In a couple of months, the powers that be will exercise their authority and help destroy an institution that thousands have fond memories of, the Letterman Army Medical Center (LAMC). The more modern Letterman Army Institute of Research (LAIR) will also be torn down. In its place the guru of contemporary film fiction and fantasy linked to mythology of ancient cultures, George Lucas will help erect the Letterman Digital Arts Center.
Thousands of soldiers both women and men have fond memories of their stay at Letterman while recuperating from their wounds and illness. Further, hundreds of doctors, nurses, and medical staff also recall their experiences at LAMC with nostalgia. The scientists who worked at LAIR helped this Nation and their inventions and research moved this Nation forward. Though, I do regret all the experiments carried on animals, much of which I was not privy early on. My position as Congressional Liaison to Sixth U.S. Army gave me access to some of this critical information. Those few of us who lived and witnessed the history of LAMC and LAIR, know what we are talking about. Those who only care about money and greed, could not care less.
Rumor has it that the two institutions will meet their fate by being imploded. I was once a witness of an old hotel that was imploded in Las Vegas, the Sand Dunes. Dust from the implosion is carried for miles around. And so if this decision is carried on, I would like to know who will be responsible for all the asbestos dust that will settle down all over the Presidio. The Thoreau Center and the Marina will bear some severe consequences.
I am still trying to figure out, how the wooden structures on O'Reilly Street and the other historical wooden structures now under the jurisdiction of Tides Foundation, can possible survive the impending implosion without any severe structural consequences? They are just a few hundred feet away!
George Lucas, can create all the fantasies he wants by using Digital Technology. In reality the implosion will follow the dynamics of physics and the consequences will be severe. Right now the most critical element to be resolved are Health and Safety.
Hundreds of comments given to the Trust linked to the Environmental Impact Report linked to LAMC and LAIR do not fully address the archeological, environmental, and historical elements surrounding the affected area. To date, no sound archeological survey has been carried on, related to the area where the proposed digital center will be built.
Private archeological investigations reveal archeological sites surrounding the area. It is fair that relevant research and studies be conducted so that the Native American Graves Protection and Rehabilitation Act (NAGPRA) is enforced in a fair an equitable manner. That justice is done to the first people who inhabited the Presidio of San Francisco, thousands of years ago.
To date the various historical trees, the plaques placed all over the LAMC and LAIR area commemorating historical events, other historical sites have not been evaluated and no concrete actions taken to address the historical elements and display structures and trees. One of kind historical trees surrounding the LAMC and Lair institutions.
No digital center can run without energy. It would be interesting to find out how the authorities that be, will address this unique situation. The 1500 plus underground parking spaces proposed will pose Herculean solutions to the architects and engineers. We know for sure that seismic conditions in the planned parking area are at its worst. We have yet to hear how traffic will flow. Right now, traffic has increased 400 per cent according to the most current traffic statistics conducted.
We have brought this to the attention of the authorities and have not seen or heard any solution. Where will all the sewage created by the complex go to? There is some vain talk that all the sewage will be diverted to the Bay-View!
If one thinks, this to be the case the authorities to be are in for a big, big surprise! I know Mayor Willie Brown was when this topic was introduced some time ago. His now retired Public Utilities Manger Moran was asked the question, if indeed the sewage was planned to be diverted to Bay-View and he answered, yes! As you can see he is no more! And the Da Mayor was in shock!
It so happens that many critical elements that make the Presidio of San Francisco tick, require the assistance of the City and County of San Francisco. Public Transportation, Clean Drinking Water, Police and Fire, Emergency Services, Sewage, Electricity, and so on.
While much that goes on at the Skywalker Ranch is private and secret. Anything, if ever that will go on at the Letterman Digital Arts Center will be known to the public. It does make a difference when any institution is built on Federal Land. The tax payer has every right to know what the heck is happening.
The area around the Lombard Gate is very historical and I have and continue to use this gate every day. On entering the gate one has to pass by the Letterman Hospital. If one is observant, especially if one happens to be walking, one can see the various historical commemorative trees that were planted. The various plaques from the 1880 to recent times, here, there and every where. Some hidden and covered by grass!
The various birds who make their home in this unique environment. The most vocal the parrots from South America who now have a family of 30 plus. Some years ago they were just a few. The red hawks who now number about 12. There was a time when you saw just one or two. The quails frequent this area and so do a couple of red fox, skunks, feral cats, raccoons, and other territorial animals. I suppose now they will have no territorial rights and their habitat destroyed to serve greed and money! I am perhaps their only hope and you bet I will fight for their rights!
For the past two years or so I arrive at the Lombard Gate in the wee hours of the morning and hitch hike to the Fort Scott area. I am physically challenged and this walk to the Fort Scott area is a challenge of sorts. I battle the cold and the fog. I try to encourage myself to march as did the soldiers of old, the majestic LAMC stands out and reminds me that this was a honorable Army Post.
On these daily marches to the Fort Scott which is about 4 miles from the Lombard Gate, I imagine I am a Buffalo Soldier. Yet, of another day I put my myself in the shoes of the thousands of women and men soldiers who served this country with great respect and honor.
I pay keen attention to the various trees and it is as if I say hello to each of them as I near the Main Post. The various pine trees, the eucalyptus, the red wood, the palm trees, and so on. And of course the tall flag pole reminds me again that this was an Army Post.
At one time I was in charge of all the vacant buildings on the Presidio of San Francisco. Often times I had to go to inspect the LAIR and LAMC facilities. Mostly, when it was brought to my attention that some window or door was not secure.
On these unique forays to these two great institutions it was not uncommon to encounter phenomenon that are associated with the other world. The LAMC ghosts will give the new occupants a good time. At least I hope they do! I have encountered this one man with a walking stick, a blower hat, wearing a long tail coat, making his rounds, and warning us so called humans, who is in charge. I know they have unique powers and I wish the new owners all the very best on many a nocturnal night!
A couple of days ago the LAMC parking lot has been closed. Preparations are adrift for the big day and the big blast. I know I will be affected. I may have to jump the outer Presidio wall in the wee hours of the morning. Pay my respects to the Buffalo Soldiers who live in the 572,569,566,563 buildings. Take some inspiration from them and hitch hike towards the Main Post. This new route will still invoke fond memories of the LAMC route that I was so accustomed to. Fare well LAMC and LAIR!