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Letters: Muni ad ban points to larger societal issues

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An advertisement by the American Freedom Defense Initiative is seen on the side of a Muni bus. (Mike Koozmin/2012 S.F. Examiner)
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“Muni considers banning political ads,” The City, April 4
Muni ad ban points to larger societal issues

Interesting article, but a sad commentary of where our society is going.

There is no hate speech exception to the First Amendment. Period.

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The SFMTA’s considering of removing political ads contrary to their political/religious bias and our pandering to their supporter base only serve to weaken our society as a whole. Recent examples include local universities banning guest speakers with opposing views.
Dangerous decisions.

Drew Klein, San Francisco

“Plan for bike lane on Turk Street in Tenderloin being reconsidered,” The City, April 3
The SFMTA has a priority problem

I’m horrified that our city government prioritizes bikes ahead of public safety. I have witnessed firsthand the disaster that the SFMTA has created, confiscating public infrastructure and repurposing for a vocal minority. Watching from Davies Symphony Hall, we were shocked to see an ambulance unable to get through Van Ness due to the newly confiscated lanes for a ridiculous bus lane and bike lanes.

During a ridealong with the SFPD, officers had to slam over speed humps and screech around bulb-outs getting to an emergency call. I can only imaging what that would due to an ambulance occupant. And recently I turned right onto Eighth Street and nearly slammed into a concrete island that appeared in the middle of the right lane.

Why are we putting billions of dollars toward street redesign when we can’t even maintain them, can’t even plant trees? When seniors and disabled object to street redesigns, why do their voices fall on deaf ears? Why are the Bicycle Coalition and the SFMTA so powerful that they dictate an anti-car policy that endangers public safety?

When the Fire Department objects due to public safety concerns, they should be prioritized first. I pale to think the nightmare we will endure when they next earthquake hits and our emergency services, food and water can’t get through. It’s clear we’ll get no sympathy from the mayor, the Board of Supervisors and especially not the SFMTA (now affectionately known as Motorist Torment Authority).

As a 28-year resident of San Francisco and a supporter of subway expansion, I find myself unable to vote for funding for the SFMTA. They only cause misery and favor the 3 percent (or less) vocal minority.

Jamey Frank, San Francisco

“New Lyft Shuttle could be direct competitor to Muni,” The City, April 2
Is Lyft’s new service competition or creativity?

For those of us who favor public transit, the addition of Lyft Shuttle would be another welcome improvement in public transit. These transit alternatives only succeed because of the needs not met by Muni. They see a need and fill it; and they make money doing it despite government resistance and regulation.

Richard Best, San Francisco

“ACL Depression Syndrome,” Kevin R. Stone, April 2
When you’re injured, don’t wait for depression

As stated by Dr. Stone, “ACL Depression Syndrome is endemic to all athletes who begin as driven, healthy, fit and life-loving people — and in a moment become victims of a sports injury, facing an uncertain future.”

The onset of depression is predictably linked to athletic injuries, so it makes sense to routinely incorporate psychotherapy by a licensed mental health professional into the treatment of injured athletes. It is not necessary to wait for the athlete to become depressed, which adds another level of misery to the experience. Psychotherapy can be used as a preventative measure, sparing the athlete yet another hurdle to overcome. Sports psychologists are specially trained to treat athletes.

Dorothea Z. Lack, Ph.D., retired psychologist

“Business interests look to meet on S.F. congestion,” The City, March 31
An idea on how to lessen congestion

A way to lessen the congestion is to draw a perimeter around downtown San Francisco — say, from Van Ness on the west, Mission on the south, Broadway on the north, and the Embarcadero on the east — forbidding ride-hail services from entry.

This would dramatically lessen congestion and organically push business to taxis and other licensed companies. Enforcement would yield fines that could be put toward fixing pot holes and other unsafe features of The City’s streets.

Helen Ferentinos, San Francisco

“Public financing program examined,” The City, March 29
San Francisco is only helping the rich get richer

Your article about San Francisco’s public financing system for supervisorial races illustrates what is wrong with the current system.

Basically, candidates receive public financing in proportion to the private contributions they receive. This makes “rich” campaigns richer, by giving candidates with plentiful private campaign funds the most money.

Such a system of public financing actually magnifies the advantage of “rich” campaigns and does nothing to counteract the influence of third party independent expenditures, which the supreme court has said we can’t limit.

If we are going to have public funding of elections, we should adopt the British system, where all qualified candidates for Parliament get equal public support. Otherwise, San Francisco voters should repeal all public funding provisions since they just make “rich” campaigns richer.

Arlo Hale Smith, former BART director

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