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After growing up in L.A., I got used to hearing my hometown disparaged as superficial, anti-intellectual, not a “real” city, celebrity obsessed, etc. etc. It was shocking to me that Los Angeles could be so easily dismissed by people who hadn’t even visited here and seen how great a place it really is. Even deep thinkers from Northern California looked (and still look) down on our town from the ivory towers of San Francisco and Berkeley, as if Southern California doesn’t represent the majority of the people in our state and most of its social and political energy.
And we Angelenos, rather than defend our town, have often accepted the judgment of others – that L.A. isn’t a serious place, doesn’t produce important scholarship, and is well behind the intelligence curve.
Well, if you need a boost to your hometown ego, spend some time at the Hammer Museum’s new show Made in L.A.,
Much has been said in recent months about the labor movement’s “impending decline,” with the right wing’s unrelenting attacks against collective bargaining rights in states across the country, from Arizona to Wisconsin to New Jersey. California is facing its own version of this attack with the qualification of the Paycheck Deception initiative for the November 2012 ballot that would dramatically curtail working people’s ability to participate in politics in the state.
Many people in the modern progressive movement date the beginning of these assaults to Ronald Reagan’s 1981 decision to fire 12,000 air traffic controllers after their union, PATCO, went on strike and shut down the nation’s airports. President Reagan’s decision to permanently fire (and prohibit any rehire of) all the controllers destroyed PATCO and served as the starting-pistol shot for three decades of attacks on the right to collective bargaining, that continue today.
Last week in Stockton, the United Farm Workers signed a three-year contract with Pacific Triple E Ltd., a large tomato grower-shipper based in Tracy, California. According to The Record, the agreement represents the first time the UFW has enjoyed a membership presence in San Joaquin County in more than two decades.
The Packer, an industry newsletter, described Triple E as “a family owned company” operating in Fresno, Merced, Madera, San Joaquin and Sacramento counties. The union’s Web site announcing the pact included the following message from UFW president Arturo Rodriguez:
Thank you for being there for the United Farm Workers. Your support means so much to me and the workers we are here to serve. I want to share some wonderful breaking news with you.
Yesterday, we used a contract signing ceremony in Stockton to congratulate the 800 workers at Pacific Triple E Ltd.
(The following post appeared on the blog of the International Association of Machinists — IAM.)
If the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP) is signed into law at the end of this year, the rules for international trade and the global economy will change dramatically, and not for the better.
Despite the potential for the TPP to negatively impact hundreds of thousands of American jobs, the negotiations to create the massive trade pact are being conducted in unprecedented secrecy. Access to the pact’s draft language is limited almost exclusively to a handful of government negotiators and corporate advisers.
Among those denied access to the pending terms of the trade deal was Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), chairman of the U.S. Senate Finance Subcommittee on International Trade, Customs and Global Competitiveness. Outraged, Wyden responded with a bill demanding greater transparency in the negotiations. Over 130 members of Congress also took action,
On July 3 the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA) and United Food and Commercial Workers Local 770 filed a lawsuit challenging the City of Los Angeles’ handling of Walmart’s controversial Chinatown store project.
The suit alleges that the L.A. City Department of Building and Safety failed to notify the public of its decision to issue a Notice of Exemption (NOE), which allows Walmart to move forward on its Chinatown project without environmental review. The lawsuit also asks a judge to stop construction at the store.
The plaintiffs in the lawsuit are asking a judge to find the exemption invalid and require that a new one be issued. Because the building permits are being appealed – an initial hearing is expected in August – the lawsuit argues that the exemption should not have been issued until the appeal process was exhausted.
The notice to the public of the exemption is intended to prevent the appearance of backroom deals.