Big box stores are exploiting workers
Re: “Why I’m not shopping on Thanksgiving Day,” opinion, Nov. 27
Odysseus Bostick made good points about the powerlessness of underpaid retail workers, who are indeed moving toward becoming what he termed an underclass in light of the disappearing middle class and growing inequality of wealth occurring in this country.
Although various retailers opened their doors on Thanksgiving Day between 8 and 11 p.m., store employees still had to arrive to work earlier to prepare for opening their stores for the onslaught of shoppers. This meant missing more time at home with their families on Thanksgiving Day, due to leaving their homes earlier in the day for possible lengthy commutes as well as getting things set up in the store. For retail workers, working until 11 p.m. would also require more time away their families, especially if they commute by bus.  Then these workers must get up early to go to work again on Black Friday. So they do not have a restful Thanksgiving.
If retail employees are going to work the Thanksgiving Day holiday, they should be paid double their hourly pay for doing so, which would help them and their families economically and be the morally correct thing to do. Or, as in the case of people who work in the medical, police and emergency fields (doctors, hospital workers, ambulance drivers, firemen, nurses and police officers), retail workers who work on family-oriented holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas should be able to have time off to schedule alternative holiday get-togethers with their families.
Retail employees, however, are not in the same category of workers who are needed all the time, who tend to be professionals or skilled workers earning salaries many levels higher than retail workers.
Big box retailers are simply exploiting their workers to get ahead of competitors by opening on Thanksgiving Day.
Patricia Estes
Westchester

The problem is polluted water, not the basin
Re: “County plans big makeover for Oxford Basin, news, Nov. 27, and subsequent letters to the editor
I write this note regarding the proposed construction at the storm water basin as an architect licensed by the state with a responsibility that includes considering the impact of construction on the health and welfare of its citizens. I am recipient of a consultant service grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, have published research in the Journal of the Association for Preservation Technology, and I have served as featured program speaker at international preservation conventions and as expert an witness.
In regard to the contemplated Oxford project, Mr. Kay and Mr. Fay are squabbling over a non-issue; the restoration of the storm water runoff basin is a trivial matter, brushing aside the publicity that accompanies the proposal.
The problem posed actually relates to the remediation of a poorly designed storm water system designed by the Corps of Engineers in the 1960s, then called a “bird sanctuary.” People may disagree on how to fix it without inviting invective. The Corps is notorious for designing defective storm water control systems and this one is no exception. Because storm water in Los Angeles contains raw sewerage, including human and animal waste among many other dangerous contaminants, it was clearly a poor idea to design the system to send the overflow into the Marina harbor. Furthermore, it was even a worse idea for the county to name this outlet Mother’s Beach and to invite generations of families with children to bathe in these contaminated waters.
The public has yet to receive an explanation from county officials about this supposed public benefit. It isn’t clear why Mr. Kay, who presumably writes in the name of a public interest organization, objects to the idea of an EIR; but a sludge pit of the size contemplated by the proposal as a permanent feature of the landscape will certainly evoke memories of the infamous Love Canal disaster, and nearby residents, including Mr. Fay, have both a right and a reason to ask questions about the effect of the proposed project on aquifers, infiltration rates, cross connections, the level of air borne pollution, anticipated overflow, alternative solutions and other issues that may relate to their health.
William Firschein, AIA
Venice

Free newspapers rock!
I have lived in the Westside since 1985. I try to never miss picking up The Argonaut, which has literally changed my life. I spotted a small ad in your newspaper for an apartment on the Playa del Rey bluffs in 1995. I lived in this apartment for several years, and I never would have known about it had it not been for The Argonaut.
In 2001 I noticed another small ad in The Argonaut for a condominium on Manitoba Street. I purchased it the same day I responded to the ad! I have lived there since.
The point is that we take free newspapers for granted. I can’t say the same for The Argonaut. Where would I be without it?
Kyle Kimbrell
Playa del Rey

FROM THE WEB
Re: Born to be weird: A documentary by Steven-Charles Jaffe clears the cobwebs from the legacy of absurd and macabre cartoonist Gahan Wilson,” this week, Nov. 21
Great review! Gahan Wilson is a legend and this film has told his crazy, twisted story beautifully. Truly a work of inspiring art that I hope everyone has the pleasure of seeing. Bravo!!
Kelly

Re: “Force of nature: Andy Moses’ elemental mix of painting and sculpture comes alive at the William Turner Gallery,” this week, Oct. 31
I’m intrigued by the precision. The obvious question is: what is the science behind the painting? Close up it seems mechanical. It’s both sensual and serine. What is the reference to the involvement of science; is that technically or philosophically?
Phil Brown

Re: “LAUSD wants new charter school rules: Westside board member Steve Zimmer says state officials should rethink some allowances for charters to share campuses with public schools,” news, Oct. 24
School Board members need to set an example for the children they hope to teach. One lesson is how to get along, not give preference to your favorite pet, and how to educate all the children in your herd. This article makes it sound like Zimmer does not have any interest in giving a home to the charter school children in LAUSD and instead let them fend for themselves. I don’t believe he believes that, but maybe I am wrong about voting for this board member. Such a shame to read this now.
Also, Zimmer seems to think he can just change a law established by the people.
Aren’t the students in LAUSD-approved charters students in the LAUSD? It is a little bullyish to try to make disadvantaged minority charters be relegated to the back of the school. Seriously, Zimmer needs to support all the children of LAUSD, not just those schools his children attend.
Gary Bayer

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