Larsen Park playground airplane stirs major issues 

? Larsen Park jet

Playground airplane stirs major issues


The current plan to replace the military plane that once inhabited Larsen Park on 19th Avenue in San Francisco reminded me of the controversy that was as much a part of the aircraft-turned-playground-structure as the lead-based paint and graffiti that coated its aerodynamic shape.

Many residents believed that a symbol of war occupying a children’s playground was inappropriate if not obscene.

Others were uncomfortable with the constant reminder of a war that brought so much pain to so many for so long.

Among these were Vietnam-era veterans suffering from the damage inflicted not only by our enemies, but by our own elected officials who extended and expanded the war because they were more concerned with a perverse concept of saving face than they were with saving lives.

The current proposal to replace the Larsen Park jet after a long absence should be the subject of thoughtful debate and possibly even a measure of soul-searching.

E. Michael Chelsky
San Francisco

? U.S. military drones

Drones provide security

No doubt there are issues of potential abuse of drones. However, in the real world, we cannot always stand by our theoretical beliefs in justice and due process. Thousands of innocent Japanese and Germans were killed by allied bombing in World War II. They were not given due process before they were incinerated. We are in a war, whether it is declared or not. We have been attacked, and 3,000 people were killed on our soil and many more were targeted on 9/11.

When terrorists hide in countries hostile to us we have few options. We cannot just send in troops, as we are infringing on another nation’s sovereignty. We can politely ask the local authorities to hand over the suspects. How effective is that?  

We can do nothing and just wait for the next attack and hope for the best. We can also use our technology and intelligence to kill the enemy by use of drones. It eliminates the risk to our soldiers and it sends a message to terrorists that they can run, but they can’t hide forever.  

Drones are not the perfect answer, but they are the best we have now.

Gil Stein

? Bair Island restoration

Conservation paying off

I was exhilarated to read recently that the restoration work that has kept beautiful Bair Island in Redwood City off-limits for almost five years is nearing completion.

Before public access was closed to allow heavy machinery to work, I would walk my dog at Bair Island nearly daily to get exercise and fresh air and be in nature. All of the restored places I have seen, like Coyote Point, are just gorgeous and full of wildlife. A pedestrian bridge from Uccelli Boulevard will open in April to allow short loop walks, and by the end of the year, the entire Inner Island will open for all to enjoy.

Thank you to all the vigilant residents, conservation groups and others who helped save Bair Island from Mobil Oil’s development plans 30 years ago, so that today it can be enjoyed by everyone.

Michael C. Grimes
Redwood City

? “Ben Affleck’s ‘Argo’ wins best picture at 85th Annual Academy Awards,” A&E, Monday

Winner is ... MacFarlane

Though his performance at the Oscars won’t make anyone forget about Billy Crystal, I thought Oscar host Seth MacFarlane did a credible job.

He not only managed to pull off a few amusing jokes, but did a surprisingly good job singing.  

He has a rather pleasing and powerful voice.

Kenneth L. Zimmerman
Huntington Beach

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