Environmental justice at stake

The West County Toxics Coalition, representing North Richmond, Parchester Village and the Iron Triangle, has been involved with Chevron's modernization project from the beginning.

These primarily African-American and Latino communities usually are left out of the discussion, yet they are disproportionately affected by pollution, asthma, fires and explosions resulting from Chevron. Nor have these communities benefitted from jobs or investments. WCTC is fighting to change this. To achieve environmental justice, there must be fairness. Our demands must be heard.

Richmond, which has adopted an ordinance committing itself to environmental justice, now must choose between that commitment or allowing Chevron's project, which contradicts that commitment. The project would increase greenhouse gases and toxic emissions.

Chevron says its goal is zero net greenhouse gas emissions. However, cap-and-trade must happen locally, starting with greenhouse gas reduction at the refinery and in the community.

Installation of solar at the refinery and surrounding communities affected by Chevron fires and explosions, such as occurred in August 2012, would be a good step.

The City Council has the chance to get it right this time. Don't exclude North Richmond, the community that's on the front line of the chemical assault and has led the charge for environmental justice for the past 30 years.

Henry Clark

Richmond

Clark is the director of West County Toxics Coalition.

Pit bulls are a dangerous breed

Many times each year, the Times prints stories about a child or toddler being maimed or disfigured by pit bulls.

The details are always horrific and sickening. Most of these tragedies could have been avoided if people used common sense in choosing a family pet.

For 100 years, people have known that certain breeds of dogs are far more aggressive and vicious other others. Pit bulls amount to less than 2 percent of all dogs in America, yet they account for more than 93 percent of all persons hospitalized because of dog attacks. Maybe there's a link here?

Why are there very rarely any news stories of kids being maimed and disfigured by collies, beagles or Dalmatians? The question answers itself.

James Snyder

Benicia

Must support our public schools

As a retired public elementary-school teacher for 39 years in Berkeley and a lifetime member of the Berkeley Retired Teachers Association and California Retired Teachers Association, it's a puzzle to me how charter schools compare to public schools.

From what I've been reading, it seems to me that charters are "shadow public schools." These schools are not easily accessible (transportation problem) for all children. Who pays for these charter schools?

Is the difference between charter and public schools comparable to the haves and have-nots? Is this a return to segregation?

We've lost the true meaning of America's public school system. The system needs help, and we must support it. Put our country's public schools where they were once upon a time -- on top.

Maryan T. Gong

Berkeley

Stuck with paying BART unions' bills

Hurrah for the unions. Looks like they won. However, two workers are dead.

Taxpayers and riders will pay for their raise in salary and benefits for the next four years.

I understand that the unions are demanding bulletproof glass for the ticket booths. What are they afraid of? BART workers don't deal with cash.

The real winners are the gas stations who filled up the trucks, buses, SUVs and cars that the 200,000 stranded riders had to rely on.

Well, we are back to normal and now we can look forward to riding a dirty, worn out, crowded and noisy BART train.

Al Paltin

Orinda

Dedicated workers should be rewarded

This is regarding the recent articles about Valley Springs Manor.

I don't own a business, but if I did I certainly would offer jobs to Miguel Alvarez and Maurice Rowland. Dedication to duty is a rare quality these days. They deserve a reward for their dedication.

Flo Samuels

Hayward