JOSEPH LEE RECREATION CENTER (5/25/06)
I have been visiting the Joseph Lee Recreation Center for the last 25 years. For some years now the community from the Bayview Hunters Point has been discussing about renovating the Joseph Lee Recreation Center. Right now the facility is torn down and the City and County of San Francisco plans on constructing a brand new facility. Park and Recreation is involved with this project and I did attend the community meetings some years ago and the latest one going back a year.
It is all good when anyone plans on giving the community the best and that is not the problem at all here. The problem is right now because the Joseph Lee Recreation Center is so critical there are no other places for the youth to go and recreate. Because two other Recreational Centers have also been closed - all at the same time.
What happened to the Recreational Facilities on Kiska Road? Well, they have been shut down and the youth that are poor really have no place to go. The Joseph Lee Recreation Center drew a lot of youth and the recent Night Basket Ball Games really had everything on track. The Recreational Centers on Kiska Road too were fixed and good things were happening there too. Now no more.
The youth were getting used to a safe place with good games being played and every one getting to know one another. Many turf members met on the basket ball court and learned that there was a common bond among the Sisters and the Brothers. Many good folks spent a lot of time and money to make good stuff happen. Now all the see is the dark smoke and the youth left to fend for themselves with no Recreational Centers in the neighborhood that were there for years.
Now suddenly all that has stopped and no one really is talking about the logistics of this sudden loss of an important facility for the youth. Added to that the other centers on Kiska Road have been closed and the youth are at a loss for words. Park and Recreation has not done anything much to address the youth and the Quality of Life issues. Mayor Gavin Newsom I am sure is not sure about this precise situation at hand. Mayor Gavin Newsom talks the talk but he cannot walk the walk. If 3 critical recreational centers were shut down in a mostly White Community there would have been a hue and cry. In the Bayview Hunters Point nothing much happens because most folks that should do something are in the state of what I term - zombiness.
I visited the Joseph Lee Center today and took some photographs. The cement for this project is brought all the way from Redwood City. As I walked outside the project area 4 Union Members were protesting. This is a Union City and it is wrong NOT to allow Union Workers to work on a project. It is right that the concrete and aggregate be used from the near by Concrete and Aggregate plants. It is a joke to bring the stuff all the way from Redwood City to San Francisco.
I spoke to the Union Protestors and what I heard was not good. It is shame that again and again outsiders come and take our jobs and work on our projects while Union Members watch and the only alternative they have is to protest. Where is the Human Rights Commission that first started in the Bayview?
While the Joseph Lee Recreation Center has deprived many youth from playing in a safe place that they were used to the Law Enforcement is out there to rebuke the youth. To add to the fact that the youth have to sacrifice because of this project - Union Workers from the community who could work on this project have to protest to be allowed to be heard.
I met a Union Steward and he agreed with me that injustice was meted out to the protestors all Union Members. I met a Department of Public Works employee and he did not want to say anything.
Mayor Gavin Newsom should stop talking the talk and learn to walk the walk. It is totally wrong to close down 3 Recreation Centers when all the shootings and killings are going around and depriving the youth from 3 Safe Havens - depriving the youth from 3 Recreation Centers. We have Black Leaders in the Bayview Hunters Point that are doing nothing about this issue. This issue has been an on going issue for the last 3 months. I waited and waited and waited to see if anyone would address the issue but no one did. Where are the over 70 Churches in the Bayview Hunters Point on this critical issue.
I then posted an article on IndyMedia and got some response from two readers. I also got one nasty e-mail from some one that loves Mayor Gavin Newsom's ass but is not from the community. It is amazing how some folks talk down to the youth, deprive them of the required facilities, and then wonder why they rebel?
There are many Jack Asses that follow Mayor Gavin Newsom around. Most of them have no clue about the youth. Recreation Centers are critical to saving our youth and helping them exercise. Recreation Centers help youth socialize and contribute to their well being.
Of course Mayor Gavin Newsom and Supervisor Sophina Maxwell would NOT know that. They are always talking the talk but fail again and again to walk the walk.
Joseph Lee Recreation Center.
Protestors by Joseph Lee Recreation Center.
Concrete from Redwood City.