Losing the Gold Dust Lounge not good for The City 

I was a little disturbed when I read your editorial calling for the demise of the Gold Dust Lounge (Editorial, March 23). The property owner may want to replace the institution, unique to San Francisco, with some kind of generic formula retail found in scores of minimalls across the country. But what will ultimately be lost forever is the reason San Francisco welcomes tens of millions of visitors a year: We are a unique place to visit, with shops and attractions found nowhere else.

And what precedent does this set? Will you call for the removal of John’s Grill if they lose their lease to Marshalls? What about Lefty O’Doul’s? If the property owner there wants to move a Walgreens into that space, are you going to advocate for that? I can see it now, the Marines’ annual toy drive relegated to the greeting card aisle. 

I guess The S.F. Examiner won’t be happy until The City looks like Phoenix, with a KFC and T.J. Maxx on every corner.

The Gold Dust has been there for five decades. I doubt whatever replaces it will be there that long.

Peter Nasatir
San Francisco

PG&E can’t oversee itself

Earlier times in San Francisco were likely safer, when we hung our clothes out to dry on clotheslines, stoked the central heating system and fireplace with lumps of coal, placed blocks of ice in the food icebox, and placed other food in the air circulation cooler that brought cold air up from the basement and let it flow out from the second floor.

Today, with modern utility companies piping natural gas across California and delivering electricity into our homes, it seems that instead of the utility employees policing the safety of their systems (“PG&E allegedly ignored gas ‘time bomb,’” March 25), there should be a separate entity of gas and electric cops patrolling the pipelines and electric lines who could give ticket citations for gas leaks, or electrical lines and equipment shorting out and blowing up transformers.

Frank Norton
San Francisco

Tax plan is just trickery

Payroll tax withholding and estimated tax payments are supposed to reflect the “pay as you go” requirement of our income tax system. The state of California is unfortunately abusing “pay as you go” and replacing it with “pay before you go” in order to achieve an apparent reduction in its deficit. 

Payroll withholding tables force California employers to take out 110 percent of the tax that will actually be due, with the state using your money without interest or other compensation until the following April.

Starting last year, self-employed people are required to pay — after the first five months of the year — 63 percent of the tax that would be due the following April. It’s no coincidence that the state’s fiscal year ends on June 30th.  
All of this trickery may make budget deficits appear smaller, but that phantom gain is a very real burden on the pocketbooks of ordinary low- and middle-income taxpayers struggling to make ends meet and pay bills due now, not next April.

Shame on our elected officials.

Stewart A. Levin
Menlo Park

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