By Kate Conger
By Brian Rinker
By Rachel Swan
By Anna Pulley
By Erin Sherbert
By Chris Roberts
By Erin Sherbert
By Rachel Swan
SFAVC members miss meetings, point: I am writing in reference to the piece written by John Geluardi ["The Vet Offensive," Sucka Free City, 5/14] about the current mêlée within the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Commission (SFVAC).
There is a movement for change within this formerly inert commission. While I may be at the forefront of this change, I do not stand alone. As we all know, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is still the current law of the land. The issue of civil rights takes time. It also takes a few to stand up against the establishment to institute change. While most agree change is good, there will always be those who resist change.
If nothing else, I hope this piece incites questions. There are more than 50,000 veterans within San Francisco; here are a few questions to ponder. When was the last time the SFVAC held a hearing on the needs and concerns of San Francisco veterans? We are a country that has been at war for more than five years — how has this commission addressed the unique needs of our returning veterans? The SFVAC met only 11 times during 2007. As the only commissioner with a 100 percent attendance at meetings since my appointment, what is the attendance record of the other commissioners? I think you will be surprised to find five out of 15 missed five or more meetings, with the worst offender missing eight out of 11 meetings. What level of commitment to the S.F. veterans' community does this convey?
John Geluardi has opened Pandora's box; I invite him to continue to follow the paper trail. He can see for himself just what occurs at a commission meeting; they are on the first Monday of every month, in the Veterans Building, 401 Van Ness, Room 104, at 6 p.m. They are open to the public.
Commander, Bob Basker Post
#315 of the American Legion
Member, San Francisco
Veterans Affairs Commission
The Wheel Debate
Bike riders stink: Perhaps the reason barely more than 3 percent of commute trips are made by bicycle is that when push comes to shove, it's not a very practical means of commuting. Who wants to go to work smelling rank from sweating from the physical exertion that bicycling requires? In case you haven't noticed, San Francisco has hills, which make commuting (uphill anyway) a less than attractive proposition.
It's not eco-friendly to drive a monster pickup truck or SUV in the Bay Area, so assholes ride bikes instead. That way they can break traffic laws with impunity, bring the evening commute to a standstill once a month in Critical Mass, run down hikers on Mount Tamalpais on their mountain bikes, block the aisle on BART, and play the aggrieved victim when a driver changes lanes and doesn't see him while they are doing their part to stop global warming.
This nondriving, nonbicycle-riding public-transit-taker and walker has no common cause to make with bicyclists. They are part of the problem.
Cars kill: The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition has repeatedly refused to engage in a campaign to get the SFPD to enforce the California Vehicle Code against motorists who put cyclists' lives in danger, preferring to enshrine in the Bike Plan calls for the SFPD to enforce the law equally against motorists and cyclists ["Can't We All Just Roll Along?" Matt Smith, 5/7].
So we have the Bicycle Coalition urging prosecution of cyclists more often than not, declining to unite with pedestrians to solve our common problem first — the SFPD failing to enforce the California Vehicle Code on motorists who put people's lives and limbs at risk.
My read is that motorist violations of the code comprise the most crimes committed in S.F. each day, with cyclist violations probably next. But the difference here is that when motorists break the law, cyclists, pedestrians, and other motorists are put at risk. When cyclists break the law, the cyclist puts the cyclist at risk, and maybe a pedestrian on rare occasion.
Instead of equal enforcement, I'd prefer an equitable enforcement where a public health analysis is put in place such that cop priorities are based on preventing observed injuries and deaths or observed total violations that count, rather than enforcement based on suburban cop prejudice and advocates who prefer to play nicey-nice with staff to preserve their access, betraying their constituencies in the process.
I don't think anyone is made safer when cops enforce red-light runners at 3 a.m. on deserted streets because they're bored and too scared to confront violent crime, but that's what the SFBC is giving the SFPD license to do by putting the interests of cyclists last.