After the controversial Hastings Law School garage was proposed, and subsequently protested, Senator John Burton speaks out against the Garage. Hastings moves to rescind its vote of approval on the project.
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Hastings Has 2nd Thoughts On Garage
Protesters, and John Burton, get the school’s board of directors to set a meeting to rescind its vote of approval.
By John Roamer
Daily Journal State Writer
Hastings College of the Law has caved to state Sen. John Burton in its showdown over its much disputed parking garage project.
The school announced Thursday it will convoke a special board of directors meeting June 26 to reverse last Friday’s approval of the plan.
Agenda Item No. 1: “Rescission of June 7, 2002 Approval of the Hastings Parking Garage in the…,”announcement says.
Protesters disrupted the June 7 meeting and distributed flyers denouncing Burton’s failure to intervene to halt the project. Neighborhood activists demanded that any structure built on Hastings’ site include housing to relieve the apartment crunch in the overcrowded Tenderloin.
Burton responded by blasting the garage project in a June 10 public letter to the board chairman, Eugene L. Freeland.
“Not everything in the world should be measured strictly in terms of dollars and cents,” he wrote in answer to the school’s claim the project was driven by its need for revenue.
Despite Burton’s belittling of fiscal concerns, the Senate’s powerful president pro tem reportedly threatened Hastings’ budget appropriations in private conversations with school officials.
This is dramatic. This is wonderful news,” exclaimed one of the chief garage critics, attorney Randy Shaw of the Tenderloin Housing Clinic, “I really appreciate Sen, Burton’s work on behalf of the community.”
The school’s abrupt about-face is something of a tribute to Shaw’s shrewd politicking. It was Shaw who produced the flyer accusing Burton of inaction, Burton told a reporter he was “thunderstruck” by the attack.
Shaw also galvanized the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to oppose the project. The board is scheduled to vote Monday for a lawsuit challenging Hastings’ asserted immunity from local planning codes.
Hastings said it will appoint a five person blue ribbon committee to decide how to utilize the garage site at the southeast corner of Larkin Street and Golden Gate Avenue.
“We’ve always taken Sen. Burton’s views very seriously, and we continue to do so,” Hastings spokeswoman Fran Marsh said Thursday. “We do desire a solution that will meet our needs as well as be responsive to the community’s concerns.”