Many great reasons to kill death penalty

I am writing to encourage voters to vote for Proposition 34, which will remove the death penalty from the state Constitution and substitute a penalty of life without the possibility of parole, for several reasons.

First, eliminating the death penalty will make it impossible to make a mistake and execute an innocent person, a grisly prospect that a humane society cannot allow to happen.

Second, the death penalty has never been shown to deter anyone from killing, and murder rates are high in spite of death penalty laws. And it is almost never used, with only 13 executions in California in 34 years despite more than 700 on death row. The appeal process can take 25 years or more, so most people convicted die in prison rather than being executed; it just doesn’t work.

Third, it just costs too much money, wasting $130 million a year on maintaining death row and in the appeal process. This money is much more desperately needed for education, social services and public transit.

And lastly, of course, it is an immoral law, because if killing is wrong then the state shouldn’t kill either. For the state to kill just teaches people that killing is OK.

Specific penalties should not be written into the state Constitution anyway, because customs and mores change and evolve and progress. Please vote yes on Proposition 34.

Miriam Berg
Berkeley

Our parks are not for sale

Perhaps The San Francisco Examiner has not read or heard what bond opponents have explained in ballot arguments and many neighborhood meetings (“Parks bond faces powerful foes,” Sunday).

This bond would put the Recreation and Park Department in charge of $161 million — much of it fungible — borrowed from taxpayers, with no restrictions on this wayward department’s current money-driven, fiscally irresponsible, privatization policy.

Rec and Park is now managing our parks and facilities as real estate from which to extract financial value. It is turning our green spaces into venues for private events. It is limiting public access by imposing and sharply raising fees, renting or leasing spaces and facilities to private entities, and turning management duties over to private contractors. That is the problem. We cannot afford to feed this policy.

The wrong tax is on the ballot. Proposition B can only be used to fund capital projects, therefore it would not help meet parks’ most dire needs for maintenance and staff.

We who have joined across the political spectrum to oppose this bond are a canary in the coal mine. Warning: Rec and Park is quietly converting itself into a pay-to-play enterprise, and public access is gradually being limited and our parks gradually privatized.

Denis Mosgofian
www.takebackourparks.org
San Francisco

Condo project bad for S.F.

I oppose the 8 Washington St. project. This is in violation of the height limit to allow all San Franciscans access and views of the Bay.

It would be a trade-off of quality of life for most of the people of San Francisco so that the rich and the politicians who are in their thrall can benefit. At a recent Board of Supervisors hearing, I heard an architect support the project “because having a condo there would be a convenience for people from Orinda and Moraga.” These condos will be sold for upward of $10 million!  

We need more affordable housing for San Francisco residents, not a pied-à-terre for rich people who live outside The City.  

Loretta Chardin
San Francisco

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