Don't let Capitol give rail plan fancy breaks 

The California Labor Federation is demanding a project labor agreement from Sacramento Democrats for the high-speed rail boondoggle.

A project labor agreement would exponentially raise construction costs, require unsustainably expensive union perks and require unfunded multibillion-dollar expenditures from California’s depleted general fund.

Indeed, the California Alliance for Jobs, comprising hundreds of building and trade unions, sponsors high-speed rail ads and pays union members to pack rail meetings. These unions got Democrats elected and want payback. 

And even though high-speed rail is called the “biggest construction project in the U.S.,” Gov. Jerry Brown wants to exempt it from the legally required California Environmental Quality Act review because unions want it. Worse, research shows rail construction will increase greenhouse gases and emissions over any amount saved due to the project’s overinflated ridership projections. 

Five polls show Californians don’t want, can’t afford and would vote to end high-speed rail spending, but Democrats refuse to listen. Rejecting new taxes in November will send a message about the project.

Mike Brown
Burlingame

Protect our soccer fields

Thanks to a pamphlet handed to me at Sunday Streets last week, I found out about the Recreation and Park Department’s plans to convert the natural soccer fields at the Beach Chalet in Golden Gate Park to plastic- and tire-filled fields. 

I would like to know when tax-paying voters get to vote on what happens to their property. No, we do not get to vote to protect the fragile environment and wildlife in the park. Why?

Reading the voter information pamphlet, I counted 12 groups in favor of Proposition B (Coit Tower), saying it “belongs to all of us.”

If Rec and Park wants to get a bond measure passed, they better start listening to the voters,  not just the 1 percent.

Ellen Leaf
San Francisco

The lighter side of aging

In Anita Katz’s review of the movie “Marigold Hotel” (“Great actors are cute codgers in ‘Marigold Hotel,’ May 4) starring the inimitable Dame Judi Dench, she says the movie sugarcoats the “darker aspect of old age,” including health, financial and emotional disappointments.

Why is it that this society continues to connect decline and disappointment with growing older? I recommend that Katz read Betty Friedan’s 1993 book, “The Fountain of Age.”

Youth is not all roses and light, nor does youth own good health, wealth and happiness. Let’s put aging in the context of opportunity for new creativity, learning and exploration. Sounds like the new movie did just that.

Ann Grogan
San Francisco

Late rapper a hero to Tibet

Adam “MCA” Yauch of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame group the Beastie Boys, who recently passed away, was not only a great rapper, songwriter and filmmaker, but a true humanitarian as well. 

A strong supporter of Tibetan independence, he helped organize the Tibetan Freedom Concerts (including the one at Golden Gate Park in 1996 with 100,000 in attendance) and established the Milarepa Fund to raise people’s awareness of the plight of the Tibetan people, to work toward helping them gain their freedom and to raise money to help them.

Kenneth L. Zimmerman
Huntington Beach

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