Not just Muni wasting money on useless PR 

Your April 11 editorial “Muni-ficent PR a useless waste of our money” barely scratches the waste of San Francisco’s public funds. It’s not just Muni.

Consider Laguna Honda Hospital’s “rebranding” public relations spending. Although the Public Health Department already had a public information officer paid $129,000 annually, Laguna Honda spent an additional $819,441 between 2008 and 2010 just on salaries for its in-house public relations department.

Laguna Honda’s spending on PR salaries will reach $1 million by December, in just four years. In response to a public records request, it refused to disclose its total annual PR budget. Laguna Honda’s PR spending is meant to assure philanthropic donors that everything is hunky-dory. That’s public funds being used to “market” a nonprofit entity.

Patrick Monette-Shaw, San Francisco

Fairmont needs to change

It’s absurd that San Francisco’s “progressive” elected officials are allowed the hotel employees’ union to stop the redevelopment of the Fairmont Hotel’s tower to condominiums. No one, with the exception of some public employees, is guaranteed lifetime employment.

The union should remember that empty or closed hotels employ no one. The elected officials should remember that their charge is building The City’s economy for the residents and taxpayers, not to protect the unions that donate time and money to their election campaigns.

Nob Hill is no longer a convenient location for tourists or business travelers. All the hotels in the area are suffering and will have to change their business models. Empty hotel rooms add nothing to the economy, while luxury condos will, through property taxes and the spending by residents.

Howard Epstein, San Francisco

Trump is not electable

Bombastic real estate magnate/showman Donald Trump is not a realistic GOP nominee. Candidates with very high voter negatives (Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich) can be rejected along with strong ideologues (Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum) or regionally limited candidates (Haley Barbour and Mike Huckabee).

Republicans currently have four potential candidates who appear “electable” and qualified at the presidential level — Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Chris Christie and Mitch Daniels. Each was elected governor of a state where “crossover” voter appeal is required to win by a GOP candidate. Romney and Daniels have the additional advantage of both strong business and government management backgrounds.

Jim Hartman, Berkeley

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