Public works backlog stifling job creation 

I am a civil engineer and do most of my work in San Francisco. I submitted plans to the San Francisco Department of Public Works to repair a failed retaining wall adjacent to a public sidewalk. The sidewalk is cordoned off with caution tape and access to a unit is obstructed. I will eventually get a permit in about one year. The primary reason for this is a seven-month backlog at Public Works. This time frame is not reasonable or acceptable.

Aside from the safety concerns, there are economic reasons for Public Works to efficiently approve projects. I do not know how many jobs are submitted to the department in a single day, let alone in seven months, but it must be a massive amount of construction work. If all those permits were approved in a reasonable amount of time, it would result in a significant amount of jobs and revenue for The City.

Daniel Barringer, San Francisco

Fix Muni with subway funds

There is no doubt that as currently conceived, the Central Subway would be wrong for San Francisco. It would significantly damage Muni and The City if the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is allowed to proceed with its grossly overpriced subway featuring poorly located stations of limited capacity; reduced connections to 25 of the 30 Muni lines it crosses; arbitrary truncation at Washington Street; and trip times actually longer than those of today’s Stockton Street buses.

Unfortunately, once substantial funds have been spent on a project, there are always those determined to plow ahead. But throwing good money after bad is not the answer. Muni has many badly needed improvements that have been languishing for years due to lack of funding. The estimated $854 million to $974 million saved by not building the subway would go a long way toward putting Muni back on its feet for the benefit of all its riders.

Gerald Cauthen,, Oakland

Cancel Otterness contract

It is a rare occasion when I applaud your editorials, such as the one on Thursday about dog-killer artist Tom Otterness. I hope the San Francisco Arts Commission can extricate itself from the contract offered to Otterness. In April 2008, he issued an apology for making the “Shot Dog Film.” If Otterness is truly sincere, perhaps he could redeem himself by taking the $750,00 he would earn from this contract and donating it to animal shelters in the Bay Area.

Martha Pahnke, Colma

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