No problem with data mining

Why should I be concerned about government data mining from the Internet? Good question!

I was born in a foreign country, and for many years I also lived and worked as a U.S. citizen on all continents of the world, including Arab countries.

In a couple of incidents I was approached, even threatened, by some individuals to "cooperate." It never crossed my mind to give in and follow such instructions.

I came back to the States with a clean conscience and have lived in peace ever since. I have nothing to hide and, therefore, am not afraid of any disclosure through government eavesdropping or other surveillance.

If anyone objects to government data mining, my question is: Have they any unpatriotic sins or bad intentions?

Yan S. Pawlak

Clayton

An interesting negotiating tactic

A July 8 Times article reported the Rodeo-Hercules Fire District wants to receive the $1.2 million Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant that Pinole rejected. The grant mandates hiring four additional firefighters.

The key word in the acronym SAFER is "adequate." Pinole has adequate staffing for the number of fire calls it receives, around six per month, or about 4 percent of its total service calls. The SAFER grant provides only what Firefighters Local 1230 really wants: more money and more firefighters.


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The article also reported that Vince Wells, president of Local 1230, said the union had agreed to drop its Public Employees Relations Board unfair labor practices charges against Pinole if the city contracted with Rodeo-Hercules or the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District.

"After the city voted down the contract with ConFire and Rodeo-Hercules, we moved forward with the PERB hearing," Wells said.

That's an interesting negotiating tactic. Give up your fire department or we'll sue you. This makes me wonder about the validity of the unfair labor practice charges, which have cost Pinole $80,000 in legal fees, with more to come.

Jeff Rubin

Pinole

Unions have been invaluable to us

While Times readers raise their fists in anger over the tyranny of unions, they go off to their jobs, where they have benefits they enjoy without ever thinking for a minute about where these benefits come from.

I'm certain these anti-union people enjoy having a weekend off, health care benefits, workplace safety standards, child labor laws and a minimum wage. I'm certain they are grateful to get a lunch break, vacation pay, pregnancy leave and myriad other benefits.

Those who so strongly believe unions are a tyranny should walk the walk instead of just talk the talk. Go into work today and tell your boss you will no longer accept your medical benefits or your vacation pay. You will pull your 10-year old out of school and send that child to work in a factory. And you will happily give up any pension earnings.

Unions are not perfect, but our country is a better place because of them.

Jan Weiss

Martinez

Shouldn't be amnesty for lawbreakers

Stupidity! That's all I see anymore regarding immigration "reform."

The truth is they're called illegal for a reason. They have committed a crime against this country and its actual citizens and should be punished, not given a prize of amnesty.

This country is in bad shape whether you want to believe it or not, and if we continue down this path it is only a matter of time before the United States becomes a Third World country.

It's sad really that generations of hardworking real Americans have worked themselves to the bone and given their lives -- for what? So we can learn Spanish?

I'm actually glad my grandparents and their parents' parents are all dead and gone so they don't have to see what we have become -- a joke.

John Walker

Pleasant Hill