Chuck Hansen, Editor
The Swords of Armageddon
And They Don't Shed
The overview of the costs of buying a terrier or a firearm ("What's Best -- Pistol or Pit Bull?" Bay View, April 9), while it seems to cover the start-up pretty thoroughly, omits any mention of maintenance costs and chores, such as diet and exercise.
I've never kept a dog, but I have a .45 pistol. It never insists on walkies. I take it out to exercise for a couple of hours each month, paying $9 for use of the target range and expending two or three boxes of ammo, each box of 50 rounds costing $8-13 retail.
Buck Rogers to the Airport Rescue
Eventually, perhaps, personal, rocket-propelled flying suits will be perfected, but until that happens, we should invest our energies in public transportation. Why should anyone condemn the plan to extend BART to SFO? George Cothran and Chuck Finnie in their April 16 Grid column ("The Great Train Boondoggle") are just being sensationalistic, contrary, and cynical in attacking the long-awaited plan designed by state Sen. Quentin Kopp to finance the extension.
Everything is a boondoggle; everything is a scam with Cothran and Finnie. We all know that the airport line should have been constructed in the 1970s and that the people in San Mateo County nixed it. Perhaps the plan is expensive, but it is essential in order to relieve the arterial strangulation increasing on the highways after the 1989 earthquake's damage. If the plan is expensive now, it is still cheaper than it will be later on when the population will be so much greater, the air pollution much worse, and the need even more crucial. Let's get as many cars off the road as possible.
The new line is not for international business travelers. It will be linked to the airport's internal shuttle train now being planned. We should celebrate a plan that will put San Francisco in a class with other streamlined city-to-airport train systems like Tokyo's, London's, and Frankfurt's.
Welcome to Neighborhood Hell
Kudos to Chuck Finnie and his fascinating story about the Chans vs. Roberts-Kiefer ("Un-Welcome to Mr. Roberts' Neighborhood," April 9). I am in Roberts-Kiefer's situation, with my next-door neighbor planning several houses. May I offer Roberts-Kiefer some advice: Work with the Chans, not against them; abide by rules like the Chans have tried to do; become good neighbors, not neighborhood agitators; don't abuse taxpayers. We resent Roberts-Kiefer using City Hall to satisfy their greedy adult-spoiled-children syndrome.
It is disturbing that the Chronicle's managing editor, who articulates for San Francisco, refuses to communicate and reason with seemingly ideal neighbors like the Chans.
For Roberts-Kiefer, having a highly educated, multitalented family as next-door neighbors counts for nothing. Roberts-Kiefer, neighbors from hell. Your neighbors and your neighborhood are too good for you.
Thank you for publishing George Cothran and Chuck Finnie's article about BART to the airport ("The Great Train Boondoggle," The Grid, April 16). That project is a boondoggle and a fraud. To prove this, we need go no further than BART's own final environmental impact report.
There is no reduction in traffic on the freeways. BART makes this claim, but its environmental impact report predicts 164,000 trips to the airport in 1998, and by 2010, the EIR predicts 203,000 trips. This is hardly a reduction. In fact, it is a 24 percent increase.
There is no improvement in travel time to SFO. Another BART claim is that people going to the airport will get there faster. The EIR shows there is no improvement in travel time from Oakland or downtown San Francisco.
Passenger cost on the extension is exorbitant. The cost effectiveness (as defined by the Federal Transit Administration) is $26.12 per new rider, according to the EIR.
This project is a fraud and should be abandoned. Thank you again for a great article.
Charlie Betcher, Chair
Rescue AC Transit
Mr. Businessman Won't Take That Line
In your recent article "The Great Train Boondoggle" (The Grid) you are right that a station outside of the airport, linking BART, Caltrain, and Samtrans, would improve service to the Peninsula.
But why do you accept the argument that a station in the airport is best for business travelers? BART is often crowded, and has frequent minor, and occasional major, breakdowns. It is a local commuter train with no express stops. A system that requires 10 to 12 stops to go from the airport to downtown might be "state of the art" for the 1940s, but not today or in the 21st century. It is unlikely that a business traveler, jetting in from across the country or overseas, would want to make use of such an inconvenient system. To ask a family on vacation, with children and luggage, to use BART is unfair to them and to BART commuters.
A regional transit system would lead to healthy competition between BART and Caltrain to provide improved -- possibly express -- service from the airport to downtown San Francisco.
Credit, Where Due
The fabrics used in the cover illustration of last week's issue were designed by Melinamade Fabrics, 573 Mission, San Francisco.