Abel Maldonado; Corporate Agenda Movies; Black-on-Black Crimes; Jerry Brown’s Tenant Record; Progressive Mayors; City Tax Measures …

by on July 14, 2010

To the Editor:

While the facts of your article are largely correct, I could not disagree more with your analysis. Abel Maldonado was no more responsible for holding us the state budget than any other of the Republicans in the Legislature. His was simply the deciding vote to break that budget impasse, and it was his courageous decision to vote with the Dems’ budget that led to his excoriation by Republican peers. His support for open primaries and no salary raises for legislators won as ballot issues because the voters want reform. We are tired of the ideologically pure of both parties winning their respective primaries and then sending the legislature into gridlock. I will be voting for Maldonado AND Prop 25, so that we can get the legislature moving again. Let the party in power rule, make decisions, and take the consequences for their decisions.

Dana B.
San Francisco


To the Editor:

If you’re looking for films that meld progressive politics with entertainment, you generally need to look outside Hollywood. The French film “District B13: Ultimatum” concerns the Harriburton Corporation’s conspiring with government agents to evict minority residents from the titular district so they can redevelop the area. The Hong Kong film “Future X-Cops” (which closes out the currently ongoing Another Hole In The Head Film Festival) deals with a time-traveling cop attempting to stop oil cartel assassins from killing the man whose inventions bring about a solar energy future. And last but not least, the Swedish film “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo”‘s villains were generally powerful corporate executives or abusive authority figures.

The closest American TV series that deals with bad corporate behavior is the TNT series “Leverage.” The stories are usually sparked by unfortunately real life examples of corporate wrongdoing, such as that committed by a company bearing a striking resemblance to Blackwater. On the other hand, the creators of the series definitely don’t belong to the “corporations are inherently evil” camp, but there you go.

Peter Wong
San Francisco


To the Editor:

Harrison Chastang said it all. African Americans are angry over the senseless killings of friends, relatives and neighbors for seemingly trivial reason. The reason it may appear that there are no marches or organized protest against Black on Black murders is that many African Americans are concerned about retaliation from elements in the criminal community for cooperating with law enforcement.

While police and prosecutors promise protection for witnesses in murder cases, cash strapped police and prosecutors cannot afford to provide long term protection to witnesses in murder cases, and witnesses in San Francisco and other counties have been killed while under police protection. Many African American accused of killing other African Americans are released because prosecutors cannot find witnesses or victims willing to testify.

Elise Williams
San Francisco


To the Editor:

As Attorney General, Jerry Brown is investigating post-foreclosure evictions. This, from a man who forced out hundreds of low income Oakland tenants for his so‑called 10,000 plan for downtown when he was Mayor. The man has no shame at all. And that these same tenant advocates forget all this just shows the desperation that flows through “progressive” politics.

John F. Davies
Berkeley, CA


To the Editor:

Art Agnos a progressive Mayor? I beg to differ. When Agnos announced his candidacy against the odds-on establishment candidate John Molinari, my union at the time, SEIU Local 250 was the first union to support Agnos. Agnos ran a great campaign, coming so close to winning it in the first round that the run-off was pretty much a foregone conclusion.

Once elected, Agnos proved himself a consistent enemy of health care workers and a dependable ally of the hospital bosses.Local 250 was successful in getting the Board of Supervisors to enact a prevailing wage ordinance for health care workers that would have required the notoriously low-paying private hospitals in San Francisco to raise their wages to those prevailing in the Kaiser hospitals and SFGH.

Under pressure from the hospital bosses, Agnos vetoed the proposed ordinance, betraying the first union to support his candidacy. After various other betrayals by Agnos, Local 250 supported Angela Alioto’s progressive challenge to his reelection. The rest, as they say, is history. But Art Agnos was no progressive; he was just another machine politician, afraid to really buck corporate power.

Charlie Ridgell
Oakland, CA


To the Editor:

It’s distressing to see you characterize the commercial rent tax as only affecting large businesses, as indeed, it will hit all small businesses located in buildings with rent rolls of more than $65,000/year. Operational costs of office buildings are spread across ALL tenants, regardless of their size, and the many thousands of small businesses in San Francisco that don’t currently pay a payroll tax, because they are too small, would pay Supervisor David Chiu’s proposed commercial rent tax. That’s the way commercial leases work.

Ken Cleaveland
Pol. Director, BOMA
San Francisco


To the Editor:

What you fail to explain is that while the hotel and parking taxes have not been raised in years, the yield from both taxes has gone up. Why? Because while the tax rate (a percentage) has stayed the same, the amount charged by garage and hotel owners for parking a car or renting a hotel room has risen. Absolute tax revenues (the number of dollars) from these taxes has therefore risen.

Here’s a concrete example: I used to pay $300/month to a commercial garage for monthly parking. 25% of that or $75 went to the city’s coffers every month. Now I pay $350 for the same space and 25% or $87.50 now goes to the city every month. What has gone up is city expenditures and the number of city employees over the last decade, far outstripping modest gains in overall city residents. It’s time to cut spending, not raise taxes in San Francisco.

Dana B.
San Francisco


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