2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 27 Aug 2003 14:50:20 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Diseaseville
Asthma, cancer, and other illnesses occur at higher-than-average rates
in Hunters Point. Many residents blame the nearby Navy shipyard, one of
the most contaminated ex-military bases in the nation.
By Lisa Davis, lisa.davis@sfweekly.com
August 27, 2003

Keith Tisdell and his fiancee, Shaaron Green-Peace, have lived in a
motor home parked outside their town house for the past year. Their
parking-lot home sits atop a hill that looks out across San Francisco
Bay. The view is breathtaking, though Tisdell and Green-Peace would just
as soon not experience it morning, noon, and night.

Back in January 2002, a sewer backed up, flooding much of the first
story of their home in Mariner's Village. The couple called their
insurance agent, who sent a cleaning contractor to take care of the
mess. The contractor ripped up the wet carpet and set up air blowers
throughout the house, a fairly common response to a flood. But the home
that Tisdell and Green-Peace shared is not a common one.

Originally part of the Hunters Point Shipyard, what is now Mariner's
Village once was a collection of buildings that the U.S. Navy used for
office, housing, and other purposes, some of which are unclear today. In
September 1980, at the direction of then-Mayor Dianne Feinstein, the San
Francisco Redevelopment Agency took possession of the property and
turned the former Navy buildings into town houses, which were sold to
low-income residents through a federally subsidized program. Shaaron
Green-Peace bought her home in 1998.

After the cracked sewer pipes that had caused the flooding were
replaced, Tisdell and Green-Peace, still trying to dry their belongings,
soon began smelling and tasting something oddly foul. "My tongue would
just start swelling up and tingling," Green-Peace says. "There was like
this burning inside my mouth."

A few months later, the couple's insurance company sent an investigator;
eventually, the couple learned that the tile underneath the carpeting,
likely part of the original Navy building, was laced with asbestos. In
the floodwaters, asbestos loosened from the flooring as it
disintegrated, and once the water was gone, the contractor blew the
dried asbestos throughout the house. It became clear that the home was

Tisdell and Green-Peace filed a lawsuit against their homeowners'
association over the flood and subsequent damages and have been living
in the parking lot since their insurance payments ran out last year. As
their housing disaster continued, they learned another unsettling fact:
Earlier this year, researchers found that a Navy radiation lab
headquartered just down the hill at the shipyard once stored materials
of an as-yet-unknown type in the area where Tisdell and Green-Peace now

Tisdell, a former Marine of significant size, is not a shy man. He sits
on an advisory board that deals with issues regarding the ongoing
environmental cleanup of the former Hunters Point Shipyard, which the
Navy wants to turn over to local control. He has been known to take both
the military and the city's Redevelopment Agency to task over
environmental and health concerns. Clearly, his passion is born of a
frustration fed, in part, by his living situation. "Why would the asthma
rate be so great up here in Mariner's Village?" he asks rhetorically,
standing in the parking lot above the shipyard. "A lot of people have
skin problems up here that go away when you go somewhere else.

"They need to make the homeowners feel that this is a safe environment.
That way, the only thing we have to worry about is the shipyard. We
don't have to worry about where we stay."

This article can be viewed at:

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