Closing fire stations can prove hazardous

The Contra Costa County Fire Protection District closed Clayton's fire station, Engine 11, requiring a unit farther away to be sent when the Morgan Fire started on Sept. 8.

The unit took 21 minutes to arrive. Clayton's unit potentially could have arrived within 6-8 minutes to assist Cal Fire, which was already on the scene. Due to weather conditions, the fire regenerated and quickly spread out of control. Had Engine 11 been sent, the two units may have been able to contain the fire.

On Aug. 21, Fitch & Associates, the consulting firm the county hired, reported the result of their fire service study at a town-hall meeting, asking for residents' input after reading the study.

I pointed out the county was playing roulette with property owners by reducing resources. I mentioned that while their strategy could save a significant amount of money, if Mt. Diablo ever had a major fire, their strategy could cost the county millions of dollars.

We now know a small brush fire turned into a major event.

Elections do have consequences. Maybe the Measure Q $6.25 per-month per-household assessment was not too much to pay, after all. It would have actually been additional fire insurance.

John Manzeck

Clayton

Sowell's trickery over the minimum wage

In his Sept. 20 column, "Government again pushes minimum-wage madness," Thomas Sowell employs his predictable trickery.


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This crocodile-tear missive contends advocates for increased minimum wages "seem to think" they won't reduce employment -- a straw man argument. Advocates know that hiring is determined by employers' head-count needs, not minimum wage.

Sowell ignores that wages are but one component of business costs, disingenuously distracting readers from recognizing that minor increases in wages have minor impacts on corporate profits.

It "seems" Sowell naively believes prices are set by labor costs but not record profits or excessive CEO pay. Readers understanding economics aren't so easily misled.

Sowell next asserts causality -- without substantiation -- between unemployment and minimum wages, but then admits "most nations today have minimum-wage laws," invalidating his red herring argument.

Sowell denies poverty, saying working-poor having washers, cars and phones, neglecting that they're obligatory for workers to be presentable and on time.

Unemployment is caused by lack of demand, not wages. Increase demand to increase employment. What Sowell and his ilk won't admit is that demand will increase when the minimum-wage increases.

Sowell advocating slave wages invalidates his avowed "compassion for the poor!"

Ed Chainey

Richmond

How do you know if you're a liberal?

If you don't believe the government spends too much and isn't full of abuse, fraud and waste; believe half the country shouldn't pay taxes; and don't believe in cutting government spending, you're a liberal.

If you believe we should not buy oil from Canada, but buying it from our enemies is OK, and you believe being nice to Muslims will prevent terrorism, you are a liberal.

If you believe President Barack Obama's war on oil and coal is good for the country; that he's smarter than our Founding Fathers; and believe the Constitution's outdated and should be put in the paper shredder, you are a liberal.

If it doesn't bother you Obama didn't send help to the brave Americans who died in Benghazi, and you believe a federal-government, union-controlled, education system is the best we can do, then you are a liberal.

If you believe in global cooling -- I mean global warming -- I mean climate change, you are a liberal.

If you are a liberal, you probably believed everything you learned in your college political science class.

Mark Marcotte

Danville

Put real news, not sports, on front page

You too frequently place sports news on the front page when you already give eight to 10 pages to that world in the sports section.

Recently, you devoted half of the front page to a football quarterback that probably a majority of readers know nothing about.

On that day, there were major events such as Syria or the big fire burning on Mt. Diablo that deserved critical attention. Apparently whoever selects the topics for page one is a big sports fan. However, that editor should realize most of us subscribers are more interested in major world events.

Beth Pforr

Brentwood