Profit should not be part of police motivation

As a supporter of privately sponsored and privately paid neighborhood policing by the Patrol Special Police, I encounter the objection that such policing is suspect because it’s profit-motivated.

That’s pure balderdash. If we clients don’t want to hire a Patrol Special for extra patrols that supplement the Police Department, we don’t have to. Further, we can fire our officer with one month’s notice if their profit becomes too high in our opinion. Of course, that is not the case with San Francisco officers, who rarely can be fired or punished without substantial time and enormous expense to do so, arising from their civil-service status and extensive due-process rights. I’m ever more concerned about the motivation of taxpayer-paid San Francisco officers who command huge salaries and benefits.

Capt. Louis Cassenego of the Ingleside Police District admitted in a Dec. 9 San Francisco Examiner article, “Citations drop during election,” that some of his officers reduced ticket writing to engender goodwill.

They hoped that citizens would defeat Proposition B and relieve police officers (and city workers) from contributing more to their retirement and health benefits. If that’s not policing admitted by command-level officers as determined by a pure profit motive, I don’t know what is.

Assistant police Chief Jeff Godown said he didn’t know how to respond to the captain’s news, but there is only one clear answer, if he truly accepts his mission to protect the public: Find and get rid of police officers who make policing decisions solely or primarily on the basis of filling their own pockets.

Ann Grogan, San Francisco

Dems must show backbone

I urge congressional Democrats to vote against President Barack Obama’s compromise legislation tying George W. Bush-era tax cuts to an extension of unemployment benefits.

It is time for the Democrats to show some backbone. Let the Republicans explain to the American public why they want to give a tax break to the rich, which will add $80 billion to the deficit in two years, while they are unwilling to extend unemployment benefits for the less fortunate.

Ralph E. Stone, San Francisco

Misguided park project

The Recreation and Park Department’s proposal to build a new park in an industrial protection zone is a shining example of dysfunctional city politics. As part of the eastern neighborhoods rezoning last year, land surrounding the proposed 17th and Folsom streets park site was rezoned to prohibit housing and to protect industry.

So why would The City want to spend millions on a new park there?

The proposed new park would become open space for a government-funded housing project on the site, much to the dismay of longtime park advocates with other ideas for park money, and neighbors are confused by the zoning conflict.

Proactive backers of the proposed new housing-and-park project are the same nonprofit developers who advocated for industrial-only zoning for the area, in order to reduce land values. The full story speaks to why jobs are leaving, tax revenue is down and expenditures are out of control.

Judy West, San Francisco

2010letters to the editorOpinionSFExaminer

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