Beth, I didn’t think it could happen, but your videos are getting more and more fabulous. Are you going to remember us little people when you’re more famous than Oprah?
“East Bay Folks Put Out.” Hah!
Justin Herman was the director of the SF Redevelopment Agency from l959 to 1971.and thus responsible for all the pretty new stuff in east SOMA and the Western Addition, among other places. My favorite quote of his is “This land is too valuable to let poor people park on it.”
p.s. I just found out he’s also responsible for stuff on the Embarcadero north of Market. Embarcadero Plaza?
I just learned about Justin Herman in my San Francisco Politics class! the professor said that Herman “was a visionary, with ice water running through his veins.” He had worked for the federal government (I think for the precursor of HUD, though I’m too lazy to get my notes and confirm this) and came to SF as part of his job to see how the Redevelopment Agency was getting along. His report was a scathing criticism of the SFRA. This somehow so impressed the SF powers that be (powers that were? I think this is Mayor Christopher we’re talking about tho again, too lazy to check notes) at the time that they asked him to come out and become the director, which he did.
The Embarcadero Center area was his second project; the first was the development of housing in Diamond Heights which had been pretty much open space beforehand. At the time the Embarcadero Center area didn’t have much going on as far as housing or even business b/c the waterfront was declining in favor of the more modern Port of Oakland. There was a big farmers market, which was moved to its current spot on Alemany for redevelopment to go forward. The project was called Golden Gateway but now it’s the Embarcadero Center and the plaza that bears Herman’s name.
The later projects under Herman’s leadership of the SFRA were devastating to the inhabitants of the neighborhoods in question, leading to massive displacement of people in the Western Addition and SOMA, the ill effects of which we can still see today.