Letters: December 30, 2006

The military incentive of service

I was struck by the self-centeredness of a recent column editorial regarding the military draft [“Reinstating the military draft,” Dec. 25]. The basic theme of the author seemed to be how much money a person would lose if drafted into the military. That may or may not be the case, but in fact the true meaning of serving in the military is selfless service. In my case, as a retired soldier, it means the Seven Core Army Values of Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage. People who want to put down military service should rethink their values.

MSG James Volstad

USAR (Ret.)

Millbrae

Mulling mullahs

With all the threats from Iran to annihilate Israel, one thing is missing. Since 20 percent of Israel’s population is Arab-Muslim, presumably they too would be incinerated inside the “one bomb state” (the term used by Iranian President Ahmadinejad).

Question for the mullahs of Iran: Is your hatred for Israel so great that in order to exterminate it and its Jewish citizens, you will also eradicate the lives of one million brother Muslims?

Scott Abramson

San Mateo

James Brown’s impact

When I heard James Brown had died on Christmas Day, a tear dropped from my eye. I was 14 years old in 1968 when I was trying to figure out if I was colored or black and then James Brown came on the scene with “Say It Loud, I’m Black and I am Proud.” From that moment on I held my head up high knowing from then on that I would call my self “Black.” And I have been comfortable with that from then on.

Carol Denise Mitchell

Concord

Pride of ownership

On-the-spot tickets to property owners who do not properly maintain their property is a great idea. For once I agree with Supervisor Sandoval. City neighborhoods are indeed at risk of becoming “cement wastelands” as people opt to pave and park instead of maintain and landscape their property.

I would suggest that City policy makers keep in mind that the a major cause of urban decay and poorly maintained property is due to absentee landlords, rent control and overcrowding of single-family homes. When people own their front yard and invest emotionally and economically in their neighborhood, the “cement wasteland” along with the peeling paint, trash, and “absentee neighborhood” effect diminishes.

Matt Mitguard

San Francisco

The Board of Supervisors wishes to see better enforcement of City codes concerning such violations as failing to maintain lawns. We also need to look at the root of many of these violations: Proposition 13.

San Francisco has more long-term property owners than any other large city in the state. Many SF properties are inherited by individuals with incomes that do not cover the cost of maintaining buildings. A major justification of property taxation is to ensure that property owners have sufficient annual income to maintain their properties. This cost is felt by all of us in terms of fire hazards, blight, and lower property values of neighboring buildings.

Tom Busse

San Francisco

Traffic congestion

Sue Nixon’s letter responding to an article on cutting global warming gases at intersections through energy-saving bulbs points to a further need for left-hand turn safety, but only by converting signals to modern roundabouts can we get big time reductions in both global warming gas and traffic injuries [“Traffic lights, global warming” Dec. 23-24].

New U.S. signal-to-roundabout conversions open daily now. A typical conversion reduces gasoline use 15-20,000 gallons yearly. Caltrans needs to join the New York State Department of Transportation, which banned new signal investments two years ago with its roundabouts-only policy. Besides, roundabouts give the first-ever major safety benefit to both pedestrians and car occupants. Roundabouts, a 40-year-old U.K. technology, just love big trucks and Muni trains, too. Plus no electric bills! For real energy savings and safety, it’s time for California to start traveling in the right circles.

Tony Redington

San Francisco

Rude cab drivers

Like the taxicab commissioner, I’d like to see if there is any correlation between older cabs and cab accidents. One safety factor that no one addresses is the fact thatmany taxi drivers talk on cell phones while they drive. That alone is unsafe, not to mention rude and annoying.

W.S. Beck

San Francisco

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