Pinole City Council fails on fire safety

The Pinole City Council has once again failed to make a decision to help our fire department.

The city received a SAFER Grant and is required to hire firefighters by April, but the council has chosen to subcommittee the issue and "discuss" the matter instead of contracting services and hiring employees to fulfill the grant.

Hiring new employees takes months, according to the fire chief, and Pinole hasn't even posted a job announcement. The council has wasted weeks and wants to defer making a decision for several more weeks. Council members will ultimately end up forfeiting the $1.2 million grant.

The city is financially incapable of providing adequate fire protection services to the community on its own. Instead of contracting with Rodeo-Hercules for consolidated fire services, and ignoring years of recommendations from LAFCO, Citygate Associates and every current and former fire chief to consolidate fire services regionally, the council still wants to try to do it on its own.

We saw how well that worked out when it closed Station 74 in Pinole Valley.

Bob Graham

Pinole

Real dialogue needed on gun violence

I read this paper daily and there is sufficient evidence that we have a problem in this country with gun violence.

Addressing the problem of gun violence is a complex, multifaceted endeavor. I am bored to tears by the one-prong answer about defending Second Amendment rights. If we can't move to a more meaningful discussion of our culture, its relationship to gun violence and the availability of guns, we are in deep trouble.

The ridiculous statement that one armed good guy is the solution to many armed bad guys reeks of an old John Wayne western.

Consider the potential for the armed school principal missing his mark, shooting an innocent person, killing the janitor who has tackled the shooter. Shall I go on? The solution is not adding classes in marksmanship to the education of teachers.

Let's stop relying on simplistic catchphrases to explain any of the multifaceted issues involved in this complex countrywide problem, and focus on the beginnings of a meaningful dialogue.

Linda Schaefer

Richmond

Distressing news for Californians

What a printload of distressing news for us Californians in a recent Sunday Times.

There was a front-page exposé on the tenure system protecting teachers who shouldn't be protected. Did we all know only 10 of 300,000 California teachers are terminated each year? I doubt the other 299,990 are sufficiently competent to warrant such ferocious protection.

Then there was another well-researched column by Daniel Borenstein advising us that any efforts to rein in pension spiking for public employees are futile due to inaction or indifference from top California elected officials to county supervisors.

The inference of both pieces is union obstruction to realistic solutions. I know it's simplistic to suggest voting against Democrats, who appear to be in substantial debt to unions, but it could be a start.

Jim Kain

Concord