Thursday, January 22, 2004
Governator Attacks Workers
While everyone agrees that workers’ compensation costs have risen, no one asks why. Schwarzenegger simply blames lawyers, fraud, and injured workers, arguing benefits are too high. In reality, workers’ comp benefits in California are among the lowest nationwide. Premium increases are primarily due to rising healthcare costs, the stock market decline, Sept. 11, and reluctance to reduce rates despite billions in cost-saving legislation.
Injured workers’ attorney fees are state-regulated at 12- to 15-percent. And fraud is grossly overstated. While television may show memorable footage of someone alleging a work injury surfing or hand gliding, such examples are rare. According to California Workers Compensation Institute, only a fraction of one percent of all claims is even alleged to be fraudulent.
The over 100-year old contract with California workers was created as an employer protection; workers surrendered the right to sue employers for work injuries in exchange for certain guaranteed benefits such as medical treatment and disability payments. The injured worker however, almost always ends up short on the bargain, meeting insurance company resistance at every step. And now the governor proposes removing more injured worker protections such as doctor choice, delighting insurance companies who contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to Schwarzenegger.
Dirk Stemerman | Monterey
Gun Lobby Attacks
Even if you believe that freedom is meaningless unless you are armed, you should still support gun control. And you should tell Congress to defend our nation’s gun laws, which are under attack by the gun lobby. The Assault Weapons Ban, for example, is set to expire. It bans military assault weapons. It has no impact on responsible gun owners or hunters. Yet the gun lobby is campaigning to let the law expire.
Gun control does not ban all guns. It just makes it harder for criminals to get them and easier for law enforcement officials to find criminals who use guns.
Talma Taormina | Pacific Grove
Bush Attacks 1st Amendment
It’s a free country, or is it? President Bush has allowed the Secret Service to order police to set up “designated free speech zones” and “protest zones” when he speaks at political events around the country. People carrying signs of protest outside of designated zones are being arrested. I am beginning to question how free this country actually is.
I grew up in Franco’s Spain and have lived and worked in the People’s Republic of China. I am no stranger to totalitarian regimes. The people of this country have become too complacent in their right to free speech as they have in their right to vote. Wake up America, that smell coming from the White House sure as hell ain’t coffee.
Helen Ogden | Pacific Grove
Lions Attack Humans
The recent killing of the mountain lion in Southern California has outraged and sickened me. The creature was doing what comes naturally and we killed it.
A mountain lion is an immense killing machine, not a sentient being with tired and outdated ideas of “morality” rolling around in its head.
Here’s an idea, idiots, if you don’t want to get eaten by huge, carnivorous cats, stay out of the woods. Seriously, what the hell is wrong with people?
Andrew J Wallace | Carmel Valley