JTF, Inc. Board Meeting

1765 Sutter Street, Conference Room

May 20, 2003 at 6:00-8:30 p.m.


Attendees: Colin Gomez, David Ishida, Tak Matsuba, Jeff Mori, Benh Nakajo, Scott Belser, Rosalyn Tonai.

Guests:     Shirley Wysinger (SFRA), Jose Campos (SFRA), Karen Kai (Advisory)

Excused:  Seiko Fujimoto, Caryl Ito, Mark Moriguchi, Bob Otsuka, Pat Shiono, Doug Dawkins, Jon Osaki, Sheila Chung



A.    Chair’s Report


1.      Nominations Committee


The nominations committee for new officers and executive committee members is currently being constituted.


  1. Presentation by Shirley Wysinger & Jose Campos – SFRA Re: Amendment to SFRA Plan – Tax Increment.   (SB 211 & SB 2113) Extending Debt Issuance Timeline to 1/1/2009


Jose Campos states that the Western Addition A-2 project area expires January 1, 2009 and the debt incurrence deadline is set for January 1, 2004.  SB 211 grants the SFRA the ability to extend the debt incurrence deadline until January 1, 2009 to continue to fund projects.  The SFRA can the repay the debt until January 1, 2019.  If the SFRA can show that significant blight remains, the plan may also be extended an additional 10 years until January 1, 2019. 


C.    Director’s Report


1.      California Japantowns Preservation Committee meeting


A meeting was held at Matt Gonzalez’s office with Paul Osaki, Allen Okamoto, Shirley Wysinger, Steve Suzuki, Cathy Inamasu, Rumi Okabe, and other department heads.  In Paul’s proposal (presented by Allen) $300,000 was allocated to reconstruct the rock river in the Buchanan Mall and install a permanent public historical educational art piece which is also funded by CCLEP monies.  Since there was little detail to the proposal, and no one had seen it prior to the meeting, no one could commit to the proposal.  Many of the bullet points from the proposal came from the Task Force community plan.  Allen Okamoto stated at the May 16th JTF Cultural and Historical Preservation Committee meeting that the proposal was not his proposal, but Paul’s.  He also stated that the April 28th meeting was the first he heard or saw the proposal.  Along with the Task Force, Allen was to jointly make changes to the proposal. 


At the 3 Japantowns Committee meeting on May 19th, Paul, Allen and Rumi presented the same proposal that he had shown on April 28th.  The 3 Japantowns committee did not approve the proposal, but asked that he create a proposal jointly with the Task Force. 


Ros presented the criteria and proposal which the Cultural and Historical Preservation committee (along with other Task Force and community members), decided on.  The number one recommendation in the joint proposal is the acquisition of the 1830 Sutter Building for Nihonmachi Little Friends ($260,000).  The remaining $40,000 is to be divided between streetscapes, historic, and cultural projects for the façade of the Kokoro building.  Karen, however states that she had a different understanding of the second recommendation.  She believed that $240,000 would go to the Buchanan Mall rehabilitation, and the remainder $60,000 will be split between NLF and Kokoro because it she believed that the money had to be used to complete the project.  Benh, who was at the committee meeting, states that he agrees with the interpretation of points #1 and #2 although he does believe the higher amount should go to Kokoro and the lower to Buchanan street mall on point #3.  Tak states that he is in agreement with Benh on number #1, but recalled that the second alternative was a three-way split.  Linda recalls that #1 is correct, but stated that there was no decision made on #2.  However, because she did not see the revised proposal until after the 3 Japantowns meeting, she went into that meeting with essentially the original proposal. 


At the May 20, 5:00 meeting Tak requested that Paul never present anything on his own, or to represent a single group.  Tak also asked that Paul bring whatever projects he has to the Task Force so that at least the community can know what is going on.  He also states that Allen told him he had been working on the proposal (presented at Gonzalez’s office) for 10 years.  At the same meeting, Ros reports that she was told that the Buchanan Mall was the only publicly accessible project, and NLF and Kokoro should fundraise for themselves.  Clearly, Paul and Allen were not for #1 or #2.  Linda reports that she spoke with Ruth Asawa, and that Ruth stated that no one had brought this up to her.  Ruth felt that the concrete sidewalk along the river was an area in which people could walk.  She also stated that she did not want to see the stones removed and replaced.  Ruth did recall however, that she had discussed with Rai Okamoto that a strip of cobblestones in front of Kimochi could be cut, smoothed, and put back into the river.  Shirley adds that Linda’s discussion with Ruth is the same discussion that she had previously had with NPC and that she has never heard of Paul and Allen’s proposal although it is in a redevelopment area.   Thus, so even if $260,000 were allocated to the mall, there is no guarantee the redevelopment or the city will allow it. 


Jeff recommends having additional backup proposals in case NPC persists on pursuing the Buchanan Mall project and it is not completed on time.  Ros also recommends going back to the Kokoro, NLF, and Buchanan Mall projects for proposals. 


It was decided that Ros facilitate the process by contacting the various groups and requesting proposals and a statement of their ability to complete the project.  The Task Force will need a final letter approved by the Executive Committee with its recommendations and concerns by May 28th.   


2.      Central Freeway Signage


Manito Velasco reports the signs will be up from the 9th St. exit to Japantown by mid-June.  The Task Force is ordering an additional 29 signs without arrows to be placed in areas designated by the Task Force.


3.      KQED Awards Ceremony


The Task Force’s Tak Matsuba was awarded the Local Hero award from KQED in honor of APA Heritage Month for his work in Japantown.


4.      Union Bank Donation


UBOC donated $5,000 to the Task Force.


5.      AAAS Conference


Linda and Ernie presented at a community roundtable about the Task Force and how to connect the college with the community, in terms of involving students in the community.


6.      T-Shirts


The task force has ordered 144 t-shirts for fundraising and outreach.


  1. Next Meeting:


Monday, June 23rd 2003 @ 6:00pm.