tv [untitled] June 15, 2011 6:30am-7:00am PDT
redevelopment. [applause] wonderful contribution. with that contribution, you can make a successful project but also fulfil such an important objective of this city, affordable housing with the support that the tenants and residents here will need. again, i want to thank all of the collaboration that this represents. the communication to the rest of the state that even in the hardest of economic times, when we pull the right entities together, when they are focused, and we rebuild community around the objectives we have, we have the winning combination, and we have a redevelopment agency and mercy housing and south of market health center to prove it. i want the governor to even come here to see what we have done. i want all the other officials to come, to recognize how we do
it here in san francisco and how we can do it elsewhere throughout the state if we have a focused and do not give up on the old promises that this city has always made, that we will take care of the most needy and do it the right way, we will do it together. thank you very much for this wonderful opportunity. >> well said. well presented. also in this project, not only in terms of the redevelopment agency, mercy housing, all the bankers south of market and all of our founders -- and we had a lot of people do in private donations for this project -- we also reached out to washington, d.c. to bring some of our money back to our community. it is a nice feeling when that
happens. so both of our representatives have significant involvement in the success of this project. i would like to bring to the podium represented nicole rivera from nancy pelosi's office -- representative nicole rivera. she called me and said she may year by -- she may be here by the time was that the program. ok, well, we will go on to our renowned senator, who also had a significant contribution. i appreciate what they have done in terms of making sure that money that we pay taxes comes back to san francisco in some form or fashion. we have jim here to represent dianne feinstein. [applause] >> thanks. mayor, nice to see you. doris, always a pleasure to be with you.
thank you so much. this is a longstanding relationship. the mayor said 35 years for him. more than 50 for the senator. we are grateful that her family is here to celebrate this. i was talking with sister lillian before we got started, and talking about the old hospital. the first mercy housing project that was done here a long time ago. diane was then the -- the senator then was there to pick the lottery. this time, you did not have to do a lottery. this time, you had a great partnership with the south of market health center. really an important piece of work and just a beautiful facility, so we like to thank you for all the good work you did and congratulate you on just a tremendous project. charlie, good job, buddy.
[applause] >> the next person i would like to bring up to the podium is an individual that i am glad he is here. because he is with the federal government, and the south of market health center is funded by the federal government, and we want to continue that relationship. i would like to bring up to the podium dr. john meroini. -- meroni. he is a regional administrator. [applause] >> good morning, everyone. i am with the health resources and services administration, the agency that provides some support to the south of market health center in addition to many other health centers throughout california. region 9, which includes arizona and nevada, hawaii, specific
jurisdictions, and throughout the united states. i had the opportunity -- actually, i work just a few blocks away at the modern federal building towards market street. i must confess that my first visit to the south of market health center was in december when the administrator was in san francisco, and we had the opportunity to visit the old space or the current space, and the new space as it was being billed out. i must say, we were all just so impressed. i had a little bit of envy. reconsidering where i should seek my primary care. such a beautiful, impressive space. and though the recovery act has been helpful in making these expansions possible, and the affordable care act as well, throughout the united states, is contributing to expansion of
the health center program, such that by 2015, the program which serve nearly 20 million people in 2010 will serve as many as 40 million persons by 2015. i am just so excited and pleased to be here. congratulations. thank you. [applause] >> [inaudible] [laughter] >> the next person i would like to bring to the podium -- i think my first experience interfacing with him was when we broke ground. he came to the groundbreaking. this is probably one of the unique projects under his policy jurisdiction. the president of the redevelopment commission. let me just say this -- that the redevelopment has been a
tremendous friend to this project and to the community. all the things that people i have heard say about the redevelopment -- they really do not realize how positive the redevelopment has an impact on the development of a community. they do an outstanding job of working with communities and really, they do not do anything to really hurt communities. it is more to build up the community. so i would like to bring the president to this podium. thank you. >> yes, it is truly a great day. seems like yesterday, which was two years ago, i think i saw in this same spot and watched a show will go in the ground and some dirt spread around. today, we are surrounded by this magnificent structures which will serve our community for a
long time to come. before i go any further, i would like to acknowledge my fellow commissioners who are here today, who have served the redevelopment agency commission longer than i have, who i emily missing today is mr. lee roy king -- who i am really missing today. mr. king was probably on the commission before this process even started. he is the one who should be here in my place to recognize this opening and thank everybody who has participated. i would like to acknowledge ms. augustino. and mr. range. i have never seen such a strong advocate for his community. he is always there for south of market. he is always they're not only for his project but everybody else's product. he is a true hero in the south
of market area. thank you very much for your great dedication. [applause] at redevelopment agency, we see a lot of community groups, community tax theory the south of market -- community pac's. the south of market pac really sets the bar throughout the city. they should be extremely thankful to the participants and the board because they really make things happen. congratulations and thanks to them. i would also like to thank the mayor. on behalf of all of his agencies that have served, have been such a great partnership to this project and to redevelopment agency. of course, nothing would happen without the lenders and the financial partners, thanks very much to them. and to the westbrook family,
this gives you something to be proud of forever. and pass on to further generations so ms. westbrook's name will never be lost and she will always be known as a true creator. before i am given a bully pulpit, i have to of knowledge the fact that there is a missing group from the state here. redevelopment, you may have heard, is in peril. as was recognized, redevelopment contributes significantly to the san francisco community. we have phenomenal projects all over the place, this being just one of them. you have dedicated commissioners. you have dedicated staff, dedicated executive director who spends 24/7 making san francisco a better place, and the results are in place. i do not see our state senator here. i do not see representatives
from the assembly. jerry brown is a good friend of mine, but in this case, i respectfully disagree with the direction he has taken, by trying to dismiss redevelopment. [applause] with the incentive that you can look around today, go upstairs and see the magnificent health center where i wish my dentist's office was as nice as that dennis office. i would encourage you all please contact your local assemblyman, to contact state senator leno, to contact the governor and just tell him it is wrong. and for san francisco to move forward, we need to continue redevelopment and continue their great work. congratulations. thank you. [applause] >> just a quick minute. it is nice to be in charge of the podium because you can do a
lot of things independently. [laughter] i would like for the westbrook family to stand out. would you please stand up? [applause] fantastic. thank you. i also would like for the board of directors as the south of market health center to stand up. [applause] let me just say that i could not do my job without the board of directors, and i really appreciate the board. they are community people. they have the trust and confidence in the staff, in their administration, and gave us the full authority to work towards developing this project.
