Banking on Teachers
It’s amazing that in this day and age of surfeit technological advancements and incredible intelligence, bureaucratic inefficiency still manages to supersede all else [??“Will Teach for Food,” Oct. 12–18]. Though the occasional computerized malfunction is unavoidable, I find it appalling that hard-working teachers are still being incorrectly compensated for and, furthermore, being wrongfully accused of owing the L.A. school district for their much-entitled “emergency checks.” Fixing this mess should not only be a priority for the district but a demand by the public. This injustice has gone on long enough and, accident or not, must be set right immediately.
I’d like to clarify: What my wife and I stated to reporter Dave Ferrell [for the article “Will Teach for Food,” Oct. 12–18] was that my check had a “mysterious, un-itemized and unauthorized deduction of $3,973. My wife’s check had a mysterious, un-itemized and unauthorized deduction of about the same amount. Nearly $8,000 missing from our monthly budget hasn’t been easy for us.” It’s hard to imagine how press coverage of the terrible situation faced by teachers in Los Angeles could make someone feel any worse, but Mr. Ferrell’s statement that we — my wife and I — “claim to have racked up debts of over $9,900” seems charged with negative energy. We would never claim to have racked up anything; with more than half of our monthly income missing, we’ve had to utilize our savings in addition to using credit. Mr. Ferrell’s comment suggests my wife and I have been irresponsible with our finances. Something of what is so bad about this payroll SNAFU is that it’s embarrassing to explain to your friends or family that you’re going to stay at a job where your employer continues to make the same errors with the money you should be paid for services already rendered. LAUSD is banking on their teachers’ altruism. We keep coming to work because we care about the students we teach. Sometimes in spite of ourselves.
Teacher, Johnnie L. Cochran Jr. ?Middle School, Los Angeles
Thank you, L.A. Weekly, for including the band Celebrity Skin at Detour ’07. Those of us who have followed L.A. music know how special they are, and how rare it is to catch them live. Finally — good, fun music again in L.A. Even if it was for just one night.
Your reporter Linda Immediato should have thought twice before bragging that “My black wristband gained me entry to the Dunhill smokers lounge, where I had the best cigarette in my life” [“Gen Art turns 10,” Oct. 19–25]. Immediato shows she has no clue about the environmental havoc wrought by the tobacco industry.
Both Immediato and L.A. Weekly need to get hip to the times. Smoking, a very unchic, nasty, expensive and dirty affectation, not only can cause death — it also threatens the survival of the planet. I’ve got one word of advice to pass on to Immediato and her ilk. For the sake of the planet, QUIT.
William Joseph Miller
Animal Activists, Agitated
I am certain Roberto Peccei hopes that his letter [in the Sept. 28–Oct. 4 issue] correcting certain details in the story “Monkey Madness at UCLA” [Aug. 10–16] has persuaded your readers that laboratory animals are comfortable there. I, for one, struggle to understand how he and his colleagues are able to mutilate living beings, using the justification of “human health.” And I suspect that if Mr. Peccei found himself trapped in a sterile steel cage with no human contact and no environmental stimulus except painful procedures, he would not be so disdainful of the objections of “animal activists.”
L.A. Weekly has been nominated for Best Writing in the 2007 Utne Independent Press Awards. Finalists in the 19th annual contest will be announced in the January/February issue of the Utne Reader, a compendium of noteworthy articles from the alternative press. To find out more about the awards, go to www.utne.com/uipa.aspx.
“MTA’s $1 Billion Development Scheme” [Oct. 12–18] mistakenly stated that 10 of 11 Metropolitan Transportation Authority board members were prevented from voting on the NoHo Artwave project because they had taken contributions from Lowe Industries, which was subsequently awarded exclusive rights to negotiate to build the development. In fact, some of those 10 MTA board members, including Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina, were prevented from voting because they took money from Lowe’s competitors on the project, not from Lowe.