Letters from our readers: Tackle Polk Street’s real, everyday problems

David Chiu’s unanimously approved legislation limiting stores selling tobacco devices is another meaningless token attempt to clean up Polk Street. Perhaps the real issues that David and other political officials seem to overlook are too numerous. Daily panhandling and verbal harassment, prostitution, drug sales and public intoxication are clearly evident.

Simple everyday neighborhood tasks are frequently hindered by people harassing you for money or food, sleeping on the sidewalks or more seriously, trying to sell you something illegal. I like my neighborhood and its people. Let’s take away the Polk Street carnival atmosphere so it becomes another contributing San Francisco community.

Phil Stickney, San Francisco

Tasers lead to abuse

Your Oct. 8 front-page article about stun guns suggests The City can simply develop a policy to avoid police abuse of the electro-shock weapon. Unfortunately, this fairy tale contradicts the facts. Tasers are not primarily used as an alternative to guns; they have increased police-initiated violence.

At political demonstrations, the Taser serves as a terrifying method of crowd control. The shotgun-type stun gun Chief Gascon mentions is also conducive to abuse, because the target may have trouble identifying the officer who shot from up to 50 feet away.

Moreover, the effects a victim may experience go beyond those you list. You neglect to mention acute pain, much less the more than 351 people, mostly unarmed, who died since June 2001 after being shocked by police Tasers. Perhaps this is the reason for the public outcry you fail to explain.

Tim Phillips, San Francisco

More bike parking, please

Eric Mar’s recent comment that the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival could have been improved with more bike parking was spot on. As a Panhandle resident, I love that so many San Franciscans can choose to leave their cars at home and ride their bikes to great events like these.

With event organizers providing valet bike parking; pollution, noise and parking issues are reduced for those living near the park. Unfortunately, this year not nearly enough room for bike valet was provided. Many of my friends were unable to safely park their bikes. The lack of parking was so bad, in fact, that I chose to avoid the festival altogether on Sunday. I really hope that the organizers fix this problem next year so San Franciscans can comfortably choose to ride to this amazing event.

Jess Zak, San Francisco
 

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