it is not like i had to run back to them every time and say, "would you approve this? would you approve this?" it is the trust in the relationship that is important to make something like this work, and i really appreciate that from my board of directors. thank you very much. [applause] i would like to bring you back to the podium, val. >> i was thinking the same thing about the dental clinic. i was thinking i wish my dental office was as nice as this. i, too, am going to speak about redevelopment, but i do not want to be too repetitive. we have talked about the importance of the financial investment that the redevelopment agency has in this community facility. what i want to talk about a little bit is what great staff partners we have in the redevelopment office. it is not that often high in
many other cities where we have collegial and mind-expanding teammates in this office. in the case of the redevelopment agency, and i am likely to forget somebody, so to all of you for the agency sitting over there, i apologize ahead of time here ultimately, the deputy director who is a longtime partner of ours and with and we do some of our best thinking and best work, but this advantage to work on this project for many years, phil o'brien, chris harris, derek smith, the asset manager, mike rizzo -- did i forget anybody? you guys are just awesome. we love working with you. i suppose a big part of you is so often because you have a
great leader. i would like to invite fred blackwell up to the podium. >> usually, i thank the staff, and the mayor has already done that. but this is a project that is so overwhelming that i am still not at a loss for words. [laughter] you know, if there is a project that better exemplifies what redevelopment should and can do, i would like to see it. if there is a set of partners that would be better to work with, i would like to see them. and if there's a more a corporate woman building in a project like this to be named after, and i would like to meet
her. in terms of the redevelopment agency's role in this, agency funds were used to acquire the site, to provide the financing for the affordable housing. grant funds were used for the clinic. in terms of the use of tax increment and agency funds, again, i think this is a shining example of what redevelopment can do and the reason why it should sit around. the partnership on this has been remarkable, though. at this point, to say a couple of things about mercy housing and the south of market health center -- mercy housing is probably one of our most outstanding partners. we have literally worked on probably thousands the project, and mercy housing's commitment is this. no matter what your income, even if you may not even have an income, you deserve the highest
quality that well-designed housing that we can make. [applause] and you can see that here. 49 units, a wonderful play ground here, a computer center, you name it, it is here for a range of incomes. just like mercy, though, the south of market health center is, i think, kind of comparable to few. just like mercy housing was a commitment on the housing side, charlie range pose a commitment says no matter what kind of health insurance plan you have, even if you may not have one, no matter what your income is, you deserve the highest quality best services, state of the arts center in order to meet your health needs. and if you have not looked at the center, you have to check it out. the dental facilities are
amazing. matter of fact, i think i have some work that needs to get done. [laughter] the exam rooms are state of the art. even the storage facility -- there's a button you can press in the storage facility. this is what low-income folks deserve in terms of access to services, and i am glad it is available to them. finally, you know, people have talked about 35 and 50 and 20 years -- all of that work that preceded me. i have only heard about that work through people liked doris ward, people like espanola jackson, but it is very clear to
me that if people like me are only able to sit in and do the kinds of things we're able to do because of people like mrs. westbrook, i would like to thank her family for sharing her with us and allowing her to do the kind of worked that should be done. let me close by saying there are a couple of staff members at the redevelopment agency who have worked very hard. in addition to the money that has been put on the table, staff have worked tirelessly with partners to find funds to turn over every rock that was needed in order to make sure that the money was available to turn this out the way it was. this has been a project that has been near and dear to his heart. and as a dangerous, bill o'brien, sally forth, chris harris, mike rizzo, angela , heidi, kimberly, al, ricky --
these people represent about every aspect of the agency's work from finance to real-estate to housing and everything. they along with the commission, along with the pac, along with mercy and the south of market health center, always it -- deserve a resounding round of deserve a resounding round of applause. >> it takes a lot of people to make this work. a lot of people to make it work. i would like to ask if someone from mrs. westbrook's family would like to come up and say a few words. [applause] >> don't worry. we are not all going to say a few words. as you can see, or if you have
not met mrs. weber, you know that she is not a small woman. very tall. so you see why we all came out like that. everybody here -- i believe you have worked with her, or as we call her, madear. inside, it is a different story. where we came from, we did not have a lot of males around, but as you can see, she has raised a whole lot of them, and everybody is doing good, and everybody would like to thank you all for everything you have done and for allowing the name to continue on like that. so thank you very much. [applause] >> i am just going to pick it up. in the great-grandson of always westbrook.
