Crossing guards for fairness

I’ll send a donation when I get paid but here’s our problem in Chicago: People have wasted five to six years to be called for a job with the city. Many people were unaware that the names were eliminated from the computer and we have to redo applications. Why should we wait another five years? It’s not fair.

We get checks for uniforms but they take out federal tax and Medicaid, almost $75! What do these things have to do with a uniform? We’re crossing guards and new guards do not have benefits. We’re in the union and the city is trying to get rid of out benefits possibly within two years. It’s not fair. We cannot march!

A Reader
Chicago IL

Minimum wage and Oprah

Your coverage of the fight for a better minimum wage, and for all wage improvements, is really appreciated. It’s amazing how a person can simplify the key question, “Which Side Are You On?” just on this one issue.

One of the people on the good side is Oprah Winfrey of television fame. On July 28, she made her entire program about the impossibility of living on the present minimum wage. One of the outstanding guests was former UFCW Vice President Beth Shulman, author of “The Failure of Work.”

Also, congratulations on your excellent article by José Cruz, “Lawsuit seeks overturn of Hazleton, Pa., anti-immigrant law” on your Online eXtra web site,

More than likely, these tiny racist fires will blaze all over Middle America, because the arsonists in the U.S. Congress very intentionally lit them. The City Council of Farmers Branch, just half an hour from Dallas, has put forward breathtaking anti-Latino resolutions that even shock the rest of Texas. Protests have broken out at their meetings, and Dallasites joined a crowd of 300 in protest there on Aug. 26.

Even some of Texas’ most right-wing businesspersons are trying to distance themselves from the craziness. In a half-page op-ed on Aug. 28, businessmen entreated Congress to put aside “enforcement only” legislation and allow undocumented workers to continue working (at starvation wages). Among them were “Bo” Pilgrim, notorious for openly buying votes with $10,000 checks on the floor of the Texas Legislature, and James Leininger, who has spent millions to undermine public education.

Jim Lane
Dallas TX

Picture would tell tale

There was a Ku Klux Klan rally in Amarillo, Texas, last month. I kept up with the events as they unfolded as my father is a legal immigrant from Mexico. The KKK claims they want to have a peaceful rally to address the immigration issue. The only thing that keeps these groups alive is people taking notice. Would they hang around if no one showed up? Would they even return to Amarillo if not one gave them credence? I think not. What is more powerful than showing up is this one thing, a picture. If we are interested in what involvement prominent members of our civic community, our leaders, our government, and churches have in the KKK, then a picture of them showing up in support will tell the entire story. That is what should be plastered on each paper and newscast. Then we can know who we are sitting next to in our churches, who the faces of our leaders are and who we are in business with.

Veronica Fuentes
Via e-mail

Facts not right

Unfortunately, your story “Hammer on Ballot” (PWW 8/12-18) is factually wrong. I publish Ballot Access News ( and follow these election law cases carefully. Texas law allows Tom DeLay to withdraw if he wanted to, and he did want to. No court forced him to remain on the ballot. The only issue before the courts was whether the Republican Party could put a new nominee on the ballot. I realize The New York Times got this wrong also. The New York Times has made at least three factual errors about three election law matters in the last month. Just because the Times says it is so, doesn’t mean it is.

Richard Winger
San Francisco CA


Sean Mulligan (“Differs on Hezbollah” letter, PWW 8/19-25) makes some useful points which contribute to our debate concerning events in the Middle East. First, Israeli actions in non-recognition of the Palestinian government and in serving as the Bush administration’s invasion of southern Lebanon have in effect strengthened both Hamas and the Party of God aka Hezbollah. A rational policy by both Israeli and U.S. progressive forces should be to stop massive military retaliation for the actions of Hamas and Hezbollah, which only plays into their hands and strengthens them, and seek both negotiated settlements and the strengthening of secular and progressive forces among the Palestinian and Lebanese people, who only “alliance” with groups like Hamas and Hezbollah is rooted in their opposition to Israeli military actions and occupations.

However, we shouldn’t fall into the trap of defending Hamas or Hezbollah, since their formal rightist clerical ideology and role in orchestrating attacks on civilians really is a matter of record, not simply the propaganda of the U.S. government. For us to cheer on these groups because of our opposition to U.S. policies is as sensible as those sections of the left who hailed the Afghan “freedom fighters” in the 1980s because of their deep hatred o the Soviet Union and its policies.

Norman Markowitz
New Brunswick NJ

PWW does it again

Every week is the same: I read a report that is outstanding and decide to thank the author(s) as soon as I get through the paper. But every issue has so many good reports that I end up with too many things to say so I say nothing. This time I started an e-mail as soon as I’d finished Joelle Fishman’s “November elections: This battle can be won” (PWW 8/5-11)

If I had the funds, I’d reprint the article as a brochure and put that “Bush 5-year Budget Proposal” box on the front and ask every group and individual to read, ponder and act on it.

Kenneth Carstens
Via e-mail