Letters From Our Readers: Carpool toll eliminates benefit of pairing up 

On Jan. 27, the Bay Area Toll Authority is set to approve a first-time-ever fee of $2.50 for carpool commuters, as part of a plan to raise tolls on area bridges.

As a commuter, the reward for going through the logistical rigmarole of participating in a carpool is that you get into The City without paying the bridge toll quicker than you would by going over the bridge alone.

But if you have to stop at a booth to pay a toll, you don’t save any time by carpooling. This one stroke will send legions of commuters back into their individual cars. Yet, there seems to be nothing but silent acceptance from the community at large.

Ronnie Gipson, Oakland

Reid’s comment not racist

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is guilty, at most, of simply using an antiquated term: “Negro.” It is not, and has never been, a racist term. If it is, then the United Negro College Fund should be notified and deemed a racist organization. In the 2000 U.S. Census, about 50,000 African-Americans chose to call themselves Negro when also given the choice of black or African-American. Should they too be called racists?

When Reid remarked that Obama is “light-skinned” and does not speak with a heavy “dialect,” he was simply stating facts everyone is aware of and have noted widely.

Let’s save our indignant anger for real racism — institutional and organized — that truly affects black people in employment, education, housing and public accommodations. The right wing simply exploited an opportunity to trip up Harry Reid and chip away at the 60-vote supermajority the Democrats now hold in Congress.

Martin Camillo, San Francisco

Caltrain can be better

I’ve been riding Caltrain for seven years with my bike and appreciate the expanded bike capacity. Although I don’t usually have a seat, at least I’m not left standing on the platform with my bike and my monthly pass.

Standing on the platform waiting for a delayed train in San Mateo recently, I realized I could be biking to BART in Millbrae and taking that to The City. I’m a loyal customer with options who’s unhappy and wants Caltrain to improve. I know it can be so much better.

Christina Uranga, San Francisco

Common sense needed

In response to your Thursday story “Fire station closures on the table,” it is the height of absurdity that a city with a budget of more than $6 billion a year (a budget bigger than that of 20 states) can’t maintain a basic public service like keeping fire stations open.

Perhaps if voters in San Francisco didn’t keep electing supervisors who spend all The City’s money on dysfunctional and unaccountable programs for a seemingly endless stream of panhandlers, vagrants and public drunks, we would have plenty of money for our fire houses, parks, Muni, etc.

In 2010, there are several supervisor seats up for grabs. The voters should educate themselves and elect candidates who will set common-sense priorities at City Hall.

E.F. Sullivan, San Francisco

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Staff Report

A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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