Letters to the Editor: Yeah, flash-mob robberies signal decay — of the middle class

Workers dress mannequins in a Nordstrom window after a smash-and-grab robbery at the Westfield Topanga shopping mall.
Workers dress mannequins in a Nordstrom window on Aug. 14 after a smash-and-grab robbery at the Westfield Topanga shopping mall.
(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)
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To the editor: There are many reasons for the recent retail robberies, but a few must be income inequality and the slow, steady decline of middle-class America. (“Readers say smash-and-grab robberies are signs of societal decay in L.A.,” letters, Aug. 20)

Contributing also is the decline of labor unions, long vilified by conservatives (because union members typically vote for Democrats). Last April, the Pew Research Center reported that a majority of Americans think the decline of unions is bad for the country.

I grew up in a union household. The union dues my dad paid ensured we had medical care. When strikes occurred, those same dues kept us fed. He also brought home more money.


The American middle class was strongest from the late 1940s until the 1980s. It’s been on a downward trajectory ever since. And yes, tax cuts didn’t help — well, they did help the wealthy.

I don’t begrudge rich Americans their comfort, but you only need look to history to understand what has happened when just a few have controlled so much wealth. Societal breakdown has followed.

Mike Aguilar, Costa Mesa


To the editor: To the reader who wrote that she has been a lifelong Democrat but voted for Rick Caruso for mayor of Los Angeles instead of Karen Bass, I ask where is Caruso now that he’s been defeated in his mayoral campaign?

He poured millions of dollars into his campaign that he could have spent on helping homeless people, just to start. If he’s done anything now about that, let’s hear from him, since he’s certainly not shy.

Don’t blame Mayor Bass (for whom I was eager to vote, as I too am a lifelong Democrat), who is doing what needs to be done. This is a problem long in the making that cannot be fixed overnight.


Where were those mayors who just jetted around to meetings and conferences to talk about the issues until the next one came along? I can think of so many of them, all men too.

Shelley Keith, Sherman Oaks