Letters to the Editor

Help Needed for Laguna Honda

Dear Editor,

A San Francisco cyclist swerved into a roadside pole to avoid being hit by a car. He suffered severe head and arm injuries. After acute hospitalization, he needed extensive rehabilitation. He had no health insurance. Fortunately, he received six weeks of medical care along with physical, occupational, and speech therapy at Laguna Honda Hospital, free of charge. He was discharged home to cycle again.

Laguna Honda Hospital has cared for San Francisco's elderly, disabled, and injured for over a century. However, its survival is currently at stake. The buildings are over 70 years old, are seismically unsafe, and don't meet federal regulations. If the hospital isn't rebuilt, it will lose federal revenue and likely close or be severely downsized; people would then go without needed care or be sent out of the city, away from their families and friends. In the November election, vote yes on Proposition A to save Laguna Honda.

Mitch Katz, MD
SF Director of Health,
CYCLIST & SFBC member

Accuracy in Puff Reporting?

Dear Editor,

Regarding Critical Mass' double-edged saber: Dave Snyder’s editorial (Aug./Sept. '99) articulated quite fairly the difficult nature of this monthly beauty/beast. However, the front page "puff" piece about CM's history seemed incongruous with the objectivity Snyder's statements suggest.

Critical Mass is bike-newsworthy and should be covered in the Tube Times, but please: Objective reporting! Who is the "us" who are supposedly "taken seriously" because of CM? Bicycle advocates are taken seriously because of the lobbying efforts that have scored bike lanes and services, and the ridership that validates and maintains them, NOT the monthly CM celebration. The ride's atmosphere has polarized the public, the media, and potential contributors who erroneously view CM and SFBC as one and the same. If SFBC is to take the stance suggested by Snyder's editorial, membership needs to examine the "rough" edge of the sword and how to handle it.

Jim Brunberg
San Francisco

Car-Free Amsterdam

Dear Editor,

I enjoyed the story about Amsterdam (Aug./Sept. '99). It’s all true except we do complain about the weather, although it doesn't stop us from riding.

On September 19th we held a ‘Carless Sunday,’ which in Amsterdam (as opposed to other participating cities) will mean only some areas of the city will be car-free because a number of businesses intimidated the council. It was going to be the entire city but then big business threatened to take the city to court for loss of earnings, which is nonsense. At other times, parts of the city get closed off, for parades and events, and the city does not get taken to court.

The original Car-less Sundays came about during an oil crisis in the seventies and a government ban on driving on Sundays. I was a kid then and remember playing on the motorway. It was brilliant.

Dafna
Amsterdam, Holland