Sexism or just an expression?
Re "Debate goes from pork to pigs," Sept. 10
I entered the business world in 1969, and I know all there is to know about sexism. Sexism is asking for a raise and being told, "You're making good money for a woman." Sexism is quitting a job and finding out that a man was hired to replace you at twice the salary. Sexism is being asked if you will be able to handle an executive job if you have children.
The expression "You can put lipstick on a pig and it will still be a pig" is an old cliche, one that my grandmother used. In fact, John McCain used this same expression during the primaries in referring to Hillary Clinton's healthcare plan. It's OK for him to use the cliche, but it is sexist if Barack Obama uses it?
Calling this expression sexist diminishes the real sexism women have suffered over the years and still suffer. McCain, shame on you.
La Cañada Flintridge
For Obama to claim that he was not referring to Sarah Palin when he made his "lipstick on a pig" remark is an insult to the intelligence of the American people. My two teenagers even recognized the reference.
And even if we were to grant Obama a pass and attribute his comment to an innocent remark, it remains an indictment of his political acumen and intelligence. If he could not foresee that his comment would be construed as a reference to Palin, he has no business being president and dealing with dangerous world leaders.
Since Palin has referred to herself as both a dog (a pit bull) and a fish (a barracuda), and the cretins in the GOP apparently don't understand anything contextually, maybe they could give us a list of animals that are acceptable so we can continue to talk about issues in terms they accept and understand.
Palin is not a princess protected from the perils of presidential politics. Given her propensity for pressuring political pals to provide pork-barrel projects that profit her city and state, it should not puzzle people that the Republican Party gets in a pother over any pronouncement pertaining to porcine products.
Personally, I prefer to proceed to the point and proclaim that putting lipstick on pork barrel produces a pig in a barrel with lipstick.
But it is still a pig.
Locals need independence
Re "The SEIU responds," Opinion, Sept. 8
Andy Stern is missing the point when he calls on every SEIU local in the country to adopt a code of ethics. What he should do instead is empower executive boards at SEIU locals by allowing members to elect truly independent executive boards.
Most local presidents handpick their executive boards, which then become rubber stamps. This makes a mockery of unions being democratic institutions.
It appears that this was the problem with these locals. Independent executive boards with real power are desperately needed to end this corruption.
In addition, the allegedly corrupt officers should be criminally prosecuted. Merely reimbursing the money will not do.
Mr. Stern, get serious about rooting out corruption at these locals. Your members deserve no less.
I have been an SEIU Local 347 member for about 19 years, and I am very puzzled by brother Andy Stern's attempt at addressing corruption and ethical lapses in the union. Selecting local leaders, instead of electing local leaders, is what got us into this mess in the first place.
"Selecting" even more people is not the answer. The answer is called union democracy. As in: open, honest and fair elections, free from rigging, interference and bias funding.
I am particularly dismayed that brother Stern would keep trying to go after democratically operated United Healthcare Workers-West while his "selected" leaders damage the whole American labor movement, right under his nose. What would have happened if the media had not investigated and uncovered these alleged misdeeds?
Until we know just how far up this lack of integrity goes, any investigation by any "selected" commission should not be directed away from higher SEIU officials, but should go wherever the facts and evidence lead. Period.
Steward, SEIU Local 347
Better than a recall
Re "Schwarzenegger could play the recall card too," Opinion, Sept. 9
Rather than adhering to Joe Mathews' profligate and gamy plan for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to court the recall effort threatened by the prison guards union, the movie-star-turned-pol could make the most of his lame-duck years in office by advocating the reinstatement of the so-called car tax. It would go a long way toward easing the state's budget crisis.
Does the former body-builder have the political muscle and intestinal fortitude to take such a stance? Past performances would suggest not.
Mathews makes a good case for Schwarzenegger to "embrace" a recall petition.
I suggest that the governor raise the stakes: call for a state constitutional convention to completely rewrite California's pathetically inadequate Constitution.
The only way to resolve the chronic deadlock is a wholesale restructuring of the legislative process -- a new Constitution.
Re "L.A. approves controversial signage," Sept. 11
The city of Los Angeles is about to enter into an exclusive electronic billboard agreement with Anschutz Entertainment Group requiring that 25% of the advertising time promote events at the venues (the Convention Center, Staples Center and L.A. Live); 25% is to be used for official sponsors at AEG facilities (soft-drink companies and convention exhibitors) while the remaining 50% of the time is to be sold to commercial advertisers.
What's missing from this picture? Virtually no time -- less than 15 minutes out of a 24-hour day -- is required to be dedicated to public service announcements or community service, despite the fact that City Council members, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and many other city leaders have weighed in on the issue.
AIDS Healthcare Foundation
This decision by our City Council is very disappointing but not surprising. I was going to congratulate Bill Rosendahl for casting the lone dissenting vote on this signage deal until I read The Times' article.
Unfortunately, Rosendahl opposed this deal because he felt that the city could have made a better deal if it had opened the bidding to other billboard companies. He did not act out of concern for the ambience of Los Angeles.
Clearly, none of the council members who voted on this issue are concerned about the visual blight caused by massive outdoor advertising.
Re "L.A.'s billboard blight," Sept. 10
I applaud Dennis Hathaway's Op-Ed article on billboard blight, but he doesn't go far enough.
In addition to the big stationary billboards, our city is also being invaded by the smaller mobile billboards that are mounted on trailers and parked on streets -- including in residential areas -- for indefinite periods, in violation of city parking ordinances.
I cringe every morning when I have to drive past these signs that are junking up my neighborhood.
Hail the original
Re "Wanna buy some knockoff jeans?," Column One,
What is real and what is an imitation?
How ironic that you are giving all this attention to brands such as True Religion, Joe's Jeans and Antik Denim lamenting the encroachment of phonies into their high profit margins, when in fact these brands are marketing nothing but over-hyped, wannabe-fancy, foo-foo knockoffs of Levi Strauss' original Californian creation from 1873.
Levis' original denim jeans were a stroke of genius -- sensible, hard-wearing work pants tailored for prospectors and outdoorsmen during the Gold Rush. Since then, they have become recognized all over the world as a piece of quintessential Americana.
They are still made today, much to the amusement of those who would rather wear pink and polka-dotted pajamas and bunny slippers -- or nothing at all -- than Levi's original 501s.
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