BART extension plan is costly boondoggle 

You laud BART for having the courage to face down union demands for salary increases and benefits that it couldn’t afford (“Hard choices and fiscal finesse put BART on track,” Opinion, April 16). Your praise is probably deserved.

But a new problem has arisen.  Thanks to a couple of scheming promoters from the tri-valley area, Alameda County’s voters will be asked next November to approve a $400 million allocation to extend BART from its current terminal in Dublin to Livermore. Since this extension’s dismally low projected ridership would under no circumstances justify its projected cost of $3.85 billion, there must be another reason for the extension. 

There is. Friends of the promoters are reportedly planning a large and sprawled-out commercial-residential complex at the extreme eastern end of Alameda County, not far from where the extension would end.

If the voters unwittingly approve  $400 million for this ill-conceived pet project, it will constitute the proverbial camel’s nose under the tent — the camel’s body soon follows.

Once the promoters have $400 million in hand, they will crank up the pressure to suck in the remaining $3 billion-plus in regional transportation resources required to complete the extension, thereby again sidelining transportation projects of far greater value for another decade or two while the region embroils itself in yet another wasteful flight of fancy. 

Hangston Giles
San Leandro 

Zoning plan costing jobs

San Francisco supervisors have agreed to postpone for another year the massive new fees and penalties imposed on existing high-tech or computer-based businesses by the 2008 Eastern Neighborhoods rezoning.

New rules made officelike uses illegal across most available property in the warehouse districts of the Mission and Potrero. High-tech businesses were determined to be a threat to the traditional, blue-collar jobs that have been leaving The City for decades.

The devastating financial consequences of the light-industrial zoning on San Francisco jobs and tax revenue is finally coming to light. The economic impact report prepared by the City Controller’s Office in 2008 predicted the new zoning would reduce property values by almost $6 billion (and tax revenue), with a loss of 116,000 good-paying jobs in order to retain 15,000 low-wage jobs.

Supervisors recently agreed to postpone the new fees and penalties on existing businesses for another year, but the sooner we get rid of the entire Eastern Neighborhoods package of stifling land-use regulations and fees, the sooner our local employment and government budget woes will be solved.

Judy West
San Francisco

Not missing KNBR host 

While I question the manner in which radio announcer Ralph Barbieri was let go by KNBR, I will not miss him. I stopped listening to the Barbieri-Tolbert show many years ago; it had become very juvenile.

And Barbieri’s fawning, long-winded interviewing style was just too much for me. I remember an interview with Bill Walsh some years ago. I just wanted to hear what Walsh had to say. Instead, Barbieri spent most of the interview on endless commentary, leaving little time for Walsh to speak.

Ralph E. Stone
San Francisco

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