Supporters say the legislation would protect farmworkers from employer intimidation.
The state risks health and highway funding if it doesn’t pass regulations on oil and gas pollution.
The South Coast air district is investigating dozens of complaints about toxic emissions seen in the ‘shocking’ footage.
If baseball is America’s pastime, unions are Hollywood’s. Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully symbolized both.
School districts are struggling to address the ‘homework gap’ faced by students without adequate web access.
But where they don’t, millions of workers are stuck at the record-low federal floor.
As the migrant population swells in Northern Mexico, expectant mothers there are being denied care and falling prey to horrific violence, according to our two-year investigation. (In partnership with Rolling Stone)
A new California initiative may make a real difference in reducing the mountain of plastic refuse.
If the Legislature does not approve the bill by Thursday, a similar initiative will proceed to the November ballot.
Part One of a two-part interview
I stole DeMaurice Smith. That is, I grabbed 20 minutes with the executive director of the NFL Players Association, between poses in front of the step-and-repeat and shaking hands with enthusiastic dinner guests. Smith and the association were honorees at the December 8, LAANE City of Justice Awards Dinner, along with Culture Clash and the main guest of honor, Madeline Janis, at the Beverly Hilton. Later, Smith gave a rousing speech to a packed ballroom without looking at a single note. Just sayin’.
I wanted to know more about the guy I saw on TV during the first half of 2011 who brought all of the football players into a huddle — not to call out plays on the field, but to talk organizing strategy and give pep talks on contract negotiations.
It’s just not fair. For years, business and civic leaders have been telling public officials like me to “run government like a business.” Recruit top-flight executives who know how to get things done. Spend what’s necessary at the “top” so that the over-arching goals of the enterprise can be achieved. Get rid of all of that unnecessary bureaucratic “process” that just slows things down. Make the “deals” happen and get on with the business of government.
Unfortunately, when we do just that, we get slammed. In fact, an outside observer might point out that all of this emphasis on running government like a business is just a trap for the poor unsuspecting schlubs (a.k.a., government officials) who are just trying to do what they’re told.
Case in point is the situation at the Housing Authority of the City of L.A., responsible for all public housing in L.A.
Here’s an issue custom made for the Occupy movement: the billions of dollars spent every year by local and state government on tax breaks and subsidies meant to attract businesses. Occupiers outraged about bank bailouts should check out the new study, Money for Something, by Good Jobs First, which finds that government largesse often comes with no strings attached in terms of job creation or job quality.
The report seems to have struck a chord with a newly responsive press, which has been given license by the Occupy movement to, however belatedly, shine a spotlight on the myriad ways in which corporate America has rigged our political system to their advantage. Check out the excellent New York Times piece on this important expose.
T’is the season of the full mailbox. Every day when I pick up our mail, the box is stuffed with requests for donations. My wife Susan and I get them from everyone – from CARE to the Salvation Army to cancer research to the Red Cross. We get them just like you do because this is the time of year when people think about giving to others – and tax deductions only count if you make that donation before December 31.
Poring over some demographic materials a few years back, I realized that Susan and I are among the top three percent of givers in Southern California. I couldn’t believe my eyes. How could a low-paid Methodist minister give away enough money each year to be in the upper echelon of generosity? Especially with all the wealth in Los Angeles.
Turns out, it wasn’t hard at all. We practice the ancient religious tradition of tithing – we give away 10% of our income.
People often get pretty touchy this time of year. Maybe it’s having to go to the mall. Maybe it’s the stress of dealing with family. Maybe it’s thinking about all those broken resolutions from a year ago. But whatever the reason, Americans tend to lash out at each other more than usual.
A perennial complaint has to do with the so-called “War on Christmas.” Showing that my own people don’t have a monopoly on a persecution complex, some Christian groups are very quick to declare themselves under attack. And to be sure, our on-again-off-again national flirtation with inclusivity does lead many people to say things like “Happy Holidays.” (I know, how hateful!)
Many of these groups and individuals base their indignation on the “fact” that this is a Christian nation. Of course, we are not a Christian nation, though the Judeo-Christian tradition informed many of our earliest values and laws.
(Editor’s Note: In the holiday spirit we present this enlightening poem — with a tip of the hat to Dr. Seuss. Please click on the link for the stanza layout.)
All the Las
Down in La-ville
Liked Christmas a lot…
But the Snitch,
Who lived just North of La-ville,
The Snitch hated Christmas! The whole Christmas season!
Now please don’t ask why, ‘cause we all know the reason.
What made that old Snitch-man so mean and so sour
Was the way all the Las used up holiday power.
They used it on parties. They used it on shows.
They used it to light up a young reindeer’s nose.
But what made the old Snitch really put up a fight
Was the excess they used on their holiday light.
How he hated the blinking!
(Editor’s note: This letter first appeared on cleanandsafeports.org, coinciding with yesterday’s protests organized by the Occupy movement at ports up and down the West Coast.)
We are the front-line workers who haul container rigs full of imported and exported goods to and from the docks and warehouses every day.
We have been elected by committees of our co-workers at the Ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, Oakland, Seattle, Tacoma, New York and New Jersey to tell our collective story. We have accepted the honor to speak up for our brothers and sisters about our working conditions despite the risk of retaliation we face. One of us is a mother, the rest of us fathers. Between the five of us we have 11children and one more baby on the way. We have a combined 46 years of experience driving cargo from our shores for America’s stores.
For some time Merle Haggard’s lyrics about vanishing jobs and workmanship have seemed more like a lament than the pep talk they were intended to be:
I wish a Ford and a Chevy
Would still last 10 years
Like they should . . .
When a man could still work, still would.
And are the good times really over for good?
Even with some signs that industry is making a timid return to America, organized labor is struggling to influence political events. The Frying Pan spoke about this on December 8 with UNITE HERE president John Wilhelm, shortly before he introduced honoree DeMaurice Smith, head of the NFL Players Association, at LAANE’s City of Justice Awards Dinner at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.
Wilhelm, whose union represents hospitality workers across North America,
The Australian woman with the large framed glasses signaled me to come over to her table, where her husband and she were having a difficult time understanding the check. It’s a conversation I’ve had many times with our overseas guests at the RH restaurant inside the Andaz Hyatt Hotel on Sunset, where I work as a waiter.
“No, Ma’am, a server’s gratuity is not included in the check.” I told her.
She looked at her husband and blushed. They had been at the Andaz for a week. They had eaten in the restaurant at night a handful of times, but they hadn’t tipped their servers anything. They were embarrassed. I was embarrassed. It’s an odd thing to guide someone on how to pay you.
Of course as an employee, I’m never allowed to tell a customer what to tip. That is an offense that I would likely get fired or disciplined for,
Criticized for focusing more on what it is against than what it is for, the Occupy Wall Street movement has now found an organizing issue it can embrace. Perhaps because so many Occupiers have recently been evicted from their encampments in cities across the country, they have found common cause with the growing number of American families facing foreclosure. Last week, after the Los Angeles Police Department evicted Occupy LA from the park outside City Hall, Mario Brito, one of the group’s lead organizers, said that the movement’s activists would begin to set up occupations at the homes and country clubs of major bank executives reside and to work with other groups to protest the growing wave of foreclosures.
More and more homeowners facing wrongful foreclosure evictions are taking a bold stand by resisting banks’ unfair actions. They are deciding to stay in their homes and fight. When the banks or sheriffs come knocking on their doors,