Catholics and Prop 8; Renters Tax Credit; Cal’s Football Coach; More on Freelance Writers Settlement …

by on November 19, 2008

Dear Editor,

In regards to Tommi Avicolli-Mecca’s November 17, 2008 piece, “Mormons and Catholics Deserve to Be Protested,” to those who think that attempting to shame the Catholic Church is a politically prudent way to change the realpolitik, I caution them to take a look at California’s demographics.

Propostion 8 won with only 52% of Latinos supporting it, vis-a-vis 70% African-Americans, and 49% Asians. Those of us who are culturally Catholic or religious won’t be persuaded to join the fold with attacks. The Catholic Church has survived over 2000 years on the strength of its cultural, as well as faith, constituency. With growing numbers of Latinos dominating California’s electoral equation, the Catholic Church is here, “like it or not.”

The very cities we live in, and many of the very streets we commute on, were named for Catholic Saints when this territory was under Catholic Spanish Control, and subsequently Catholic Mexican control. Picking a fight with the Catholic Church is an invitation for a cultural war, which I dare say we may very well lose.

Manuel Jimenez
a/k/a Magdelyn

Re: Paul Hogarth’s piece about the renters tax credit.

Mostly I appreciated the article, but consistently media and senior advocates get this wrong: it is NOT a SENIOR benefit, but for low income seniors and people with disabilities. From a community organizing perspective, this is crucial. As a disability rights advocate, I find it annoying and a reminder that all too frequently for some reason our “allies” on the left don’t get it.

Herb Levine, Executive Director
ILRCSF Executive Director
San Francisco, CA

Dear Editor,

I’ve felt since 2 years ago that Jeff Tedford had hit a ceiling, when they tailspinned the home stretch of their seasons. This season, the last three games, they’ve essentially petered out in the second half. Against Maryland they were still in hibernation or jetlagged and simply unprepared to come out roaring on the eastern seaboard. Against SC and OSU they couldn’t get it up when they needed to. That’s coaching and leadership at the top’s responsibility.

If the Golden Bears were pros, they should be responsible for getting up too. But these are youths and amateurs still learning how to draw on their depth. Tedford’s been great getting Cal to a marquee football school. But it’s leveled out over the last 3 years. The next level means not taking 2 conference losses in a row, and I think they’ll be mentally weak going into the Big Game against a Stanford team that is “ranked” below but may very well play above Cal.

Chris Chow

To the Edtior:

The bold Mr. Anonymous, in his complaint about my Beyond Chron piece on the freelance writers’ settlement, shows that he has the purposes and burdens of class action litigation exactly backwards.

Yes, the objectors could have opted out and pursued individual claims against the defendants. But our objections went beyond Mr. Anonymous’s singular fixation on his personal view of the sufficiency of the compensation for past infringement. The whole point of the lawsuit had been to trigger the kind of royalty system contemplated by the Supreme Court in the Tasini case. The only way to fight the license-by-default-at-0%-royalties provision — by which Mr. Anonymous and others sought to bind everyone else the world over to a giveaway of rights into perpetuity — was to stay within the class and file objections.

Mr. Anonymous is wrong in asserting “that it was clear from federal code that recovery was not possible if the works were not registered.” For one thing, jurisdiction for unregistereds for settlement purposes was routinely assumed before the Second Circuit’s odd ruling last year to the contrary. More to the point, the open-ended nature of potential future claims by unregistereds (who can convert themselves to registereds at any time) defined the very leverage the plaintiffs held over the defendants in this case. A handful of class representatives and writers’ organizations frittered away that leverage for the benefit of themselves and to the detriment of the class.

I understand that Mr. Anonymous is eager to collect his own pennies on the dollar, but what is at stake here is the architecture of freelance journalists’ rights in the digital age, and in turn the future diversity and vitality of our culture. I apologize for the inconvenience to him caused by the inadequate representation of the class by the named plaintiffs and their lawyers.

Irv Muchnick
San Francisco

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