One of Muni’s “Arctic Coach” series buses, circa 1970-80. (Courtesy SFMTA photo archives)

One of Muni’s “Arctic Coach” series buses, circa 1970-80. (Courtesy SFMTA photo archives)

Letters: Muni’s two-operator model made plenty of sense

“Muni buses still rolling, 100 years later,” The City, Sept. 8
Muni’s two-operator model made plenty of sense

This story was especially meaningful to this quite-old native. The part about two operators on vehicles in past decades reminded me of something that has been on my mind ever since one of our dailies a few years ago printed in an article that Muni was losing something like $42 million dollars annually due to fare evasion. That just did not happen when there were two operators.

The “operator” was the pilot of the streetcar, and the “conductor” collected fares and made change at the rear end of the vehicle. Entry to the streetcars was at the rear. I have often thought that hiring several additional roaming fare-inspectors with just a bit of the evaded fare losses would make great sense.

Currently, I see little evidence of any people checking for payment of fares. When they are visible, they usually ride in bunches of four or six persons, which does not really seem the most economical or effective strategy. Their uniforms can be seen from a distance so that evaders can just wait for the next bus to avoid them.

As an aside, I remember when the fare was 5 cents and how outrageous my grandmother thought the increase to 7 cents was! I also must mention how difficult it must have been for the operators (after the switch to one per vehicle) to make change for those who handed them a large denomination bill and drive on congested streets at the same time. Yikes!

Drivers in today’s “exact change” times must truly find it hard to relate.

Michael Reichling
San Francisco


“Obama did exceed authority on ‘Dreamers’,” In My View, Sept. 7
Executive branch holds power

Ramesh Ponnuru is incorrect when he writes that DACA was not within Obama’s authority. Once an individual is in the U.S., it is the executive branch, not Congress, that decides who will be deported. And Congress did not allocate enough money for the executive branch to deport the approximately 11.3 million undocumented immigrants. As a result, most administrations focus enforcement on undocumented individuals who are national security threats, criminals, or who similarly endanger the “public safety.” It was within Obama’s discretionary power as executive to focus less on “low-priority” immigrants such as childhood arrivals.

The executive also has the unilateral authority to permit certain undocumented immigrants to remain in the country — a process known as “deferred action” — the rest of the benefits afforded to DACA beneficiaries flow from federal law. Federal regulations promulgated in 1981, for example, list “an alien who has been granted deferred action” as one of several kinds of immigrants who may “apply for employment authorization” from the federal government. Thus, it was within Obama’s authority to allow DACA beneficiaries to live and work in the U.S.

Ralph E. Stone
San Francisco


Personal responsibility means not being a jerk,” Broke-Ass City, Sept. 7
Fortunately, some people care

Right on, Stuart!

Some people seem to have an attitude that someone else is going to clean up after them and bail them out when they burn Muni buses. Who are these people?

The garbage at Ocean Beach and on 4/20 in Golden Gate Park is astounding — and these are mostly educated middle-class people. They can’t be bothered to pick up their own stuff! When we all see Trump’s insanity and watch Wall Street contribute to the economy’s collapse, some people just say, “Screw it, why should I care?”

Fortunately, some of us do.

Patrick McGuire
Inner Sunset

S.F. merchant group mulls $100,000 donation from Airbnb to advocate for them,” On Guard, Sept. 5
Rent-control policy to blame

This column failed to mention the main reason for San Francisco’s housing crisis and other major problems. The blame lies with the policies enacted or supported by past and present elected officials and the citizens who vote for them.

The main reason for the overwhelming success of Airbnb in San Francisco’s is The City’s onerous Rent Control Ordinance that has been amended 215 times to the detriment of housing providers since its introduction in 1979. Small property owners — those who own buildings of four units or less and, in many cases, live in one of the units alongside their tenants — are especially hard hit by the constant changing regulations. After experiences with one or more deadbeat and/or disruptive tenants the small housing provides, some decide to leave the units vacate. If they can’t afford to leave the unit vacant, they switch to short-term rentals.

As long as we’re governed by people who believe that when a tenant leases a home all property rights are transferred to the tenant the problem will only get worse.

Howard Epstein
Vice Chair Communications
San Francisco Republican Party

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