Haiti Earthquake; Race to the Top; Andy Stern & Bruce Raynor; North Beach Library; Even More on Prop 13 …

by on January 18, 2010

To the Editor:

What have YOU done for the people of Haiti? Have you sent money? Headed up an effort to collect goods for the people? Offered your personal blood , sweat and tears? You seem to know exactly what to do and how to do it. Have you done it yet?

Gayle Parks
Doylesburg, PA

To the Editor:

Beware of Haiti Earthquake Scams! In the wake of the earthquake in Haiti, just be aware that whenever there is a major natural or other disaster, scammers begin sending out charity relief scams and other scams almost immediately. ScamBusters.org has created a special update on what scams abound and how to protect yourself from Haiti earthquake scams here. http://clicks.aweber.com/y/ct/?l=83fqa

Ralph E. Stone
San Francisco

To the Editor:

Your analysis of “RttT” (Race to the Top) and “NCLB” (No Child Left Behind) is spot on. But if by some act of magic “poverty” were to be eliminated and school funding quadrupled, schools still wouldn’t know how to reliably teach kids to read or to deliver other transparent academic accomplishments. Kids and teachers have the necessary capacity. It’s the unaccountables at the top who lack the capacity to generate anything more substantial than the formless “reforms.” We need some domestic nation education building. The only good news about RttT is that States and Districts will use the money to fill in state and local shortfalls. But don’t look for reforms “anywhere.”

Dick Schutz
Long Beach, CA

To the Editor:

Fantastic article. I witnessed the arrogance of the SEIU / Bruce Stern / Andy Raynor attack and subsequent backfire last year. The attack on UNITE HERE! was heartbreaking. The duplicity of the Raynor and Stern led faction shocked even this world weary man. Conversely, The member led insurrection against what was a relentless attack on both the truth and democracy, was heart warming. The vigorous defense of the UNION by its member leaders restored my faith.

Paul McAdams

To the Editor:

Regarding “SEIU’s Wrong Turn” (Jan 11): As a 23 year veteran of SEIU — from the original Justice for Janitors campaign in Denver in 1986 — to leaving the trusteed UHW last year as the IU sold out workers who bled for for 6 years to win the San Diego campaign I was working on, I should be past the nausea I feel at seeing their decent into meglomaniacal damage to the Labor Movement.

Having once known Andy Stern and other architects of this calamity as a long time leader in SEIU, I wonder, as does the author, of how once smart, savvy, and principled leaders could become what they once despised so blatantly and without any apparent cognition over the damage done to the movement, or even any sense of how this has destroyed their once legit legacies.

As the movement expends energy to deal with this maddening state of affairs, the bosses can only be licking their chops over their enhanced prospects of burying our best chance in a generation to fix the twisted labor laws they have relied on as the principal obstacle to workers rebuilding the middle class by expanding Union power.

And can we at long last recognize Rose Ann DeMoro, the histrionic arbiter of ideological purity, as the most hypocritical erstwhile “leftist” in the movement. Not just for killing the dreams of thousands of Ohio RNs who had the bad manners to choose a Union other than hers — but for choosing self indulgent expediency in her deal with Stern while the rest of the movement accelerates our efforts to put the brakes on her new pal’s anti-worker, anti-democracy, serf of the boss counter revolution?

Mike Wilzoch
Aurora, Colorado

To the Editor:

I used to live up the block at 536 Lombard so we used the North Beach library frequently. I also served as precinct worker there for elections. I attended the public hearings for the swimming pool renovation. I suggest that Bob Planthold and Howard Wong join forces. Howard retired as an architect for the City, grew up in that neighborhood, and has good professional and humanistic judgment.

Lotus Yee Fong
San Francisco

To the Editor:

With all due respect, wasteful and out of control government spending in Sacramento, not Prop 13, is what California got into its current mess.

Carl Rice
Palmdale, CA

To the Editor:

Spending is out of control, and you are out of touch. Get out of the ivory tower. Spending has increased way more than population growth and inflation. We have a SPENDING problem much more than a taxing problem.

Stan Frymann
Laguna Beach, CA

To the Editor:

Prop 13 absolutely needs to be reformed! However, the missing point in the above argument is that the majority of Californians would be better off with LOWER home prices (as in – all first time and move-up buyers). We could and perhaps should keep the elderly from being forced to sell due to rising taxes, the reason sold to Californians who voted for Prop 13 to begin with. However, the majority of Californians did NOT vote to allow investors (whether local or foreign nationals) to be able to accumulate multiple properties, pass them on to heirs, without paying anything close to their fair share of property taxes.

So – I would amend Mr. Blaustein’s recommendation to read that ONLY owner-occupied, principle residences be protected by Prop 13. We have priced out those who do not inherit or otherwise have familial help to buy, in much of California. During the last bubble, and now since its imploding, there has been a huge increase in the numbers of investor-owned properties. They inflate the market, and ruin the character of many neighborhoods. Even in today’s market, they are causing would-be buyers to have to enter bidding wars (usually unsuccessfully against the all-cash investor).

Investors should, at the least, be made to pay property taxes on the fair market value of their investments. If the majority of folks realized that they were sacrificing services while they were subsidizing investors – they would NOT be in favor of preserving Prop 13 for other than owner-occupied, primary residences. One could even argue that the most fair thing would be to simply defer the property tax on owner-occupied, primary residences until death or sale, in addition to having investors pay tax on current values. This would still protect folks from being taxed out of their homes, while restoring some normalcy to our housing markets, and help to restore the “American Dream” in California.

M. Smith
Oakland, CA

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