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Ranked-choice voting appears to be unfair

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When the ranked-choice voting measure was passed by San Francisco voters in 2002, I cannot imagine that the prospect of a second-place finisher being catapulted to the top was heavily promoted by its backers. If this can occur — as it did in the last Oakland mayoral race, despite as much as a 10 percent difference in popular support — then I don’t find this possibility to be a “reasonable” offset to the costs of a runoff election.

Meanwhile, I found it interesting that although the “FAQ” with your Sunday story stated that it is permissible to choose the same candidate all three times, the story’s ballot sheet explicitly uses text that contradicts this assertion (“Must be different than your” other choices).

I’m sorry, consultants and pundits, the confusion is built right into ranked-choice voting, and it isn’t worth it and it isn’t right.

Al Trent, San Francisco


Blame city planning

A broader issue in your Sunday story “Nob Hill hotels losing their luster” might be short-sighted city planning rather than solely market forces. Densification and concentration of hotels around Moscone have forced a Darwinian pricing competition, which drains economic energy from San Francisco’s neighborhoods.

Throughout the world’s destination cities, high-quality lodging prospers irrespective of distance to convention centers. Even on Nob Hill, the historic Ritz-Carlton is perennially voted one of the world’s best hotels.  

Conference sponsors routinely shuttle conventioneers as far as the Omni, Le Meridien and Hilton Financial District.

Howard Wong, San Francisco


Turn hotels into condos

San Francisco would reap the benefits of increased property taxes and a stable population if the four Nob Hill hotels reported for sale in Sunday’s San Francisco Examiner were converted to 100 percent market rate condominium complexes. Unfortunately, “community” activists opposed to market rate housing and homeownership, joined by neighborhood NIMBYs — as evidenced by the Fairmont’s doomed attempt to redevelop part of the hotel as condos — would protest and add years to the redevelopment of these properties if the property owners attempted conversions. It’s time that San Francisco’s appointed and elected leadership realizes that big days of Nob Hill hotels will not return and allow condo conversion for the good of The City.

Howard Epstein, San Francisco

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