Letters from our Readers: BART just happens to be adding New Year’s cops

BART police Cmdr. Dan Hartwig told the press that plans for some 30 percent more officers on New Year’s were not a response to the killing of Oscar Grant III at the Fruitvale station early last New Year’s Day.

If you believe that statement, I have a bridge I’ll sell you cheap.</p>

William J. Coburn, San Francisco

Forcing everyone to pay

Health care reform is about insurance that works, mitigating risk. It is not about taxing everyone 11 percent more for universal health care. It is not about power distributing the benefit of Ponzi schemes.

Three of us went for lunch at Fisherman’s Wharf and paid $120. We ordered nothing extravagant, unless you call four beers and a glass of wine extravagant. State and local taxes totaled 13.5 percent.

At the usual Euro-socialist rate of 43 percent, $120 represents 8.75 hours of labor for someone making $50,000 per year. Soon, eating will be deemed a right that we must force “others” to pay for. Soviet bread lines are progress?

Paul Burton, San Francisco

Permit help for owners

When buying San Francisco residential property with renovation in mind, one might want to know some penalty triggers that incur huge extra costs in building permits.

If you buy a place under 2,500 square feet and the renovation kicks it up over that number, you will incur a $6,250 Public Utilities Commission fee.

If you add more than 500 square feet in an addition — including digging out a basement, extending into your backyard or adding a level or partial level — you will incur a $2,500 fee to be paid to the School Board, in a money order.

The City needs to publicly disclose in a flow chart how to get permits through the Planning, Building and Public Works departments without triggering big unexpected fees, and the average time of city response to each step.

Janet Campbell, San Francisco

Bigotry vs. criticism

While I agree with Don Havis’ Tuesday letter that we should be free to criticize religion, we need to also keep in mind that persecution or demonization of a religious group is not acceptable either.

It is unfortunate that the United Nations has been used by opponents of Israel to spread anti-Semitism and give it international legitimacy. Jewish nationalism (Zionism) has been declared racist by the U.N. — singling out only one people as not entitled to a homeland. The Palestinian Authority, with the support of the U.N., continues to teach anti-Semitism in its schools and in government-controlled media.

It is one thing to criticize another’s beliefs, but quite another to promote bigotry.

Gil Stein, Santa Cruz

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