The firefighters' lawsuit is news

In the April 19 report by Pinole City Manager Belinda Espinosa, it was disclosed that the Pinole firefighters, through their union, United Professional Firefighters of Contra Costa County Local 1230, was suing the city based on the following allegations:

  • Due to the brownout of station 74 in 2012, the firefighters believe they were denied overtime.

  • The firefighters believe they should not have to pay the employee contribution rate for their retirement benefit in addition to sharing the employee contribution rate for their enhanced retirement benefit.

    This disclosure came as a result of a citizen's inquiry at a City Council meeting about why the council was in closed session regarding litigation from Local 1230. While the Brown Act does not allow closed-session conversations to be disclosed, the nature of charges in the lawsuits should be public knowledge.

    I am wondering why I have not read anything about the firefighters' lawsuits against Pinole in the Times. I certainly think this is newsworthy and should be investigated and reported.

    Mary McMains

    Pinole

    Accomplished much in five years


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    In his May 17 letter, Hal Bray referred to President Barack Obama's presidency as "the most secretive, unethical, incompetent presidency in my lifetime." Bray's "lifetime"? I can only conclude Bray is 5 years old.

    In the last five years, the Obama administration brought Osama bin Laden to justice, averted an economic collapse, saved more than 1 million jobs in the auto and related industries, brought about a beginning to universal health care, and more.

    Meanwhile, congressional Republicans repeatedly prioritized their partisan agenda (ensure Obama is a one-term president) over the good of the American people.

    Their defeat of background checks for firearm purchases, supported by a vast majority of American citizens, was shameful. Their motivation on that front emanates from the NRA and various gun lobbies and a twisted interpretation of the Second Amendment.

    While an active interest in current events should be encouraged in a child, so, too, should the value of research beyond that of the anecdotal and the children's programs on Fox "News." Perhaps teachers in Master Bray's future will see to this.

    Mel Boss

    Danville

    Demand a full investigation

    An independent investigation has confirmed that Richmond's Human Resources Director/Assistant City Manager Leslie Knight took a car allowance she wasn't entitled to and coerced city employees to work on city time for her private business.

    Despite this theft from the city, Knight was not placed on paid administrative leave, thereby corrupting the independent, city-funded investigation and enabling retaliation against whistle-blower Stacie Plummer. The city refused to release the investigative report to the public, press or the City Council.

    Now we are informed Knight has decided to retire in July and City Manager Bill Lindsay is singing her praises. The incident is being whitewashed and ignored.

    As a 26-year Richmond resident, I support Plummer's demand for a full, independent investigation of the misconduct and subsequent retaliation. A full and transparent investigation is the only way to prevent such misconduct from occurring in the future.

    Nina Ginsberg Smith

    Richmond

    Fund worldwide nutrition for kids

    I am writing to urge others to support funding nutrition programs for all children and women of the world.

    There are 34 countries sharing their concerns at the first global Nutrition for Growth pledging event June 8 in London. The United Kingdom and Brazil will host this event and the United States should lead the way by pledging $1.35 billion over three years. Now we give less than 1 percent of our foreign aid funds to nutrition programs.

    Cost-effective nutrition programs in the first 1,000 days -- from pregnancy to age 2 -- offer the best return on our investments.

    Tell your families to consider fasting on May 28, World Hunger Day, and to reach out to local food banks with a monetary donation that shows you do care locally and globally about the 2.5 million kids, every year, who have no chance of surviving.

    Marsha M. Joy

    Walnut Creek

    Voters must be informed citizens

    A recent letter quoted Winston Churchill: "The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with an average voter."

    Do you, in the newspaper business, feel any responsibility for that? What would you suggest as a way to remedy the situation?

    Anders Lundberg

    Livermore