Letters from our Readers: Public Defender’s Office can’t afford budget cuts 

An Examiner April 16 story identified the Public Defender’s Office as one of the city departments that didn’t submit cuts requested by the mayor. I’m writing to explain why.

The Public Defender’s Office provides constitutionally mandated representation to more than 25,000 people each year. We do not control the number of cases we receive. Currently, our attorneys handle caseloads exceeding the American Bar Association’s caseload standards by 50 percent.

Last year, when the Public Defender’s Office was cut by $1 million, we were forced to refer nearly 1,000 cases to private attorneys. The City ended up spending $3.4 million more than budgeted in the previous year. I want to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

My office is among the leanest in The City. Our office’s entire budget is less than half of what the Police and Sheriff’s departments spend in overtime. Our attorneys work 50 to 60 hours each week and do not earn overtime. My budget request merely maintains staffing necessary for the caseload we are assigned to handle.

Jeff Adachi, Public defender, San Francisco

Reasons for congestion

San Francisco doesn’t have real downtown traffic congestion like medieval cities with crooked streets such as London, or like a Manhattan-style megalopolis. That doesn’t stop San Francisco’s anti-automobile Luddites from falsely claiming that we do.

Their goal is to ban the 600,000 citizen-owned cars in The City from our streets.

Most of the reasons downtown traffic does occasionally slow down below 10 mph don’t involve cars. Culprits include double-parked delivery trucks; Muni buses sticking out into traffic at stops; cable cars; and pedestrians entering the crosswalk even when the light is flashing “3, 2, 1.”

If The City enforced all rules against these troublemakers and didn’t just pick on private drivers, traffic would flow even more quickly than it does now.

Cary Fulbright, San Francisco

Nightclubs not so violent

By using words like “mayhem ... chaos ... violence ... thousands of unruly partyers ...” wouldn’t it be fair to say The Examiner might have gone just a tad overboard with its coverage of the canceled multiclub Broadway Mega Block Party that had been planned for May? Such hyperbole perpetrates the myth that club violence is a public safety issue.

There is a lot less violence at nightclubs than their detractors will admit. Simply ask yourself where you might be least likely to encounter violence — at a club, a high school, aboard Muni or in a pedestrian crosswalk on 19th Avenue?”

Jose Segue, San Francisco

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Staff Report

Staff Report

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