It’s late, so the late
Karen Carpenter comes off
the radio at 1 a.m. The diners
complain; she’s passé, she’s so
post-mortem. You see,
it’s Night of the Living.
Outside the sirens rise up
and home in. Now I’m upstairs
asleep, lost to this din,
but downstairs the Usuals
stake out a square
of linoleum, sit down and
Like the jailed I bet
they get the same damn thing.
They sip the rim. I bet
at this hour the donuts
lie face up, half
human. The walls are glass
there, so those guys can see
the fix they’re in: a block
of illegally parked cars,
after the long day’s hustle, Papa returned
home waving fistfuls of Tootsie Rolls, wolfed down
his supper, changed from his suit into his long-sleeved
gray coveralls or blue cotton smock and slid out of
silky stockings and Italian leather loafers into white
cotton socks and well-scuffed All-American work shoes
for his night shift scrubbing and waxing corporation floors
we missed his loud full laughter
around the television and what company we had
wasn’t as interesting as the visitors
who came through when he hung around home
but we trusted Papa was doing his best
to become “healthy, wealthy and wise”
without shame over shameful wages—enough
indian head nickels to finance a scheme
(the men he worked graveyard with
always became buddies
and no matter whose car broke down,
California’s controversial $700 million enterprise zone program has long been shrouded in secrecy. But now Frying Pan News has obtained documents showing that the Rancho Cordova strip club Gold Club Centerfolds has been approved for enterprise zone tax credits. The documents show that the gentlemen’s club has received credits worth up to $37,440 apiece for nine employees — sales associates, door hosts and security officers — who are paid from $8 to $9.25 an hour.
The documents reflect only a portion of all approvals for Gold Club Centerfolds. The approvals were granted by Sacramento’s enterprise zone manager and came in 2011. The documents were obtained by the California Labor Federation under a public records request. The labor federation also requested records to see if another Rancho Cordova strip club, Déjà Vu Showgirls, has similarly been approved for tax credits,
John Thomas and Hans Burkhardt have a lot in common. For more than 17 years each man had a good paying union job, with health and pension benefits, near San Francisco Bay. Thomas worked as a warehouseman for VWR International, a medical supply company with a warehouse in Brisbane, south of Candlestick Park. Burkhardt also worked as a warehouseman, for BlueLinx, a building products company with a facility across the bay in Newark.
The similarities don’t end there. Both Thomas and Burkhardt are now collecting unemployment, having lost their $22-an-hour jobs after their employers moved to take advantage of California’s enterprise zone plan, a controversial state program that is supposed to create jobs.
The enterprise program, established in 1984, provides $700 million in tax breaks for companies that set up business or move to one of 40 zones within the state.
For five years a chorus of voices has been predicting bankruptcy for Los Angeles, while often calling for deeper cuts to city employee pensions. Today, however, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa proposed a budget for Fiscal Year 2013-2014 that includes a one-time surplus of $119 million. While some of that surplus would rely on additional pay and benefit reductions for city workers, even without such cuts the city would have a projected surplus of close to $100 million.
“It’s better than seeing the light at the end of the tunnel – we’re almost out of the tunnel!” Matt Szabo, Mayor Villaraigosa’s deputy chief of staff, told Frying Pan News in an interview last week. Szabo discussed the city’s financial picture and said that dire financial warnings have been largely overblown.
“One of the issues that’s highly irritating is the ease with which some people have thrown around the bankruptcy term,” Szabo said.