Letters from our Readers: High-speed rail will devastate communities

It seems to me that people have been apathetic when it comes to the proposed high-speed rail project. Let’s take a look at what is being planned, as of today. Think about lining up five or six large bulldozers side by side and 100 feet across, at San Francisco’s new Transbay Transit Center. Aim them down the center of the current Caltrain tracks and send them off to wreak havoc from San Francisco to San Jose. They’ll take out everything in their way, mostly by eminent domain.

Once this is done, they will construct one of the ugliest structures you can imagine. The elevated-freeway-type structure will have four sets of tracks and high-voltage lines above the tracks.

The High-Speed Rail Authority has been holding meetings in an effort to sell the plan. Meanwhile, it has been very busy doing what is the cheapest and most efficient design. This design does not take into account the effect on property values and aesthetics through the entire Peninsula.

Dan Andersen, Burlingame

Skewed debt figures

San Francisco City Controller Ben Rosenfield tells us in the voter pamphlet that our debt burden is considered to be “moderate.” His quotes, not mine. I don’t know what kind of company he keeps, but $500 million looks like a large amount of debt to me.

Richard Hanlin, San Francisco

Vacations aren’t absences

Last week, it was reported that Muni absenteeism was down 40 percent because of the new and illegal attendance policy. The reason attendance seems to be up is because summer is over and few of my fellow operators are on vacation now. In case you didn’t know, being on vacation is not the same as being absent.

Michael J. Benardo, San Francisco

Incentive to spare the air

It is another Spare the Air Day in the Bay Area. Are the requests to voluntarily reduce driving and conserve energy being followed?

Perhaps bridge tolls should automatically increase on Spare the Air Days so that more of us do what we should to protect our air (and our lungs).

Sprague Terplan, San Francisco

Nothing stimulating here

The federal “stimulus” package has been more like an economic “sedative.” Stimulus jobs have primarily gone to government workers without stimulating the private sector economy, which government programs ultimately depend on.

America’s Democratic Party leaves industry in private hands, but regulates and taxes business wherever possible. This is especially true in San Francisco. Private industry is currently unwilling to invest money, fearing costly new rules and fees without warning.

Judy West, San Francisco

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