As a clever Central Subway sales ploy, fiscal misdirection focuses only on potential federal funds — ignoring $500 million of state and local funding, which could restore Muni service cuts; stabilize fares, parking fees, meter rates and traffic citations; and improve Muni citywide.
Muni riders have been subsidizing the short 1.7-mile Central Subway by forgoing immediate transit enhancements. The recent San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency contract for tunnel-boring machines usurped another $57 million of scarce Proposition K sales-tax funds from Muni.
If built, the Central Subway will drain at least $15 million per year in new operating costs. The reallocation of the Central Subway’s existing funds can fix the Muni system now, while infusing the economy with thousands of immediate jobs.
By reallocating existing state and local funds, and future savings in operating subsidies and capital renewals, more than $800 million can be shifted into Muni, transforming it into a futuristic public transit system.
Howard Wong, SaveMuni.com, San Francisco
Oversight for grand juries
Regarding Melissa Griffin’s column on the civil grand jury report of the Ethics Commission, ethics and Sunshine Ordinance concerns should be focused on the civil grand jury.
Who are these people? The official website does not disclose the names of members. Under state law, they are volunteers, minimally qualified to read and write English and with no criminal record.
The Superior Court presiding judge selects the 19 members randomly from the pool of volunteers. They then can investigate any governmental subject they desire. They have no staff or other support.
There is no way for the public to determine what biases or preconceived notions the members have. They issue reports which frequently contain false, misleading or incompetently prepared assertions. The media then treats these with the same seriousness of a report from the city controller or other expert auditing agencies.
The civil grand jury is amateurism run amok and frequently cause more harm than good. In this modern age of the Internet, the institution should probably be abolished.
James W. Haas, San Francisco
Efficient canine disposal
Thank you to the San Mateo Police Department for protecting the world against vicious animals. I now know the proper procedure for handling such miscreant creatures.
I’m glad it wasn’t me who had to respond to the barrage of phone calls warning of vicious dogs. I would have armed myself with a tranquilizer gun. “Knocking out” a couple of dogs and handing them over to the local animal control seems so messy compared to your procedure.
Just like our local BART police, I’ve learned a valuable lesson from your Police Department: If it makes too much noise or disturbance, just kill it.
Joe Wicht, San Francisco