Herrera sues to curb rampant illegal dumping in Bayview Hunters Point

City Attorney announces lawsuit seeking maximum civil penalties and damages against Bayview dumper, proposes local legislation

SAN FRANCISCO (March 1, 2011)— City Attorney Dennis Herrera today filed suit against Hector Santamaria of New High Protection Roofing Company and Salvador Gonzalez of Salvador Trucking Service for repeatedly disposing tons of roofing material and other debris in the Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood of San Francisco. As part of the City Attorney’s larger investigation, administrative subpoenas will be served on other suspected polluters. Announcing the litigation at a press conference this morning, Herrera was joined by District 10 Supervisor Malia Cohen and Department of Public Works Director Ed Reiskin at 1301 Donner Street—the site of numerous instances of illegal dumping, despite extensive “No Dumping” signs posted by the City intended to discourage illegal dumpers.

“Since late September 2010, there have been more than 100 tons of construction and roofing material illegally dumped on the streets and sidewalks of the Bayview. This egregious practice that pollutes our public spaces needs to be stopped. Those who work and live in Bayview Hunters Point deserve a safe and clean neighborhood,” said Herrera. “I am grateful to the Department of Public Works, the San Francisco Police Department, Supervisor Malia Cohen, and local business owners who have worked extensively with our office in the months leading up to the filing of this lawsuit. I hope our legal action and today’s proposed legislation serve as a warning to the would-be polluters that San Francisco does not tolerate environmental and social injustice.”

According to the complaint filed today in San Francisco Superior Court, there have been more than ten instances where roofing and construction debris were illegally dumped on public property, and DPW has spent more than $60,000 to remove that material. The City’s lawsuit also alleges that Santamaria and Gonzalez are linked to at least ten incidents of illegal dumping occurring in the Bayview Hunters Point community within the last five month period. Illegal dumping is a public nuisance and poses a threat to people’s health and safety. On at least one occasion, the illegally dumped debris contained asbestos.

“DPW works hard to ensure our streets and sidewalks are clean and safe everyday. Through the support of our city attorney, we will be able to ensure that environmental justice is served and that illegal dumping is not tolerated in this community or any other in San Francisco,” said Ed Reiskin, Director of the Department of Public Works.

In partnership with City Attorney’s Office, Supervisor Malia Cohen will also be introducing a legislation at today’s Board of Supervisors’ meeting that will amend our current municipal code to declare illegal dumping a public nuisance and empower the City with the ability to recover costs from those who commit illegal dumping.

“Illegal dumping in our neighborhoods damages our community in many ways – it is detrimental to our small businesses, generates urban blight, and degrades the quality of life in our City,” said Supervisor Malia Cohen. “This legislation provides us with additional tools to combat this harmful act and seek the recovery of city costs incurred while investigating and abating instances of illegal dumping.”

The lawsuit filed by the City Attorney’s Code Enforcement and Resident Protection Team accuses Santamarina and Gonzalez of willfully violating state and local laws that include the San Francisco Police Code, California Penal Code, California Civil Code and engaging in unfair and unlawful business practices in violation of Business and Professions Code Sections 17200, also known as the Unfair Competition Law. The City’s lawsuit seeks civil penalties and damages to recover the cost to abate the nuisance caused by defendants’ notorious and illegal conduct.

The case is City and County of San Francisco v. Hector Santamaria, New High Protection Roofing Company and Salvador Gonzalez, Salvador Trucking Service e al, San Francisco Superior Court No. CGC 11-508-621, filed March 1, 2011.