SFMTA stuck on bus rapid transit

In his Thursday op-ed, Ed Reiskin, exeutive director of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, stated that he would “seek all solutions” in his effort to improve Muni. Unfortunately he is not being quite truthful.

At a recent meeting, I was told by the SFMTA that it had received many requests besides mine to turn the 47-Van Ness into an express line, with the idea being that it would reduce the transit time along Van Ness Avenue without the cost and collateral traffic problems associated with the proposed bus rapid transit lane. The SFMTA representatives were steadfast in their opposition to any alternatives for their $100 million boondoggle, and would not consider any changes that might make the bus rapid transit project unnecessary.

Tim Donnelly, San Francisco

Ranked choice can be fixed

With regard to Supervisor Sean Elsbernd’s Tuesday letter on ranked-choice voting, the decision to be made is between “exhausted ballots”— none of your three choices make the final round — and “exhausted voters” who don’t turn out for traditional runoff elections. In the December runoffs from 2000 to 2003, in eight of the 14 races, the winner of the two-candidate runoff had fewer votes than the winner of the many-candidate first round. That was a result of 37 percent fewer voters coming to the polls for the runoff, on average.

No method is perfect, but ranked-choice voting saves money and allows a decision in the single highest-turnout election. Improvements are needed, particularly with cleaning up public financing, which would make ranked-choice more effective. More rankings and simpler ballots are also possible. We should mend ranked-choice, but not end it.

John E. Palmer, San Francisco

Justice system is unfair

It appears to be a leaderless organization with multiple representatives and a discernible agenda. No, I am not talking about Occupy San Francisco, I’m referring to our criminal justice system — the Superior Court of San Francisco.

I don’t understand what’s going on with the people in our city’s leadership. I have a friend who was at the wrong place at the wrong time talking to a friend when he was arrested on a stay-away order in the Mission district, which made it a gang issue. At his probation hearing, Judge Charles Haines sentenced him to nine years in state prison.

He did not commit any new crime. What is going on in our criminal justice system? Our prisons are overcrowded and we’re sending people to prison for nine years on stay-away orders.

Liza Rivera, San Francisco

Vicious homeless cycle

I have seen stories in The San Francisco Examiner where city officials argue that publicly funded free housing for the homeless reduces homelessness. Some philosophy! In fact, it is a totally bankrupt idea that falls flat as soon as one realizes that despite having provided 3,741 free housing units since 2000, San Francisco remains as afflicted by homelessness as ever.

Could it be that as more free housing is provided, more supplicants arrive to enjoy the San Francisco’s welcoming generosity? If that is the solution, then why not also give every jobless person a permanent government job? That way we could solve the jobless problem as well as the homeless problem.

Hangston Giles, San Leandro

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