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NAKED CITY, a daily news report

SEIU makes Labor Day Weekend News: Federal probe, LAX strike and the altruism of public service
One of the key elements in news judgment is proximity: Like there’s a murder on the Westside and the Times gets excited so the next thing you know every crime on the Westside is big news.
In this case the story that’s got proximity starts with the Times breaking the story of how Service Employees International Union’s biggest California local made six-figure payments to firms owned by relatives of its
president, Tyrone Freeman.
It’s a total embarrassment for the one labor leader in America who actually organizes workers, Andrew Stern, and a series of developments keep the story alive: Officers ousted, FBI investigates and today we learn Democratic Congressman George Miller blusters like he really cares and is going to do something about it.
Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for llax strike.jpgAll that makes the Labor Day weekend strike by SEIU Local 1877 at LAX more interesting. The baggage handlers, security personnel and janitors want 50 cent raise on the $10.50 an hour they earn plus health benefits from the private contractors they work for. So there’s going to be delays and confusions on the holiday weekend.
And those stories lead me to the Labor Day weekend commentary at City Watch by SEIU Local 721 leader Julie Butcher who represents the lowest-paid city workers actually has the brass to declare: “No one in public service does it for the money.”
OK, I’m as guilty as anyone of using hyperbole to make a point. I like and respect Julie but she knows better than to argue that getting a sweetheart contract from her pal the mayor and supporting his efforts to raise taxes all the time are done for altruistic reasons.
It’s like the mayor explaining his selling the city to special interests by sayiing: “Sure, I stole but I stole for you.”

School days, school days, good old broken rules days…
LAUSD Superintendent David Brewer welcomed administrators back for the start of the new school year with a reminder that they should report it when they or their staffs molest young children — something they forgot to do last year.
And he promised real changes: “Let me tell you what this is about. We have to hold ourselves accountable…This is the future of America. If we don’t solve this, we will be a second-rate nation by 2020.”

That made oft-abstaining School Board Member Julie Korenstein, who’s wavering about running for a 6th or is it 7th term, gush: “He made people comfortable and he recognized them, which is the first time I’ve seen a superintendent do that.”

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10 Responses to NAKED CITY, a daily news report

  1. Observor says:

    All those Democrats arriving from today from Denver should bring a lot of Obama buttons for the striking workers. Maybe it will help them get their luggage.

  2. Anonymous says:

    It’s worse. The government steals $10 from you, pockets $9 and gives back $1. See, you should be grateful. I gave you $1.

  3. Anonymous says:

    In addition to child molestation, Brewer also reminded administrators to report:
    – Murder. If principals suspect their teachers might be killing students, he’d like a phone call.
    – Theft. If principals arrive to find their office empty, he’d like a memo, if the administrator can borrow a laptop from a student to write it.
    – Organized Crime. Students like to copy things they see in movies like “American Gangster.” If principals notice the youngsters are dressing too well, living in mansions and appear more organized than the LAUSD, he’d like a head’s up.
    – Korenstein sightings. Brewer reminded administrators that the long time school board member sometimes wanders aimlessly around schools, scaring children with her hairdo. He said despite her appearance, she’s not dangerous and that campus police have special procedures to deal with her.

  4. Anonymous says:

    There was a great deal of hope that with the departure of Roy Romer, the situation at LAUSD would improve, and it would once again become a functioning educational institution. But, like many ships in a storm without a rudder, it appears to be running aground on a lee-shore.
    Is the LAUSD too big to succeed?

  5. Anonymous says:

    I understand a mob of delegates and reporters pinned Antonio into a corner in Denver and wouldn’t let him go until he got the strike called off. It’s one thing to nominate the first black presidential candidate. It’s another to have a problem getting your luggage at LAX.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Not to begrudge the City employee custodians who make $18 an hour plus fully paid health plan plus paid vacation, sick leave and holidays, plus a great retirement plan, but it really is hard to see those salaries against the $10.00 an hour private contractor rates you quote, and then listen to the ludicrous Butcher comment “No one in public service does it for the money.” Get real Julie–you couldn’t possibly believe that…would you work for the union if you weren’t getting a big salary, a car, retirement and other hidden benefits? C’mon.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Since when is “municipal service” the same as “public service?”
    I have the utmost respect for municipal workers. One of my closest friends over the past 30 years has put three kids through college on his salary as a city street paving supervisor. It’s hard work, he works his ass off, and takes great pride in a job well done.
    But I’ve never thought of him as a public servant. He’s a municipal employee who does an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay.
    Perhaps my definition is too narrow, but I equate “public service” with elected or appointed officials who have sacrificed something — often a more lucrative career in the private sector — in order to serve the common good.
    I don’t consider a salaryman on the public payroll — particularly a union-driven public payroll that is actually paying better than the private sector for the same job — a “public servant.” Being a public employee does not make you a public servant.
    Nor do I consider a career elected official, whose sole motivation is being re-elected to preserve his/her slot on the public teat, a “public servant.”
    In fact, that’s my biggest beef with local politics and government in Los Angeles — we have far too many “elected officials” and far too few “public servants” holding down elected office…

  8. rOBERT FOCOSI says:

    What is it, we will do about it, with Slap? ALONG, WITH EDUCATION/ IE lausd
    As Flores argued in so many words: If the public doesn’t like it, let them do something about it. (Ron Kaye is the former editor of the Daily News and the activist behind the Save LA Project. (SLAP)
    The City’s Deception Continues … Even in Court
    Prop R in Court
    By Ron Kaye

  9. Anonymous says:

    Andy Stern actually organizing workers?
    Sorry, but part of what SEIU calls “organizing” is attempting hostile takeovers of other unions that have already organized workers. They do this so they can increase the dues and send them to SEIU headquarters in Washington, DC, to promote their particular politics. What Andy Stern is really after is trying to create a Labor Party.
    Ron, if you’d been reading the web page, you would know that three or four years ago they were telling their member to all write to President
    Bush to tell him to legalize ALL the illegals. This is their political pandering to the groups they actually do organize– mostly janitors.

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