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No fee for the Arboretum, JROTC as recruiting tool, and who needs the mayor?
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NO FEE FOR THE ARBORETUM

It is imperative that the proposed $5 entrance fee for the San Francisco Botanical Garden at Strybing Arboretum not be implemented.

The garden is a public resource, so unfettered access is imperative. There are three entrances to the gardens, so the salaries (and associated costs) for three ticket-takers will need to be deducted from revenue. Many visitors to San Francisco, having already shelled out the extortionate entrance fees for other attractions in the area, will not choose to pay. The wonderful library, with its art exhibits, will also be off-limits unless one pays.

The gardens also are a place where many participants in and visitors to the shows at the under-utilized County Fair Building go to take a break. Many joggers love to breeze through. Personally, I sometimes enjoy spending 10 minutes walking from one main entrance to another. Charging entrance fees will be a tragedy for the entire Bay Area. Other alternatives need to be pursued.

To protest this move, contact Rec and Park Manager Jared Blumenfeld (415-831-2701; jared.blumenfeld@sfgov.org) and San Francisco Botanical Garden through Strybing Arboretum executive director Michael McKechnie (415-661-1616, ext. 415).

Harry S. Pariser

San Francisco

JROTC IS A RECRUITING TOOL

Petra Meyer claims in her letter to the editor ("The JROTC choice," 2/18/2009) that JROTC is not a military recruitment program. Here is a short list of some folks who disagree:

Former Defense Secretary William Cohen, under former President Bill Clinton, who famously said "JROTC is one of the best recruiting devices we could have." Former Army Chief of Staff General Eric Shinseki, currently the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, who testified that 30 percent of JROTC cadets end up in the military. And how about cadet Jason, who wrote on the pro-JROTC Facebook page that "Without JROTC, I would not be where I am today — a staff sergeant in the United States Army." Still in denial, Petra? Then read U.S. Army Recruiting Command Policy Memorandum 50, which unambiguously states that JROTC personnel are to "facilitate recruiter access to cadets in JROTC and ... sell the Army story." We should keep the military away from our 14- and 15-year-old youth.

Nortonsf

From sfbg.com

WHO NEEDS THE MAYOR?

I have a budget balancing proposal involving a reduction in city spending. Gavin Newsom has clearly demonstrated that San Francisco can get along without an acting mayor, so let's eliminate the Mayor's Office. Not only would we save big bucks on the mayor's salary, we would also eliminate all those six-figure, mayoral do-nothing appointments.

Rememberthepast

From sfbg.com

FOR THE RECORD

The Picks section of the Feb. 25 issue incorrectly listed the date of the Everlasting BASS One-Year Anniversary Party. It takes place Sat., March 7.

In our Feb. 25 story "She's a Magic Woman," we misidentified the gallery that debuted Desirée Holman's The Magic Window. The installation was conceived for and first shown at Silverman Gallery, the SF space that represents Holman.

A photo in the Feb. 25 issue was misidentified. It showed people lining up for free meals at St. Anthony Foundation Dining Room.

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