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Letters to the editor

March 14, 2003 | Page 4

OTHER LETTERS BELOW:
Yes to education, not incarceration
Pentagon hacks get an earful
SF supervisor gets his own "welfare"

Rich getting richer off the backs of the poor

Dear Socialist Worker,

Billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City is demanding that city workers give up $600 million in labor, pay and benefits--while he refuses to raise taxes one penny on his rich friends to meet the budget crisis that happened because taxes on the rich had previously been cut so much. It's the same old case of the rich getting richer off the backs and misery of the poor.

It's amazing how they're trying to get away with this. Watch the bouncing ball. That's what they have the country doing--by worrying about so-called terrorism from abroad.

Bloomberg-style homeland terrorists are doing tenfold more damage here and abroad. Bloomberg could personally give the city workers $600 million and still have more than $400 million left. In my opinion, one man having that kind of money while others die of starvation every day is a crime against all of humanity and the laws of righteousness.

Without dedicated soldiers standing on the front lines--fighting the real war (for social justice) and against billionaire terrorism--people like Bloomberg will be able to continue their authoritarian assault on ordinary working people.

Stanley Howard, Joliet, Ill.

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Yes to education, not incarceration

Dear Socialist Worker,

Elizabeth Schulte's article ("Affirmative Action: Myth and Reality," February 28) does a good job in explaining why socialists should support affirmative action. Though overt, legal discrimination was mostly defeated in the 1960s, institutionalized racism remains a major problem in today's America.

However, Schulte misses one important point: The crunch for college admissions--felt by many students--is due in large part to a system which prioritizes incarceration over education. For example, in the past decade in California, 10 prisons have been built, as opposed to only two public universities. With massive budget cuts looming, universities and community colleges are facing drastic cuts.

Community colleges, which serve more minority students than the public university system, are bearing the brunt of these budget cuts. Two nearby community colleges are being closed, while those remaining will more than double their unit fees.

Not only should we embrace affirmative action, we must put into sharp relief the priorities of a system that builds 10 prisons for every two universities and shutters its junior colleges first.

John Green, Davis, Calif.

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Pentagon hacks get an earful

Dear Socialist Worker,

I work in Alexandria, Va., a bastion of former military officers and defense department employees located right next to the Pentagon. Over 6 percent of Alexandria's residents work for the Defense Department. It is the last place one would expect to find antiwar beliefs boiling over.

But according to the Los Angeles Times, more than 600 people packed a high school auditorium in February for a town hall meeting called by Rep. James P. Moran (D-Va.), and they overwhelmingly expressed antiwar sentiments. Two representatives from the Defense Department were given an earful from a raucous audience that thundered into applause whenever antiwar statements were made.

One veteran expressed bitterness about the fact that an administration made up of people who had never been to war was leading the nation into one. One woman, an Iraqi Kurd, stood up and said, "Saddam Hussein has gassed my family. He has cruelly bombed my brothers and sisters. I know what this man is capable of. And I am against this war. Against it! It will solve nothing."

A range of ideas were present within this antiwar crowd. For instance, when Moran called for our troops to be supported should they be sent into combat, no matter what people's disagreements today, he received applause. But the lack of confidence in Bush's war, even in a citadel of patriotic conservatism like Alexandria, shows the potential to fight back today.

Nihar Bhatt, Washington, D.C.

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SF supervisor gets his own "welfare"

Dear Socialist Worker,

I live in San Francisco and work at San Francisco General Hospital. Most of us here live from paycheck to paycheck. Recently, it was discovered that city Supervisor Gavin Newsom, a wealthy mayoral hopeful, received $11 million in business loans from the superrich Getty family--without ever declaring it to the city's Ethics Commission.

Newsom recently sponsored the so-called "Care Not Cash" Proposition N--which cut welfare checks to 2,700 adults. Is this business as usual? If so, we might as well have the former CEOs of Enron and WorldCom running for political positions in San Francisco.

I was going to vote for Newsom for mayor, but now I have my doubts. Before we get screwed by any more greedy politicians, I, and many other voters, think Newsom should come clean.

With what Bush is doing to us and to the rest of the world, it would behoove all politicians to start acting with respect and decency towards common people.

Mark Lum, San Francisco

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