There is not much suspense to this afternoon’s San Francisco Board of Supervisors Land Use and Transportation Committee vote on whether to rename the Embarcadero’s Justin Herman Plaza. Considering that every single member of the Board is now listed as a co-sponsor of the resolution originally introduced by Aaron Peskin, the board’s recommendation to remove the name Justin Herman seems a foregone conclusion.
The San Francisco Examiner reports that all 11 supervisors have signed on to the effort to rename Justin Herman Plaza, the Embarcadero lunch spot and skateboarder hangout with the angular Vaillancourt Fountain that receives such passionately mixed reviews. Now certain to be rubber-stamped by the board committee, the recommendation will ask that Rec and Parks formally rename the plaza that currently honors 1960s-era executive director of the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency Justin Herman.
“During Herman’s tenure as director, he oversaw the second phase of the redevelopment of the Western Addition that displaced approximately 4,000 residents, small businesses, and bull-dozed 60 square blocks of the City,” the resolution says. “In 1970, Herman said, ‘This land is too valuable to permit poor people to park on it,’ to give credibility to this ‘urban renewal’ project that sought to buy up buildings and evict people who were poor, old, black and brown.”
Hoodline notes that changing the name would cost the city a measly $5,200, so the fiscal impact is pretty negligible.
The resolution calls for the plaza to be renamed “the Embarcadero Plaza” until a “suitable honoree has been agreed upon.” The inside track on being that honoree is believed to be occupied by the late, great unofficial U.S. Poet Laureate Maya Angelou, who served as San Francisco’s first African-American female streetcar conductor.