Antonini’s right to vote on shipyard project challenged 

Planning Commissioner Michael Antonini said he plans to vote today during a critical hearing regarding a planned shipyard redevelopment project, despite objections raised by opponents of the project.

Influential progressive land use attorney Sue Hestor filed a letter with The City on Wednesday that said Antonini should not be allowed to vote during today’s hearing because of an opinion article that he wrote.

In the opinion piece, published in December by the San Francisco Business Times, Antonini expressed support for plans to build a new 49ers stadium as part of the redevelopment of the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard.

The stadium would be an anchor for the rebuilt neighborhood, but the 49ers have repeatedly stated that they are not interested in the site and will instead relocate from Candlestick Park to Santa Clara.

“San Francisco must avoid the errors of the past, when we failed to build an arena for indoor sporting, major conventions and entertainment events,” wrote Antonini, a mayoral commission appointee who tends to vote in favor of development projects.

“Such a facility could have brought huge amounts of revenue to San Francisco businesses.”

Antonini also sent the letter to other media outlets, including the San Francisco Examiner.

Hestor’s letter was filed on behalf of the San Francisco chapter of the Sierra Club, the Golden Gate Audubon Society, San Francisco Tomorrow and People Organized to Win Employment Rights.

Those organizations oppose shipyard development plans that were crafted by city officials and master developer Lennar Corp.

“Commissioner Antonini has clearly prejudged the proposed project and become a strong advocate for locating a football stadium for the 49ers at the Hunters Point site as part of THIS project,” Hestor wrote in the letter. “He has publicly urged others to support that stadium and cannot impartially review the record before him.”

At the start of Thursday’s shipyard hearing, Antonini said he planned to participate in the meeting.

“I’m here today to listen with an open mind,” Antonini said, reading from a prepared statement. “I’ll consider all options.”

The letter could provide Hestor and her clients with grounds to appeal today’s votes, which are expected to drag out late into Thursday evening.

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John Upton

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