Pension negotiations were never sustainable 

I appreciated the balanced and informative spread your Thursday newspaper did on The City’s pension problem. As Warren Hellman stated, the solutions are not “black and white.” Yet according to the public employee union representatives included in the piece, it is.

They assert that “although we didn’t cause the problem — Wall Street did — it’s time for employees to step up.” In fact, a very large part of this problem is the fault of union officials negotiating unsustainable benefits packages with short-sighted politicians in hopes that taxpayers would remain in the dark and simply foot the bill.

The economic downturn simply brought the unsustainability of these fiscally challenged arrangements to light a bit sooner.

Matt Mitguard, San Francisco

Bikes should be welcome

Your Thursday story regarding cyclists ignoring the rules about bringing bicycles on BART during rush hour, and the agency’s plans to now enforce laws prohibiting it begs a couple of questions: What would happen if BART actually accommodated bikes like Caltrain does, with a special section for them in the rear of the last car of every train?

As bike commuting becomes a viable alternative for more and more people, doesn’t it make sense to facilitate positive changes, rather than falling back on punitive solutions like BART appears ready to do?

John Bennett, San Francisco

Ethanol is not the answer

There are many good reasons to reduce dependence on foreign oil. But corn ethanol is taking us in entirely the wrong direction. Food farming for fuel wastes more energy than it generates. It has a devastating impact on food supplies and prices, family farms, water quality, public health, etc.

We give preference to low-octane corn ethanol over more efficient natural gas only because of the power of the ethanol lobby.

Judy West, San Francisco

Pay for your own campaign

According to your Wednesday story, San Francisco mayoral candidates will receive over $8 million from The City’s coffers for their campaigns.

Meanwhile, The City is broke, facing huge pension and health insurance payments. When municipal workers are being asked to sacrifice, it is insane to spend taxpayer funds to finance candidates.

Let them finance their own campaigns. We should not have to pay for what, in most cases, is nothing but a huge ego trip.

Bill Terheyden, San Francisco

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