Many questions needing answers

On Nov. 6, voters did a lot of dumb things, such as passing Proposition 30, defeating Proposition 32, and giving the Democrats a supermajority in the Legislature.

The one wise thing they did was defeat Measure Q, the fire district's phony parcel tax.

Now the district's preparing to carry out its threat of closing stations -- starting with four. However, according to the Times, no firefighters will lose their jobs. Since 85 percent of operating costs are salaries and benefits, what's the point of closing any stations? Where will savings come from?

Is this just a vindictive step because we turned down the tax? Or did they not need the money after all? Do they have a pot of gold socked away somewhere, as many state agencies do?

So many unanswered questions. The whole thing doesn't make sense. Their problems still stem from no financial planning and exorbitant salaries and benefits.

What's apparently happening now is the same screwed up management that got ConFire in this mess in the first place.

Time for creative operational/managerial changes.

Ken Hambrick

Walnut Creek

Closing oyster farm is a major victory

I rejoiced to read Ken Salazar decided to keep faith with Congress and close the Point Reyes oyster farm, allowing the marine sanctuary to proceed. It's wonderful news.

But, the salmon are still endangered by our willingness to destroy their habitat in order to pump water to dry and desert areas.

Farmers, industries, and people who want to live in year-round sunshine keep up the pressure to get more and more fresh water from the Delta area. And there's pressure from all of us to keep in place, or even expand, the hydroelectric dam system, which produces most of our electricity. People vs. fish is a lot harder battle.

Similarly, mammals -- from tiny voles (smaller than a mouse) to magnificent wolves and grizzly bears -- are endangered by our desire to move into their habitat and use it for our purposes.

Thank you for keeping us informed about these life-and-death struggles in our waters and in our wilderness backyards. An informed people can find solutions where our current wisdom sees only impossibility and eventual catastrophe.

Teddy Knight

Berkeley

Bring offshore jobs back here

I am referring to the tragic garment factory fire in Bangladesh that resulted in the death of more than 100 workers.

I can think of at least one very economy-boosting, patriotic solution to preventing deadly factory fires in offshore textile companies producing goods for U.S. companies: Bring the jobs back to the United States.

Mary List

Port Costa

If we keep printing money, we will lose

Many in the financial media would have us believe the "fiscal cliff" is a set of spending programs and tax breaks that if left to expire, will cause unemployment to soar, growth to diminish, and the probability of a severe recession to rise -- among other bad things. With this understanding, the fix to the problem is relatively straightforward -- after congressional squabbles, extend the tax cuts and continue the spending programs. Surely kicking the can once more will work out just fine.

Or will it? The problem with this misunderstanding of the "fiscal cliff" is that printing more and more money to cover larger deficits and the interest on an increasing $16 trillion debt (the Fed "buys" almost all Treasury paper, not the Chinese), is that at some point, the can hits the proverbial wall with nasty results -- most likely hyperinflation and a debauched (worthless) currency.

Neither the Fed nor anyone else knows where that point is, but if it arrives, a mathematical certainty with continued money printing, we all will be very big losers.

Chris Kniel

Orinda

Did McConnell retire to a cave?

It seems as though Sen. Mitch McConnell has been missing for a few weeks now.

For two years, he was parading as that Star Wars wizard "OBama1 CanNoBe." Maybe he tossed his cape and retired to the cave. Sure hope so.

Tom Bjorndal

Lafayette