Sent:       Monday, May 24, 2004 2:31 PM
Subject:   Campus Bay Project

Dear Ms. Parker,

This letter is to express my strong disapproval of residential development at the Campus Bay site. I attended the scoping meeting. I am a cardiologist at Kaiser Richmond where I have worked since 1981. I am a resident of Richmond. I frequently use the bay trail. I am opposed to the residential development plan and I am appalled at the way the Redevelopment Agency has proceeded with encouraging this plan without coming to the community for input. The Redevelopment Agency should be charged with finding out what kind of Development the citizens of Richmond want. It appears that their first and primary concern is to bring in income for the city regardless of the project being considered. This is not a sensible nor sustainable approach to development.

I am opposed to the proposed development for many reasons including:

1.        Health and safety. As you are well aware the site is contaminated.
Building housing units on a contaminated site seems quite short sighted. There seems to be sufficient reason to apply the Precautionary Principle here and to do no harm. This site is larger in acreage than the site at Love Canal. There is every reason to believe that the toxicants (toxins produced by human activity) will have adverse health effects on the future residents. Indeed, there is already concern that the work done on the site may be responsible for multiple illnesses among those working downwind. The risk of illness seems to me to far outweigh any potential benefit.

2.        Danger to the environment. Wetlands and marshlands are fragile and essential parts of the bay ecosystem. Developing these marshlands is a terrible idea. We ought to be preserving as much of the natural shoreline as we can. There are many sites within Richmond which would be far better for development such as downtown Richmond, the site of the former Kaiser Hospital and the Nystrom Neighborhood (which is already in the process of working toward a development plan). The wild life along the bay is precious and will be endangered further by this development.

3.        Traffic. This proposed development is not near BART or other forms of public transportation. It will impact the Richmond annex area with unwanted traffic and the attendant pollution.

4.        Aesthetics. The development will turn a natural marsh area into a concrete jungle. We have too much concrete and asphalt as it is. We have few easily accessible wildlife areas to view. In addition, if high rises are built many of those in El Cerrito will have obstructed views.

The Iroquois Nation had a method of deciding on community initiatives. They felt that if a decision would not impact poorly on future generations they would consider doing it. They felt that there should be no adverse impact for 7 generations. We would be wise to use the same yardstick. Future generations will curse us for our insensitivity if we allow the natural world to be paved over with concrete. Future generations will also curse us if the pollution from the site results in preventable illness.

Lastly, I would like to say the process up to this point has been largely undemocratic. Has anyone bothered to ask the community what kind of development is necessary or desirable. It appears that money is the principle value not health, the environment, aesthetics or human needs. I understand that your charge is limited but I encourage you to go beyond the limits and to see the big picture and to do what we all know is the right thing to do.

Jeffrey B. Ritterman, M. D.
Chief, Division of Cardiology
Assistant Chief, Department of Medicine
Kaiser Richmond