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TRADE STANDARDS

I have long admired your weekly and appreciate your endorsement in several
of my races for Congress. You are, of course, entitled to disagree with my votes,
but in “A Rich Defection”
[August 2–8]
John Seeley overlooks some pertinent history and misstates
some facts.

My recent vote for Trade Promotion Authority was a tough one for me. Your
article fails to state that TPA was strongly supported by former President Bill
Clinton, whose administration urged its renewal when it expired in 1994. I voted
for TPA in 1997, but opposed the House bill last December because the Bush administration
refused to include generous trade-adjustment benefits for displaced workers.
In contrast, the House-Senate agreement I supported on July 27 includes $1 billion
per year in retraining, wage assistance and health care for an expanded group
of workers displaced by trade — the largest-ever improvement in trade assistance,
nearly tripling the current program.

Your article also fails to note that I opposed NAFTA when considered by Congress
in 1993 in an up-or-down vote (TPA was then in effect). I felt then, and still
do, that NAFTA was unfair to U.S. and Mexican workers, and I stood up to enormous
pressure from my own party.

The article hints that my “defection” on TPA was intended to help Harman International,
the firm my husband founded and still leads, in its effort to “move” jobs to
Mexico. First, why would I have opposed NAFTA if I wanted to help move jobs
to Mexico? Second, Harman International has acquired several companies in Mexico
(in Juarez and Tijuana) in order to meet Mexican domestic-content requirements,
but at the same time, has increased manufacturing and service jobs in the U.S.

Regarding environmental and labor standards, the article quotes an uninformed
representative of Ralph Nader’s group. In fact, TPA fully adopts the standards
in the U.S.-Jordan Trade Agreement, where both parties agreed not to degrade
existing labor and environmental standards and to strive for the labor standards
articulated by the International Labor Organization and for similar improvements
in environmental protection. TPA makes it clear that Jordan is the model for
every free-trade agreement that we negotiate — a big step forward.

Lastly, the article ignores the realities of the trade-dependent district
I represent where LAX and the Port of Los Angeles are huge economic multipliers.
The Port of Los Angeles and neighboring Port of Long Beach moved $175 billion
worth of cargo last year and accounted for 500,000 trade-related jobs in the
region, including many union jobs. The Los Angeles Customs District is the nation’s
second largest, based on the value of two-way trade. In 2001, this totaled $212.5
billion, compared with $214.1 billion of the first place New York. Thus, I see
firsthand in my district the thousands of good American jobs — including union
jobs — made possible by access to foreign markets.

My goal is to help more Americans qualify for the jobs of the future — reclaiming
sectors of manufacturing as a dominant American activity, while incorporating
21st-century technology to assure we are competitive. This can only happen if
America participates in global trade rather than shuns it.

—Jane Harman
U.S. Representative
36th District, California

 

A LOUDER SHADE
OF GREEN

Micah L. Sifry’s piece on the Green Party’s failure to capitalize on the current
state of corporate scandal [“Too
Green for a Golden Opportunity,” July 26–August 1]
is a bit unfair. The
mainstream media simply don’t want to promote the fact that Nader’s campaign
platform is being exposed as prophetic, or that the Green Party has emerged
from 2000 as a stronger political force.

Sifry is right. Much more can be done, and I hope Peter Camejo took heed from
the column. The Greens should be louder, prouder and bolder. A true grassroots
party shouldn’t have to play by the corporate media’s rules to get noticed.
However, that doesn’t mean that the mainstream press doesn’t have a responsibility
to provide meaningful and objective coverage of the Green Party — and they happen
to be failing miserably in their duty.

—Eli Beckerman
Somerville, Massachusetts

WIFE-BEATERS AND
VOTE-GETTERS

The article “A
Platter of Prejudice” by Marc B. Haefele [August 2–8]
basically says everyone
has to agree with his dictums or else they’re evil racists. This is an example
of the “Since when have you stopped beating your wife?” school of discussion.
Meanwhile, a key fact about astronomer Ben Zuckerman gets â omitted. Ben Zuckerman
just got elected to the Sierra Club board of directors, and got the largest
number of votes in the election. And Sierrans for U.S. Population Stabilization
(SUSPS), the Sierra Club faction that Ben Zuckerman belongs to, just got 46
percent of the votes in a club referendum they promoted, so it’s hardly a “rogue
faction.” It’s hard to believe that 46 percent of the members of the Sierra
Club are racists, and it’s unprofessional to make these kinds of charges.

The fact is that Los Angeles and California are crowded places as they are.
Unlimited immigration means packing more cars onto freeways and surface streets,
and driving up housing prices. Traffic will just get worse and worse if unlimited
immigration continues. Unlimited immigration also means that many workers won’t
be able to escape poverty, since employers can always bring in foreign labor
to do their jobs cheaper. And it means that workers over 50 will be toast as
corporations bring in younger foreign workers to replace them.

Restricting immigration is good public policy, not wife beating, or racism,
or whatever it is that Marc Haefele alleges.

—Richard Koris
Los Angeles

 

A FEMALE VOICE

Re: “Sweet ’n’
Nasty” [August 2–8]
. What a shock to find Tony Mostrom’s misogynistic drivel
in the same issue of the Weekly that decries racism (Marc B. Haefele)
and homophobia (Christopher Lisotta). A primary subject of his article, Janet
Klein, is a woman he describes as both an “enthusiastic collector of vintage
obscurities” and a musical “archaeologist,” yet aside from the “fresh-faced,
pixieish” coffee-shop cutie he catches discussing Brunswick’s 6,000 recording
series, he swears he’ll never hear such musical obsessions “uttered by a female
voice.”

Obviously, Mostrom is both journalistically confused and lodged in the past.
Hey, Tony, last I heard, women could play sports and be into math and science,
too.

—Heather Mitchell
Los Angeles

 

ABOUT FACE!

How Ella Taylor
[in “Lost and Found,” August 2–8]
can find anything to praise in Steven
Soderbergh’s patronizing Full Frontal is astonishing. One can only cringe
at the smug arrogance of Soderbergh, Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt et al. pretending
to make a “bare-bones indie.” What a lark! It’s right up there with Marie Antoinette
and her cronies cavorting as French peasants at Versailles. And they didn’t
charge the public $9 to watch them.

Taylor plays right into the filmmaker’s conceit. It’s a pity she was unwilling
to see Full Frontal for what it really is — a pointless exercise in futility
by a bunch of bored egomaniacs wanking directly into the camera.

—Jane Garcia
Los Angeles

CORRECTIONS

Last week’s feature “A
Tough Guy’s Tears”
refers to Frank Sinatra’s “blistering letter to the editor
dressing down the Pope for criticizing Sinead O’Connor”; it was, of course,
O’Connor who had criticized the Pope. Also, the photo captions in last week’s
Where To Eat Now got switched. The first image depicted Andre Guerrero of Max
Restaurant and the second, a course at the restaurant Pho Bac Huynh.