Tuesday, December 14, 2010

While We Wait ???

What is happening between the Cancellation of the December 8 Presidio Trust Board meeting and the Holidays? Short answer: a lot of heavy lifting and maneuvering by neighborhood groups, national organizations and the Presidio Historical Association. The Trust has given us a short deadline to agree to sign a "programmatic agreement" that the "Big Three," the key agencies, have agreed to sign. This is an agreement on the procedures how they will supervise any actions that the Trust takes after - or if - it approves the plan for construction on Main Post of the Presidio. The Trust had planned to do that by the end of 2010. The big danger to us is that if we sign, the agreement is worded to go beyond procedural approval to say that the Trust has "taken into account" the many objections to its building plans. What does "taken into account" mean? How can the Trust approve actions that its own study says will harm the historic integrity of the Presidio and "take into account" the fact that this damage will happen?

This bizarre situation is our main issue: what does "taken into account mean?" Organizations that do not sign will lose their rights as "concurring parties" in future implementation of the plan, such as commenting on what a hotel would look like. But if they sign, they may be yielding completely to the Trust's incorrect claim that the Trust building plans comply with regulations and law. We know that they do not. How can we sign a document that says it is okay to go ahead and damage the historic landmark? Even worse, signing would undermine any later complaints we make through other channels.

So? The Trust has been asked to extend the deadline to sign the programmatic agreement until the end of January, It is now due on Christmas Day. That time is needed to get help from technical experts and for community groups to meet with their membership. For you, I say forget this stuff until after the Holidays and return from good times with family and friends to fight another battle soon after the New Year.

Season's Best to All, Presidio Pal

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