Opinion » Letters to the Editor

Census figures only tell part of the story

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The recent census data showing a decrease in San Francisco families with children is interesting, but those numbers only tell part of the story. Birth rates are down everywhere — including San Francisco. On the other hand, kindergarten and sixth-grade enrollment at San Francisco’s public schools continues to climb.

As the mom of a 2-year-old, I talk a lot with fellow parents about the choice to stay in The City or move. Many are very concerned about the quality of our public schools versus the cost of private school.

Others simply want more spacious homes at a lower cost. Or they’d like a simpler commute to jobs in Silicon Valley. Or they’d like to be able to drive around with ease — and find parking at the other side. Or they’d like to feel safer (and cleaner) riding public transit. San Francisco will need to do a lot of work — more than “job growth and economic development” — to convince those families to stay.

Beth Winegarner, San Francisco

Suburbs are made for kids

They say it takes a village to raise a child. I couldn’t agree more — a village, not a major U.S. city.

There is a place for those who can’t live in The City and it’s called the suburbs. You have a carport for your nanny, a school bus to take your kids to school, smaller class sizes, fewer people for your kids to offend or annoy and plenty of households with kids just like you. I say let them go.

Michael Pierson, San Francisco

Hands off national parks

While Congress makes important decisions on federal budget cuts, our national parks should not be put on the table. Our national parks protect spectacular places like Yosemite for us to enjoy. Almost 4 million people visited Yosemite in 2010. These places also provide jobs for local residents and support our economy.

America’s national parks already suffer from an annual operations shortfall of more than $600 million and a maintenance backlog that is now almost $11 billion. We must ensure that Jackie Speier, Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein pass a budget that does not cut National Park Service funding so our parks continue to welcome visitors and protect America’s heritage for our children and grandchildren to enjoy.

Jeanne Mursch, Pacifica