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The power of one has apparently persuaded directors at the University of California’s Hastings College of the Law to reconsider a unanimous decision to build an eight-story garage on the corner of Larkin Street and Golden Gate Avenue in San Francisco. State Sen. John Burton sent a letter Monday to the chairman of Hastings’ board of directors, Eugene Freeland, excoriating him over plans for the 885-space garage and requesting the board meet again to reconsider alternatives. “I am outraged by the board’s arrogant dismissal of good faith community efforts to reach a compromise,” Burton wrote. “As a state institution, Hastings has the responsibility to be an integral part of its community. It is time for the board to shoulder that responsibility in this matter.” This is not the first time Burton has opposed garage plans. In a letter to the board in April, Burton urged Hastings to “do the right thing” and consider a mixed-use alternative that Tenderloin community members have been suggesting all along. Hastings’ chief financial officer, David Seward, said the board has not made a decision on whether to meet and reconsider garage alternatives. Wednesday’s San Francisco Chronicle quoted Seward as saying “yes” when asked if the board would again consider a compromise. Seward acknowledged that the letter sent by Burton is pushing the board to consider another meeting, but added that nothing has been decided. At the moment, Seward said, his office is busy contacting board members and researching bylaws on scheduling a meeting. Burton wrote in his letter that the board didn’t look closely enough at alternative uses for the garage. “Even though these alternatives were written up in your agenda, they never got real consideration,” wrote Burton. Burton asked that the board “rescind the approval of the parking garage” and reach a resolution through an independent arbitrator with the Tenderloin community. Calls to Burton’s office were not returned. The letter follows a rambunctious board meeting Friday. After listening to a handful of community members speak out against the garage, protestors carrying bullhorns and whistles rushed the board table. Some activists locked arms and staged a sit-down protest, and San Francisco Supervisor Chris Daly was one of 11 protestors arrested at the meeting. San Francisco District Attorney Terence Hallinan has not said whether charges will be filed against Daly or any of the other arrested protestors. Announcements are expected some time today on those two issues: whether Hastings will hold another board meeting to reconsider alternatives to the parking garage and whether anyone will face charges in connection with the last meeting.

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