Letters

49er Fundamentalist
Re: "Hook, Line, and Stinker" (May 1): The article fails to consider the potent success of the San Francisco 49ers and their innovative administration. I found the article negative and too reliant on anti-sports analysts. The fact that the 49ers are the only successful team in the Bay Area and the last team to increase their ticket prices (after five Super Bowls) was not mentioned or elaborated.

Your article should not have compared baseball stadiums to football. However, the economies of cities in which are Camden Yards or Jacobs Fields have increased. It helps when fans have a beautiful area to view sports. And, by the way, to be a successful team, one has to acquire quality high-priced players. Sports are a business.

Eddie DeBartolo Jr. has given the city spirit and pride in his 49ers. To portray him as a greedy CEO is inaccurate. I believe DeBartolo will remain in San Francisco due to the fan base.

Sports, unlike theater or opera, are egalitarian in their support base. They're competitive and spiritual and have a unifying force in their endeavor. Seeing the 49ers leave will create an uproar in the Bay Area (I don't foresee it). Your biased article should not dent the fans' wish to keep the team intact and in San Francisco.

When I go to see the 49ers play their division rivals in New Orleans or Atlanta, don't I contribute to the cities' economies? Shopping, souvenirs, hotel, traveling packages. Thus, it's the same in San Francisco. After waiting five years, I finally became a San Francisco 49ers season ticket holder two years ago. Don't mess with this successful enterprise. Your economic indicators seemed incongruous to what this team has accomplished.

Fortunately, you included Carmen Policy for some balance. His spin is truthful and the team he represents will remain, no matter the press.

Art Alcantar
Mission

Making Book
The cabal of naysayers trying to abort a proposed agreement between the Public Library and the Library Foundation to raise private funds for the library accuses the foundation of being the cat's-paw of downtown corporations ("Whose Library Is It?" Bay View, April 17). On the contrary, the foundation board is composed of public-spirited citizens, many of whom are retired or are affiliated with the library affinity groups and Friends of the Library. These are the people who raised $33 million from 17,000 donors to supplement public funds so that San Francisco will have a great library system, and they are committed to continuing to do so.

The naysayers have made similar charges in the past. They are the people who opposed building the New Main Library and computerizing the library system, who spread rumors about the city librarian and others, and who did nothing to get Proposition E passed.

San Francisco's Public Library is blessed with thousands of volunteers, donors, campaigners, and other supporters. It is a great insult to them for the press to give attention to the complaints of a small group of obsessed naysayers.

James W. Haas
Bernal Heights

Senior Privilege
It was both irritating and amusing to discover that cartoonist Derf finds "octogenarians out for their morning constitutional" an "unnerving" sight to behold (The City, April 17). Physically active seniors who risk bruising the tender sensibilities of squeamish youngsters simply by showing themselves in public ought to be revered for their refusal to apologize for the inevitable effects of aging upon the human body. Nevertheless, I enjoyed a hearty chuckle at the expense of Derf himself, who, rather than face the alarming possibility of seeing old people exercise, scampered back to his room -- to rot in front of a TV.

Marvin Humphrey
Lower Haight

Not in My District
Your take on the election reform issue ("Now Entering -- the Willie District," Dog Bites, April 17) is a surprise to me. From what I've seen, there isn't an ice cube's chance in hell that district elections will ever be reinstituted in San Francisco. Reasons:

1) Even the backers of district elections won't support it. The system requires the Board of Supervisors to establish a committee every 10 years to draw the district lines according to the most recent census information. But when this system was applied last year, Robert Barnes and Calvin Welch, chief supporters, didn't like the lines and shot it down prior to the board meeting. Well, if you can't accept the lines that are drawn when the system is applied, you are de facto against the system that drew them. There is nothing in the legislation that requires the approval of Barnes and Welch (perhaps that is what is lacking).

2) In the early meetings of the Election Task Force, seven systems were floated for discussion. One of these was limited voting, and it stood out as the least popular method of the seven. Another system was numbered seats, which got so little support they didn't even bother to make it one of the seven proposals. Yet, district elections are a hybrid of limited voting and numbered seats. How will two of the least popular systems available ever gain a 50 percent majority?

3) Most people who are for district elections are so because they don't know the alternatives. Having attended numerous public meetings, I cannot say that I ever saw a person come to the meeting undecided and leave in favor of district elections. Of people who came already in favor of district elections, I would guess 60 percent switched to favoring proportional representation. Of course, there are no statistics being kept; this is simply my subjective analysis.

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