Letters

Letters

Letters

10/31/2012

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No on 32 
Give me one other organization that fights for worker rights. 
If this was to hurt big corporate interests, why are they the ones putting money into this campaign to pass? 
The Koch brothers, Karl Rove, big oil companies, insurance companies, Wall Street bankers and developers are all behind this. That’s because they are all exempt from Proposition 32. 
Labor rights aren’t etched in stone. They were won through politics and collective bargaining. So if you’re part of the 99 percent that has to work for a living, say goodbye to vacation leave, health insurance, eight-hour work days, minimum wage, workplace health and safety laws, overtime pay, unemployment, child labor laws, meal breaks and nurse-patient ratios, just to name a few.  
Screw 32. Vote NO. 
 ~  JANE LEA, VIA EMAIL
 
Badges and testosterone
Re: “One Day on the Gold Line,” Aug. 30
Thanks for this powerful story. I accidentally wrote “powerful sorry,” because it’s also a sorrowful one, and I’m so sorry it happened to you.
 
I was very nearly arrested once by an airport cop. My mother had her second heart attack while visiting her sister in Oklahoma. When they thought she was well enough to travel, she was put on a flight back here, but she got sick on the plane, so my brother and I were at the airport, picking her up, loading her from the wheelchair to my van to take her to the ER. 
 
The cop came along and said the rear of my van was on the crosswalk and I needed to move it. I said I would as soon as my mom was seated, because we were taking her to the hospital, and he said, “No! Now!”
 
A few minutes later, I told him, with what I admit was a certain lack of discretion, “Go ahead and arrest me! I’d love to sue your ass!” That was foolish, because it was just delaying getting my mother to the hospital, but thankfully it wasn’t another heart attack. The cop’s supervisor showed up and was refreshingly rational. Eventually, I got both a letter and phone call of apology from the head of the airport authority. But it taught me a lesson in the combination of testosterone poisoning and a badge.
 
Your story really reminded me of that — the insecure ones are so quick to see their authority threatened, and reclaiming their authority is the only thing that matters. Giving people the power to deal with major threats encourages them to use the power on slightly less major threats, too, and so on, in a ratchet effect. After all, why suffer a kick if you could Taser the person instead? Why suffer the threat of a kick, for that matter, or a dirty look that might presage a possible kick? And so on, down and down.
 
Interesting that in LA the deputies start as jail guards. That seems really dumb. It’s impossible to live among criminals without adapting to their culture, and prison itself is its own really sick culture. And of course the LAPD was a pioneer in the paramilitary strategy of policing, partly as a result of the car culture, I think — walking the beat wasn't very practical, so they started driving cars, and the cars became mobile weapons depots, and so they stopped regularly interacting with anyone except members of their own tribe and the other tribe, the bad guys. Not surprising that the Sheriff's Department would have adopted similar attitudes.
 
I've seen a study comparing the attitudes of female and male detectives to women reporting rapes, and the depressing result was that female detectives were less likely to refer the cases for prosecution. You wonder if the female cops feel pressured not to be sympathetic to women in order to prove their own toughness. Could that be one reason the female cop picked on you?
 
But the amount of money you got is enough to have made an impression. I’ve long thought that the way to shape police behavior is by hitting the higher ups where it hurts, which is the budget. The cops will respond to pressure from above them, from their own kind, in a way they won’t respond to pressure from outsiders, including judges. 
A cop who keeps costing the force money will earn a black mark in a way that one collecting complaints won’t. So I’m glad you stuck out the unpleasant litigation process.

~ JOEL JACOBSON,, VIA EMAIL

Romney is right!
 
My hairdresser told me that her monthly expenses have gone up by $400. Unfortunately, she has to close because she can’t afford the increases.  
 
My real estate agent told me that she has to show houses and every time she goes to the gas pump it costs her $100 — double what it was at this time four years ago. Gas prices have remained at $4 a gallon and more for some time. With consumer prices climbing, working people have told me that they can no longer buy a lot of items they would normally pick up at the supermarket, as their wages have stagnated or gone down.
 
Most of the businesses in this country — roughly 80 percent — are small businesses, which generate most of the jobs. Unfortunately, businesses are failing in record numbers. Just drive around neighborhood shopping centers and see all the vacancies.
 
The 7.8 percent unemployment rate does not take into account those who have not yet found work and have exhausted their unemployment insurance.
 
Again, it is small businesses that provide permanent jobs. And with so many businesses going under, it makes sense that we still have 23 million unemployed people in this country.
 
Taxing billionaires is fine, but not small businesses and those who make $250,000 a year. These are struggling individuals with families who are already heavily taxed. 
 
Whatever happened to the American dream? 
 
Mitt Romney proposes to balance the budget without raising taxes. He suggests cutting federal workers and getting rid of programs that do not serve significant goals. Then he would give those savings back to states and local governments so we could have better control of those funds and spend them more effectively.
 
Romney is right! Have you ever seen freeway “construction” last for months at one freeway exit or on one street? Have you seen four or five people hanging around the “construction” site chatting but not really working? The area where I live was dug up and repaved last year. There was nothing obvious that was wrong with these streets. 
 
I wondered why this federal “recovery” money was not fixing streets with real problems and potholes. So I asked the project leader on my street how much this “recovery project” cost, and he said $1 million. The owner of a construction company in my city said he could do the job for $200,000.
 
What has gone wrong with the American dream, Mr. President?

~ MARINA TSE, MONTEREY PARK
 
 
 

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