Letters: S.F.’s grand plans to remake downtown and clean its streets fail to address the real problems

2022-07-24 11:48:10 By : Mr. Alex Song

Tina O’Collins surveys Turk Street during a point-in-time homeless count in February. Homelessness is one of the San Francisco’s intractable problems.

Several recent Chronicle articles illustrate why San Francisco’s problems persist.

Specifics: No articles on Tunnel Tops Park mentioned how to get there on public transit. The nonprofit that envisions a more welcoming downtown fails to address homeless bivouacs on the street. Attention and money for proposed designer trash cans ignores solving sidewalk and gutter debris. Vermin and neglect in single-room occupancy hotels are often ignored by building or health inspections.

Monday’s letter writer (“Help those who need it — even against their will”) highlights how wide the systemic failure is in the city.

San Francisco’s failure to deal with civic problems is systemic. All too often the city passes a law to address the problem and then does not enforce it. All the beautification will not bring me downtown again until it feels safe and is clean.

The Jan. 6 committee hearings indirectly show why the Big Lie is so important for Donald Trump and his supporters to continue to maintain.

Almost no one can deny anymore what actually happened that day. However, if you truly believe the election somehow was actually stolen in the way that Trump and Rudy Giuliani and others maintain, you would find that so abhorrent and outrageous that the violent and crazed actions of Jan. 6 might seem understandable or even possibly required.

So the election fraud lie now becomes the most crucial point. The violence that day and Trump’s reported craven indifference to it might be almost acceptable under the Big Lie. But the moment you acknowledge the 2020 election was free and fair, you are then also forced to acknowledge Jan. 6 as the heinous and criminal catastrophe that it was.

The cover of the Big Lie allows Trump and his millions of supporters to keep their consciences clear by never having to make such an acknowledgment.

Regarding “Delayed Oakland Housing Advances” (Front Page, July 21): The housing developer’s spokesperson, Jason Overman, is quoted as saying the appeal against the project was “the kind of political games that have led us into a housing shortage.” We hear this from people like state Sen. Scott Wiener and other politicians when they introduce legislation that will supposedly get around the California Environmental Quality Act to build more housing. It is simply not true.

The reality is that, according to a study done by the Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment, of some 45,000 CEQA-reviewed projects from 2013 to 2019, on average only 195 a year, about 2%, were litigated. Granted, CEQA reviews sometimes delay projects, but the majority of them get built.

It’s time to start looking at the real reasons housing isn’t being built instead of casting aspersions on a law intended to protect people and the environment.

Does anyone remember the cries of judicial activism from the right ?

Even before the Reagan years, members of the Republican right kept up a constant hue and cry against activist judges taking the law into their own hands. These keepers of the Constitution were adamant about judicial restraint when they went before Congress. Even Chief Justice John Roberts claimed that he would refrain from judicial activism during his Senate confirmation.

The level of hypocrisy makes me sick when I think of how quickly the right went from railing against liberal elitist judges upholding hard fought rights, to cheering on the reversal of those rights that they couldn’t take away through the ballot box. The Roberts court has run roughshod over decades of precedent with Roe v. Wade and New York’s gun control legislation.

I don’t know what the answer is to these unacceptable attacks on the rights and wishes of the majority. But we are all in dire need of answers.