Pelosi Remarks at Alice Griffith Community Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting


San Francisco – Democratic Leader Nancy joined San Francisco officials and community members for the grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony of the newly revitalized Alice Griffith Community which revitalized public housing and built new affordable housing for over 300 families.  Below are the Leader’s remarks:

Leader Pelosi.  Good afternoon everyone!  And what a good afternoon it is.  Let me say that I come here to pay my respects to you and the respects of my colleagues in the Congress of the United States for being an example of national significance to our country: a place where a dream came true because of the involvement of the residents.  The residents made it all happen in honoring the Hope SF plan that said when you left, you could all come back and what you came back to was shaped by you.

President of the Board Malia Cohen spoke about our ‘why.’  We heard from these lovely young people.  Weren’t they wonderful?  They are our ‘why.’ Samuel [Vaughan] and Angelena [Moore], thank you for sharing your story.  You give other people hope with the eloquence of your personal stories.

We can talk about the facts and the figures and the statistics and they are important because they make some things happen, but nothing makes more happen than the words and the experience – the experience of our Mayor [London Breed] growing up in public housing.  From 14 years old, being part of public policy to make change.

Throughout her career, insisting that the will of the people in these initiatives would drive the initiative.  As a Supervisor, President of the Board, and now Mayor, it brings tears to my eyes to hear her story and it bring great pride to all of us to see this success in her personal as well as her official connection to it.  Thank you, Mayor [Breed], thank you so much.

[Applause]

Let me acknowledge the President of the Board, soon to have a higher office, Malia Cohen, she has been such a champion, as we heard.  She harkened us to know our ‘why’, it’s about our children, their children, the families they live in and the pride they take in their heritage.

All of this – again, Fala [Satele] was so eloquent in pointing out that this is a joint effort of so many different elements.  Let me just say this, to thank you.  First let me acknowledge Theo Miller.   Theo Miller with Hope SF has made a tremendous difference – when that $30 million came under the auspices of Hope San Francisco.  Listen to this: that was only one of five grants in the whole country, one of five grants in the whole country.  Thank you, Barack Obama.

But there was recognition that it would be used well and it would be used based on the principles of residents coming back, residents calling the shot as to how this would go forward.  Many have sat in meetings and have been – shall we say – impressed by the persistence of the residents, right?

We did a beautiful prayer about our purpose.  Thank you Reverend for the beautiful prayer about our purpose.  Then, again it’s about the San Francisco Foundation and the fact that we are so blessed that Fred Blackwell was with the mayor when some of this started and is now with the San Francisco Foundation.  Fred Blackwell, thank you, public-private partnership with the link of non-profit makes this all possible as well.

[Applause]

Samuel [Vaughan], Angelena [Moore], Fred [Blackwell], Theo [Miller], Supervisor Cohen, the Mayor [London Breed], here’s the thing.  This isn’t really politics, but you be the judge.  I just got here from Arizona at the end of a campaign swing because the election is in four days.  I wanted to end my swing at home, in San Francisco.  I want to be in a place where I can be inspired by all of you: your hopes, your dreams, your persistence, your ideas, you are just not taking no for an answer.  Your ‘why’ is our ‘why’ in elected office.

There are certain things that elections make a difference on, some fights we have had fights over funding, $30 million with President Obama’s insistence — but as we go forward, it is important to note, in the public-private partnership, it was important for us to use your wishes to make the policy, the appropriations to make the grants and the tax code – in a public-private partnership it is important to know, the Low-Income [Housing] Tax Credit was central, central to this.  To the private sector participants, thank you, thank you for using that for the good of these kids and their families.

[Applause]

I mention this to you because we will be having some fights.  It was drastically cut back in the Republican tax scam that gave 83 percent of the benefits to the top 1 percent and took away the low income tax credit, we got it in another fight in another bill so that we could continue this.  Public policy has consequences.  Elections have consequences.  I’m not here to talk politics, I’m just saying, they have consequences.

[Laughter]

Martin Luther King said: the ballot, legislation, your life.  That’s what he said. The ballot, legislation, your life.  So let me get back to saying respect and thanks to you because when we go to sell this to communities around the county, including our own, we can point with pride to say it has been successful, it works because the people most affected by it had a say in how it would proceed and the young people who are affected by it – the future – can attest to that.

So congratulations Alice Griffith, we were here three years ago, many of us for the ground-breaking and now for the ribbon-cutting.  Much happiness to those in your new homes.  Thank you for making this such a success.

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