Thursday, December 8, 2005
BOSSES SHOULD PAY FOR LEGAL WORKERS
Not enough Mexicans here legally…Is that what you are saying [“Not Enough Mexicans,” Dec. 1-7], that we need to let them come here, and change the world as we know it? Obviously, I totally disagree with you!
The problem is that the companies aren’t willing to pay what the workers would fight for if they were legal. The illegal Mexican is cheap labor and that is sad.
It is so hard to work in the fields—my parents, grandparents and my friends have worked in them. If you are without a high school diploma or you are illegal, the fields are the best employment you can get. And as you have seen, people aren’t going to raid the fields for illegals; they are needed.
The bosses aren’t willing to make it worthwhile to work their fields. People complain to them—complain that the prices for the product will go up if more is paid for the labor.
I understand their plight—they live by the streets of gold theory. But look how the streets have changed because we have tried to accommodate the illegals.
I have mixed feelings toward the illegal, whatever race. I just think if you paid a good wage you wouldn’t need them. —Annette Ortiz | Salinas
ARTICLE CONTAINS RACIST BIAS
American economic history is replete with the economically powerful stereotyping ethnic groups with the claim that particular ethnicities provide “superior labor.” The perpetration of this chauvinistic myth about Mexicans within last week’s piece only serves these powerful interests. And it’s patently racist.
An examination of our history also documents those in economic control threatening that prices (lettuce in this example) would sky-rocket if cheap labor was not available to do the work “that no one else will do.” Also well-documented is the purposeful failure by political and corporate leaders to address our involvement in creating a hemispheric political-economic hemorrhage in Mexico and Central America that has resulted in the migration of millions.
That is the past and present. But what about the future of the US economy and its labor force, legal and illegal? You state, as fact and without a critical voice, that the government estimates 43 percent of the new jobs that this country will need filled will require only a minimal education. As a nation we can—and will—debate, legislate and enforce the solutions for illegal immigration. We’ve done it before. And we all have our opinion on who the benefactors have been and will be. But the truth that this piece fails to “investigate” appears to be that our national economy is quickly moving lock-step into the “new world” economic order envisioned by our president’s father (and implemented by boy-Bush himself): that of the Third World. —Jim Safranek | Aromas
CITIZENS ARE BEING FORCED OUT
I am a US Citizen of Irish descent. My grandfather immigrated legally and had to go through Ellis Island and pass the requirements for immigration at that time. Life wasn’t easy for these earlier immigrants and they had to conform to the ways of this country without a lot of social programs and lobbying to help them.
The illegal immigrants from Mexico have been getting a lot of backing from the very people who are at the heart of the problem. It’s very simple. The employers wanted to make a fast buck and resented the growing demand among the good citizens who worked for them to be paid a living wage.
I picked fruit for five seasons when I was young and on the road, and a lot of what you would call hippies were actually working really hard in agriculture jobs. Well, the farmers up north started hiring more and more of the Mexicans because they could pay them half of the already low wages.
It was a boon to the farmers when the contractors came in with big groups that would clean out the orchards in a short time for less money. And then it was getting hard for the honest hardworking citizens to find the work they needed.
In Monterey County we now have securely-employed illegals bragging about how they are taking California back. In the article it looks like all the people who are telling us that we need the Mexicans are mainly Hispanic themselves and are looking out for their own.
I have been turned down for jobs that I desperately needed and watched illegals being hired instead. I was told that I would just have to accept the fact that the illegals were here to stay and that people would just have to get more job training as the labor force keeps squeezing us out. And even the threat that I would have to leave and go elsewhere to find work so that the illegals can stay! This is an outrage.
And what about the Mexican government? Are we really responsible for subsidizing their country and educating their people? Do you know that it is illegal for a US Citizen to perform any work for pay in Mexico that a Mexican could do? There is a basic hypocrisy going on here.
Either open the border both ways or stop the flow now by totally investigating and penalizing employers who still smugly hire “their Mexicans” and thumb their noses at the growing number of struggling citizens who are facing financial ruin.
Greed and corruption is the issue, not prejudice. A lot of the Mexicans are good hardworking people who want a better life. They have no intention of staying in the fields or going back to live in Mexico. They want and are getting our educational and vocational opportunities and have been building a better life in what has become a very favorable economic climate for them.
My generation of citizens has been experiencing a horrible phenomena of downward mobility and the future looks bleak indeed. We don’t even have the quality of life that our parents did. —Christine O’Brien | Monterey
WHITE PEOPLE ARE THE ONLY REAL AMERICANS
My goodness, you are joking with this article? Not enough illegal Mexicans? How about farms pay people living wages? So “white” people are willing to work.
Not to mention that illegal aliens are draining California’s resources. If you haven’t kept in touch, California is now over 50 percent Mexican. How many is enough?
Perhaps the fact that I get overlooked for a job, because I don’t speak Spanish and a person that does gets the job, albeit I live in America. Not enough Mexicans, you surely jest? I guess I should be all PC, but you know what? I don’t want to be PC; this is America. Everyone I know that saw your article was either laughing at the idiocy of it or pissed ‘cause they live in a state that is mostly Mexican.
