Low prices for Chinese goods worth the risk?

The Times reported that the California attorney general's office is suing major food retailers for selling lead-tainted foods from Asia, and that some Chinese solar panels are failing just a year or two after installation, due primarily to drastic cost-cutting measures, along with lack of quality control and poor oversight.

Will people be surprised if and when we learn that barbecues, faucets, cookware, doorknobs, automobile interiors, hand tools, cosmetics, clothing, food and beverage containers, furniture, and other items produced in China contain levels of heavy metals and chemicals that are toxic to humans when ingested, heated and inhaled, or absorbed through the skin?

Should the demand for low-lower-lowest consumer prices and for highest profit margins trump health, safety and environmental concerns?

The loss of domestic jobs and the impact on our communities as America's manufacturing base moved overseas is a human tragedy.

I don't think it will be surprising if you report one day on the long-term health effects for Americans of buying, using and consuming cheap imported products, and we discover that those effects are an even greater tragedy.

H.L. Warren

Walnut Creek

We're watching: Spend our tax dollars wisely

Passage of the utility user tax increase in Hercules was something badly needed.


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As a result, we can now keep our police department and not contract with the county. Response time with the Sheriff's Office would be a disaster.

Hopefully, the city will utilize the money for the purpose citizens voted for. Too many times this is not the case. Citizens of this city, and other cities, cannot afford to continue to vote for tax increases.

We hope the powers-that-be will utilize our tax dollars well; we will be watching. And don't even think of any additional taxes!

Marilyn Cramlett

Hercules

All teachers must pay into CalSTRS

Do taxpayers have an obligation to address the teacher pension shortfall, as your editorial of May 19 states?

Jack H. Gilbert claims otherwise in his June 4 letter, saying that it was a gamble for people to join a union.

Here's the problem with that: All California public school teachers, union members or not, pay into CalSTRS. That payment is deducted from paychecks and teachers have no choice in the matter. What's more, teachers neither pay into nor receive retirement benefits from Social Security.

Stan Oberg

Moraga

Oberg is a retired teacher.

Retiring Knight should be fired, prosecuted

Why is Richmond Director of Human Resources Leslie Knight retiring July 1 instead of being fired?

Why isn't the Contra Costa County district attorney prosecuting Knight for more than $37,000 of misappropriated funds, theft of time, using city staff and city facilities to run a private business, and retaliating against an employee for refusing to work for her private business?

Why didn't City Manager Bill Lindsay put Knight on paid administrative leave when he received a report concerning her transgressions? Why did City Attorney Bruce Goodmiller deny the City Council, the press and the public access to the $65,000 investigative report paid for by the taxpayers?

As an observer of county politics, I suggest it's all about corruption. In Contra Costa County, politicians and connected fellow travelers are not likely to face prosecution and jail time.

Rob a store, go to jail. Rob the taxpayers, get a fond farewell and a fat retirement -- thanks to a district attorney who is missing in action.

Good government starts with better enforcement. The residents of this county deserve better.

Charles T. Smith

Richmond