Careless words from cyclist not surprising 

It’s way too late in the political day for the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition to hand out fliers professing concern over pedestrian safety in the wake of the recent death of a pedestrian hit by a bicyclist at the Market and Castro intersection (“Web posts spur outcry after fatal bike collision,” Friday).

Unlike many San Franciscans, I am not shocked by the alleged words reportedly written by the bicyclist on a biking website that showed no remorse, no knowledge of the traffic code and no understanding of the seriousness of the fatal maiming of a pedestrian. Anyone who is foolish enough (as I have been) to inform  bicyclists racing through crosswalks filled with pedestrians that they have to slow down, or halt, or not ride on the sidewalk will understand my lack of shock at the callousness of this alleged message from the bicyclist in this matter.

Autos kill or maim more pedestrians than bicycles, but most auto drivers don’t believe that they are exempt from traffic laws, as appears to be the case with the scofflaw bicyclist mentality we all see every day in San Francisco.  

Bicyclists are only 2 to 5 percent of traffic. What will happen if their numbers continue to grow with their current belief in their entitlement to ignore traffic laws?

Fiona McGregor
San Francisco

Death penalty too costly

According to recent reports, it costs $185 million each year to administer the death penalty in California. Since its reinstatement in 1978, 13 people have been executed. We have thus spent roughly $471 million per execution, or a total of roughly $6 billion in the past 34 years. There are currently 720 inmates on death row in California.

Donald J. Heller, who drafted the death penalty initiative in 1978, now regrets it. “The cost of our system of capital punishment ... is so dollar-wasteful that it serves no effective purpose,” he told The New York Times. Ron Briggs, who helped get the death penalty on the ballot back then, has also changed his mind and has put another initiative on the ballot in 2012 to convert all death sentences to life imprisonment without parole.

Administering life sentences is far cheaper than capital punishment, according to a recent state report. “We’re laying off teachers, we’re laying off firefighters. This is just crazy,” says former Los Angeles District Attorney Gil Garcetti, who favors abolishing the death penalty.

There seems to be a consensus among law enforcement experts that the death penalty represents a very poor allocation of precious and dwindling resources regardless of moral or political considerations.  Vote to repeal the death penalty and replace it with life in prison without parole this November.

Kaia Eakin
Redwood City

NFL fumbled 49ers move

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has some nerve coming down hard on players and coaches for misconduct. Is he willing to come down hard on himself for his own misconduct?

In a “Commitment to the Community” letter by Goodell, dated June 15, 2011, the commissioner stated that the league and players union gave $150 million toward community programs. And he also stated that the NFL is all about “football and community.”

Then seven months later, the NFL and team owners voted to loan the 49ers $200 million to leave a struggling community to build their new $1.2 billion stadium in affluent Silicon Valley, almost 40 miles south of The City. I believe the team has the right to move to better its bottom line. However, for the NFL to go against its own commitment tells this fan where the NFL left its heart ... not in San Francisco, nor a struggling community.

Allen Jones
San Francisco

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