Letters: Losing another piece of history 

"Last stop for Freedom Train," The City, Monday

Losing another piece of history

The "Freedom Train's" final trip to San Francisco has sad historical parallels. While the train dwindled over 30 years, black culture and population dropped precipitously in San Francisco — from 13.4 percent of the population in 1970 to 6 percent today.

Worse, gentrification disproportionately hits blacks, who comprise 29 percent of current eviction cases. The time-release capsules of public policy are stealthily embedded. The demolition of black institutions, cultural facilities, jazz districts, businesses, the Western Addition, lower Fillmore, political bases and thus leadership incubation assured a downward spiral.

Like today's uneven public policies, the last decades of public policy required corporate planning, urban renewal, urban research, redevelopment and political implementation — all for the good of people affected no less.

In other words, perfectly vibrant communities needed to be reshaped (destroyed) to fit grandiose planning visions and financial objectives. Citizens, be vigilant of the incremental impacts of planning decisions over time — whether they be freeway expansions, development, area plans, special-use districts, rezoning, subways.

Howard Wong

Save Muni

San Francisco

Let's mark 150 years, too

I was reading your article on the "Freedom Train," I realized that the marches in Selma, Ala., were at the time of the 100th anniversary of the Congress' approval of the 13th amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

This anniversary is not as big as a full centennial, but a 150-year anniversary is still something. The last day of this month, Jan. 31 appears to be the date usually given as the passage by Congress in 1865. This is what was covered in the movie "Lincoln."

Eleanor Hansen

San Francisco

"New bike-safety law off to slow start in S.F.," The City, Thursday

Make cyclists obey the law

Enforce the 3-foot passing law? How about enforcing other laws that motorists are required to obey, like citing hooligan bicyclists who run red lights, ignore stop signs, endanger pedestrians in crosswalks and ride on sidewalks?

The City is spending lots of tax money on painting green lanes and other improvements for bike riders.

Time for bike riders to start obeying the laws instead of participating in that horde of vandals called Critical Mass.

Lee Goodin

San Francisco

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