Please get involved.

If you would like to learn more, check out arecology.org.

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