The Understanding Of Consequences
The Hunters Point Community Biomonitoring Program has established cause and effect relationships between environmental toxins and expressions of disease. Science is defined as the observation, identification, description, investigation and theoretical explanation of natural…and unnatural phenomenon! The flow of scientific theory leads ultimately to scientific law:
American ecologist Paul B. Sears once stated, “the highest function of science is to give us an understanding of consequences. Author Frank Herbert restated this in his science fiction masterpiece, Dune Chronicles - “the highest function of ecology is the understanding of consequences.”
This is my favorite scientific quote. Herbert describes the order and flow of ecological systems and the consequences of their collapse. “A system has order, flowing from point to point. If something dams that flow, order collapses…the untrained eye might miss that collapse.”
Environmental Justice restores disordered ecological systems in low income coastal communities of color facing an undue burden of disease from the deleterious effects of pollution and social inequities compounded by extreme heat and rising sea levels.
Hunters Point is a Fence Line Community
“The fact is in those frontline communities, it’s not a matter of what you’re paying them. It matters how you keep them safe What do you do? You impose restrictions on the pollutions…coming out of those fenceline communities.”
President elect Joe Biden responded to a historic question during the second and final presidential debate on October 22, 2020 at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. Kristen Welker, a Harvard trained NBC White House correspondent served as moderator. Welker, made history as the first biracial moderator, asked the first environmental justice question posed to candidates during a presidential debate.
Wikipedia defines a fenceline community as a neighborhood situated adjacent to a polluting industry, company or toxic dump that is directly and negatively impacted by chemical emissions, odors, ambient noise, trucking, railroads, legal and illegal operations.
The Understanding Of Consequences!
I want to respond to the letter of apology and admission authored by John Balmes, MD — UCSF Professor of Medicine, Director of the Human Exposure Laboratory and Physician Representative to the California Air Resources Board. Balmes led a 2020 BAAQMD panel on particulate exposure and authored peer reviewed research on adverse impacts of air pollution in children.
Balmes’ letter of apology was published by the SF Bayview Newspaper. In it, he admits to having been compensated by the shipyards Master Developer Lennar in 2007, when he issued opinions designed to minimize evident health risks and advance residential development on a federal Superfund site. In December 2007, Balmes was awarded with an appointment to CARB by Governor Arnold Schwartzenegger.
In a letter dated October 9, 2007 to Rick Kreutzer, MD — Chief Environmental Health Investigations for the California Department of Public Health, Balmes agrees that “risks of serious asbestos related health impacts for residents, workers and school children would be low on a personal level even if those exposures were to have occurred over seven years. We also concur with your conclusions that radiological testing of residents exposed to asbestos is not recommended and blood tests do not exist.”
Balmes was recruited by Lennar by members of a local church and accepted the developers offer to reimburse his UCSF salary during the period of the review. His recruitment came in the aftermath of the September 2007 unanimous vote by the San Francisco Board of Education, calling for a shut down of Lennar’s operations and an independent health assessment. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors scheduled a hearing on the Lennar shutdown that drew support from the progressive wing of the Board.
Balmes publicly denied having been compensated by Lennar in a government sponsored hearing hosted by District 10 Supervisor Shamann Walker on January 28, 2020. Balmes referenced me in his public denial and refuted my claim he was a paid consultant for Lennar in 2007. His apology and admission fulfill legal definitions for defamation- the oral or written communication of a false statement about another that unjustly harms their reputation and usually constitutes a tort or crime.
“They don’t fucking control me — you go ask them why wouldn’t you support London because she don’t do what the hell I tell her to do. I don’t do what no motherfucking body tells me to do!” District 5 Supervisor Candidate London Breed interviewed by Luke Thomas Fog City Journal August 12, 2012
London Breed was appointed to the San Francisco Redevelopment Commission in January of 2005 by Mayor Gavin Newsom. In over 15 years, Breed has demonstrated a steadfast commitment to siting residential development on the federal Superfund site...with minimal regard for human health and safety. When the San Francisco Chronicle reported SFDPH Environmental Engineer Amy Brownell was assisting Lennar in selling homes at the shipyard, Mayor Breed questioned what was wrong with the practice?
In January of 2019, Breed announced the formation of an “independent” review by University of California scientists to resolve concerns by the EPA about standards for clean up at radiation contaminated shipyard soils. That review was led by John Balmes, MD guided by input from five white males — including UCSF Chancellor Sam Hawgood.
In an October 2019 audiotaped conversation, Dr. Balmes admitted to Dr. Ramona Tascoe and myself the four “white male scientists” were instructed by UCSF Chancellor Sam Hawgood via Mayor London Breed “not to speak to us!”
In the January 28, 2020 hearing of the Mayor’s Citizens Advisory Committee on the Hunters Point Shipyard, Balmes engaged in defamation of character by public denial he acted as a paid consultant for Lennar in 2007… as I had correctly accused him of being in the July 14, 2019 hearing announcing the UC review.
A series of Sunshine Ordinance Complaints were filed with evidence to support that I - and significant others - had been deliberately excluded from the meeting notification. An open government complaint was filed with California Attorney General Xavier Becerra for conduct that violated State Brown Act and Open Meeting laws.
London Breed instructed the UC scientists to meet in secret and instructed them not to speak to key individuals involved in the shipyard remediation process, including Attorneys with the Golden Gate Law School Environmental Clinic and Dan Hirsch, Director of the Program on Environmental and Nuclear Policy at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
To John Balmes, MD,
I can accept your apology if you can accept the far reaching consequences of your actions and decisions as codified by the October 9, 2007 letter on file with the San Francisco Department of Public Health that was used as the basis to deny standard of care medical surveillance of residents, workers and school children symptomatic from toxic dust exposures generated by residential development of the federal Superfund system at the Hunters Point Shipyard.
While the San Francisco Department of Public Health no longer collects cancer incidence and mortality by zip code, Tomas Aragon, MD sent a letter to San Francisco Mayor London Breed in March of 2019 in which he documented a 31% increase in lung cancer in men in the 94124 zip code calculated for the years 2008–2012. This spike in lung cancer incidence is seen the year after you issued your 2007 consulting opinions that served to advance residential development on a federal Superfund site.
In March of 2015 and May of 2019 two courageous community leaders — Chris Carpenter and Marie Harrison died— both with documented exposures to asbestos and toxic air contaminants generated by Lennars grading and excavations in 2007. Both died agonizingly slow and painful deaths due to a rare environmentally linked cancer and fibrotic lung disease.
A Minnesota Supreme Court decision ruled in May 2019 the existence of a physician patient relationship is not prerequisite for a malpractice action. Thus, a doctor who issues a consulting opinion on a patient who is injured or died, can be sued for malpractice even if a contract to care has not been signed and even if the doctor never met the patient! Under the legal precedent set by Warren v. Dinter, Dr. Balmes can be held accountable for these deaths.
The Findings of the UC Review served a purpose in 2020, similar to the purpose served by your review on behalf of the shipyards developer in 2007. To recruit and coordinate high level public health officials and academic scientists into unethical multi layered bureaucratic actions designed to advance the interests of polluting industries at the expense of public health.
With the aid of the UC Review, residential development at the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard began in the summer of 2020, with excavations of Parcel A-2 soils at the peak of a global pandemic in a region adjacent to Hunters Point residents, the Mohammed University of Islam and the Boys & Girls Club.
You should seriously think about retiring now!