Letters

Rescue Muni Sold Out
George Cothran's article ("Rescue Muni to the Rescue," June 23) enumerates Muni's problems early on, including the fact that "middle management had been decimated" and that "the Muni fleet had been underfunded, leaving the agency with aged buses that broke down and missed runs."

If Rescue Muni has solutions to these problems, which are clearly not the fault of the transit unions, they appear to be closely guarded secrets. Leaving aside Mr. Cothran's enthusiastic union-bashing and looking only at the facts as presented, it's clear that Rescue Muni has been co-opted by the Committee on Jobs into focusing exclusively on the Committee's class-war agenda. I can understand Rescue Muni's reluctance to turn down a check for $30,000, but it's a shame. An independent public transit advocacy group, giving voice to the concerns of Muni riders rather than carrying water for downtown business interests, would still be a good idea.

Andrew Hope
Oakland

Rescue Muni: No We Didn't
George Cothran's article "Rescue Muni to the Rescue" was an accomplished piece of political journalism. However, I would like to take exception to one statement, and point out a major missing piece of the story.

The error was that we "compromised away a good portion of the reforms." We made some timing adjustments and fine-tuned a few items, but gave away nothing necessary for Muni to become a world-class transit service run in a professional, efficient, and accountable manner from top to bottom.

The omission relates to the alliances we built. From Rescue Muni's inception, it was the coming together of moderates who believed in efficiency and accountability and who supported Muni as essential to the city's economic life, with progressives who believed in Muni for environmental and social reasons and realized it needed to be significantly more efficient and accountable to achieve its potential and regain public support.

Both the Sierra Club and SPUR made their meeting rooms fully available to Rescue Muni from day one in 1996. In the campaign, the initiative on the street that led to the ballot measure from City Hall's Board of Supervisors was crafted during several months of intensive work by Rescue Muni, SPUR, the Sierra Club, and the S.F. Environmental Organizing Committee (a new umbrella group that made fixing Muni its first project) working together as a team.

Without the enthusiastic and intense interest in Muni reform by our coalition allies, San Franciscans would not have a truly revolutionary reform measure on the November ballot, and Rescue Muni would not have the credibility it is lucky to enjoy today.

Ken Niemi
Founder and Steering Committee Member
Rescue Muni
San Francisco

Crime and No Punishment
I read your featured article "Diagnosis: Eviction" (June 9). Thank you, Matt Smith, and thank you, SF Weekly, for getting this ever-so-true story to the public. Please do one more story exposing the people who are really responsible for this American Holocaust -- the politicians, the state oversight system, and the Health Care Financing Authority.

Have you ever asked the question, "If murder, elder abuse, and neglect is a felony, how can these nursing home administrators, medical directors, and the directors of nursing in these nursing homes commit these crimes daily and not be held accountable or punished?"

Go to the secretary of state's office, the Office of Political Reform in Sacramento and ask for the CAHF (California Association of Health Facilities) files. This is one of the nursing home PACs. You will see the millions of dollars going into the pockets of these representatives we elected, dollars from this most powerful, rich industry. These politicians tell us over and over again how much they have done for us, while having both of their hands in the pockets of this industry.

Then take a look at the bills these politicians have written and laws they have passed to protect this industry from accountability. After a nine-month in-depth investigation of California nursing homes by the General Accounting Office, their report focused on the failure of the California oversight system, and the state Department of Health Licensing and Certification. They found that only 2 percent of California nursing homes met the standards of care, and 25 percent were responsible for wrongful deaths.

Why did no one go to jail?
Even under Gov. Gray Davis' watch, the very people who were in charge during the time this investigation was being conducted are still in charge, and allowing the murder, abuse, and neglect in these nursing homes to continue. The new governor's motto: "Don't rock the boat and don't cause or respond to any negative press." So too bad you tortured elderly living in these nursing homes, and all of us who are just a stroke away from being in one ourselves.

Ila Swan
Executive West Coast Advocate for the
Association Protecting the Elderly
Vacaville

Crybaby Anarchists
While I'm disgusted with the dealings of the greedy developers such as the Cort family ("Disaster Corts the Mission," Postscript, April 21) and Joe O'Donoghue (who is changing the architectural face of the city forever), I would like to defend the right of folks like myself who scrape and save to buy tiny, horrendously overpriced homes to avoid the ridiculous rents in San Francisco.

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