-- i and the great-grandson of -- i am the great-grandson of eloise westbrook. she has created a great lineage. for the people who have not had somebody to fight for them, she was the voice of reason for people who did not have a voice, and i say today, to everyone who made this possible, the fight is not over. we still have to continue the good fight. i am an iraqi veteran. a couple of years ago, myself, i was homeless. now, i am getting help. we have an issue going on in the city dealing with mental health. we have to address this. if each and every person -- yes, ma'am? >> madea is my grandmother. >> yes, so we have to deal with this, this mental health. so it is good to see you.
we talked before, but everybody here that made this project happen, let's continue to do the good work and keep up the good fight. thank you. [applause] >> i'm eloise's granddaughter. i want to say thank you. my grandmother is not able to make it, i guess you all know, but she said her best wishes. thank you. [applause] >> i would just like to thank you for coming out to the celebration. a lot of people ask me when i am working -- i do work on the san francisco cable cars. come out and ride if you have time.
anyway, they always ask me if i like my job. so i am going back to her. she really did like her job. she liked her job. it helps to like your job, you know? i sat with her a few times, and she really did care about the people, and she tried to help the people. was not talking down to them. she actually cared to help them get their services. another thing that comes to mind is in the scriptures, it says when you give something, do not get it grudgingly. they do not want it if you are giving it grudgingly. did it with love. so she gave it with love. when you do something, do it with love. i was on my way here, listening to a song called "stepping in the name oof love -- of
love" by r. kelly. he says if they ask why you did it, say you did it for love. i think that is why she did it. [applause] >> i am also one of the great- grandchildren of miss was sparked -- miss westbrook. i am very thankful, also, in light of the contribution you have blessed my grandmother with. she is very happy for this project here when you were about 97% finished, and you allow me to come video tape these things for her, she was really happy at what she had seen, and i wanted to thank you for that. anything we can do to put a smile on faces of folks who have sacrificed so much on behalf of us, you know, is a good thing. for those of us, you know, who are in member growing up, who have to look out for me while
grandma was dealing in some of these meetings, you know, i want to thank you for your help and those of you who helped her, because when your honor, you also honored those who contributed -- when you honor her, you also honor those who contributed, those who helped her along the way. though she may be the one out front, she is always backed up by good health, and that is what made her and pushed her to be who and what she is. without some of your help, they could have chosen a different name, but i'm glad you chose to honor her in this way because if you had given another plaque and award, she would have just waited until you left and then told me to go put it in the closet with the rest. [laughter] so, of course, she is very
thankful. very thankful. let us not forget about those who sacrificed so much on behalf of us. for a lot of them, it is on, you know, their shoulders many of us stand. because we stand on their shoulders, we get benefits, but it is based of somebody else's sacrifice, work, bloodshed, tears, and everything else. so i stand here grateful to be a great grandson of ms. westbrook. may god bless me to be worthy of such. thank you all. [applause] >> we have just a couple more people. let me just say, it is not in what order you come to the podium. it is the fact that we are here
to recognize something that is outstanding and good for our community and good for the citizens of san francisco. i'm sure nancy would have taken that position at any meeting or any public presentation she made. i have been to a lot of her -- i have even visited her in washington, d.c. she is a sincere person that is concerned about what happens to people. especially dealing with people in the health field. dealing with people in housing. dealing with those that cannot reach out and do the things they need to do and need that additional help. so there is a representative from her office, and i am so proud that she is here. so i would like to bring her up to the podium. would you please come up, nicole rivera? [applause] >> thank you, charles. i know it is hot, so i'm going
to make this break. the leader would have loved to be here. she is currently traveling, but she did send a letter greeting she asked for me to read to all of you today. "dear friends, congratulations on the ribbon cutting and grand opening of the new west park plaza, which includes the new south of market hulbert -- the new west block plaza, which includes the new south of market health center. i had the pleasure of touring this beautiful new facility and meeting so many of you. san francisco is fortunate to have a new state-of-the-art medical facility that is fully equipped to respond to the increasing an urgent health care needs of the south of market neighborhood. together, we will witness a significant increase in the success of managing ellis, maintaining health, and improving the quality of life for the south of market seniors, children, and family spirit it was fitting that the first anniversary of the passage in congress of the affordable care act was celebrated here.