The San Francisco Examiner has done good coverage on the huge overtime pay that off-duty “10B” police officers earn by charging private security clients like ballgames and party promoters. The top “moonlighter” last year made $82,695 in overtime alone, certainly far more than I make owning and operating a small business, and far in excess of San Franciscans’ $56,000 average income.
But what also needs to be investigated is the actual cost to taxpayers for The City to administer the 10B program. In 1996 the city budget analyst found that “the actual cost is in many cases higher than the amount collected.” In that year The City paid $7.3 million to administer the program, while only collecting $3.2 million. In addition, 10B officers make free use of taxpayer-funded police patrol vehicles, radios and weapons.
Isn’t it time for the Police Commission to do away with the 10B program and instead get more officers into the privately paid, commission-regulated Patrol Special Police program? Those officers work fresh on regular shifts, yet charge only about one-third the hourly rate of 10B officers, with no additional 20 percent administrative charge levied.
Ann Grogan, San Francisco
Record year for disasters
The year 2011 has gone on record as the worst ever for American natural disasters that total over a billion dollars each in damage. In fact, the entire decade of the 1980s didn’t produce the ominous destruction of this single year’s catastrophic events. So much destruction and over a thousand lives lost.
Barry Bradley, San Francisco
Inventing reasons to fight
The president is authorized to use military force against those who perpetrated the 9/11 attack and those countries who harbored those individuals. Now, more than a decade later, news stories anonymously quote U.S. officials saying al-Qaida, the group that perpetrated the 9/11 attack, is now demolished.
Only two leaders might be left in the entire Middle East. Al-Qaida is already rendered “effectively inoperable.” There is no more al-Qaida left in Afghanistan or Pakistan according to the U.S. military. We have left Iraq at the insistence of the elected Iraqi government.
The U.S. is actively using drone bombers wherever it pleases, often against groups that didn’t even exist at the time of 9/11. What we’re doing is not only going way beyond what we were supposed to be doing when Congress authorized military force, but we are constantly manufacturing the causes of our war.
Ted Rudow III, Palo Alto
Green tech is available
Belief that practical green technology isn’t available is false. It just isn’t available in the U.S. We are so in love with fossil fuels that we as a country seem unwilling to start seeing other energy technologies.
The sad fact is that we could be the world leader in green energy technologies instead of China and Europe, but we forfeited that possibility back in the ’80s. With the strong tech base we have in California, we could develop and market these technologies, but that would require a will and drive that we just do not have.
And a letter writer who claimed the CO2 we get from burning fossil fuels is good for plants showed severe misunderstanding of the science involved. Yes, plants love CO2, but we produce more of it than plants can absorb. Deforestation means fewer plants to soak up the excess, which ends up in the atmosphere, altering the environment in a bad way.
Paul Whitehouse, San Francisco