Letters: Safety must be priority 

➤ “Street widths still divisive,” The City, Tuesday

Safety must be priority

I share Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White’s concern about widened sidewalks preventing fire trucks’ accessibility to fires, which could result in fatalities in burning homes.

In addition, I have concern about the accessibility of paramedics. Delay of paramedic services could mean the difference between life and death.

In respect to pedestrian casualties, I wonder if the Police Department has been consulted about this problem by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, because this latter agency would not seem to have the monopoly of truth about these fatalities.

The widened sidewalks are quite expensive and, in some ways, appear to be a monstrous sight. Slowing down traffic will also create congestion.

I realize that traffic fatalities are a problem, but this must be balanced against sound advice from all agencies and the needs of motorists.

Contrary to those who hate automobiles and see them as the major source of city and world problems, motorists are also human, too, with the same needs as the rest of us.

Herbert J. Weiner

San Francisco

➤ “Nature program wasting millions to kill trees,” Opinion, Tuesday

Eucalyptus hurting wildlife

It’s fitting that Quentin L. Kopp wrote in the Opinion section, since so much of what he wrote was devoid of fact.

Eucalyptus trees contain a natural herbicide that has decimated massive areas of sensitive local habitat (see: Mission blue butterfly, California red-legged frog and the bald eagle, if you’re really lucky). These Australian trees were unwisely planted by any definition, completely unsuitable for their intended use.

Though I agree that both fewer herbicides and more prudence is needed, Kopp’s invective is simply misinformed. If you really want to cut carbon, then stop (or at least severely curtail) your traveling using cars and jets.

Michael Hoey

➤ “Soda-tax hearing unveils argument,” The City, April 17

Don’t impose needless tax

The beverage tax proposed by Supervisor Scott Wiener is clearly unfair. Restaurants, neighborhood corner stores and cafes have much to lose in revenues in addition to The City and state in sales-tax revenues.

In addition, city leaders have made no effort to rescind the 4 percent restaurant fee despite the ability of restaurant employees to sign up for Covered California.

With a city budget deficit of more than $50 million, the Board of Supervisors needs to focus on more serious and pressing issues rather than dictating to citizens how to live their lives and raising menial taxes.

Kurt Kleier

San Francisco

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