Letters to the Editor
Acknowledging Rudy the dog’s observations about the oftentimes less-than-stellar driving habits of our island’s residents, (“A Dog’s Eye View of the Island City,” Oct. 24) I am particularly surprised by a general lack of respect for stop signs.
Like Rudy’s human, I retired a few years ago. Scooter, Flint and I now walk several miles every morning over various routes around town. What quickly caught my attention on the walks is that by far the majority of drivers do not stop at stop signs.
Some drivers slow down to a near stop, some slow down just enough to claim to have made some effort, and some don’t bother to slow down. I watched a respectable looking grey-haired lady in a late-model car blow right through a stop sign, without slowing down, at an intersection next to a school last week. I see cars make right turns onto larger streets without slowing down. I could go on.
I speculate that people ignore stop signs as their token way of rebelling against the constraints we live under in civilized society. And I don’t expect that there is anything that I could do, or say, that would make anyone see the error of their ways. But, I do strongly recommend, when you are out walking, that you not step out in front of a vehicle at an intersection believing that it is going to stop.
Thank you for the rational article (“The Economics of Rent,” Oct. 24) that pointed out, quite reasonably, the costs of being a landlord. Unlike some commentaries that I feel tend toward emotions and blame “corporate profiteers,” this article goes into considerable detail on the fixed and variable costs of being in the rental business. The piece concludes with a request that “maybe someone else can suggest something.”
Accordingly, let me suggest that supply and demand have a direct bearing on pricing, including rent. If we had an abundance of housing as found in many parts of our country, our rents and property values would be very similar to theirs.
It seems to me that many of our governmental units believe that rent control and planning boards are the answer to obtaining more housing and reasonable rents. Unfortunately governmental action, as well as inaction, can remove or reduce the profit motive and fewer rental units are constructed resulting in insufficient supply to meet demand. A free market and capitalism can work wonders in correcting imbalances, particularly in the supply and demand realm. Our city leaders should give it a try.
Let me hasten to point out that profit is not a four-letter word. Also a corporation is simply a form of ownership and should not be used to connote evil.
David Howard’s letter (“Only the greedy profit,” Oct. 24) is correct in that repealing the charter ban on multi-family homes (1973 Measure A) will, by itself, not relieve Alameda’s housing crisis. The letter presents a credible argument for maintaining the ban as developers by themselves cannot subsidize all of the affordable homes needed to keep the housing crisis from growing worse.
Still, we should repeal the ban on multi-family homes. The resulting compact growth could support both construction jobs and more vibrant commercial districts along Park and Webster streets and at South Shore Shopping Center. Such growth will also support improvements in bus and other transport services throughout the city.
I beleive, eventually, businesses fleeing the high cost of homes in the Bay Area and growing homeless encampments will convince San Francisco Bay Area and California voters, philanthropists and businesses to allocate the billions of dollars needed annually to construct the affordable homes needed to end the housing crisis.