High-speed rail will ease airport burden 

Your excellent article on the relationship between high-speed rail and the San Francisco International Airport and the tourism business (“High-speed rail project has hopes soaring at SFO,” Tuesday) highlights an aspect of the high-speed rail discussion that often gets neglected — the role of intrastate air service and its increasing burden on the state’s airports.

High-speed rail will substitute for not only Los Angeles-to-SFO service, but will also provide good transportation links to the economically depressed cities in the Central Valley. There is really no alternative since expansion of SFO seems out of the question unless the high-speed rail opponents in Burlingame are willing to give a portion of their downtown for a new airport runway.

It is important to note that the state’s airports and air transport industry support high-speed rail.

James W. Haas
San Francisco

Fees curb half-staff excess

While the high cost involved in lowering city flags to half-staff is certainly galling and an indication of the folly of unions (“Lowering flags raises big bill, activists told,” Tuesday), I do see one benefit in the passing on of those costs in the form of high fees: It will prevent every special interest from requesting a flag-lowering that demands it.

The devaluing of flag-lowering to memorialize something has been going on for years to the point that the truly deserving tragedies of historical and cultural importance to the nation and region are cheapened. No one should see flags at half-staff and wonder why, yet that is how many feel when they see one.

At least with these higher fees, the frivolous half-staff requests might be deterred so that we can return to a time when a half-staff flag signified a truly important time for community mourning.

Marc Schoenfeld
San Francisco

Muni delays impact S.F.

I live near Sanchez Street and Duboce Avenue, but I did not vote for Scott Wiener in the last supervisorial race. One of the main reasons is that I did not think he would be very responsive to his constituency. It seems I was correct.

In February, I experienced delays while riding the KT-Ingleside-Third Street train to the extent that it was totally stopped close to or blocks away from West Portal. All three times, I exited and walked to Taraval Street, where I caught the 48-Quintara to 24th Street and Castro Street and the 24-Divisadero home. After the third time, I went to Wiener’s office at City Hall and filled out a meeting request form.

The meeting request was to ask why Muni is unable to run an effective, reliable schedule. It breaks down far more often than it should. Part of that is a lack of funding, I understand. Well, with this lack of funding existing, why is the Van Ness Avenue corridor being pursued? All those monies can be used to help Muni run more efficiently, rather than add something more to screw up.

So far, there has been no response to my request for a meeting, and I am left believing that Wiener is, as I suspected before the elections last year, not responsive to voters.

Mike Burkett
San Francisco

Secret Service gone wild

The Secret Service prostitution scandal in Colombia clearly shows that discipline and control within the agency have severely broken down. The agency is badly in need of being revamped, from top on down, as it seems to be too lax and very poorly managed.

Kenneth L. Zimmerman
Huntington Beach

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