Temporarily free transit
could bring back riders
We’ve all read the articles explaining how public transit has collapsed due to lack of interest and a work-from-home reality (“Empty trains. Deserted stations. Will riders ever return?” Page A1, Feb. 20).
Here’s what I propose: Let’s make all public transit – VTA, CalTrain, BART, buses, etc. – free for two years. I bet ridership will go back to pre-COVID levels. It might even exceed those levels. What would it cost us? My guess is it’s worth the investment.
David E. Cohen
Getting creative could
help the homeless
Regarding the front-page story “Office building to be homeless housing site” (Feb. 22), I think this is a good idea. Of course, there are challenges with every idea, but we should keep experimenting and adjusting quickly.
Another idea is to convert multistory parking garages into RV parking facilities for those who are living in RVs on the streets. The parking area can be updated with portable toilets, showers, laundry and other services that help the RV population stay in their homes. You can add common area maintenance, have people come to the site for health care services, a mobile library, etc.
There should be an organization taking feedback from the public.
Decarbonization key to
blunting Putin’s economy
The leading Russian export is oil and gas, sales of which flow into the pockets of oligarchs and fund their military. Containing Russian aggression means limiting the profit they earn by extracting and selling these commodities. There are calls for sanctions, and the United States and European Union could simply refuse to do business with them, but oil is fungible, so the outcome will be like a dance where everybody swaps partners, with limited financial impact on the Russian economy.
If we choose decarbonization instead, Russia will be stuck watching the party. The tools to do this exist today: Solar, wind and storage can substantially decarbonize electric generation in a cost-effective way. Heat pumps allow home heating to be electrified economically. And new industrial processes eliminate the need for fossil fuels in sectors such as steelmaking.
Our elected officials need to act now. Freedom from fossil fuels is civil defense.
testing must stop
I was sickened to read about the inhumane treatment of monkeys used as research animals in Elon Musk’s Neuralink company (“Group: Animals abused in Musk’s Neuralink labs,” Page A1, Feb. 21).
The PCRM (Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine) discovered that Neruralink and other companies were guilty of “chronic mismanagement of basic animal-welfare standards.” No animal should be subjected to extreme physical or psychological pain and distress, especially when alternative research methods are available.
All animals deserve a life free from pain and exploitation. All life is precious. Neuralinks should use other noninvasive research techniques.
sports’ best qualities
Not all athletes who competed in the Beijing Winter Olympics medaled, but the beauty of the games is participation. In IOC president Thomas Bach’s words, the mission of the Games was to “unite humankind in all our diversity.”
The athletes demonstrated many qualities and achievements I’ve long admired – their athletic abilities at the highest level and their resolved unwillingness to let anything stand in the way of pursuing their dreams, win or lose.
Gaps in column’s
look at economy
In “Mr. Biden, tout your strong economy, it won’t sell itself” (Page A6, Feb.22), Paul Krugman writes that Biden must acknowledge inflation, after which he repeats Biden’s politic that inflation is temporary.It wasn’t long ago that Krugman advocated more borrowing because interest rates were so low. He doesn’t acknowledge the cost now that rates are rising. He doesn’t apologize for his article “Biden’s Build Back Better will create a better future” (Page A7, Dec. 15), touting the BBB spending plan that Biden said would moderate inflation. Biden has done as well as possible in the COVID struggle. Otherwise, his economic success, especially Krugman’s point of the rise in real wages, was a holdover from Trump policy, the effect of which is rapidly disappearing.
To be fair, it’s possible that infrastructure spending will prove successful, but that’s a problematic verdict after the Obama “shovel ready programs” that failed to materialize.