Muni needs to deal with revenue cheats

| December 12, 2011

As a native San Franciscan, it galls me to hear about how Muni is always in the red. I know that plenty of people enjoy a free ride every now and then on the streetcars. With doors wide open on the various lines, it’s too tempting to just hop on. If the police patrols for fare evaders were used more often, they could put a huge dent in the deficit.

As I have personally witnessed on weekday mornings, over half of the riders who board the L-Taraval and N-Judah trains headed toward downtown just hop onto the rear cars and never swipe a Clipper card or anything.

Too bad if it’s inconvenient to have police officers check for fares from 6:30 to 8:30 a.m. If you want to run a business efficiently and stop the bleeding, management has to deal with the revenue cheaters. I feel victimized in paying for my Fast Pass every month and then seeing people get on for free and sit next to me. Then as they start coughing and sneezing, it just adds to the whole Muni commuter experience.

Paul J. Weber
San Francisco


Keep newspaper balanced

My first read in the newspaper is the editorial. It is my belief that any great newspaper, in addition to providing the news, should communicate to its readership via editorials. A broader viewpoint of current events assists the reader in visualizing the underlying trends and future consequences of the news.

In a diverse society, this might be a road full of pitfalls. But the balance provided between the editorial and readers’ letters paints a more complete picture to guide the general readership. The freedom of the press to inform the citizens is written into the U.S. Constitution for a reason. Let us take full advantage of that right.

Frank Norton
San Francisco


A blurb for a blue planet

When the new San Francisco Examiner explains that local news is to be the focus, you guys aren’t kidding. Only a tiny blurb reported the discovery of a blue planet just outside our galaxy, a planet that “seems to be the ideal place for life.” Ho-hum?

Provincial San Francisco has only the foreign policy pronouncements of our Board of Supervisors to keep things lively.

Paul Burton
San Francisco


Illusion of a majority

The Thursday op-ed by Marc Intermaggio, “Time to admit failure of ranked-choice voting,” stated that majority rule was gone because of ranked-choice. This is a bit of a misconception. The old top-two runoff system always ensured a majority because you only had two candidates.

Green Party supporters who voted Green and then voted for the more progressive candidate in the runoff never changed their minds about how they actually felt about the runoff candidates. In short, a runoff creates the illusion of a majority by virtue of limiting the choices, not by satisfying the voters. That’s not real democracy.

I agree that ranked-choice voting is a failure, but for different reasons. It’s time to move to better systems such as score voting and approval voting. These are easier to understand, cost less and don’t require a runoff. The person with the most votes wins. It’s time to adopt real reform for real democracy.

Dominic Paris
Center for Election Science
San Francisco

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