“Six die in balcony collapse,” The City, June 17
Berkeley balcony should have been steel
In my 60 years of practical construction experience, the root cause of this catastrophe was design deficiencies for the large and heavy metal balcony. The support bracing systems should have been made of steel instead of wood. Steel is much stronger and automatically eliminates deadly dry rot decay. Waterproofing wood to guard against water damage is a bandage solution and is not a safe substitute for correct material selection.
Balcony failures happen often and are widespread throughout the Bay Area. Design reviews and building codes need to be improved with safety foresight and significant actions taken to prevent future balcony disasters.
Retired construction safety expert
“Pure concentrated evil,” News, June 19
U.S. always on attack
The tragic murders at the AME Church in Charleston, S.C., were an important time for the president to make a strong statement against our gun culture.
However, at the same time President Barack Obama is talking about easy access to guns, our government is selling arms all around the world. We are also invading other countries that have not threatened us. We are destroying our environment with war games in the Arctic and elsewhere. We are allowing oil drilling in the arctic that has the potential to destroy animal life, the environment and the livelihoods of the arctic population. We are demonizing China and Russia and plan to surround them militarily despite the fact they have not threatened us.
“‘Poochella’ dog festival at Dolores Park canceled,” The City, June 18
Permit fees kill festivals
One would like to know just how much the Recreation and Park Department is charging for these permits nowadays. Many popular past events have moved their shows elsewhere because the fees, under General Manager Phil Ginsburg, have gotten exorbitant and only the rich can afford them.
Offhand I can think of three: the vintage car festival in central Golden Gate Park; the anarchist book fair held in the Hall of Flowers, also in Golden Gate Park; and the Spearhead concert in Speedway Meadow in Golden Gate Park. They go to Oakland or somewhere in the East Bay and never return. I’m sure there is a lot more free music that is no longer happening.
“Supes boost SFPD beyond mandate,” The City, June 24
Poor priorities on policing
Unbelievable. Police officers apparently got away last October with stealing $40 million and more for pay received “in administrative error” for off-duty assignments they never worked, per the City Controller’s report. Apparently nothing has been done to retrieve this theft from taxpayers.
Yet in San Francisco’s recently approved budget, there is more money to raise the number of public police and increase police academies, but apparently without bothering to train recruits to prevent racist, sexist and other anti-community behaviors. Isn’t hard crime down in The City, save for rape? Aren’t we decriminalizing marijuana? Isn’t the International Association
of Chiefs directly opposed to tying police numbers to population, as the Board of Supervisors prepares to do?
So if the board votes the proposition up we then pay what, $90,000 in base pay for yet more officers to board Muni and ask for evaded fares, deal with homelessness, quell bar-closing fights, and go after mid-level car and some violent iPhone thefts? And then additional monies get paid to police pursuing off-duty assignments using police cars, uniforms and weapons that we taxpayers pay for. Do I live in Never-Never Land?