Firefighters give thanks

Dear Editor:

On behalf of the Knightsen Firefighters Association, I would like to thank everyone who made our Santa Claus run to Knightsen School on Dec. 20 such a big success.

The Knightsen Firefighters Association is made up of volunteer and paid on-call firefighters that continue to support their community but have been discontinued from fighting fires and responding to medical calls since the East Contra Costa Fire District has discontinued volunteer or paid on-call services. For the past 50 years the volunteer firefighters have been assisting Santa Claus during his visit to Knightsen School. In Oakley, those volunteer firefighters used to drive through the entire city and pass out goodies to all the children in the neighborhoods.

Today, the Fire District is much different and modernized. The firefighters of today are housed full-time in their stations, and this type of community connection has changed. The few volunteer firefighters left that have retired or been laid off, continue to bond with the community. They have no connection with the publicly funded ECCFD, yet remain dedicated to remain active in other community events that bond our families. Thank you to all those Knightsen Firefighters Association members that keep the spirit of community alive and well. Hope to see everyone at Knightsen Days Car Show this year.

Albert Bello

Retired captain, Oakley-Knightsen Fire Department, Knightsen Firefighters Association


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FICA ceiling not up-to-date

Dear Editor:

In a famous "Friends" episode, we have the question: "Who is this FICA guy?" We lower earning -- "47 percent who don't pay taxes" are very familiar with him. That would be Social Security. And his share just went up from 4.2 percent to 6.2 percent.

But, what most of you don't know is, that after you reach a certain income level you stop paying FICA. In 2012 that level was about $115,000 or $4,600 in taxes. Originally, the income level was $75,000. That's because in 1935 very few earned this enormous amount of money. But the level didn't increase as the years went by.

About 10 years ago it was suggested that the level be raised to $400,000. Of course that couldn't happen. So it is being raised slowly as the cost of living goes up. So while every minimum wage earner will pay 6.2 percent of his income to FICA, the CEO of Netflix (who just got a $2 million raise) will max out. It will reflect .125 percent of his income. But, of course, he will use the other $243,000 he doesn't pay FICA to create more jobs for us little guys, right? Right?

Steve Brown Sr.

Oakley

Pension plan upsets voter

Dear Editor:

I voted for Wade Harper after his family delivered to my door, a handwritten appeal for his election. I felt he personally cared to reach the people in this underemployed community.

Then, the first thing he does in office is raise the pay (pensions) for our police force -- who are already making four times the median wage in Antioch!

I've been fooled once again.

Neil MacCallister

Antioch

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