Pinole is right to appeal decision

The city of Pinole is appealing a Public Employees Relations Board judge's decision awarding Pinole firefighters overtime pay for work they didn't perform at a fire station that was closed.

The city closed Station 74 because it could not afford to keep it open. The firefighters want to be paid -- with interest -- for overtime they supposedly lost when Station 74 closed, despite the fact no firefighters were laid off.

Local 1230, representing Pinole firefighters, filed 12 complaints against Pinole in 2011. Ten were dismissed. An administrative law judge decided in Pinole's favor on one of the two remaining complaints and in Local 1230's favor on the other, involving overtime pay.

I applaud the city for appealing. People question the city's expenditure of additional legal fees, but had the union not filed these complaints, there would be no legal fees at all. Local 1230 is also appealing the decision it lost.

Local 1230 feels its firefighters are entitled to be paid for work not performed. I think it's un-American.

Jeff Rubin

Pinole

Disputes a letter about IRS hearing

In his recent letter, Ed Chainey claims Rep. Darrell Issa's trying to "pin a ... nonexistent 'IRS scandal' upon President Barack Obama."


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But Obama himself said, "The misconduct (that Treasury's related report) uncovered is inexcusable," announced IRS Commissioner Stephen Miller's resignation, promised "to hold responsible parties accountable" and guaranteed a Congress-cooperative fix.

Instead, a $6,000 Obama contributor was appointed lead IRS investigator, and Obama's IRS intends unilaterally to formalize new limits on 501(c)(4) tax-exempt activities considered legal since 1959 while still permitting 501(c)(5) union politicking.

Meanwhile, former IRS Exempt Organizations Director Lois Lerner twice has dodged congressional inquiries, asserting Fifth Amendment rights.

Chainey denies 2012 election-cycle IRS targeting of conservative 501(c)(4) organizations and misquotes Salon.com to say, "The only known denial of tax-exempt status occurred to a progressive group."

That's, in fact, a Wikipedia quote, footnoting in turn a Salon page which links to IRS' letter showing the outfit denied 501(c)(4) status as dedicated to electing Democratic women exclusively.

The Wikipedia page reports that of 20 "progressive" tax-exempt applications, only six received the increased scrutiny focused upon all 292 "tea party," "patriot" and "9/12" applicants.

Michael Arata

Danville

Interest conflict in Rodeo is clear

The recent Times story about improprieties within the Rodeo Municipal Advisory Council is quite disturbing.

Having council Chairman Anthony Hodge personally benefiting from contributions from the Phillips 66 refinery in Rodeo is certainly a conflict of interest that should raise questions from the community.

New Horizons Career Development Center in Rodeo, of which Hodges is the executive director, has received $300,000 from the Phillips refinery over the last several years. For him to cast positive votes on refinery issues smells of impropriety. The proper code of conduct, when refinery votes are on the agenda, would be for Hodge to recuse himself from voting.

I also find it disturbing that Hodge, who is the pastor of Rodeo's Zion Hill Baptist Church, didn't report his New Horizons or Zion Hill jobs on his required Statement of Economic Interests. His appointment to the advisory council should be questioned by the county board of supervisors.

Equally disturbing to me is that Hodge is not even a resident of Rodeo. Not cool.

Jim Gray

Rodeo Gray is a former chairman of Rodeo Municipal Advisory Council.