Your recent article (“Offices are outlaws in zoning turf war,” March 12) and last week’s editorial (“Give businesses a break while city fixes land policies,” Editorial, March 16) include serious misinformation about the Eastern Neighborhoods Plan and amnesty program.
They suggest that there are “possibly 1,000” or “hundreds” of illegally operating businesses in the area, but provide no supporting evidence. According to the 2011 Dun & Bradstreet real estate report, there are a total of only 500 offices within the PDR (production, distribution and repair) areas of EN. To date, despite heavy incentives, only 31 amnesty applications have been filed. Based on those and other facts, we believe the actual number is a small fraction of what was stated.
The amnesty program offers a path to legalize eligible office properties. The amnesty fees are the same as those required prior to EN. In fact, larger projects receive approximately a 50 percent discount. During the coming months, we will continue to work with eligible property owners to take advantage of this program.
For information about the “amnesty” program, visit the Planning Department’s website, http://amnestyprogram.sfplanning.org.
John Rahaim, Planning Director, city and county of San Francisco
Your story about Muni pass prices (“Pricier pass still a deal,” March 28) compares the cost to other agencies and concludes that we are getting some great deal from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. However, the writer fails to take into account how walking is often faster (and more pleasant) than taking a bus, and that a Muni trip of just a few miles takes about as long as getting from The City to Walnut Creek via BART.
It’s not all Muni’s fault. Some of the slowness is just a function of the density of our city and lack of size to justify extensive underground transit. But your decree of a “bargain” doesn’t jibe with what I see as a system that wastes people’s time by taking forever to go even short distances.
Marc Schoenfeld, San Francisco
In response to Aaron Peskin’s op-ed (“City narrowly escaped bad America’s Cup deal,” March 26), I certainly hope that California voters will remember Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s push to approve this boondoggle — one of many while he was mayor — the next time he runs for higher office.
Sherrie Matza, San Francisco