Muni funding priorities appear out of whack

The best and the brightest of government have hatched deliberate plans, that is, collapsing infrastructure and service cuts for the Muni system while massive funding is poured into the 1.7-mile Central Subway.

Never mind Muni’s projected $24 million deficit in the current fiscal year. Or The City’s $400 million budget deficit in fiscal year 2011-12. Or the multiyear budget deficits to follow.

Maybe Muni riders won’t notice the system meltdowns, due to $2 billion in deferred investments. Or the $663 million structural deficit in fleet needs — including $102 million for historic streetcar rehabilitation, $12 million for cable car upkeep and $116 million for the replacement of 105 old trolleys and motorbuses.

Muni riders don’t mind if $600 million of state and local funds are taken from higher-priority needs. After all, in eight years, a Central Subway ribbon-cutting would decrease transit levels of service for tens of thousands of riders.

Howard Wong, San Francisco

Air travel seems unsafe

The dialog between pilots and the TSA regarding the X-rays received at flight and the terminal screening stations, plus the Wi-Fi provisions aboard flights (SFO was slated to fill skies with a permanent Wi-Fi provider Nov. 21) has me thinking that air travel is no longer a safe option. So it was with the pilots, and the TSA has taken them off the required screening to board and fly the planes.

But I wonder why passengers are not given protective-lead skullcaps and groin aprons when entering the X-ray screening machines and when traveling within the airplane, as is done in the doctor and dental X-ray offices. Also, because glass has greater transparency to the rays entering the airplane than does the metal plane’s exterior, why are the windows not covered with the metal screens one finds on the home microwave-oven windows?

Perhaps if air travel where not an option to many more Americans, our sky would be clear again like it was on Sept. 12, 2001, when all airplane flights across the country were canceled.

Frank Norton, San Francisco

Puzzling Vatican policy

The Vatican’s new policy regarding condoms makes no sense at all.

Apparently it is now acceptable, according to the Vatican, for male prostitutes to use them, but not heterosexual men and women.

I don’t think the Vatican really understands science at all. AIDS and other infectious sexual diseases can be transmitted by heterosexual men and women, not just gay people.

So in effect, by his new policy on condoms, the pope is protecting high-risk gay men, but not the rest of us — which is rather puzzling, to say the least.

Kenneth L. Zimmerman, Huntington Beach

When panic sets in

Think of Earth as a crowded elevator. Any or all passengers may carry weapons. Should one passenger start firing a deadly weapon, chances are other passengers in the elevator (Earth) will shoot back in panicky self-defense until everyone in the elevator (Earth) is dead. Who knew?

Al Ujcic, San Francisco

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