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Gary Webb's Death and Big Labor's Losses: Readers Weigh In

Gary Webb's Death and Big Labor's Losses: Readers Weigh In

They Shot the Messenger

Nick Schou's story about ex–L.A. Times writer Jesse Katz apologizing for his paper's "tawdry" attacks on journalist Gary Webb was last week's most read story ("Gary Webb's Nemesis Is Sorry").

Shinkman writes, "The Gary Webb episode was perhaps the most disgraceful in the L.A. Times' history. Jesse Katz's 'reporting' should have been on South Los Angeles, but instead it was focused on discrediting a professional colleague. ... One could argue Katz got his comeuppance, with his thoroughly vanilla local reporting for Los Angeles competing with 'Cheap Eats' and the other crap they run to attract readers. But until Katz is disgraced, unable to make a living in his profession and wondering whether it's worth greeting the next day for the remainder of his existence, the karmic payback will never be enough."

Labor Fights Back

Gene Maddaus' May 31 story about the mayor's race ("With Friends Like These") drew a blistering response from Maria Elena Durazo, executive secretary-treasurer of the L.A. County Federation of Labor. Despite its length, we're printing almost all of it, mainly because Durazo appears to be having so much fun — even if she is under the (misguided) impression that journalists can afford "skinny lattes."

She writes, "It's not surprising that the L.A. Weekly is quick to proclaim this a crushing defeat for 'Big Labor.' To the ultra-libertarian and ever-so-cynical L.A. Weekly, the labor movement is just one more institution to be mocked, scorned and ridiculed.

"Get ready for a news flash — we know what it's like to lose because many of the people we fight for lose every single day. I'm talking about the 800,000 full-time workers in L.A. County, 28 percent of the population, who work full-time yet are paid poverty wages. That's more stinging to us, and it should be to you to, than any election ever will be. Maybe you'll put a crack investigative reporter on that one day.

"As for those workers who are fortunate enough to be represented by a union — we're proud they're part of the middle class. That's where every working person deserves to be. After a hard day of work, men and women should get a fair day of pay. Just so we are abundantly clear, that includes those men and women represented by IBEW 18, who work for the Department of Water and Power, too.

"Next big windstorm when the power goes out and you're comfortably sipping a skinny latte at Intelligentsia, IBEW linemen will be climbing power poles, handling 750,000 volts of electricity in order to restore your power."

Corrections

In our May 24 story "Have Baggage, Will Travel," we incorrectly said L.A.'s mayor is the highest paid in the nation. San Francisco's Ed Lee is paid more. And last week's "The Bard of Malibu" gave the wrong location for Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing shoot. It was filmed at Whedon's house in Santa Monica. We regret the errors.

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