SEIU and UHW; San Franciso’s Fiscal Straitjacket; June Special Election; Republican Opposition to Obama; Ban the Box; Immigration Rights …

by on January 29, 2009

To the Editor:

Great article (“SEIU Places UHW in Trusteeship” by Randy Shaw.) This UHW member appreciates the media coverage of this outrageous takeover of our local and the firing of one of the most committed (and least corrupt) labor leaders in the country, Sal Roselli.

Cameron Egan

To the Editor:

As former Secretary-Treasurer of the late Window Cleaners’ Union, SEIU Local 44, 1988-93, I knew Sal well enough to know he was a member’s union representative. On the local level, his organizational skills are legendary. He was a thorn in the side of then SEIU President John Sweeney with his “Make the Best Better” campaign. I remember at a holiday banquet where SEIU Vice President Paul Varicalli was at the podium discussing how we get our members to listen to us. At a table with Sal, I muttered, “I thought we were supposed to listen to them.” The spontaneous laughter that broke out was slightly disruptive.

I’m going out on a limb because I do not know what Sal is driving these days, but back then it was a beat up old American model car of some kind. Parked at Local 250’s headquarters in Oakland, I always imagined a car burglar coming up to Sal’s car and leaving money on the windshield for the poor soul who owned it. Sweeney would be a God-send after Stern.

Andy Stern is a dictator. SEIU broke away from the AFL-CIO (which Sweeney now heads). Where was the voice from the members? I was never asked. I would have disapproved, but hell, Stern knows what’s better for us than we do. By the way, I now work for the City and County of San Francisco. By the way, our local 790 was merged into a Northern California public employee conglomerate, Local 1021 (“ten to one,” get it?). We were actually asked to vote on the merger, but we were told in advance that our vote didn’t matter. It was a done deal anyhow, along with the dictatorial merges of other locals. This is Andy Stern’s democracy.

Heil Andy! Bravo Sal!

John Thurston
Hayward, CA

To the Editor:

Sounds like this (“San Francisco’s Fiscal Straitjacket” by Paul Hogarth) was written by another liberal that thinks the people being taxed shouldn’t be able to, or are incapable of, deciding which services they need and are willing to fund.

Mike Freeman

Paul Hogarth:

I don’t agree with the central premise of your argument. Yes, it is difficult to raise taxes to fund local government. This is the express wish of the voters. However, in the face of this revenue “straitjacket”, San Francisco has overspent, and continues to do so.

Accumulating unserviceable debt in the face of a known hard limit on revenue does not constitute a mandate for higher taxes. In short, our local government has been acting in defiance of law and common sense — an act which bears real legal and financial consequences.

For example, who can argue that spending in excess of 800 million dollars for structural renovation of SF General Hospital was a prudent idea at this time? SF General has about 200 beds — San Francisco has entered into an agreement to pay over $4,000,000 PER BED for this renovation, in the face of no identified funding source. How is this responsible?

Now, I personally have no ability to mandate that my income increase. If I run myself into huge debt, how successful do you think I’ll be in demanding a 100% raise in order to service my just and righteous debt? Financial reality applies to all. Government likes to pretend otherwise, but it must live within its means just as ordinary citizens must.

Michael Lankheim

To the Editor:

It’s not just “right-wing conservatives” who oppose tax increases. I consider myself to be a liberal. OK, maybe a “moderate,” compared to the progressives.

But why does the “left” always think taxes is the only solution? As a homeowner in San Francisco, I pay an exorbitant amount of taxes – both property and sales. I know, progressives always think, “well, your property is worth millions, so you should pay for the poor.” But many of us, including me, did not pay “millions” for our home. We scrimped and saved to buy our house. It may be “worth” a lot, but unless you’re buying or selling, it’s basically irrelevant. And yes, many of us live within our means, so we don’t just “borrow” to get more money.

Further, what about cutting things like salaries? Supposedly, there’s over NINE THOUSAND (9,000!) City employees who make over $100,000 per year!!! In good times, they’ve gotten raises. Hey, times are bad, why not some giveback.

Good Luck trying to get your tax increase, my friends and I will be opposing it every step of the way!


To the Editor:

I don’t know how a June Special Election can work out. If the election is in June, and we have NOTHING on paper for the Board of Supervisors to vote on right now, that means we won’t for at least say, a month. At best on March 1, we have a thing on the ballot. With no money. No support. No committee organized to get it passed. And certainly NO TIME to do all of this with an electorate mired in Depression 2.0 and get it passed the first week of June.

I get we gotta do something, but to do all this in a few months? Forget it. There are people who have run elections to pass taxes and bonds with 2/3rd majorities in places a lot less liberal than San Francisco. I can’t imagine they’d recommend going from nothing today to Election Day in June that fast.

Greg Dewar
San Francisco

To the Editor:

The Republican’s stupidity is the best thing that we have going for us, besides Barack Obama’s brilliance. I hope they keep up the good work, so we can win even more seat next election!

Janice Brown

To the Editor:

I totally agree with “ban the box.” I work for a company that has hired numerous ex-felons in the past, and we have a very loyal hard working employee base that consists mainly of ex-felons. Several of our management personnel have had a felony conviction.

Jerry Garcia

To the Editor:

David Bacon’s analysis on the immigration repercussions from NAFTA is clever, but leaves out many other much bigger causes common to any immigration crisis.

Globalization is a worldwide phenomenon that always existed under other names (mercantilism, colonialism, etc). Although we are country of immigrants, any rational analysis would conclude that any altruistic open immigration policy is economically and politically suicidal.

For instance, West Germany was able to integrate East Germany because the West was rich and willing to pay a high socio-economic-political price for “brotherhood” under the unification. East Germany’s population was four times smaller, and shared similar level of education to the West. Unfortunately, Mexico’s population is for the most part poor, uneducated, non-English speakers with high birth rates. Take a look why Europeans hesitate too much whether accepting Turkey into the European Union.

We are living in an economic recession in which we must be selective on our expenses and that includes how many immigrants we can take without affecting the jobs of Americans, and what kind of immigrants we are willing to take. Sarkozy policies in France offers an example.

Our immigration policy (legalization, deportation, visas, etc) must give preference to those who are willing to abide our laws instead of criminals, do not create too much economic burden as procreating too many children but better off themselves, assimilate to an American way of life which includes learning English and consider the U.S to be their home instead of sending “remesas” back home (Mexico). In that way, Lou Dobbs is not a bigot but a patriot.

Antonio Urbina
San Francisco, California

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