Fire district needs tax to maintain services

The inaccurate information about the Contra Costa County Fire District must be addressed. Skeptics focus on expenses and ignore critical components including lower revenue and service delivery.

The district relies on property tax revenues, which have declined significantly. We do not receive other revenue. The district has reduced expenses. Firefighters took 10 percent salary cuts, pensions have been reformed and spiking is prohibited. Our firefighters pay 100 percent of the employee contributions for their pensions. We eliminated positions, managed vacancies, deferred capital purchases and leveraged grants to reduce expenses.

Adequate resources are essential to maintaining response times. Fires spread quickly if not controlled during initial stages. Medical emergencies require immediate intervention. District resources are already well below recommended levels. Closing fire stations and reducing staffing levels will endanger public safety.

Measure Q, a moderate seven-year initiative to maintain service levels, allows the district to staff all fire stations and provide critical services. We will continue reducing costs while structural changes (reduced salaries, pension reform) and revenues from Measure Q will ensure long-term sustainability into the future.

Daryl Louder

Fire Chief, Contra Costa County Fire Protection District


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Ivette Ricco is an asset to Pinole

We support Ivette Ricco for Pinole City Council.

We worked with Ricco when she was president of the Pinole Chamber of Commerce and before then on numerous community projects in which she was an active participant. It's been said Ricco is taking credit for undue leadership roles in several such projects. However, it has been our experience with the Community Corner, the Pinole Chamber Business Expo and the community relaunch of our own Bear Claw Bakery & Café, that Ricco has had strong leadership roles.

When Ricco sees an action that needs to occur or a job to be done she brings to it an enthusiastic attitude, and her assets of fiscal responsibility, creativity and hard work. With her energy, she attracts a motivated group of people to support and help get the projects done.

Ricco has the diplomacy skills to work with a cross-section of the community to accomplish projects and keep Pinole fiscally sound. Vote for Ricco.

Mike and Terri Stott

Pinole The Stotts are the owners of Bear Claw Bakery & Café

Must insist World Bank keeps schools promise

With Proposition 30, I have hope that some of our education woes will be resolved. How lucky to live in a land where basic education is taken for granted and we strive for quality.

Imagine living in a land where public schools don't exist, or people can't afford the tax or the uniform, or it's too dangerous to travel to them, or due to social stigma the girls drop out. These are typical stories of 61 million kids in the world who can't go to school.

The World Bank, in its mission to reduce poverty, pledged to increase its education funding by $750 million between 2011 and 2015. Investment in education is known to deliver the best return on investment of any foreign aid. But the bank is reneging on its promise, using fuzzy math to manipulate the numbers, potentially not even increasing funding over 2010 levels, while claiming to be making good on its promise.

I have faith that California will meet its commitments to our schools. Will the World Bank?

Sharon Solstice

Walnut Creek

Will people steal this election?

After the Supreme Court declared corporations to be people and let them use their money without limit in elections, I decided to get to know them better.

I was having a drink with a corporation last night, and she told me that she is very disturbed about the Marilyn Langlois and Eduardo Martinez for Richmond City Council campaign. "Normally, when we corporations outspend a candidate 100 to 1, that's enough to crush them," she said. "But we are spending millions of dollars with no guarantee of success.

"Marilyn and Eduardo are cheating by seeking justice, giving power to the people, telling the truth and mobilizing dedicated unpaid volunteers. They won't even accept corporate money. We mustn't allow the people to steal this election from the corporations."

Paul Larudee

Richmond