Reading the article "Redrawing the road" (July 30), I was pleased to learn how many cities are adopting "complete streets" to accommodate cyclists. However, I am disappointed that Hayward has now become the least bicycle commuter friendly city in the Bay Area. The new bike lanes mentioned for Mission Boulevard will not extend south beyond downtown.
Cyclists have complained for years about unsafe conditions on Hesperian Boulevard. Now, with the rebuilding of Foothill and Mission Boulevards, the city is only including bike lanes on a portion of Foothill. There are no crosstown cycling routes through Hayward. I expect Jackson Street, once decertified as Highway 92, will not get bike lanes either.
Hayward is attempting to address its traffic congestion, but it is also important to design streets to encourage more people to leave their cars at home. Currently, the City Council appears to be ignoring the call from cyclists to adopt the concept of "complete streets."
I am now resigned to living in a city that does not consider bicycles to be a legitimate form of transportation for anything other than the briefest local trips on residential streets.
Spend now, pay later
In his letter (Aug. 1), Joseph Brulenski laments the high rates of tuition for the University of California system and that it was more affordable when he attended. Like me, he (apparently) worked his way through school and paid all of his expenses without loans. In other words, pay-as-you-go, not spend now, pay later -- very smart and responsible.
He concludes his letter by stating that "we benefited from the very things that we are unwilling to assure to the next generations." OK, why is that? Is it because we continue to spend now, pay later, and have done it for so long that it's already been spent and there's nothing left? The city of Central Falls, R.I., my home state, just filed for bankruptcy because unions have bled the town dry -- there are $80 million in unfunded pension liabilities in a town with a $17 million annual budget. Bye, bye, Central Falls.
He also faults the "class warfare" from the "right wing." I guess that's me. I've run a tax-preparation business for 17 years and paid my two seasonal employees very well. Where's my pension and health benefits? Oh, that's right, I don't have any. The unions may be winning their "class warfare," but it looks like I'm losing my war.
He also faults "the Republicans" in his opening line for the current state of affairs. But, what party has exercised majority control of California's Legislature for the last few decades?
Stop tar sand oil
Did you hear about the pipeline that will carry Canadian tar sand oil to Texas? People from North Dakota to Texas are up in arms about it, but it won't affect us in Hayward -- or will it?
The proposed pipeline is called Keystone XL. If built, it will be "game over" for the environment. Tar sand oil is very carbon-intensive, and burning it has as much negative impact on our environment as burning coal for electricity.
Tar sand oil requires heating water to remove oil from the tar sand, so the carbon-dioxide emissions are greater than burning conventional oil that is produced from oil wells. Excavating thousands of acres of land to mine the tar sand decimates the forests, lakes and streams. That is also devastating to humans as well as other living things in too many ways to list here.
Only President Barack Obama can stop the Keystone XL pipeline. Help send the message that heavy tar sand oil must be left in the ground, and that the outdated technology of burning it needs to be replaced by clean carbon-free energy technology.
Join the demonstration in Washington D.C. Aug. 20-Sept. 3, if possible. Please visit http://www.tarsandsaction.org/.
No wonder state struggles
The Aug. 8 articles on the impact of changing capital gains revenues on the California state income tax were enlightening. However, it is helpful to illustrate the situation through examples of individual taxpayers.
Let's take situation of John and Mary Doe, a hypothetical California married couple with two dependent children. In year one, after deductions, the Does have California taxable income of $100,000, consisting of $80,000 in wages and salaries and $20,000 in long-term capital gains. In this situation, California treats long-term capital gains as ordinary income. The Does will pay a state income tax of $4,574. (Example based on 2010 tax rates.)
In year two, their wages, salaries and deductions are the same, but now they have a $20,000 long-term capital loss. Their taxable income is now $77,000, not $80,000. Why? Because they are allowed to deduct an additional $3,000 for the loss. Now their tax is only $2,592.
In year three, their wages, salaries and deductions are again the same, but now they have a $10,000 long-term capital gain. Do they pay their income tax based on $90,000? No. Again the taxable income is $77,000. Why? Because they are allowed to carry over the $17,000 capital loss they weren't allowed to deduct in year two and offset capital gains against income until the carry-over is eliminated. The $10,000 is not taxed, but is subtracted from the $17,000, and the Does get another $3,000 deduction. Their tax is still $2,592.
Between years one and two, the Does' taxable income was reduced by 20 percent, but their state income tax was reduced by more than 43 percent. While their real income rose between years two and three, their state income tax did not. Is it any wonder why the state of California's fiscal health is suffering?
Theodore R. Bresler