Leadership is part of the CEQA problem 

“It is time for San Francisco to act on CEQA reform,” Opinion, Thursday

Leadership is part of the CEQA problem  

During Supervisor Scott Weiner’s presentation at the San Francisco Historic Preservation Commission last week urging their support of his California Environmental Quality Act changes, Weiner opened by noting that few understand CEQA, even Planning Director John Rahaim, who had joked to Weiner that after five years in California, even he, the planning director, still doesn’t understand CEQA. That, in a nutshell, is the problem.

When Rahaim was hired by then-Mayor Gavin Newsom from Seattle in 2008, he was seen as a neutral administrator of planning rules and regulations unmuddied by political partisanship. Most importantly, he wasn’t a local. He was supposed to end the legacy of Gerald Green, who had been accused of partisan politics, cronyism and unethical behavior. By 2010, there were calls for Rahaim’s removal.

Weiner shouldn’t be changing CEQA, he should be replacing the planning director with someone with a UC Berkeley degree at least. For those of us interested in San Francisco tomorrow, we need to end the incompetence in the Planning Department.

Weiner’s proposed CEQA changes are all about cronyism, corporate politics and the disenfranchisement of San Francisco residents under the guise that the housing problem is with the law, not the law enforcers.
As a taxpayer, I’m surprised that Rahaim stays in his job given that he claims to not understand CEQA. How does Weiner justify himself as being a steward of taxpayer money?

Paul Page
San Francisco

“Muni switchbacks are just symptom of larger problem,” Editorial, Opinion, March 13

Blame subway money pit

Your editorial about Muni switchbacks points out that Muni needs more funds to improve service. It amazes me that you utterly fail to connect Muni’s financial problems with the ill-fated Central Subway.  

As you know, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is seeking to take $9.1 million out of Muni funds to extract the tunnel-boring machinery at the Pagoda Palace theater site. But that is chump change compared to likely huge cost overruns in the subway project itself.  

One study estimated that the subway may cost as much as $400 million more than the current $1.6 billion budget, and all of that money will have to come solely from the city of San Francisco. Please connect the dots, and when you do, you will have to come to the conclusion that the Central Subway boondoggle threatens to derail better Muni service.

Bob Feinbaum
San Francisco

 “Feinstein: NRA intimidates on gun legislation,” News, Thursday

Cowering before NRA

While the National Rifle Association has much to answer for in regards to its opposition to most gun-control legislation, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein should be pointing her finger at her cowardly fellow members of Congress who cower before the NRA instead of doing what’s best for America.  

Who needs an assault weapon anyway? Perhaps in the next election, we should find out who the NRA is supporting and opposing, and vote accordingly.  

Ralph E. Stone
San Francisco

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