Concord employees have earned respect

In its Jan. 13 editorial, "Fact-finders report in Concord labor dispute devoid of reality," the Contra Costa Times does a disservice to the hardworking men and women who have sacrificed so much to help Concord recover during these tough economic times.

In 2010, Concord workers agreed to deep cuts in wages and benefits to help improve the city's financial health. The city asked for help -- and the workers stepped up, even agreeing to furloughs and a pay freeze.

Concord now has the financial health to return wages to their original levels and end furloughs. An independent arbitrator agreed, issuing an opinion that recommended an end to furloughs and a restoration of pay for the city's workers.

These workers placed their faith in the city of Concord, believing their sacrifice was only temporary. Despite enduring these cuts and furloughs, they continued to provide excellent public service that improves the quality of life for our community.

Concord's city workers and their families have done their part -- now it's time for the city to do the same.

Peter Finn

San Bruno Finn is vice president of Teamsters Local 856.

Sowell is incapable of any civil discourse

Thomas Sowell's career (professor, columnist, think-tank writer) seems to fit the definition of an intellectual -- "a person whose profession solely involves the production and dissemination of ideas."

He then disparages himself and other intellectuals when he writes, "The more I study intellectuals, the more they seem like a wrecking crew." He has become his own wrecking crew.

He has become harsh and strident and demonizes anyone whose positions might not mirror his. Anyone wishing to speak to the issue of an assault weapons ban is a "gun control zealot."

He likens President Barack Obama to religious cult leader Jim Jones and the nearly 63 million who voted for Obama to cult members following a "glib and warped man" who "was raised from childhood to resent the successful and despise the basic values of America."

It appears that Sowell is no longer capable of civil discussion on important issues. I recommend that he quietly retire before he totally ruins his former reputation as a thoughtful conservative intellectual and columnist.

A. John Ahlquist

Walnut Creek

Gun violence should be blamed on leadership

I remember in days of old, a voice would carry a lot of weight.

My parents ruled the roost. They'd say "silence," and you can bet there was no talking back, same with teachers.

Whatever happened to that voice of authority? Kids nowadays don't pay attention and adults have to pay heed or else stare down the barrel of a gun. Is it a wonder teachers are afraid?

Kids, and those like-minded, already have the upper hand. And now the government wants to make matters worse by its so-called legal gun control, disarming the law-abiding citizens.

It's lack of leadership and disregard for law and order that started this mess and it points to the higher-ups.

President Barack Obama, and right on down the line, should show some respect for the people of this great nation. Clean up their act before tearing down what our forefathers worked (and worded) so hard to build and say about the right to bear arms.

Anna Koepke

El Sobrante

Democrats have held power for past years

Recently, in one of his many letters, Ronald Entwistle had some rather hateful and insensitive words for Republicans.

The problem is that the people he complained of do not belong to the party in power. The Democrats are in power. They control the presidency and the Senate, and have for many years. In fact, in 2006 the Democrats controlled the Senate and the House of Representatives and in 2008 controlled the House, the Senate and the presidency.

Republicans gained control of the House in 2010. Other than that, it has been all Democrats, all the time. Therefore, to the sane observer, the awful state of our nation really lies at the doorstep of the Democratic Party, particularly the Obama administration.

Apparently, Republicans pose a threat to the "gimme gimme" programs over which Entwistle salivates. If someone needs a nanny-like government, then the Democratic Party is the answer.

If you say "gimme gimme," the Democratic Party is there for your vote. Conservative Republicans, on the other hand, are trying to wake you from your nap.

Jay Todesco

Concord