Letters From Our Readers: Facts show people want high-speed rail 

Regarding your unsurprising Monday editorial, it’s not just President Barack Obama who seeks the high-speed rail systems enjoyed by 11 other nations and planned by countless more as a safe, swift, efficient transportation opportunity for California and other states fighting congestion and contaminated air.

It’s congressional Republicans (such as John Mica of Florida) and Democrats, California legislators of all persuasions and California voters who disregarded your Luddite blathering in November 2008 by approving a $9.95 billion state bond issue to form a financial foundation for high-speed rail.

Your editorial quotes an unknown alleged public administration “expert” telling you high-speed rail is “an obsolete technology that few people will use.”

Is that why even Amtrak’s lesser version from New York City to Boston, which achieves 145 mph for only 32 miles, is so crowded it’s Amtrak’s only service that produces net profits? You and your “expert” ignore that fact.

You also deceive readers by labeling high-speed rail as “obsolete technology.” It’s so obsolete that Japan, France, China and others compete to show the world ever-increasing operational speeds of up to 220 mph and 357 mph on France’s test track in 2007.

Quentin L. Kopp, California High-Speed Rail Authority, San Francisco

Haiti already had problems

Haiti was a basket case even before the quake. It will undoubtedly be rebuilt as a basket case because no donor nations will insist that radical changes be made.

The population is too large for its area and state of development, there is little water, and the soil was eroded long ago when the forests were cleared for firewood and subsistence agriculture.

Since the country’s technology level cannot be increased quickly, it must reduce its population. More immediately, several million could be moved to French Guiana, a nearby country speaking the same language and at a similar level of development, but with an existing infrastructure and plenty of vacant land.

James Keefer, San Francisco

Exile faux conservatives

I disagree with the letter writer who called for the Republican Party to scrap the conservative litmus test. The GOP does not need more Red Dog “moderates” like George Bush, John McCain and Arnold Schwarzenegger — votes be damned.

Sure, a Schwarzenegger is marginally better than a Feinstein, but you are still dealing with a “your watch or your wallet” choice. Throw principles in the garbage can and you may as well be a Democrat.

Paul Burton, San Francisco

Arnie goes his own way

Ken Garcia’s Friday op-ed column bid “hasta la vista” to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. In addition to low approval ratings, the governor has broken sharply away from the conservative base. His approval of quotas in public contracting, etc., are in direct violation of California state law.

The GOP now stands for Globalism, Open borders and Preferences.

Philip Melnick, 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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