San Francisco is the most diverse city in which I’ve ever lived, which makes it a fun place to live. But it’s also the most Balkanized city in which I’ve lived — and I lived in the Balkans.
I’m relatively new here, so I clearly see the undercurrent of hatred running between the identity groups: gays, blacks, Hispanics, various Asian subgroups, Italians, Russians, Irish and political militants. Most of the vitriol is expressed through segregation, discrimination, and wrangling for political patronage.
The attacks involving criminals from “white supremacist” groups is worthy of attention and concern, but they should be put in their proper perspective. These incidents are rare, and there is a broader class of “hate crimes” going on in this city. Apparently “skinheads” make better villains for politicians and journalists.
The fact is that perpetrators of violent crimes are nearly 20 times more likely to be the same race as their victims than of a different race.
Nick Rowe, San Francisco
Fare evaders not a priority
Muni management calls the fare evaders names such as boarding scofflaws and transit thieves. But Muni’s priority is to be on schedule in a city of traffic-clogged streets with many traffic stop signs. And it will not permit drivers to lock the car doors and call security on fare evaders. Driver safety requires them not to confront the transit thieves, and now 8.6 percent of passengers feel they can travel free.
Frank Norton, San Francisco
Actual cause of the deficit
Contrary to the claims of the Republicans and tea partiers in Congress, Social Security, Medicare, health care, education and other people programs are not the cause of the federal deficit.
As a retired U.S. Air Force major, I can assure you that the cause of the deficit is: 2½ wars; U.S. “occupation” forces in Europe, Japan, Korea and elsewhere; a bloated Pentagon budget; military and other foreign aid that goes into corrupt dictators’ Swiss bank accounts; corporations that pay little or no taxes and tax cuts for the top 1 percent of the rich.
The Republicans are trying to cut those programs that benefit the majority of Americans. They support corporations and the very wealthy instead of middle- and working-class Americans.
Lee Goodin, San Francisco