Letters: June 28th, 2006

Anti-business policies cause closures

Rather than author a symbolic ordinance asking Albertsons not to close a San Francisco supermarket, Supervisor Gerardo Sandoval and his colleagues should look at the root causes of supermarkets and other businesses leaving (“Sandoval sponsors vote to keep Albertsons,” June 27). It is primarily due to the actions of this and previous Boards of Supervisors.

Recent proposed legislation to raise business taxes and fees, the Ammiano health plan and an extremely bloated budget are a few reasons.

The zeal of supervisors to please the public employees, who fund and supply volunteers for their campaigns and earn far more than their counterparts in private industry, has caused a looming financial crisis that will need additional funding.

Overall, the present and past political leadership has given us a very poorly governed and managed city.

Howard Epstein

The City

The City’s urban forest

Commentators on The City’s declining number of street trees are scapegoating the Recreation and Parks Department for a complex inter-agency problem (“Report: The City’s urban forest fading,” June 22). Of the great diversity of hundreds of non-native tree species in our city’s urban forest, estimated to be 668,000 total trees, only 6 are classified as weeds that pose a significant threat to our natural areas. Blue gum eucalyptus is the most well-known.

While no one in the local environmental movement has proposed to turn Golden Gate Park “back to the dunes” or to clear-cut Mt. Sutro or Mt. Davidson of its blue gum eucalyptus plantations, volunteers and natural resource managers do manage parklands for the conservation of biodiversity. Careful management includes removing invasive trees from places where they threaten rare and endangered species and habitats.

A recent letter-writer mentions accurately that 3,400 trees will be removed from Recreation and Park lands. But they will be removed not “because they are non-native,” but because they are species that crowd out local native plant and wildlife habitats. They represent only 5 percent of the estimated 64,000 trees on Recreation and Park lands, and they will be removed over a period of 20 years and replaced with 200 native trees per year for 20 years, for a total of 4,000 trees.

Peter Brastow

The City

Health care and pensions

As health insurance and The City’s retirement benefits costs for its employees continue to rise, not only in San Francisco but the nation, The City should look at some type of reform (“Cost of benefits ballooning,” June 27). We need to ensure that the current and future generations of San Franciscans will continue to be provided the necessary services our hard-earned tax dollars are for.

I am confident labor leaders and city officials will come up with a fair and equitable plan that will not hurt the current retirees receiving health benefits or present city employees, and that will not put taxpayers behind the 8-ball. Otherwise, all San Franciscans will end up with the short end of the stick.

Ed Jew

The City

High school dropouts

The dropout numbers presented by Dan Walters in his opinion column don’t jibe with those presented by the Census Bureau, the National Center for Education Statistics and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (“California keeps pushing sham graduation rates,” June 26). For more on this, read Alan Reynolds at Townhall.com.

Just like it is sensible, with regard to immigration, to first focus on controlling our borders, so too with education should we begin with the first principle — providing quality public schooling. It shouldn’t surprise us that kids recognize a shoddy product when they see it.

Paul Burton

The City

First victim of war

The obsession with terror has reached new lows. First, the declassification of old news — i.e., 500 Iraq-Iran War vintage “WMDs” — by two GOP partisans is an attempt to breathe new life into a discredited claim. Second, the roundup of rank amateurs in Florida and the attempt to link them to al-Qaida must be an act of desperation by the Bush administration. Is this the best the right wing can do?

Let’s emphasize two other inquiries. One, publicly examine sleeper cells and how they blow away administration claims of not being attacked here. Two, why does Homeland Security ignore the threat of the McVeighs, the Minutemen, the militias and other kooks to this country? Has Oklahoma City been forgotten so soon?

This myopia has been furthered by both right- and left-wing media. As they say, the first victim of war is the truth.

Gordon D. Robertson

The City

Crime isn’t funny

Since when is a woman being attacked in the street by another, drunk woman called a catfight?

Your Police Blotter column of June 26 disrespects all women and the victim of the crime by using that outdated, trivial and insulting phrase. Women aren’t cats and victims of street crime aren’t cats.

Jennie Winton Hinman

The City

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