Vote for change

I have lived through the greater part of the 20th century and can well remember the Great Depression. President Herbert Hoover did not lift a finger to relieve the pain and suffering of the nation. Children were dying of hunger, farmers were leaving their fields unplowed, potatoes were dumped in the ocean because there was no money to buy, and then the banks closed.

In 1932, during the election, Republican Hoover promised a chicken in every pot. But the people responded with the demand for change of direction. Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected. Despite the growing fears of the fascist terror and war, the people organized, they marched to Washington, they picketed, and they sat down and took over factories, demanding relief.

It was to the credit of FDR that he listened and watched the polls. The NRA (National Recovery Act) was passed and we won the biggest jobs program the nation had ever seen. Dams were built, parks restored, roads, schools and the arts were funded and much more. We won Social Security, unemployment compensation, veterans’ benefits, farm aid and the right to organize unions.

FDR was the only president to be elected four times. This is the kind of “liberalism” that George W. Bush denounces.

Ask any senior if he or she is willing to give up Social Security. Ask any worker if he or she is willing to give up workmen’s compensation or unemployment insurance. Ask any veteran if he or she is willing to give up veterans’ benefits.

We need jobs at a living wage, an increase in the minimum wage, an end to racist and sexist discrimination, health care, quality public education an end to terrorism and we need peace. If this is called liberalism, so be it. We must vote for change, not only for the presidency but for the Congress as well!

Frances GabowPhiladelphia PA

Anti-democratic ballot measures in Calif., Wash.

Your readers should know there are ballot initiatives in Washington and California that would limit the general election ballot (for Congress and state office) to just the top two vote-getters in the primary.

In California, it is Prop. 62; in Washington, it is I-872. Both propositions have been condemned by the Coalition for Free and Open Elections; by former Illinois Congressman John B. Anderson; by all seven qualified parties on the ballot in California; by all the parties that ever appeared on Washington state’s ballot; and by many important unions, including SEIU of California.

Here is what the San Francisco Bay Guardian says about Prop. 62: “No, No, No! Presented as an open-primary plan designed to include independent voters, this dangerously disingenuous measure is really about helping rich candidates and those backed by wealthy interests destroy small political parties and narrow the public debate over important issues. Basically, it would remove political parties from the primary process and send just the two top vote-getters on to the general election — virtually ensuring that no minor-party candidate would ever appear on a fall ballot.

“Not surprisingly, every small party in the state, including the Greens, is actively opposing it. But it could wind up hurting major-party candidates too: a primary in which two Republicans and five Democrats competed in a majority-Democratic district could very easily lead the Democrats to split the vote so that the general election would feature only the Republicans. In the end, it would help the candidates with the most money, depriving voters of any kind of real choice. Vote No.”

Prop. 62 supporters have raised $4 million and are running a TV ad campaign. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger endorsed it five days ago. Eighty-eight percent of the money came in contributions of $50,000 or more. Eight billionaires have contributed to it. John Walton, CEO of Wal-Mart, gave $250,000 last month.

Richard WingerEditor, Ballot Access News
San Francisco CA

Peg minimum wage to congressional wage?

I read with interest your recent cover article about the federal minimum wage (“Bushonomics: 39 million locked in poverty,” PWW 10/16-22). Why not simply peg the minimum wage at an hourly rate that is a fixed fraction of the average annual salary of a member of Congress? For example, if the combined average annual salary of a U.S. Representative and a Senator were $84,500 per year, then the federal minimum wage could be pegged at an hourly rate of 1/1000 that amount, or $8.45 hour. Forever after, whenever the Fat Cats in Congress saw fit to lift up their own wages, they would also be voting to raise the minimum wage. What could be simpler and more fair than that?

Dan PensAberdeen WA

Immigrants face other problems

We appreciate the article, “Backlog blocks many immigrants from voting” (PWW, 9/18-24), which addressed the problems of the immigration process. The article identified with its readers who face the problem of the backlog and we, have been personally affected by it as well. Although the main point in the article was about the overly dragged-out immigration process, causing immigrants the inability to vote, there are more consequences immigrants face as noncitizens.

Similar to Jose’s story in the article, Jinho has been waiting three-and-a-half years for his green card. Besides the inconvenience of waiting, immigrants without a green card are denied of any type of financial aid or student loans.

The article misses the emphasis of the problems that is caused by backlogs. Children are forced to work to support their family. And students are denied of any financial help, thus causing education to be far more difficult than it should be. These are only some of the problems immigrants face each day.

It is important for the public to understand how severe this problem is. Hopefully in a future articles, this issue would be addressed, thus motivating voters to take action to change the lives of our immigrants.

Jinho Lee & Carrie LinSkokie IL