It is quite saddening to see that the city attorney and the Election Department have decreased the traditional standards of reason when it comes to issues that may or may not be placed on the ballot (“Voters deserve apolitical details on Hetchy battle,” Monday). After all, it has been my pleasure to have placed nearly a dozen issues on the ballot over the years.
When it comes to the issue of the Hetch Hetchy water system and the O’Shaughnessy Dam, one can find nothing that would support the odious consideration of any challenge to the greatest water system ever devised by Americans for the benefit of citizens, not only for the Bay Area, but also as an inspirational system that the world admires.
The mere suggestion by ideological environmentalists that the Hetch Hetchy system should be dismantled is stupid and should not be placed on the ballot.
As the chairman of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission Infrastructure Task Force under Mayor Willie Brown for several years, it was my honor to serve The City with no less than the most brilliant environmentalists, engineers, environmental attorneys and 16 representatives of high-level experts who determined the way and means of repairing and improving the Hetch Hetchy system well to the tune of $5 billion approved by the citizens of San Francisco and other Bay Area customers.
The proposed opposition to the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir should be immediately removed from the ballot as unreasonable hyperbole.
Former chairman of the SFPUC Infrastructure Task Force
Too many Muni managers
Muni officials wrongly claim the civil grand jury’s report on Muni switchbacks contained “extreme institutional bias” and “inflammatory language,” (“Muni defends line switchbacks,” Friday).
Instead, the grand jury’s thoughtfully written report documented that Muni had 440 switchbacks in June 2011 occurring on light-rail vehicles alone, potentially inconveniencing 31,000 riders monthly. If Muni reduced switchbacks to just 82 by July 2012, it suggests Muni had nearly a year to address switchbacks before the release of the report. Would Muni have done so had the jury not aimed sunshine on switchbacks?
Did Muni counterproductively hire two additional public information officers to post 82 switchback updates on Twitter? Between 2008 and 2011, payroll data show, Muni hired 67 senior managers across ten job classifications, increasing costs by $8.3 million and doubling senior managers to 121, costing taxpayers $14.7 million (excluding fringe benefits). Hiring drivers — not press officers and managers — makes more fiscal sense.
Progress paid off at games
American women performed expertly at the Olympics. Not only can all of us feel proud of them, we can also thank the landmark legislation Title IX, which boosted civil rights and paved the way for girls’ and women’s inclusion in sports. If such legislation were being proposed today, don’t you wonder how the rabid anti-government, right-wing Republicans would vote?
When we can’t count on our own conscience to change behavior, intelligent policy changes provide that needed push in the right direction.
Government plays an important role in righting wrongs, equalizing conditions and ensuring education and health care access to the masses. But if the Mitt Romney-Paul Ryan twofer has its way, how many gains will we lose? I’m not willing to find out.