Opinion » Letters to the Editor

Taxpayers stuck with the bill on a technicality

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A sheriff’s deputy in San Francisco was fired for driving drunk and smashing into a bunch of cars. Five years later, the deputy got his job back with back pay and all benefits plus interest. It was whopping sum of almost $800,000, which we taxpayers are paying for.

Why did this deputy get his job back? Because City Attorney Dennis Herrera forgot to serve him a one-page Notice of Termination. Where is the accountability? Someone obviously made a huge mistake in the City Attorney’s Office and we get stuck with the bill.

Herrera should pay for this mistake by docking himself and his underlings the full cost. Maybe next time he would focus on important day-to-day matters instead of chasing around shop owners who sell crack pipes. And Herrera wants to be mayor?

W. Wilson, San Francisco

Subway a pointless waste

The Examiner’s Feb. 24 editorial on governmental expenditures was appropriately entitled “Waste, abuse as far as the fiscal eye can see.” San Francisco’s own contribution to this squandering of taxpayer dollars is proceeding right under our noses. Unless the U.S. Congress balks, the Central Subway will get built.

And if it does, according to the Metropolitan Transportation Agency’s own figures, this $1.58 billion subway would attract only 5,000 new riders a day by 2030. What could be more foolish and short-sighted than that?

Wasteful boondoggles like the Central Subway are unnecessarily pushing up local, state and federal costs by hundreds of billions of dollars a year.

Gerald Cauthen, Oakland

Corrupt rent-control laws

A well-intentioned proposal by Supervisor Scott Wiener to allow discounted rent for tenants displaced by disasters just highlights the cruel and ironic consequences of San Francisco’s corrupt rent-control laws. The cumulative package of local regulations effectively results in lifetime leases for most tenants, regardless if they deserve the financial subsidy.

No San Francisco landlord will offer a discounted lease to a residential tenant who might never leave. Even “temporary” leases can turn into lifetime property rights. As a result, most landlords work to get the highest possible rent, which can be very high indeed.

Tenants displaced by the recent Castro fires must now face the “ugly side” of San Francisco rent control. Adding to the shortage of affordable housing, thousands of existing units are kept vacant by owners unwilling to risk the possibility of losing their property to a hostile tenant.

Judy West, San Francisco