Re: Jorge Casuso's "Raising Santa Monica" [September 1016]. Why is it that people who do not own and operate a successful business are making decisions about how much money businesses should pay their workers? When Santa Monica City Council members and the misguided proponents of the living wage attack and persecute business owners, they have absolutely no idea how many years that person worked long hours in order to open a business and provide jobs for the people who assist in its operation. They don't know how many times that person has tried and failed before he arrived at the right business formula, nor do they care.
Former mayor and rent-control proponent Dennis Zane's idea of justice is to use government force (another form of so-called public support) to encroach into the lives of private individuals without any understanding or consideration of the repercussions and damage it causes -- how it prevents others from risking their life savings to start a job-providing business in Santa Monica, and how it forces existing businesses to place higher-skilled people at lower-level positions.
--S. Forest King
The People's Republic of Santa Monica has finally concocted its own demise. What bullshit! Whatever profits coastal businesses are making, they've earned. If workers want or need a higher minimum wage, then fight the good fight in Washington and leave individual business owners in Santa Monica alone. And, incidentally, do these politically correct blind mice believe theirs is the only city in the U.S. in which laborers struggle to get by on minimum wage? Duh . . . Why does this town want to punish the very people who have made it successful?
--Richard J. Fruge
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
The business community in Santa Monica is probably correct when it says that union organizing would be a better way to lift wages than a one-size-fits-all government intervention. Meat-ax governmental approaches always have unwanted results in the long run.
The problem here is that 30 years of relentless union busting by corporate America has left unions helpless to affect wages meaningfully in many U.S. industries. Union busting in America has been honed to a fine art. In Santa Monica, one need look no further than the Miramar Sheraton to understand the reality of the situation. Two years ago, when a decertification vote was held, the hotel hired a consultant and engaged in a typically coercive campaign. The union lost by a mere six votes, but the NLRB found massive unfair labor practices and set the election results aside.
So if I were sitting on the Santa Monica City Council, I would offer the business community the following solution: a 12-month moratorium on consideration of any "living wage" proposal, in exchange for a commitment by all affected businesses that they will sign "neutrality agreements" with the AFL-CIO. That is, employers will agree to remain neutral in all union organizing efforts -- no consultants, no firings, none of the usual nonsense. Instead, if a union can persuade a majority of employees at a particular business establishment to sign cards authorizing the union to represent them for purposes of collective bargaining, the employer will immediately recognize the union as their representative and bargain in good faith. That way, employees' voices will be heard, and wages will rise within the free market rather than by governmental fiat.
Think the employers would go for it? Or are they so conditioned by the Chamber of Commerce and the Right To Work Committee to oppose unions that they'd rather deal with the City Council and the courts?
GUNS N' MOSES
Re: "Hitler Studies" by Marc B. Haefele [City Limits, September 1016]. Good try at rewriting history, my friend, but you are dead wrong. You need look no further than the German Firearms Act of 1937. After being elected head of his party, Hitler used the Weimar Republic's gun-registration lists to confiscate guns and, in many cases, their owners. (Later, the Jews in the Warsaw ghetto held off their doom with nine handguns and a couple of land mines.) In his own words, "The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subjected people to carry arms; history shows that all conquerors who have allowed their subjected people to carry arms have prepared their own fall." (Edict of March 18, 1938.) Of course, Mr. Haefele will probably prefer the following, from Joseph Goebbels: "The rank and file are usually much more primitive than we imagine. Propaganda must therefore always be essentially simple and repetitious."
The Nazis inherited "gun control" from Germany's freely elected, center-left governments of â the 1920s, one of which enacted a "Law on Firearms and Ammunition" on April 12, 1928. The law required registration of firearms owners and their firearms. As a result, almost all firearms and firearms owners were registered. To take firearms from those whom they distrusted, the Nazis simply did not renew the relevant permits, and so were able -- under the law -- to confiscate the firearms and ammunition. My source for this information is Gun Control, Gateway to Tyranny: The Nazi Weapons Law, 18 March 1938, by Jay Simkin and Aaron Zelman, available from Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership (http://www.jpfo.org).
EAR TO THE WALLS
Re: Jim Crogan's "Walls of Silence" [September 1016]. Excellent article. We must continue to fight for exposure, and for freedom of the press, including the truth of what happens in prison, to prisoners. I hope the press will continue to report on this and related issues in an open, honest, unbiased manner. Keeping the press out of prison does not diminish the rampant atrocities that occur behind those walls, and it does not provide the truth to the general public: that we ourselves are becoming savage in our thirst for vengeance. Society wants blood and does not care if the innocent go down, too. In prison or out, our rights are slowly being taken from us. A false sense of security is not worth this loss.
DEGREES OF SEPARATION
I refer to the cover story entitled "Cracked" [September 38]. You quoted me as being the "chair of the Structural Engineers Association of California." This is incorrect. My correct title, as explained to Mr. Brouwer, is "acting co-chair of the Steel Adhoc Committee of the Structural Engineers Association of California."
--Peter J. Maranian
PERILS OF PSEUDONYMITY
Re: "Daddy's Girl" [Weekly Literary Supplement, August 27September 2]. When I write a Jerry Stahl story I get called a caveman and worse, but when Jerry Stahl writes a Jerry Stahl story he gets sex and drugs and rock & roll. What's up with that?
Re: Michael Simmons' "Baca Goes Green" [September 38]. Wow, what an uplifting article. Other politicians take note: We can handle the truth.
Camp Hill, Pennsylvania
Send letters to the editor to: L.A. Weekly, P.O. Box 4315, L.A., CA 90078. Or fax us at (323) 465-3220. Or e-mail us at email@example.com. Letters, which must be typewritten and include a daytime telephone number for verification, may be edited for purposes of space or clarity.