To the editor:
Thank you for printing the comprehensive explanation of the ballot initiatives and their impact on women by Kelly Hayes-Raitt. I was planning on voting, but now I have a clearer idea of just how important this election is.
Since you mentioned that Kelly Hayes-Raitt is running for State Assembly, I googled her name and found her campaign web site. Her past history on fighting for women’s rights and social change gives me confidence in how I’m voting. Thank you for running her article!
Jeff Greenapple, School Psychologist, El Segundo
A father mourns
To the editor:
Today, October 25, 2005, the toll of U.S. fatalities in Iraq reached the significant number of 2000. On March 27, 2003, just seven days after the illegal occupation of Iraq began, the fifth U.S. casualty (and the second Latino) fell – my son Jesús Alberto Suarez del Solar Navarro. Now, two years and seven months later, we have reached 2000: 2000 young people, each with a dream, each with enormous potential, each manipulated and deceived for immoral reasons by the group of powerful men who dragged us into a criminal war. 2000 families destroyed, 4000 parents devastated, with their most precious treasure – their children – torn from them. And who cares? Who cares about these young people who are dying? Only the families care, it seems, since Bush’s criminal government continues with its rhetoric about how Iraq is better off and how we will not leave until the mission is completed. What mission? The personal agenda of a ruling clique because clearly there is no humanitarian mission in Iraq. When I learned that we had reached the awful figure of 2000, I wept. I wept because the pain of knowing that another young American had died reminded me of my own tragedy and my own pain. I thought about his parents, his mother who must feel the ache in her soul knowing that her son died in an unnecessary war, and his father who, like me, was proud of his son and of his nation. And unexpectedly his nation betrayed him and his son was gone.
I do not know if Bush in his self absorption and his feigned Christianity understands the tremendous suffering he is causing – the families’ anguish, the harm to our nation that he has placed in even greater danger. But I am sure about one thing. Bush will receive his punishment, a punishment that will make him cry tears of blood as my family and 1999 other families are shedding as they remember their lost children.
How much more blood will it take to end this criminal war? How many more Iraqi children have to die? How many more brave young Americans will have to make the ultimate sacrifice? How many more parents will have to weep for their sons and daughters? Who can answer me? Who?
We must demand that the lies and the dying stop today. End the occupation of Iraq and bring our troops home now.
Fernando Suarez del Solar, Father of Jesus Suarez del Solar
Level playing field
To the editor:
While many minor issues divide us, on most major issues, we stand united. For example, most Americans believe in fairness at the polls. While almost everyone would agree that both sides of a proposition must be allowed to present their case to the voters, Proposition 75 was put on the November ballot simply to silence some of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s harshest critics: our nurses, teachers, police, and firemen. When you slash funding from one side of a debate, the other side has a distinct, unfair advantage. Money buys votes.
I agree that we need to reduce the big buck contributions that fuel our politicians and propositions, but let’s be fair about it. I would fully support legislation limiting the total dollar amount contributed by any individual, corporation, or union to $1,000 per year. With a level playing field, maybe our politicians would start to care more about us, their constituents, than the corporations currently bankrolling their campaigns.
Vote NO this November and let’s move forward together – fairly. Ask your California state legislator to sponsor and support clean money legislation. Google, “clean money” for more information.
Mike Kirchubel, Fairfield, California
To the editor:
Cities, like their residents, have varied personalities, fingerprints and signatures that are revealed through their distinctive architecture and landscape. The fate of Santa Monica’s 1898 shotgun house that has been stored at the Santa Monica Airport the past three years was determined last night by the City Council.
The house is the last intact one of its kind. It serves as a social and cultural chronicle of an early time in our city’s history when laborers lived in them and worked to help build a foundation so that our city could grow and prosper.
The Ocean Park Community Organization purchased the house for one dollar from its previous owner seconds before demolition pursuant to a city mandate to save it. OPCO had been responsible for its relocation to a permanent site and for raising funds to restore it. But in the three years that have elapsed since it was moved to the temporary site, OPCO failed to accomplish this.
Since the ownership and control of the house had been under OPCO, it was difficult for those in the community who are not affiliated with OPCO but interested in saving the house to help move the house toward its final destination. Now, for all intents and purposes, OPCO is dormant. As of this writing, its status with the Secretary of State is “suspended,” its tax exempt status in question, its board of directors has not met in at least two years, and consequently all of the terms of its directors have expired so no official action can be taken.
We are now at a critical juncture in saving this essential piece of our history. Call or email our City Council members to show your support for saving this house. Ask the city to provide an appropriate site on city property for permanent relocation. Then the community can assist in raising funds to restore this local treasure that has been tragically orphaned.
Sherrill Kushner, Santa Monica
77 protects workers
To the editor:
Anyone who takes the time to educate themselves on Proposition 75 will see that the measure is pro-union despite what we are hearing from its leadership. Proposition 75 empowers organized labor by requiring that permission from public employee union members be obtained before dues can be spent on political activities. It gives members a stronger voice with more control over how their dues are spent when financing political activities that they may or may not agree with, plain and simple. It also protects them from having their role in the union diminished when they voice grievances that go against the interests of their leadership.
For example, the California Teachers Association recently enacted a $60 a year dues increase for political activities, including defeating this initiative, without a vote of its membership. What’s more, union members quietly, but frequently complain that their unions obstruct them when they try to legally opt out of paying union dues for these very reasons. It’s no wonder that the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the Teamsters voted to split with the AFL-CIO over its commitment to political spending at the expense of membership recruitment.
How is labor being silenced when employees are given a stronger voice in their cause, more choice in how dues are spent, and more accountability from their leaders? This proposition does nothing to stop spending from public employee unions. It simply requires them to ask for donations rather than raiding employee paychecks for political activities without consent. Members who don’t support their leadership’s agenda should not be forced to finance it. Proposition 75 doesn’t silence organized labor, it protects it.
Joshua M. Pelzer, Pasadena