The City must transform underused spaces 

Even before the demise of the Redevelopment Agency, San Francisco has long been knee-deep in an affordable housing crisis.

We applaud Mayor Ed Lee’s leadership in creating an affordable housing fund, but it doesn’t go far enough. The biggest barrier in San Francisco is the high cost of land, and so much could be done by creatively redeveloping a number of underutilized public lands scattered throughout town.

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission has led the way, transferring a large empty lot at 17th and Folsom streets to the Mayor’s Office of Housing, but a similar lot owned by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency lies vacant and underutilized. The upper yard, located next to Balboa Park station, is rich in transit, open space and neighborhood amenities, yet Director Ed Reiskin and the SFMTA allow it to sit as a half-empty parking lot instead of collaborating with the community to develop much-needed affordable housing.  

Charlie Sciammas
San Francisco

Search for Occupy sanity

Occupy protesters say they suffered abuse at the hands of police after the violent demonstration in Oakland on Jan. 28. I don’t believe we should dismiss those claims out of hand just because they falsely swore that City Hall was already open when they entered and it wasn’t broken into.

Inconveniently unnoticed by the Occupiers was a surveillance camera that flat-out refutes that claim and clearly shows a pry bar being used to force open the doors.

Nevertheless, abuse could have maybe theoretically possibly happened. Diogenes would have been searching far and wide in this crowd, however.

John Dillon
San Bruno

GOP facing grim choice

A lot of columnists have been comparing the Romney versus Gingrich primary battle to the 2008 primary battle between President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. I don’t think they are similar.

In 2008, the Democrats had two strong candidates they liked. People who wanted Clinton to win liked Obama, too. People who liked Obama also liked Clinton. Both candidates were very popular. In contrast, Republicans dislike both leading candidates. It’s a battle between those who can’t stand Romney more versus those who can’t stand Newt more.

Republicans have to choose between the guy who lost to the guy who lost to Obama versus the guy who is going to make the third lady into the first lady. I don’t see the Republicans coming together behind any candidate this year.

Marc Perkel

Don’t blame capitalism

I was confounded by the Bloomberg/Selzer & Co. poll published on your editorial page Jan. 29. It asked, “Do you think capitalism is in crisis?”

That’s as ridiculous as asking if the sun is in crisis because some people are dying of heat exhaustion and dehydration. You can’t blame the sun for not functioning properly because people are too ignorant to manage their activities with caution and drink the proper amounts of water.

Capitalism works. It’s people who don’t.

Gary Hardeman
San Francisco

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