Monday, October 14, 2002

Here are comments from Sunday's Los Angeles Times. You can use the username "sabertooth1" and the password "sabertooth1," if you haven't already registered for a free password.

Nearly one-fifth of the $64 million Gov. Gray Davis has raised for his reelection, about $12 million, has been directed to his campaign by people he appointed to state boards and commissions.

This is very seedy. Don't condemn this because Governor Davis is a Democrat; condemn this as politics as usual. No, I'm not talking about campaign finance reform. This is about the government being too big, the sale of government positions that are unnecessary, and the continued shakedown of deep pockets by people who make the laws. We wouldn't read stories like this, if the government wasn't too big, too intrusive, too powerful, and out of control.

In gender and racial makeup, Gov. Gray Davis' appointees who require Senate approval are not much different from those of Gov. Pete Wilson, a Republican criticized by minorities for his opposition to affirmative action and illegal immigration, Senate records show.

It's bad enough that racists like the L.A. Times think its important to determine the qualifications of government appointees by taking a look at their ethnicity and gender. Clearly the L.A.Times thinks ethnicity and gender are important qualifications, and thinks there should be more minorities and women appointees.

But take a look how the L.A. Times phrased the title of the article. Instead of writing that statistics show that Democratic Governor Davis doesn't appoint enough minorities or something like that, the The L.A. Times sugarcoated its criticism of Davis by writing that Davis isn't any worse than that jackass, racist pig, former Republican Governor Pete Wilson. Why was Wilson's name placed in the title? Was it necessary? Is this about minority appointees or is this about Wilson? This article says more about the L.A. Times than anyone or anything else. What complete crap.

Here's a poorly written article, with poor analysis. The L.A. Times writer points out that when comparing the five largest cities, Los Angeles trails the other four in "key measurements" of many municipal services. The writer made the mistake of looking at the inputs like number of officers, fireman, and employees and doesn't look at the outcome and effectiveness. The article does say LAPD has the slowest response time of police departments, but is that the best measurement of effectiveness? Does being four minutes slower make any difference? The critical issue should be are taxpayers getting the most bang for their buck.

I also suspect that Los Angeles was only compared with four other cities because Los Angeles didn't look as bad when comparing the 10-largest or 20-largest U.S. cities. There's no story if Los Angeles doesn't look bad. Either that, or the writer was too lazy to do research beyond five cities.

And by the way, former Republican mayor Richard Riordan gets the blame.

Here's the best parts:
"It's really disappointing that collectively they don't see how good they have it," said Jim, a payroll clerk at a Los Angeles terminal who, like many union critics, said he feared repercussions if he used his full name.

"It's insanity down here," he said. "They work half the time of most people and make twice the money and gripe about it all day. And any loss, any concession -- it's like drawing blood from a stone."

Such grumbling is nothing new, said David J. Olson, a political science professor at the University of Washington who has made a specialty of studying the ILWU.

"People have been making the same kinds of charges for decades -- that the union is arrogant, strong-headed, too militant, too possessive of the space it occupies on the docks," he said. "I see greater consistency than differences here. It's been a fundamental principle of the ILWU from its first breath that the union controls the production process on the terminals. They see themselves as lords of the docks."

And a little further down:
[The union founder] realized that his fledgling labor group needed two things to survive: a union-controlled hiring hall that would bypass corrupt bosses on the docks and a bargaining unit that spanned the entire coast so shipping companies couldn't play one port against the other.

If this isn't collusion, I don't know what is. It's a good thing unions are exempted from antitrust regulation.