Public transportation plans need resolution 

Your editorial correctly notes that paying lip service to environment improvement won’t solve the problems that are becoming more serious — and more obvious — with each passing year (“Tough choices about air quality lie down the road,” Opinion, April 22). Motorists will be affected. They will probably have to both slow down and drive less.

This means that the alternatives to driving will first have to get better. Bus and passenger rail service will have to become more convenient, reliable and comfortable. Routes will need to reflect current demographics and logic rather than the special-interest demands of yesteryear.

Unfortunately, the agencies in charge of transportation planning continue to squander scarce transportation resources. Recent examples: the allegedly “iconic” and certainly over-priced East Span; AC Transit’s duplicative transbay operation; the unneeded Oakland Airport Connector; San Francisco’s singularly ill-conceived Central Subway; a high-speed rail plan still burdened by unnecessary detours.

It’s time to get down to business.

Gerald Cauthen
Independent Transportation Consultant
Oakland

Billboard consequences

The voter-enacted limitations on billboards confirm that the law of unintended consequences is alive and well (“Illegal billboards busted as city’s efforts pay off,” Opinion, April 26). Without question, the strict regulation of billboards was a positive step toward controlling visual blight.

But by reducing and limiting their presence in the landscape, the remaining legalized billboards are now a limited resource.

Economics 101 says that when a limited resource is in high demand, the asking price of that resource goes up. This may not be a problem for the outdoor advertising companies, but keep in mind that billboards also generate rental income for property owners.

These property owners need not invest in the upkeep of their properties to maximize their rent demand because billboard companies will pay an inflated rate as long as their advertisements are seen. Take a short trip down Third Street and you will clearly see the adverse connection between legal billboards and underutilized and blight properties.

Russel Morine
San Francisco

No support for the GOP

Republicans have proven themselves to be against unions, women’s issues, the middle class, libraries and almost everything else that doesn’t support their agenda of welfare for big business and the super rich.

President Barack Obama provides sanity and appears to be working to redress the problems we have in abundance in this country.

Robert Sinuhe
Oakland

Playing the name game

What is Melissa Griffin’s point regarding people mispronouncing Sheriff Markirimi ... oops! — Mirkarimi’s name? (“With friends like these ...,” Melissa Griffin, April 26). People misspell and mispronounce my name all the time, including people I’ve worked for.

Are they — or I — lesser human beings for that? Don’t people sometimes call you Griffith? This is an issue?

Jeff Gillenkirk
San Francisco

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