Water bottle ban is wrong approach

? “Despite years of talk, San Francisco still mulling ban on plastic water bottles,” Local News, Thursday

Water bottle ban is wrong approach

I was disappointed by your story in favor of banning plastic water bottles in San Francisco. Using the law to bully people into being more environmentally responsible is not the best approach.

To begin with, have the various consequences of this policy really been examined? For instance, how people’s behavior is likely to change if such a law is passed. Will people use more cardboard, glass or other materials that turn out to have more of a negative environmental impact? Will people drink less water, leading to more health problems and higher health care costs? Will people feel increasingly harassed and controlled by a busy-body nanny government? I don’t think the politicians who may be contemplating yet another ban necessarily know the answer to these questions.

But these are not the most serious problems with bans on consensual human behavior. The most horrible and least appreciated aspect of such bans are the nature of the law itself. Whenever something becomes “The Law,” what it means is that government agents are authorized to use lethal force against people to make them obey. Is selling plastic water bottles so serious a crime that the city government should kill people over it? I don’t think so.

So let’s not make it a law. Better to rely on the power of persuasion, or give people tax breaks for not selling them, or lower taxes on other types of beverages, etc. Something noncoercive.</p>

Outreach director,
Libertarian Party of San Francisco
San Francisco

? National parks

Presidio has blossomed

I had the privilege of attending U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s annual New Year’s party, which was held this year at the Golden Gate Club at the Presidio.

I expected to see a moldy building with mushrooms growing on its roof. Instead, I was astonished at the tremendous progress that the Presidio Trust has made in turning around the old Army base.

The waterfront area, Crissy Field, is a masterpiece of natural dunes, landscaping and plant life. The rebuilt Doyle Drive, removing the unsightly elevated structure that had been there, opens up the Presidio to water vistas and more peace and quiet. Adaptive reuse has allowed historic buildings to be occupied by moderate-income renters, nonprofits, environmental organizations and a host of other groups proudly representing San Francisco values.

It is quite an achievement for a national park.

The Presidio isn’t a tourist trap.  It isn’t the site of burned buildings, murders or burglaries. Piles of trash don’t line the streets. All thanks to the foresight of House Minority Leader Pelosi, Phil Burton and a host of other concerned citizens interested in preserving urban land for national parks.

Paul Page
San Francisco

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