Heron's Head Park Mural by Denman Middle School 8th Graders.


October 21, 1999 the San Francisco Port Authority decided to name Pier 98 as Heron's Head Park. Earlier in 1998 the San Francisco Port Authority made sure it applied for grants and lured State, Federal, City and local Agencies to invest money on Pier 98.

This 6 acres piece of land is one of the worst toxic dumps in the City and County of San Francisco. For years people would go and dump the worst possible toxic garbage at Pier 98. The Corps of Engineers did some dredging in the Bay and the toxic dredge material was dumped around Piers 98 and 96. The dredge material containing radiological material from the near by Hunters Point Naval Shipyard has been found at Pier 98.

The Navy at one time had barrels of atomic waste floating in the Bay just off Pier 98 and 96. When these barrels floated the Navy fired at the barrels and they sank. Later as I have stated the area around was dredged and the slurry radiological material dumped on the nearest landmass that was Pier 98.

The Hunters Point Power Plant is about 100 feet from the shoreline of Pier 98. The waters used to cool the power plant system as part of the power plant operations are then ejected into the Bay. Most of it gathers in a kind of pool adjacent to the Pier 98 shoreline. The contents of this water carry a large amount of mercury, chlorine, PCBs, many toxins and a large amount of pathogens. These are not only found in the water, the air but as you can conclude daily wash on the shoreline of Pier 98.

After years of pleading there are now sign that clearly warn the constituents not to fish around the area. In fact there should be signs all around the area barring humans not be anywhere around the area. The land is very toxic. The air is foul and polluted. And what many may not know, the Hunters Point Shipyard creates an Electric Magnetic Field that constantly bombards the area and is very harmful to all life forms.

The over 97 bird species who land on the landmass are victims of the toxins. Humans and animals that touch the grass and touch the vegetation can be adversely affected.

At one time there was talk to build a second Bay Bridge and have one of the foundations right where Pier 98 is. The idea fell as the land was unstable and the engineering obstacles too many. Later in the middle 1980s there was talk to build a new Power Plant and after some preliminary soil tests, the land was found to be too toxic. Imagine a Power Plant not wanting to build in the area because the land was too toxic.

The San Francisco Port Authority is a very corrupt agency and has been more so during the term of Willie L. Brown Jr. Carol Bach and Diane Oshima two SF Port Authority employees have been known to execute some projects without caution and lack of understanding of issues. They may be educated but they are ignorant on issues. When good ideas and sound information is brought to their attention they go on the defensive. The are on the take and have lied to the constituents of San Francisco. These two do not deserve to serve the good citizens of San Francisco. An added factor they do not live in San Francisco and hence come here just for their pay checks.

I have had to fight the San Francisco Port Authority (SFPA) on two issues the first one was Pier 92 which contained some very toxic soil. The SF Port refused to admit that the soil was toxic and wanted to use it as part of a roadway at Amador Street. I had to single handily take this matter before the Department of Toxic and Substances Control (DTSC). Mr. Norman Riley mandated the SFPA remove the toxic dirt. Carol Bach who fought me had to spend over $900,000 and remove the dirt.

Back to Pier 98. I stated to the SFPA and to Carol Bach in particular that the area around Pier 98 is very toxic. I begged the SF Port Commissioner not to allow our children to go near this toxic dump. The waters and the air are polluted as I have stated in as simple language as I can. Two students of City College Christie Blessing and Shana Okuda independently came to the conclusion that Pier 98 was polluted they belong to the Ecology Department.

The SF Port Authority encouraged people to go to Pier 98 that is wrong. Further the SFPA encouraged Literacy for Environmental Justice (LEJ) and its Director Dan Reid Lanza to build a Living Classroom where thousands of children would be exposed to pollution and a very strong Electronic Magnetic Field (EMF).

The floating foundations of the Living Classroom would hold the Living Classroom. It would be sustainable building and the energy would be off the grid. All good sound stuff but the building would be built in the middle of a Chernobyl environment.

Thousands of dollars were given to LEJ from funds that the State gave to the City and County of San Francisco to mitigate adverse affects on children and other constituents who live in Public Housing near the Hunters Point Power Plant. I do not think that the State and any sensible State, Federal, or local agency would approve the Living Classroom knowing that children would be adversely impacted. This was my plea and my pleas were NOT heard by the San Francisco Port Commission, the San Francisco Environment which funded the program, the City Attorney's Office, the former Mayor Willie L. brown Jr. and the so called Environmental Groups that purport to fight and stand for Environmental Issues which are mostly White and favored our children being exposed to toxins.

On October 27, 1991 many Environmental Groups met in Washington DC and formulated the 10 EJ Principles. The groups mostly wanted to safeguard the rights of people of color. I want to ask what have our EJ Groups done with such a blatant project adversely impacting our children at Pier 98.

I have got no apology from the SF Port Authority. No apology from San Francisco Environment. I say this because now LEJ after wasting thousands of dollars. Hundreds of person hours. Exposing thousands of children to pollution from exposure to the proximity of polluted air, land and water surround Pier 98 cannot build the Living Classroom.

Let me state to our City officials and to the EJ groups who purport to fight for what is right and the EJ principles. No one should compromise our children. Those that did so have blood on their hands. It is right that they be sued and that they spend some time in jail to reflect on their misdeeds.

There should be full Accountability and Transparency of the $13.6 million dollars that has not been accounted for. Several attempts have been made to the authority including the City Attorney to investigate San Francisco Environment (SFE). To date no one wants to do the right thing. I am going to take this matter to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Let those who have done wrong be fore warned.

To Literacy for Environmental Justice (LEJ) I say you have not done wrong by the constituents of Hunters Point and Bayview. I have over 1500 signatures that were collected by youth who were explained the situation by Espanola Jackson who is 71 years of age and has fought for EJ issues for over 50 years.

Unlike some others who do outreach for money Espanola Jackson is not paid by anyone to fight for Environmental Issues. Espanola Jackson had me explain the situation at hand at Pier 98 and then addressed the SF Port Commission. She also addressed the Southern Waterfront Advisory Committee (SWAC). I did the same. Espanola Jackson also spoke to several LEJ employees and to Dana Reid Lanza.

LEJ is suspect on this important issue and I am prepared to take this matter for adjudication before the highest authority. I know I was very careful to do my homework. It is a shame at one SF Port Authority Commission children were forced to testify on the good things that could happen at Pier 98 with the proposed Living Classroom. The children were not educated about the toxins and other adverse affects.

Now LEJ wants to break all rules and build a Living Classroom at McLaren Park. McLaren Park is in zip code 94134 and the EJ money was to be spent in zip code 94124. Also, no one has been given accountability of all the money spent at Pier 98. The public should know how many children were exposed to toxins. This is a liability information that the City Attorney should be full aware of.

I have information about toxins at Pier 98 going back to 1978. I have tons of other information which I can give to any State and Federal agency ready to investigate Literacy for Environmental Justice, the San Francisco Port Authority and San Francisco Environment.

My Involvement With Heron's Head Park
By Shana Okuda

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