Thursday, August 3, 2006
‘BIG AG’ DOESN’T CARE ABOUT WORKERS
In your front page story “Robofarm” [July 27] I found it ironic that a large number of illegal permanent and seasonal farmworkers in the Central Coast will be displaced not by US immigration laws that would penalize both corporate agri-business and the undocumented individual, but by labor-saving agro-technology.
Just as Big Ag could care less about the local municipal impacts of housing the thousands of illegals they hire for fieldwork, likewise we find local agri-business operations concerned with lowering the costs of production via technology, and to hell with the expendable worker.
I don’t believe that these illegal displaced ag-workers should be applauded for their efforts to break the law in search of a farm wage—or simply seek alternative non-ag jobs. I do think the unregulated hiring of the undocumented by agri-business, even for the smaller supply of farmworkers that will be needed, will remain parasitic.
This is essentially a silent crime by both parties. How about some identification technology to solve that problem? —Jim Safranek | Aromas
MAYNIER: HEAT AT THE TRACK
I was happy for Nicky and America. I was sad that Rossi DNF’ed. The season has suffered as a result, but this is sport. Nothing works out as you think or wish.
For the two nights before the race, Kenny [Roberts] Jr. was coming up to our campsite because his family was camping nearby. He was charming and personable without a hint of ego. I would have been just as happy if he won. Or any of the other people who did nothing but try to win. These guys are all heroes to me.
As a side note, Monterey County was both a winner and a loser this weekend. Except for the debacle at the end of the weekend, the traffic problems from last year were almost non-existent. Well done, Monterey. On the other hand, on Saturday they turned off the water to all the campsites and all the drinking fountains in the middle of 104 degree heat and were gleefully selling pints of water for $4. Beer was $8! When people started passing out and panic was about to erupt, they cynically reduced the price. It was shameful.
I didn’t suffer because I was ensconced in a campsite that overlooked turn five, which was well supplied. These people had a plan going into it and I was grateful.
From my lofty perch on the hill, I watched as every 10th vehicle passing by was a police vehicle and they seemed intent on doing nothing but harrassing everyone in order to skim some bucks. The only time I’ve seen more cops in one place was during the anti-war protests in the city.
Nobody was complaining about noise or anything else, but the police felt it was incumbent that we were all in bed by midnight. Otherwise we would go to jail. I don’t know how else to say it, but the police presence was overwhelming, intrusive, and wholly unwarranted.
The people I was with were, for the most part, professional, courteous, and not in any way as deranged as me. They were the kind of people that if I had begun making a spectacle of myself, would have hog-tied me and covered my mouth in duct tape of their own accord. Nobody was misbehaving this weekend except the police. —John Maynier | San Francisco
The letter-writer wrote the pre-MotoGP cover story, “American Idol,” for the Weekly of July 20.
MAYNIER: GUY’S TOO GOOD
I wanted to thank you guys for including the Red Bull-sponsored MotoGP race in your article lineup; this was an important event for two-wheel racing fans. Moreover, a long-time complaint of race fans has been little or no visibility in the media, both print and TV. In Maynier’s prelude to the event, he seemed to be trying to pack a “bang,” which if you read articles from the likes of the MotoGP coverage immortal Michael Scott, is not necessary to captivate a devoted racing audience.
Not to beat up on Maynier, though. He certainly put some effort into this article. Regardless of anything else, he was detailed and very on point, offering the benefit of historical context as well. Kudos to both him and MCW.
Thanks again, and I hope to see more great coverage in 2007. –John W. Brown | Monterey
MAYNIER: COOLER THAN MY BOYFRIEND
I recently returned from five days in Monterey for the MotoGP pilgrimage. Being busy all weekend, I just now sat down and read John Maynier’s wonderful article on MotoGP [“American Idol,” July 20]. First, I am green with envy reading about the writer’s (all expenses paid?) trip to Catalunya. What a lucky guy!
I have a sort of obsession with motorcycling and racing. I have been riding motorcycles and watching races for only two years. I’m hooked.
Last year, I watched with pity as I saw many young ladies attending the event with their boyfriends, looking as if they’d rather be anywhere else but there. This year, I dragged my boyfriend with me to Monterey. He went with “an open mind and a willing spirit,” planning to try and enjoy himself. He rides, but is not “passionate” about it, as he says I am. He liked it, despite the heat, and said he might go again next year.
He had lots of questions about the evolution of the sport, rules, bikes and riders. Maynier’s article—a great read—gave such a concise background on the recent history of the sport, explaining how the riders got to be in MotoGP; I will have my boyfriend read it, so he can have many of his questions answered.
Reading Maynier’s article, I could identify with so many of his emotions and thoughts. He captured the spirit of the sport and did a great job of addressing the difference between motorcycle racing and the mania of Nascar. I wholeheartedly agree with his observation that “our” racers are sadly overlooked here in our own country. They deserve much more recognition.
Many motorcycle racing fans cringe at calling Nascar a “race.” I always tell Nascar fans to watch a motorcycle race if they want to see real excitement and competition. Hopefully, ABC’s airing of the MotoGP will increase the recognition of the sport.
Thanks John, for saying what so many of us think! You did a great job. –Shelly Brady | Atascadero
Note: As far as we know, Maynier paid his own way to Catalunya, a reminder that the word “fan” is derived from “fanatic.”
PIRATES: COOLER THAN PRIESTS AND SOLDIERS
Your article [“The Pirates of Monterey,” July 13] by Jessica Lyons, inspired me to go out and get the book, The Burning of Monterey, by Peter Uhrowczik. I’m an avid history buff and do enjoy the movies whenever I can get away. Now I am convinced that truth is more entertaining than fiction.
Pirates of the Caribbean is good as entertainment, but we know that it was Hollywood. Hipolyte Bouchard is real!
All we ever hear about is Father Serra and Commodore Sloat around here, but the adventure story is about pirates in Monterey. Thanks for picking up the fact that Bouchard’s letter of marque expired before he reached Monterey, so he was not a privateer. My lawyer friends love that distinction.
I couldn’t put down Ms. Lyons article and I couldn’t put down Uhrowczik’s book, The Burning of Monterey. My husband got frozen pizza for dinner a couple of times, but I got entertained and educated. Thanks for bringing this fascinating aspect of our history to our attention. –Edie A. McDonald | Carmel