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All 11 SF supervisors push for renaming of Justin Herman Plaza

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A view of Justin Herman Plaza in San Francisco, Calif. Wednesday, August 9, 2017. (Sarahbeth Maney/Special to S.F. Examiner)

All 11 San Francisco supervisors have thrown their support behind an effort to rename Justin Herman Plaza along The City’s Embarcadero.

Named in 1972 for the controversial former director of The City’s redevelopment agency, Supervisor Aaron Peskin introduced legislation in July calling for the renaming of the plaza. The resolution, which now has the support of all 11 members of the Board of Supervisors, calls for Recreation and Parks Commission to remove the name of Justin Herman from the plaza.

SEE RELATED: SF supervisor calls for renaming of Justin Herman Plaza

If Herman’s named is removed, the resolution calls for the plaza to be known as the “Embarcadero Plaza” until another honoree is selected.

The plaza at the foot of Market Street was opened and named in 1972 after Justin Herman, executive director of the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency who oversaw “urban renewal” and “slum clearance” projects in the Western Addition during his tenure from 1959 to 1971, according to the resolution.

“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 reads. “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.”

At least two petitions launched by city residents in recent years have called for the plaza to be renamed after poet Maya Angelou, a former San Francisco Municipal Railway driver, instead.

The resolution is set to be discussed at Monday’s Land Use and Transportation Committee meeting.

Bay City News Service contributed to this report.

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