Issue:  Vol. 46 / No. 6 / 11 February 2016

Letters to the Editor

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More protection needed in Castro

I have a concern about the area of 18th and Castro streets. Surely, especially when the bars close down, some of our intoxicated friends can become victims of the more criminal elements of the homeless in the area. I was helping a tipsy friend of mine walk a few blocks and we were followed by a guy that I have seen several times in the area. I took another route to get where we were going, but ended up running into that guy again. I saw him make a phone call, and later some guy showed up to assist me in picking up my friend, who had fallen. I believe that it is possible that when that guy helped, he also could have pick-pocketed my friend, who could not find his wallet later on. In a sense I got the guy following us to go away by telling him that I was going to start yelling and that all of the neighbors were going to come out.

I feel that there should be more protection especially at those hours. Also we should run an experiment by having a few guys act as if they are intoxicated at that time, to see who approaches them and what they will try to do to them.


Jim Green

Concord, California


To those retiring soon: Beware

I am living on a long-term private disability insurance policy. It expires on my 65th birthday, paying nothing after that date. This is not uncommon among those living with HIV aged 50 and over. In fact, according to a survey I worked on in 2013, about 6 percent of those who participated had private disability insurance. (The letter writer is the principal author of "HIV and Aging: A Survey in Three San Francisco Area Counties – San Francisco City and County, San Mateo County, Marin County," San Francisco State University 2013. To download a copy, visit Scroll down to "Needs Assessments," "HIV & Aging (2013), 1. Presentation 2. Research Paper.)

However, if one requests their statement from the Social Security Administration, a figure of X dollars a month is displayed in large type as the benefit for Social Security retirement at "full retirement age." Despite this, one has to dig through the fine print on the SSA statement to find that the "full retirement age" in my case is actually 66, not 65. Using a retirement benefit calculator on the SSA's website, I found that when my private disability policy expires on my 65th birthday my actual retirement benefit from SSA retirement at age 65 is actually "early retirement," according to the SSA retirement policies and is about 7 percent lower than the amount in large print (age 66) of "full retirement" on the SSA statement.

Folks anticipating retirement may wish to take this under consideration as they plan for their retirement, as a 7 percent lower than anticipated retirement income from SSA can be a costly consequence in an expensive cost of living area such as the San Francisco Bay Area.


Loren Meissner, MA

San Francisco


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