A resounding 'no' response to Plan Bay Area
NO! Plan Bay Area's lame reason for pushing Stack and Pack Housing: to curb "greenhouse gases" (e.g., automobile emissions).
A far better way: foster unified rapid transit -- BART around the Bay, to the Golden Gate and Carquinez Bridges, to Brentwood and to Livermore and over the Altamont, with lots of station parking. Include a joint BART-Capitol Corridor station at Interstate 880 and Seventh Street in Oakland. Then bring the plan to the voters of all five counties ringing San Francisco Bay.-
Half a century ago voters passed a similar measure that brought us BART. Annex Santa Clara and San Mateo counties (getting BART extensions) to the BART district: voters, taxes and all. Let the voters decide.
Update the monumental SFBARTC 1957 "Report to the Legislature", which led to the 1962 BART bond measure. Bust MTC's ill-considered "Regional Rail Plan."
Robert S. Allen
Don't become like us, France
I watched a story about a shooting in Nice, France, in which the public there was protesting the arrest of a jeweler who shot and killed a young man who had robbed his store. He shot him out of the store, in the back. The stance of the public, "he had the right to protect his property."
I want to forewarn the French that this philosophy could lead to their streets, schools and workplaces looking like ours ... littered with the bodies of our children, families and co-workers.
I'm sure somewhere in France there is a version of the NRA just waiting in the wings to begin a "rights" campaign and very soon they would find that their "right to arm" now supersedes their right to a peaceful secure life. It is time for our leaders and an outraged public to do more than mourn our losses ... let's demand better access to mental health treatment, and let's get reasonable gun control and curb the power of the NRA.
Housing plan's opposition was distorted
Once again, local mainstream media shill Tom Barnidge has managed to belittle and demonize any opposition to the oppressive scheme called Plan Bay Area in his Sept. 23 column.
Instead of actually supporting his assertions, he continues to attack the intelligence of those fighting the implementation of PBA. Barnidge states attendees at an ad hoc informational meeting in Lafayette —... seemed eager to believe (speaker Peter Singleton) thanks in part to his artful ability to massage facts."
This type of deceptive editorializing by Barnidge seems to be his trademark. How does he know attendees were "eager to believe?" What facts were being "massaged" by Mr. Singleton? Why does Barnidge characterize PBA's opponents' arguments as "sky is falling" hotheads?
The Association of Bay Area Governments and Metropolitan Transportation Commission representatives are not elected. Yet Barnidge repeats the mindless drivel heard in countless regional government PBA meetings: that the representatives were elected, just not to the posts at ABAG and MTC. Huh? Apparently Barnidge is committed to defending the 82 highly compensated, unrelated bureaucrats of ABAG that are taking in more than $11 million annually at taxpayers' expense.
To be fair, the Times' has published letters and editorials from the opposite side. For that they are the thanked.
Name bridge's new span after brothers Brown
Come to think of it, naming our beloved Bay Bridge (now relegated to Ugly Step Sister status) after Willie Brown probably is appropriate. After all, the new bridge span offers no traffic improvement, took years longer to complete than we were told, was $4 billion over budget (shafting taxpayers again) but damn it looks good!
Now, if that isn't pure Willie Brown, nothing is? Especially the looking-good part. It was the mantra for him and Mayor Jerry when they hatched the whole thing because they figured the East Bay needed something as eye-catching as the Golden Gate. So how about naming it the Brown Brothers Bridge? They were absolute kindred spirits fighting hard to get that new span primarily for aesthetic reasons rather than real structural deficits of the True Bay Bridge. And in true Brown Brothers fashion, Willie's philosophical brother, Jerry, is giving us the Bullet Train to Nowhere because he wants to be the first state to have one (appearances again). It'll be overbudget by at least $75 billion by the time it gets to Fresno, but it'll be a keen legacy item for his governorship. Cost? Heck, the taxpayers won't mind paying for it, whatever it costs -- $6.5 billion here, $100 billion there ... chump change. Nope, you can't make this stuff up, folks -- only in California. Makes ya proud, don't it? And we let them get away with it. Yep, it should be the Brown Brothers Bridge.
Legalize, tax marijuana
I think Eric Holder's speech to the Bar Association about reducing the penalties for drug use, sale and possession of marijuana and drugs was a good start to a large problem. A better solution to the problem would be to legalize, regulate and tax the use and possession of marijuana. I do not use marijuana but moderate use of marijuana is no more dangerous than consumption of alcohol. The situation in the United States now is similar the country in the 1920s and early '30s during Prohibition. During Prohibition, consumption of alcohol did not significantly drop but crime increased significantly and tax revenue from alcohol sales was eliminated.
A good way to assess the effect of legalizing marijuana would be for the government to commission a study. This for a minimum should assess the health effects of consumption, the effect on crime and jail and prison populations and the economic effect. The economic effect should include revenue from the tax and saving on law enforcement costs and jail and prison costs and revenue from people working (to buy their legal pot) instead of being in jail.
Donald G. Pellinen
Living wages would lift all nation's boats
It always amazes me that the link between poor wages and the inability of these people to shop and increase our economy goes unnoticed. If we pay these workers a living wage, they can afford to shop. Refusing them a living wage results in a worse economy. This shortsighted program is costing those of us who are working and making a living wage to pay more for services for the poor. Wake up folks, making a living wage is a win-win situation for our economy.