The tide has turned also in the battle being fought in the background concerning technical historic preservation standards that are being violated and the National Environmental Protection Act that would be completely ignored if the Trust approved building its pet projects. An all day "consultation" held Tuesday, September 14, brought the top people from state and federal agencies, several from Washington, as well as local preservation groups and representatives for thousands of neighbors around the Presidio. It was bare knuckle time.
The Trust officials present included Craig Middleton, the hired executive for the Trust Board (and a former Pelosi staff member), the Trust's lawyer, and even the highly paid lawyer for Donald Fisher, sponsor of the contemporary art museum. They got an earful of six hours of direct, factual and expert objections not only to the proposals, but also concerning the irregular, confusing procedures that the Trust has applied to get us into this time wasting and expensive situation.
(Speaking of expensive, did you know that it is illegal for a government agency to spend funds to advocate for its favored alternative in the review processes? How much has all those marketing brochures and tour guides cost, I wonder? Do you think that they might have been biased in favor of the Trust's desired outcome? Send a comment to let us know.)
People who treasure the Presidio as what the State Historic Preservation Officer called, " A precious site unlike any other on the West Coast," left the meeting knowing that they were solid in their opposition to the Trust's reckless plans. The feeling was that the unified position of authorities and the public in the review process finally has the Trust considering its options how to wind down this mess without too much egg on its face. But, we will be jerked around in this mess by the Trust for months more. I think that the Trust staff does not have the guts to tell the governing board of the Trust that "the Emperor wears no clothes," or (mixing metaphors,) "This turkey won't fly!"
Participate! Continue your letters or e-mails to the Trust and Pelosi. Attend the workshops and meeting announced at www.presidoassociation.org or www. savethepresidio.org. We are succeeding, but do not pullback your support now.