City transit needs a major overhaul 

? “Mayor Lee’s task force hopes to tackle transportation issues — both local and regional,” Local News, Tuesday

City transit needs a major overhaul

Muni needs honest scrutiny of its own priorities. While cities in developing nations can move millions of bus riders daily, Muni has cut service, eliminated routes and increased fees, fines and fares — smothering our transit-first policy. According to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, only 17 percent of all trips within the city are made by public transit; 21 percent are by biking-walking and 62 percent are by motorized vehicles.  

The agency has wasted funds on transit-poor projects, like the 1.7-mile Central Subway, while underfunding Muni, transit-preferential streets, pedestrian-bicycle enhancements, street beautification, commercial corridors and neighborhoods.

While regional-metropolitan transit authorities are commonplace globally, even more prevalent are citywide integrated systems. In 1973, Zurich’s voters rejected an expensive subway project and voted instead to implement a less costly transit-priority program — leading to one of the world’s highest per capita ridership rates because its transit service is fast, frequent, reliable and inexpensive.  

Howard Wong
San Francisco

? “Nobody wants to see Wal-Mart in San Francisco — except Fresh & Easy,” Melissa Griffin, Feb. 14

Wal-Mart is bad for S.F.

Steve Restivo, as a Wal-Mart representative, wants to try hard to convince readers of The San Francisco Examiner that Wal-Mart has a vested interest in improving access to fresh, healthy and affordable foods. That’s far from the truth.

Current options of healthy items are limited, and they have absolutely no vegan, gluten-free or truly organic and healthy options.

Wal-Mart seldom looks for new opportunities to serve customers, unless it benefits them financially. There is no value in bringing Wal-Mart to a community. It gives small businesses with less capital the short end of the stick.  

Having a Wal-Mart open in San Francisco is like Bain Capital opening an office in San Francisco. And with the Wal-Mart store in Pinole doing nothing to really help Richmond, all Wal-Mart has is PR. Nothing else.

John Turner

? “San Francisco doctor in Laguna Honda whistleblower lawsuit set to cash in,” Local News, Wednesday

Laguna made mistakes

The troubling conflicts of interest regarding Mitch Katz, the former director of the Department of Public Health, were never pursued.

What happened to Dr. Derek Kerr is a living nightmare. He set an international model for hospice care by treating the patients with dignity and respect and masterminding innovative programming. When he discovered and reported that some funds donated for the patients were being used for staff-related purposes, the department no longer had any use for him and he was “laid off.”

This was a tragic loss of an incredible doctor and an inexcusable failure of the system.

Vivian Imperiale
San Francisco

“For Lou Spadia, Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame was lifelong dream,” Glenn Dickey, Sports, Tuesday

English skills are vital

Like Lou Spadia, my father, Joseph Antonini, did not speak English until elementary school. The nuns at St. Michael’s in Livermore made my dad repeat the first grade, allowing him to learn English and become competitive with his classmates. Because he was eternally grateful to the sisters at St. Michael’s, he left money to that school in his will.

He believed that his accomplishments as an insurance agent, developer of commercial and residential properties, provider of college and professional educations for his children, and his 10 years of service on the Planning Commission in Pleasanton were made possible by his proficiency in English.

Ease in communication is a key component in one’s assimilation into a society.

Michael Antonini
Planning commissioner
San Francisco

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