➤ “Google bus blockade stokes tensions,” The City, Tuesday
Google bus rally misguided
Those protesting the Google buses using Muni stops have played right into the hands of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which has been waging war against cars. By seizing on the bus stop issue to vent their grievance with gentrification, they give the SFMTA a reason to replace street parking with a private bus zone as it has done elsewhere.
Soon, the extremely difficult parking in the Mission will get worse. I guess the union activist from Oakland, who instigated the protest, doesn’t understand that.
➤ “Gray Sunset may be going green,” The City, Dec. 5
Enforce concrete policies
It is actually illegal to pave over the entire frontage of your house. Per planning, 25 percent is supposed to remain unpaved to allow for water to seep in.
A fine of $250 can be levied for paving the entire front. One can call 311 to complain about it. It could raise a lot of money for The City if it were enforced. People have been paving over the front because they have built bedrooms, baths (and oftentimes illegal kitchens) downstairs so that there is now no room for cars inside.
A more efficient approach might be to have The City demand that everyone tears up at least 25 percent of their concrete and replace it with greenery or at least a rockscape that allows water to seep into the ground. A city-mandated demand that people free up frontage for seepage might be a timely measure.
➤ “Mandela legacy celebrated,” The City, Friday
Mandela led by example
In 2002, my wife, Judi, and I visited South Africa. While we were in Cape Town, we took a ferry ride to Robben Island, the political prison where Nelson Mandela and other African National Congress leaders were imprisoned. The island is now a museum and the guides are former prisoners.
Our guide served eight years of a 10-year sentence for carrying explosives. He described the appalling conditions the inmates endured.
During our visit to Soweto, a black township just outside Johannesburg, we asked one of our black guides about his feelings toward white South Africans. He told us that Mandela invited his prison warden to sit at the head table at his inauguration and then commented, “Where our leader leads, we must follow no matter how bitter or angry we feel.”
Ralph E. Stone
➤ Botanical Garden plan
Say no to pricey proposition
While recently there has been focus, and justifiably so, on the horrible idea of adding museums to the Presidio, which was intended to be a national park, the media has completely ignored the insane plan by the San Francisco Botanical Garden Society to build a $14 million Center for Sustainable Gardening in Golden Gate Park.
This plan has been railroaded through without any community input and will be a disaster for both neighbors and the park. Despite opposition from the Sierra Club, fundraising is proceeding and taxpayers will foot the bill for perpetuity for utilities and other costs. Lobbyist Sam Lauter has received more than $300,000 from the San Francisco Botanical Garden Society, and the intent here is to charge everyone entry fees to these 55 acres.
Harry S. Pariser