A recent weekend became a lesson in the new global economy. For two days I emptied out much of the accumulated “stuff” from my garage – dishes, pots and pans that my kids used in their student days; excess furniture; framed posters, old clothes and much more. Some of it went to the Salvation Army, while I took broken things to a recycling center. Obviously I had too many possessions.
On a Saturday afternoon I ventured to Costco for the first time in 10 years. Hundreds of shoppers were busy filling their super-sized carts with large quantities of…..well…everything. Household supplies, bulk food, cleaning fluids, soda, clothing, electronics, furniture. But in quantities you never dreamed you needed (and probably don’t) and for amazingly low per-unit prices. Most of the manufactured goods seemed to come from China.
That Sunday night I rented Last Train Home,
In 1985, my parents began their journey from the rural mountains of Honduras to the United States of America—the land of opportunity. They endured six months of starvation, loneliness and fear of la migra in order to realize their own American dream of stability and prosperity.
My parents took their first job opportunities the moment they came their way — when they did not understand English, had only a Honduran elementary education and needed a source of income fast. My dad became a full-time auto mechanic and my mom a part-time waitress. Although both jobs paid relatively low, had no benefits and called for exhaustingly long hours, my parents continued to keep their heads high and managed to provide the basic necessities for my siblings and myself.
As a first-generation Honduran-American living in Northeast Los Angeles, I am constantly reminded of the struggles and injustices workers face daily. I see discrimination,
I have been a member of the L.A. Community Redevelopment Agency board of commissioners for nine years. That means I’m one of seven decision-makers overseeing the work of the city’s multimillion dollar economic development agency. All of my experience from those nine years can be summarized in the answer to one question: What is a “good deal?”
When is the investment of scarce taxpayer dollars in private development projects a good idea? I know that the answer for some is “never.” That is not – and has never — been my view, (which is why I have been derided by some as a “redevelopment thug.” Fundamentally, the question of the investment worthiness of private economic development projects is one about good government, and how our government should interact with the private market.
I bring this up now because public subsidies to private industry were in the news again recently.
Editor’s Note: The Press-Telegram holds an annual awards ceremony, “Amazing Women of Long Beach.” This year, the newspaper chose to host the event at the worker-boycotted Hilton Long Beach. Responding to their choice to hold the event there, the Long Beach Coalition for Good Jobs and a Healthy Community chose to host a simultaneous event outside the hotel honoring “Inspiring Activist Women of Long Beach.” Some of the activist honorees were slated to receive an award from the Press-Telegram inside the hotel but declined – choosing to support the boycott instead. Daleth Caspeta – a Dream Act Activist and honoree – shares her experience with The Frying Pan.
“When the Nazis came for the communists, I remained silent; I was not a communist. When they locked up the social democrats, I remained silent; I was not a social democrat. When they came for the trade unionists,
Reading the L.A. Business Journal recently, I was a bit taken aback to see a Page Three piece from Charles Crumpley describing a recent trade mission by local business leaders.
These are common, of course, but their destination wasn’t. Apparently long-time LAANE and labor antagonist Carol Schatz and Chamber of Commerce head Gary Toebben took a trip to Cuba. Not only that, Schatz was a key organizer of the event.
Perhaps more shockingly, this was not her first trip. Indeed, she went back in 2003, when she was the wife of Noam Chomsky.
Okay, maybe that’s a different person, though if memory serves (and as time marches on, it does less and less), Carol’s something of a “red-diaper baby. “
Still, I’ve long wondered about the sanity of many of my friends who visit Cuba looking for inspiration.