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Cops don’t want to stop sideshows, leave the Trump techies alone: readers respond

The image shows a collage with a woman outdoors, a caricature of a smiling man, an abstract road design, and a person at a brightly lit desk holding a tablet.
AI illustration by Jesse Rogala/The Standard

The San Francisco Standard’s reporters and editors get a lot of reader emails and responses to our stories. Not all of them merit deep consideration, but some of them enlighten us, illuminate new issues, or just make us laugh. Here’s a collection of responses from the past week that sparked joy and puzzlement, edited for length and clarity.

It’s not that hard to stop sideshows

Regarding The Standard’s story about last weekend’s sideshows: It’s not difficult to contain these sideshows, as the San Francisco Police Department claims, if they disperse when the police show up. 

The police have no problem containing a nonviolent protest. It’s also unclear how a sideshow can be “discovered” by police after 45 minutes in such a prominent part of the city. What kind of response would there be to an act of terrorism? Where did the billions of dollars of investment in building a paramilitary, post-9/11 security state all go?

It’s clear that ignoring sideshows is a political act by police departments across the country to create an atmosphere of lawlessness even as crime rates decline. Police know these sideshows will be covered by local media and spread on social media and that high propensity voters—older, wealthier, whiter—will turn their fear into votes for reactionary, “law and order” candidates. 

Once again, we should stop taking the police at their word. 

—Jordan Bowen

Dunking on tech bros for hosting Trump is lame

It’s easy to appreciate Paul Bradley Carr’s quick turn of phrase and clear writing abilities in his opinion critiquing Silicon Valley powerbrokers hosting a fundraiser for former President Donald Trump. However, he is an example of the “silos of certitude” that many progressives seem to be suffering from. There is a lot to criticize Trump about, but trying to personally vilify those who are curious or supportive isn’t effective.  

Why would two, pretty easily identifiable smart men, be interested in hosting Trump when they know that they will be vilified for it? I presume Carr would say it’s because they are rich and don’t care, but I think that’s too easy and too quick. Or maybe he would talk about why the rich shouldn’t have an opinion unless it is his.

I’ve never voted for Trump and I’m not likely to change that streak in the next election but I am concerned about two things. Joe Biden is clearly too old for the job. You cannot watch him and think he’s the person you want on the phone at 3 a.m. when it really matters. Second, I’m tired of the effective single-party rule of San Francisco and California. Politicians here get elected by working the insular progressive political system.

Maybe two successful men and like-minded people decided to hear an alternative. It is their right, and trying to shame them for it is more of a reflection of Carr’s limited curiosity and seeming animus for those who don’t agree with him.

—Mark Zanoli

Let’s try New Zealand’s approach to housing

Regarding your story about angry homeowners arguing against increasingly dense neighborhoods proposed in San Francisco, if you want a counterpoint, please read this story about the affordability crisis internationally and the negative effects of low density, blocking new development in established neighborhoods and rent control, all of which define San Francisco politics and policies. 

Note the exception: Auckland, New Zealand, which is four-and-a-half times the size of San Francisco with a population of 1.5 million. Their 2012 program called for densification similar to that proposed for San Francisco and led to 44,000 new housing units, a 6% increase, without radically changing the fabric of neighborhoods, rent control or affordability mandates and kept rents 30% lower than they otherwise might have been. 

—Greg Cory

Keep SF’s historic call boxes

I agree with the preservation group in your story that says San Francisco’s call boxes are a “part of the character of the streets.” I also think they should be maintained and in working order. As for false alarms, here’s an idea: Punish people for pranks. Use surveillance cameras to track down offenders, arrest them, charge them and put them on trial for nice, big, fat misdemeanors that go on their records. (When are we going to go back to enforcing laws? When? If not, I’m all in favor of repealing laws that are not enforced. At least then we’d be consistent and honest.)

The call boxes are useful and they keep us connected to history, tradition and a comforting, old big-city feel. The cost to maintain them is paltry considering the unbelievable amounts of money the city wastes on useless or crooked projects. 

—Mark Behrens

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