Letters from our readers: Issuing long-term debt will hurt general fund

Wednesday’s “Rough road for street repairs” article about The City issuing $48 million in certificates of participation to fix potholes and curb ramps neglected to mention that the asset being used as collateral for this long-term debt is Laguna Honda Hospital, which is being leveraged against $275 million in COP “asset transfer model” financing in principal alone, excluding interest.

Of the $85 million for these new COPs, nearly $1 million in principal and interest will be used for the Board of Supervisors chamber ramp.

A board report suggests that regularly recurring revenue should be used to finance ongoing street maintenance, rather than
issuing long-term debt that reduces general-fund discretionary money for the next 20 years.

Over the past decade, San Francisco’s long-term COP debt load jumped $473 million to a total of $565 million — $275 million under Mayor Gavin Newsom’s watch alone — without voter approval.

Patrick Monette-Shaw
San Francisco

 

Wrong about Muni drivers

In reply to the Monday letter stating that Local 250A and we Muni operators tell management how to schedule buses: It is management who tells us and even reminds us that our contract states, “It is the sole prerogative of management to compile schedules and fares” when we try to stop them from cutting service.

Otherwise there would be much more, not less, service if operators like me either individually or collectively through our union had the authority to determine service levels.

Michael J. Benardo
San Francisco

 

How to truly fix Muni

Nowhere in Proposition G is there any plan to fix Muni. All it intends to do is to destroy the voter-approved formula for how Muni operators are paid. In my opinion, the operators deserve every penny they earn. They keep Muni running, while dealing with rude passengers, bicyclists and motorists.

The problem with Muni is that it has too many overpaid managers in redundant positions. To fix Muni, start at the top and work down.

Barry Chown
San Francisco

 

Take a cue from Big Apple

Fans of small-town living might be shocked to find out that America’s biggest city is one of the least dangerous. New York, with 8.4 million residents, is our sixth-safest city.

Sure, the Big Apple ranks safer in part because it’s so pedestrian-
oriented and fewer drivers on the road reduce the risk of traffic fatalities. In 2008, New York had only three traffic deaths per 100,000 residents.

But New York also boasts a
violent-crime rate well below what you’d expect for a big city — only 552 for every 100,000 residents, better than two-thirds of 71 other cities.

So, if New York can do this with more than 10 times our population, how come San Francisco can’t?

David Nolley
San Francisco

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