Death penalty wrong for state, survivors 

“The supporters of Proposition 34 sympathize with the murderers. The victims are somewhat down on their priority scale,” said Michael Rushford, president of the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation (“Death row may face demise,” Sunday).

For the past 34 years, Rushford and CJLF have fostered habitual hyper-vigilance in the name of crime victims. During those 34 years, they have tried to perfect an inherently flawed death penalty while California taxpayers have spent millions of dollars each year to execute a handful of murderers while nearly 50 percent of homicides go unsolved.

As a murder victim’s family member, one of thousands across the state who support Prop. 34, I am stunned by Rushford’s empirically false statement that supporters of this initiative sympathize with murderers. I have no sympathy for my brother’s killer. I would like him off the streets and behind bars for the rest of his life. I also have little sympathy for Rushford and CJLF, who want me to wait in line for justice while they exact revenge for a few while wasting billions more on what we agree does not work.

Judy Kerr
Albany

 

Ryan loyal to Wall Street

Mitt Romney’s pick of U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan as running mate is probably not as big a deal as it’s drummed up to be.

Yes, Ryan is from the Midwest and seems like a decent and intelligent person. As someone who grew up in the Midwest, I can say Midwesterners are well-grounded folks and hard-working, and have good old-fashioned values including honoring family, raising children with positive values, respecting one’s elders and working together as a community for the common good.

Since Ryan’s selection, many in the Republican Party and even some in the media have referred to him as a heavyweight intellectual on the political front. That description, however, seems a bit hyperbolic.

Ryan’s calling for eliminating Medicare as we know it and handing out vouchers to seniors instead  is neither a Midwestern value nor a national value.

Ryan’s efforts to privatize Social Security would only put huge profits into the deep pockets of Wall Street, the same folks that gave us the Enron debacle and the same Wall Street that created the economic meltdown during George W. Bush’s administration and yet was rewarded with handouts of free?multibillion-dollar federal bailouts. 

Anh Le
San Francisco

 

Muni is on wrong track

In the past five years, and especially during Nathaniel Ford’s tenure, the ineptitude and poor service on Muni have risen to epic levels. I think people are finally shaking the dust from their eyes and ears and seeing for themselves how much of a cancer public transit in The City has become.

Unfortunately, the unions are going to keep overpaid, lazy drivers on the payroll, and the worthless fare police who ride the rails have swollen in ranks. It’s business as usual at the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, and they like it that way.

What they don’t realize, though, is that all the fare increases over the years (including the most recent one) are driving people back to BART and cars. When public-transit stops being an inexpensive alternative to driving, the car dealerships and auto auctions reap the benefits. As a Muni rider of 15 years, I can no longer support a failing system that is perpetually short on funds but yet continues to pay so many top employees more than $100,000 a year.

Maurice Rivers
San Francisco

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