Public safety should focus on paramedics

Between June and November 2012, the Pinole Fire Department answered 1,126 calls -- 187.6 per month, or 6.15 per 24-hour shift.

There were 690 medical (61.3 percent) and 44 fire calls (3.9 percent); seven were structure fires. Of these, 271 calls were in Pinole Valley (1.48 per day); 196 (72.3 percent) were medical.

We need more paramedics, not firefighters. We certainly need more police officers.

Charles Hanley, chief of the Rodeo-Hercules Fire District and the Pinole Fire Department, didn't notify the Pinole City Council or the city manager that he had applied for a SAFER grant that stipulates Station 74 in Pinole Valley be reopened. What gall to not tell his employers about the grant until it had been received, and virtually obligate the council to reopen the station.

People recognize their public-safety needs have changed. That's why Central and East Contra Costa voters rejected parcel-tax increases for additional fire services in the June and November 2012 elections.

This nonsense that cities that don't capitulate to firefighters' rapacious demands don't care about public safety has to end.

Jeff Rubin

Pinole

Super Bowl national anthem disrespectful

I am responding to Jim Harrington's Feb. 4 review of the entertainment portion of the Super Bowl. I totally disagree with him about Alicia Keys' rendition of our national anthem.

It was, indeed, "memorable" as this is the first time I have seen anyone who was able to stand, sing the national anthem from a seated position. It showed no reverence or respect for this extremely important song of patriotism.

It seems Keys wanted everyone to know that she could do runs, trills and hit the high notes. It wasn't about our national anthem but about her. I was stunned watching the live feed showing our troops standing so reverently as Keys went about proving to the world that she can sing.

I think there should be a movement called STAAWP -- "Sing The Anthem As Written, Please."

Muriel Kahsen

Walnut Creek

Use Pentagon funds to aid troops in new lives

We need jobs for our young men and women that do not involve guns.

We are training our young men and women in the military to shoot and kill. They come home after their deployments and find themselves lost and without the skills and mentality they need to live in a peaceful society. Too many of our returning military are committing suicide every day.

Let's divert some of those Pentagon dollars to education: reading, writing, calculating, job training and respectful conduct.

Let's spend those dollars on directly creating jobs in manufacturing (build a plant), housing (erect livable spaces), and service (public safety, public works).

Killing strangers who are trying futilely to defend their lands and homes from yet another foreign invader is not the answer.

Restore this land. Make U.S. cities plagued by crime safe and let the Afghans have their freedom.

Hercules D. Morphopoulos

Kensington

Keep southern borders secure from terrorists

There is very little support for the illegal immigration plan proposed by the "gang of eight" in the U.S. Senate.

However, that being said, the question does bear discussion. Illegal immigration is a serious and persistent problem. It is a definite indication that our southern border with Mexico is as porous as a lace curtain. If illegals can cross with impunity, what does that say about terrorists' ability to enter our country whenever they choose?

Despite President Barack Obama's assurances to the contrary, al-Qaida is alive, growing in strength, and remains a clear and present danger to the security of our nation. In order to combat this, we must insist that our borders are completely secure.

Genuine immigrants, who mean us no harm, have legal methods available to enter our nation. So, why doesn't our government enforce our existing laws and protect our borders? Could politicians have ulterior motives for maintaining the current situation; e.g., cheap labor for their personal business interests?

Ernest Hampson

Pittsburg