Big festival thrives as fees kill small events 

As I pack for my annual exodus to the East Bay in order to avoid the environmentally destructive Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival imbroglio, I learn that two of my favorite events will no longer be held thanks to fee and cost increases spearheaded by our rapacious Recreation and Parks Department.

This year would have marked the 13th year of the always free Power To The Peaceful Festival, but they can no longer afford to keep it free and put it on. Unlike Outside Lands, this event has always catered to locals and has actively promoted local bands.

Similarly, Rec and Park head Philip Ginsburg has been forcing the organizers of the always peaceful Anarchist Book Fair to pay an insane $14,000 for two days of park patrol presence at the Hall of Flowers, so organizers can no longer use this site.

Other groups, such as the Rose Society, have been having a hard time paying the excessive fees to use a facility originally designed not for an evangelical church, which rents it every Sunday, but for such neighborhood activities.

We need new leadership for the Recreation and Park Department and a thorough audit of this incompetently managed department.

Harry S. Pariser
San Francisco

Stranded on the island

I am writing to denounce the negligence of Muni concerning the passengers of the 108-Treasure Island line. Although we only have one option to catch a bus on the island, 108-Treasure Island service has been reduced, affecting the lives of hundreds of people. We really are unaware of what time the next bus is going to arrive. People arrive late to work, kids arrive late to school and I just missed an appointment with the housing department because I couldn’t leave the island on time.

We don’t ride for free. We deserve better service.

Maria Russ
San Francisco

Help youths get to school

As a low-income student of the San Francisco Unified School District and part of the student advisory council, I wholeheartedly support free Muni for youths. The majority of SFUSD students  depend on Muni for transportation to school. For some students, Muni is their only way to school and back home.

The cost of Muni fares and Fast Passes have become a financial burden to many youths and only widen the achievement gap. If students don’t have access to transportation, it’s another barrier keeping them  from succeeding and receiving good educations. Youth Fast Pass prices have increased dramatically in the last three years, from $10 in May 2009 to $22 in July 2012. According to the YouthVote spring 2011 student survey, of 11,790 respondents (high school and middle school), 42 percent take Muni to school and 58.4 percent get home by Muni. Keep in mind that there are more than 55,000 students in the SFUSD system.

Officials need to make Muni free or cut the cost.

Windy Ly
Academy of Arts and Sciences ?high school student,
San Francisco


Draining debate on Hetchy

Just as a rose by any other name is still a rose, draining the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir by any other name (restoring a valley) is still draining the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir. (“Hetchy ballot language draws criticism,” Thursday).

And a terrible idea, draining the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, by any other name is still a terrible idea. 

Howard Epstein
Former chairman San Francisco Republican Party
San Francisco

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