Letters: May 26th, 2006

City Hall inefficiency has real effect

Two interesting stories appeared in Thursday’s paper — an article on $2 million in annual waste by the SFPD at San Francisco International Airport (“Audit: SFPD wasting $2 million,” May 25), and an article on the paving of Valdez Street after 37 years of having not been repaved (“After 37 years, streets gets due,” May 25).

That there is waste and inefficiency in government should be no surprise, but it is stunning when you come to understand what service is not being provided because government is not efficient in its allocation of tax dollars. The bias toward satisfying the government employee at the expense of the taxpayer and resident of San Francisco must be addressed.

Zero-based budgeting, which requires that a department’s program be justified from the ground up each fiscal year, may become necessary to ensure that budgets are responsive to actual need. The current practice is based on a slavish adherence to past practices that often evolve from very suspect rationale. I expect that the voters may need to take this matter into their hands and oblige the necessary charter reform.

N. Rocha

The City

Contempt for voters’ will?

It’s encouraging to see somebody hold accountable a Board of Supervisors that is openly contemptuous of the voters’ will (“Business groups file lawsuit, say S.F. ignoring Proposition I,” May 23). Whether it’s Care not Cash, public power or the closure of JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park, this Board of Supervisors has routinely given the voters the finger.

Voters passed Proposition I because they saw a Board of Supervisors passing legislation that had an adverse impact on the San Francisco economy, endangering their jobs and putting the ideological special interests of a few above the well-being of The City. This litigation will enforce the voters’ will and do what most people find to be prudent but our supervisors find incomprehensible: Know the consequences of what you do before you do it.

E.F. Sullivan

The City

Defeat for Wal-Martk

Three cheers for Hercules residents and the city council for having the courage to stand up to commercial giant Wal-Mart’s bullying efforts to push its way into their waterfront city. What a shame that this big-box retail monster with a smiley face threatens retaliation and costly legal action on a town that just wants to have a say in its character and how it develops in the future.

For Wal-Mart to say that it will have a “village-like” appearance is like saying Godzilla will just hide behind that lamppost over there.

Paul Svedersky

The City

“Pleasantville” in Peninsula

The Emerald Hills Homeowners Association — a small group of residents acting as self-appointed judges of style and taste in the unincorporated area of southern San Mateo County — is trying to change the zoning laws so that the style, shape, size and color of all homes will be restricted to their opinion of what is acceptable.

If this is allowed to happen, Emerald Hills will become a planned community where diversity and freedom of expression will be outlawed.

In the movie “Pleasantville,” only black-and-white homes were allowed in a planned community where everyone was required to express themselves according to “acceptable” standards. In the Pleasantville-type Emerald Hills that is being proposed, only earth-tone Craftsman structures would be allowed.

Most of the 1,700 homeowners in Emerald Hills moved here because of this community’s long history of celebrating diversity in style and expression and culture, and the Emerald Hills Homeowners Association does not speak for our community.

Michael J. Mangini

Emerald Hills

There will be a meeting to discuss new zoning regulations for the Emerald Hills part of Redwood City on Wednesday, May 31, at 7 p.m. at Clifford School, 225 Clifford Ave., Redwood City. The new proposed laws will not only regulate the size and shape of houses but will also regulate theappearance of every detail, including the color, design and even the landscaping. Owners need to make it known that they want to represent themselves and their own choices for their own property.

Robert Parkhurst

Redwood City

Waterfront tragedy

As I again read about the horrible story of the mother who threw her three children into the Bay, it still makes me sick to my stomach (“Mom’s videotaped confession played at pretrial hearing,” May 25).

My daughter is such an amazing gift that I will never understand what Lashuan Harris did. The babies are in heaven now and Harris will never join them. I wish she had just jumped in the Bay herself instead. I will pray for them all.

David Palmer

The City