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Letters from our Readers: City sure has a grasp on the pressing issues

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I was so glad to read on your Oct. 5 front page that The City is finally getting tough with those pesky sea lions. Just last week — after being mugged in the Tenderloin, then hit and dragged by a Muni bus to Pier 39, where my broken body was ticketed for lying in a metered space before some hopped-up gangbangers tossed it into the water — I was floating peacefully in the Bay when a passing sea lion nudged me. Propped up here in the intensive care unit, it’s great to read that The City is getting its priorities straight.

Steve Abney, San Francisco

Benefits of high-speed rail

Thank you for publicizing the governor’s application for $4.5 billion in federal stimulus funds for high-speed rail on the Oct. 2 front page. I was one of the speakers at the Friday news conference at San Jose’s Diridon Station in support of the application.

High-speed rail brings enormous reduction in greenhouse gas and air pollutant throughout the state, and the opportunity to reduce auto-dependent land uses throughout the growing Central Valley. But don’t forget the Peninsula improvements the $980 million will provide, particularly electrification of Caltrain and grade separation of street crossings that eliminate train collisions with pedestrians and cars and the need to blow train horns.

Irvin Dawid, Co-chair, Transportation Committee Sierra Club, Palo Alto

Reject salt-ponds plan

I am appalled by the developer’s claims that Cargill salt ponds in Redwood City are “just a great piece of dirt” and that their proposal for development is not a Bay-fill project.

These man-made salt ponds are former marshlands that developers have repeatedly tried to fill in.

We are also being misled with claims that the ponds are an industrial salt “factory without a roof,” a damaged industrial waterfront that should be developed. Covered by the Williamson Act, the Cargill property is considered to be agricultural preserve or open space. Redwood City should say no to Cargill’s development and encourage restoration on the site. Opening the levees and restoring tidal marsh habitat will help fix Redwood City’s flood problems and provide public recreation for us all.

Karen Davis, Redwood City

Good and bad of The City

I have been seeing improvements throughout San Francisco’s urban landscape — new street trees and landscaped mediums, better Muni service, cleaner parks, and neighborhoods and commercial streets uncluttered by litter, handbills and graffiti.
Still, I note that despoiled public fixtures along city sidewalks and plazas confront pedestrians, due to a lack of care and upkeep. Returning recently from a visit to Dublin and Galway in Ireland, and Edinburgh, Scotland, we question why San Francisco remains so neglected by comparison.

But an alluring charm has returned to many San Francisco neighborhoods. Even our blue-collar areas have an air absent from affluent suburban neighborhoods. We’re rich not so much by what we own, but more by what we appreciate. And San Franciscans have gained affluence owing to the efforts of our city staff.

Rick E. Thurber, San Francisco
 

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