The Money (Car) Pool
Highway robbery: Nobody comes out ahead with casual carpooling ["All Tolled," Sucka Free City, 3/4]. It is toll and bus fare chiseling, pure and simple. It steals fare revenue from buses and trains, and toll revenue (which also goes to transit) from bridges. It allows single-occupant auto drivers to use humans as FastTrak devices to avoid paying tolls, and it moves transit commuters from high-occupancy vehicles (buses and BART trains, not cars) into low-occupancy vehicles (cars that ought to be paying tolls), exactly the opposite of what "green" transportation planning should be fostering.
The users of this "service" are the personifications of "me first." The drivers are selfish enough for driving alone. They make it worse by stealing from alternatives and not paying for their impact. But the riders aren't much better. If we ever expect to conquer global warming and combat climate change, it is exactly practices such as these that must end — not be promoted.
The tolls should be implemented as quickly as possible.
Let Them Eat Cake, But No Music
What price dignity?: I'd like to respond to John Brady's comment [Letters, 2/25], where he criticizes a man on government assistance for possessing a large TV, a cable subscription, and CD collection.
Let's pause for a moment. Entertainment is an important part of human existence. I ask Mr. Brady: How large a TV do you have? How much music do you own? Would you be offended if a friend questioned how you spent your money?
A friend of mine is on federal and state disability for neurological and mental health problems. Listening to music (as well as making his own) and watching science fiction are some of the things that help him to pass the time when he's not volunteering to help senior citizens or participating in his co-housing community.
I would conjecture that if Brady became disabled or out of work, he would want to have some form of entertainment to relieve the tedium of existence. Why does he want to deny this basic level of human dignity to others?
When the bank is more like a casino: We were swindled by IndyMac with the complicity of U.S. government officials ["Bonfire of the Profanities," Feature, 3/4]. Where were the Office of Thrift Supervision and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation when we were deliberately given wrong information about our deposit coverage?
People may think we were uninformed or plain stupid. Most of us asked the question and were misled by IndyMac. I have lost $52,000, not on a green table, but in a bank that I trusted — given the information provided by our government.
Stuttgart, Germany, U.S. Armed Forces