I lived in Germany for several years and I learned their language and their culture; it’s called respect. Signs on the door there weren’t in English. How about people respect the culture they live in—but then again perhaps we should rename it Mexifornia. My two cents—oops gonna be given to free government programs. —Robyn (last name withheld) | Monterey
Editor’s Note: 1) California is not “50 percent Mexican,” as the reader states; according to the 2000 census, Mexicans make up only 12 percent of the state’s population, while only 32 percent are Latino. 2) In Germany, English is found everywhere. In fact, 47 percent of all Europeans (excluding the British) speak some English. 3) The word “California” is already Spanish.
US ECONOMY NEEDS IMMIGRANTS
I don’t claim to be an expert on immigration, but while in college I had an economics professor explain how immigration improves the appearance of the US economy. He explained that a healthy economy needed a 5 percent unemployment rate. If more than 5 percent of people were unemployed you’re in a recession, if less than 5 percent of citizens were unemployed there would be too much money floating around and it would cause inflation.
So if you have 10 million undocumented (and uncounted) people pumping money into the economy, when the bean counters in Washington add up consumer spending it looks as if the economy is booming.
If we stop all illegal immigrants from coming into the US to work we have to also subtract the taxes they pay. But that’s not all we lose, say goodbye to 10 ears of corn for $1, a basket of strawberries for $1.50, and we can’t forget the price we will begin to pay for a head of lettuce. And that’s just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Since the majority of citizens receiving Food Stamps and social services in this country are legal “white” Americans, we’re not going to save much money there.
When you stop the anti-immigration rhetoric and actually look at the issue of immigration openly and honestly the answers you are likely to find are not as simple as you might think. —Todd Hurlburt | Marina
A DROP IN THE OCEAN
After reviewing the “Sound Waves” article in the Dec. 1-7 issue, I’d like to thank the Weekly for tackling the issue. I must say, however, that while the article states, “Murray has been waging a one man war against the Navy’s use of Low Frequency Active Sonar,” there are many organizations and individuals who have become much more involved than I.
In the early days of this struggle, I did feel alone in the battle, but it didn’t take long for the California Coastal Commission and its staff to start acting on the issue. So did many large environmental organizations like the Natural Resources Defense Council, Earth Island Institute, and others. Congressman Sam Farr and the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council deserve credit as well.
In fact, our Coastal Commission is the only organization/agency that has prevented the use and testing of LFAS off California’s coastline.
I have to express my sincere gratitude to the individuals and groups that have made every effort to halt this man-made large-scale intrusion into the Earth’s oceans. I am but the tiniest part in the struggle. —Jay Murray | Carmel Valley
HEIGHTS OF HYPOCRISY
Some things don’t change. The article about the settlement of the environmental lawsuit over the Marina Heights development graphically points out the agenda and tactics of the no-growth advocates in Monterey County.
Bruce Delgado, an unsuccessful candidate for Marina mayor in 2004, clearly demonstrated by his assertions in the article a lack of integrity and the end-justifies-the-means tactics involved in lawsuits against the reuse of Fort Ord. During his campaign Delgado steadfastly maintained that he was not part of the anonymous group, Marina Citizens for Accountability in Government. Now, he admits to being part of the group.
Of course, that was obvious last Fall when his mayoral campaign wrote a $2,500 check to the attorney who filed the lawsuit in the first place. His characterization of the “real” purpose of the lawsuit being about the environmental inadequacy of the project changing after the settlement to one of “promoting smart growth and limit sprawl” must mean he was confused before, or was deliberately misleading the public. Which is it?
I agree with Councilman Morrison, it must be about the money and delay of reuse. While the settlement will positively impact some nonprofit’s ability to assist with affordable housing, who do you think pays that bill? Politics as usual is not what we need. —George Powell | Marina
MARINA DESERVES PROTECTION
Raves to Marina Citizens for Accountability in Government (MCAG). Like Rancho San Juan opponents, Marina citizens should be entitled to be a “roadblock” to out-of-control politicians and developers.
The MCAG lawsuit was settled because, even if won, the City would have just put Marina Heights back on their approval fast-track with no substantive changes to the project. But what makes the city mantra of “it was all about money” so absurd is that Marina citizens have been repeatedly shortchanged by their elected officials—the same officials who have welcomed developer dollars into their election campaign coffers.
At least citizens can take the settlement of $1.75 million to the bank instead of being taken to the cleaners by a puppet government that has systematically replaced dedicated employees with former developer contractors, something akin to hiring the fox’s cousins to watch over the hen house.
Most locals will be financially locked out of these new projects while a virtual gateway is opened for speculative buyers, both foreign and domestic, leaving Marina with haunting unoccupied homes.
If Marina allows developers to gobble up public lands for chicken feed and excrete sprawl, we will not be the envy of the Peninsula—we’ll be the consumptive scourge of the Central Coast. —Sharon Austen Attebury | Marina