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"Worst-Run City"Hits a Nerve
An elephantine problem: Just when I think San Francisco's fourth estate has gone into hibernation, SF Weekly wakes me up with "The Worst-Run Big City in the U.S." [Benjamin Wachs and Joe Eskenazi, Feature, 12/16]. What a great piece of journalism. Wachs and Eskenazi did a terrific job connecting several complex city issues and making them understandable.

This story reminds me of the fable of the three blind men and the elephant, with the exception that Wachs and Eskenazi aren't blind. They actually understand that they are dealing with an incompetent elephant. Most S.F. journalists only see city government in small pieces. There are only a few big-picture stories about S.F. government that ever really capture or demonstrate the depth of the city's mismanagement.

I am going to make this story a must-read with my neighborhood groups and constituents, and will probably distribute copies at my next meeting.

After enduring years of city and press negligence, it's nice to know that there are journalists who not only get what is happening in San Francisco but actually print what is happening.

George Wooding

San Francisco

President, West of Twin Peaks Central Council

The gay exodus: A couple of thoughts: First, the article mentions that the average income of an S.F. resident is $74,515. So, fine, let's get a measure on the 2010 ballot that caps all city salaries, except fire and police, at $74,515. Any employees earning more than that would be subject to such draconian performance audits that most of them would probably choose to take the pay cut.

Second, the middle class is fleeing the city, but there's one group of non-indigent, non-rich people that continues to flock here with a determination to stay. I'm referring, of course, to the LGBT population. I'm not aware of any mass exodus of gay people from S.F., but if that ever happens — if S.F. becomes so dysfunctional that it can't even hold onto us gay folks — then it's truly screwed. And who knows? No one else seems to care about the city, so maybe we're the ones who will ultimately fix it. Stranger things have happened!

Peter Hartikka

San Francisco

Just buy a house: I became a property owner in S.F. a few years ago and now I pay property taxes and have a vested interest in the city. My eyes have been opened to how appallingly this city is run. Taking 30 minutes to drive a few miles along roads in desperate need of repaving while dodging homeless panhandlers at every junction is indicative of the wider problems in this city, and not what I expect in such a wealthy place (and don't even get me started on the perpetual snafu that is Muni).

With an ineffectual mayor, an utterly clueless board of supervisors, and crazy ballot propositions, I really cannot fathom who exactly votes for this status quo. Perhaps it's related to the high proportion of renters in the city. If they had to pay a mortgage and pay property taxes, perhaps they'd realize it's time to vote for people and measures that actually spend their tax dollars wisely.


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Pack the U-Haul: This has been going on for years. Nothing was or is going to change, which is why we moved our business to Southern California. It's the best move we've ever made. When we offered moving allowances for our executives to relocate, all took the concession and love living in Santa Monica and Malibu.

We won't come back until we see radical organizational improvement, but more importantly, some semblance of what seems to be the elusive collective intelligence of this city's supervisors. It hasn't happened yet and I don't expect it to. Otherwise we would have kept our 800 employees static, with no reason to see this once-wonderful city get smaller and smaller in our rearview mirrors.

Good luck, San Francisco, but without us.


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