Letters to the Editor, Oct. 13
San Francisco’s Proposition G is a well-thought-out, reasonable approach to ameliorate, at least temporarily, the fear that many seniors and others feel about being evicted. I think an example of its core essence works best in understanding the proposal: My mother owns a four-unit building in San Francisco. She is ready to retire to Miami and sells her building.
The person to whom she sells the property has no intention of being a landlord, gets all the tenants out as allowed under the state Ellis Act, and proceeds to rehab and sell the units for a steep price. It is this person who is subject to the Prop. G surtax, not my mother. Thousands of tenants have been cruelly evicted this way. Prop. G is for the greater good of the city.
Kathy Lipscomb, San Francisco
Cell phones won’t fit
Gone are the days where you can perfectly fit your phone in your pocket. Apple and Samsung are starting a new trend: larger pockets. Even though this is not a big issue, some brands are considering redesigning the style of jeans. Honestly, I do not want to jump on the bandwagon because I do not like the size of the new phones. I used to have the Samsung Galaxy I, and I did not have any problem with keeping it in my pocket.
I could perfectly well do any other things without being worried about dropping my phone. An American Eagle spokesperson said, “Currently our men’s pockets already accommodate the larger phones, including the iPhone 6 (and iPhone 6 Plus). Women’s jeans are still being evaluated.”
If this is happening with jeans, I cannot imagine what is going to happen with bags. More brands will want to consider changing the size of purses. Travel bags will look small compared to the new ones. I prefer the old days when the size of my phone was perfect.
Isalia Alcantar, Stockton
The letter writer of “Fix public schools” (Oct. 10) links our alarming dropout rates to the teacher tenure system. It’s fashionable to blame teachers for the many things that aren’t working in our public schools, including students who don’t show up for classes.
But if we want to assign proper blame for the dropout rate, look no further than our one-size-fits-all approach. We herd large groups of teenagers into inequitably funded schools, pretend they all can and want to learn in the same way, and offer few if any alternatives to those who don’t possess the aptitude or fortitude to succeed in this inflexible environment. American schools are monuments to conformity, which is a major repellent to many teenagers.
Mark Wardlaw, Santa Rosa
In the letter “Fix public schools,” the author states that “the greatest factor in the destruction of our schools has been the teacher tenure system that has made it impossible to fire incompetent teachers.” This is only untrue but very shortsighted. I have let incompetent tenured teachers go, with the support of highly competent teachers.
A greater danger is the lack of funding to schools that are asked to teach health, social skills, character development, discipline and personal accountability, along with all the subject matter for the Common Core standards. What responsibility do parents have? Legislators? The community? Schools cannot be assigned to fix what society cannot.
As I travel from school to school, here are questions I’m consistently asked: Can you help me find me three teachers for grades A, B and C? Or, do you know of several foreign language teachers you can put me in touch with? We need help finding math teachers. If the blaming of teachers for all of our country’s ills continues, the field will be depleted. And charter schools are not the panacea. Many can’t address the special-needs students. Focus on the real issues, not the lateral ones.
Evie Groch, El Cerrito
For the last several years, the taxi industry has cried foul regarding Michael Peevey’s cozy relationship with the billion-dollar so-called “ride-sharing” services. Years of Taxi Commission and Municipal Transportation Agency meetings, hearings and regulations were undone by Peevey and the Public Utilities Commission when they allowed these rogue car services to invade our streets without commercial insurance, driver background checks or any of the other hundreds of regulations that the taxi industry has to follow.
It took the the tragic deaths of innocent people and the destruction of a neighborhood to get rid of this person. I say good riddance.
Dennis Korkos, San Francisco
Fund our schools
I read with interest “Fix public schools,” about the race for Superintendent of Public Instruction. The author seems to be proposing that incompetent teachers are responsible for a dropout “crisis” in our state and that public schools are in a state of “collapse.”
I would argue that California public schools are doing very well because of competent and devoted teachers and staff — despite inadequate funding, poverty and the fact that so many kids are learning English. I’m a mother who went to private elementary school who has had children in Oakland public schools for the last eight years.
I wish all writers of letters to the editor would identify organizations they are associated with to give readers some context. In that spirit, I will now disclose that I am a PTA volunteer of many years who has spent a lot of time in public school classrooms and have observed outstanding teaching. So now that I know which candidate is the choice of voucher proponents, I will be voting for Tom Torlakson.
Terri Phelan, Oakland
Most of us enjoy watching the daredevil antics of the Blue Angels. Not so for some people from countries where the sound of military jets came with bombs, napalm and family tragedies. The Navy sees the Blue Angels as a recruitment tactic.
It is hard to get a full picture of how much the Blue Angels cost, but the annual line item in the budget is about $40 million. Very expensive recruiting! But that doesn’t even include fuel, salaries for pilots and crews, or lodging during the shows. The total is more like $110 million a year. I, for one, would rather see that money spent on things we need, like education, public hospitals and clinics, and public transportation.
Ed Kinchley, San Francisco