San Francisco can and should do something smart when replacing Candlestick Park (“It’s lights out for Candlestick,” April 5).
For a start, consider that after the stadium itself is gone, the purpose-built access roads and parking lots created to handle an influx of 60,000 or so 49ers fans will remain. Next, consider the punishment being inflicted on Richmond and Sunset district neighborhood residents by City Hall’s insistence on using Golden Gate Park to host loud multi-day concerts for an even greater number of daily attendees.
With these two considerations in mind, rather than yet another uninspiring exercise in me-too real estate development, and rather than continuing to, figuratively speaking, keep pouring gallon-sized concerts into Golden Gate Park’s quart-sized events infrastructure (and then pretending to be surprised by the resulting three-quarts spillover into adjoining neighborhoods), why not transform the Candlestick site into a purpose-built outdoor concert facility?
Or, would this idea make too much sense for our “great thinkers” down at City Hall?
Riley B. VanDyke
Cut Muni’s cushy benefits
Ed Reiskin chose to describe his budget as “honest” and “responsible,” but did not bother to honestly tell San Franciscans the primary driver of Muni’s chronic budget deficits — and that is the cost of generous city employee health care, pensions and salaries (Opinion, April 3).
Reiskin’s budget is nothing more than a regressive tax increase on middle class residents — some of whom have no health care, much less a pension — to pay for city employee benefit cost increases under the guise of such buzzwords as “Transit Effectiveness Project,” “modernizing antiquated parking” and “SFPark.”
Muni’s funding has increased in the past with no improvement in service or product. It would be naive to expect anything different this time around.
I guess we all have our own definition of “honest.”
State should drop rail plan
The newest high-speed rail scheme attempts to undo massive damage caused by HSR’s prior $98.7 billion to $117.8 billion estimate for Phase I (San Francisco to Los Angeles) construction. Their newest estimate is now $68 billion, more than twice the $33 billion they sold to voters in November 2008 to build both Phases I and II (Sacramento to San Diego).
But $68 billion is not what voters authorized in Proposition 1A, is $35 billion more than the $33 billion “bait and switch” estimate, and reaffirms that California’s Legislature is legally and ethically barred from selling new HSR bonds for this boondoggle.
If new HSR debt is issued, then California’s Democrats will show they have a spending problem, not a revenue problem, and all new “tax yourself” measures will be defeated in November.
They can’t cut massive amounts from K-12 children, the CSU and UC systems, seniors, parks, police and fire, but find limitless money for a high-speed rail train that, five independent polls show, Californians don’t want, can’t afford and won’t ride.
The California Labor Federation and powerful unions want Democrats to borrow billions in HSR debt for temporary jobs, but the expense is too high and unfunded.