Children should be able to walk to their schools 

I was a homeowner in San Francisco since 1990 and raised my teenage son outside the public school system. I felt it was untenable to ask an 8-year-old boy to ride a bus across town in the interest of a social experiment.

What happened to the old days where kids could walk to school, have friends from the neighborhood in that school and participate in after-school activities without requiring the working parent to provide shuttle service — in some cases 45 minutes away?

Thus, we chose a private grade school for our son in the nearby neighborhood. And for the high school years, we moved out of the San Francisco tax base into the suburbs to facilitate a great school without all of the drama. As a result of The City’s failed school system policies, it lost a consistent taxpayer, a dedicated class parent and an enthusiastic volunteer after-school coach.

Denice Barsness

Renounce high-speed rail

Gov. Jerry Brown and Democrats are spinning doomsday scenarios of children, seniors, mentally ill, etc. being devastated due to no new tax increases or extensions in his 2011 budget. But every budget requires hard choices and sacrifice. For example, how can California taxpayers afford $100 billion on a new statewide high-speed train — the largest construction project in California history — when California is broke and facing a $28 billion deficit?

Brown should publicly renounce the high-speed rail project, like the governors of Florida, New Jersey and Ohio. He should decline Obama’s federal “seed money” for high-speed rail. Then California taxpayers could know he is serious.

Mike Brown


Natural gas is the solution

America’s densely populated East Coast needs to reduce coal-burning power plants and move toward clean-burning natural gas, which is produced here at home. Nuclear power could be safe away from earthquake country. Corn-ethanol consumes more energy than it produces and solar and windmills will never produce enough to make a difference.

Americans can do nothing to reduce global greenhouse gases, so long as countries like China and India are building new coal power plants every day.

We need to face the fact that a powerful corn-ethanol lobby is pushing our energy policies ever further from energy independence while making our population unhealthy with pervasive corn-sugar in the process.

Judy West
San Francisco

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