Everyone in City Hall is congratulating themselves over the balanced budget.
When revenues are up, it is easy to balance the budget. That is not fiscal responsibility; that is just luck. The proposed budget will increase 12 percent over the next two years. Is that good fiscal management? Our budget will be $7.3 billion for 800,000 residents; $9,100 for each resident.
By contrast, San Jose’s budget is one-third of ours: $2.6 billion for 970,000 residents, $2,700 per resident. Boston’s budget is $2.4 billion for 618,000 residents, $3,900 per resident. Austin, Texas’ budget is $2.8 billion for 790,000 residents, $3,500 per resident. Chicago’s budget is less than ours, $6.3 billion, for more than three times the number of residents, 2.7 million residents, $2,300 per resident. Do we really need to spend three-four times more per resident than these cities?
With this inflow of revenue, will The City save some of it for the rainy-day fund, or just spend, spend, spend?
David Fix, San Francisco
Melissa Griffin opines that the affordable-housing fees to be required of the 8 Washington Street luxury condo development amount to extortion (“Waterfront views vs. luxury condos,” June 14).
I sometimes appreciate Griffin’s conservative opinions, but this statement is neoconservatism at its worst. People of all incomes need to live in The City, not just the superrich. And if the rich want to build luxury high-rises with Bay views on choice land, affordable-housing fees are a small price to pay. Griffin does not say the rich developers and their affluent future tenants cannot afford these fees. A few less multimillion-dollar yachts or political bribes to legislators will not be missed.
John M. Kelly, San Francisco
I wish letter writer Michael Biehl could be a little more explicit and a bit less vague in his vitriolic rant against gay pride (“‘Gayworld’ month is a pride overload,” Letters, June 16).
His letter illustrates precisely why the whole Pride thing is necessary.
For one day, week, month, whatever, we’re saying, “Yes, we exist, we have always existed, in all families, cultures, societies and civilizations — making positive contributions in every facet of human endeavor, and we have survived! And ... we can afford to laugh about it!”
So lighten up, Michael. Hey, if nothing else, it brings in millions in tourist dollars. Not a bad thing in difficult economic times, right?
Frank Brooks, San Francisco
In response to Michael Biehl’s letter (Letters, June 16), let me say how utterly disgusted I am by your writings.
As a gay man who was brought up in a small, conservative town in Arizona, I longed for the sense of community and solidarity that the Pride festivities provide. The freedoms and protections we enjoy due to the sacrifices and hard work of so many should not be scoffed at. There are places all over the world where LGBT people are not only afraid to show pride in who they are, they face incarceration and sometimes death for doing so!
With our community being such a small percentage of the population, the work that organizations such as the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, The Imperial Court of San Francisco and others do is of importance not just to the LGBT community, but to the population in general.
Michael Pierson, San Francisco