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BANGing on the Union

Getting ANGsty in the Contra Costa Times newsroom?: Regarding John Geluardi's feature "One Big BANG" [Dec. 19]: I wonder what the union would have to say about the three or four years at the Alameda News Group papers when nobody got a pay raise — and the union represented the workers. If the union is so nifty, why did it go along with Dean Singleton and company's decision to not grant pay raises for East Bay employees for several years in a row? If the union is so great, why did it backstab San Francisco Chronicle nonjournalist employees in 2005 in order to preserve newsroom jobs at the Chronicle? (And in 2007, we saw how well that worked when the Chronicle got rid of 100 out of 400 unionized journalists.)

Wages during the Knight Ridder years for reporters and photographers at nonunion Contra Costa News (CCN) papers were always about $10,000 higher per annum (on average) compared with the ANG papers — which were unionized. You would have expected the union wages at ANG to be higher than the nonunion wages at CCN, according to the vision of the future crafted by the union. If a union gets in at CCN, would that lead to a pay cut for CCN workers? After all, the ANG workers made a heck of a lot less than we did.

I hope that a union in the East Bay papers would not lead to wage reductions for my colleagues and me at the former CCN papers. Yet the track record of the guild union, over the years, led to lower-than-CCN wages for ANG journalists. I wonder if anyone can explain this apparent anomaly?

George Avalos

Business reporter, Contra Costa Times

San Jose

Banging on the Pipe

The great Green hope: Matt Smith ["Demo Sale," Dec. 19] is correct in pointing out that politics has abandoned governing in favor of the systematic offloading of public benefits onto the politically connected for political advantage, and that the Democrats are as dirty as the Republicans. If we Greens can capitalize on disgust at that in San Francisco, it might serve as an example at the state and national levels. But it is the stuff of pure fantasy for Smith to assert that because some progressives have relationships with pot club impresarios, all progressives are as dirty as the "moderate" S.F. Democrats who give away public entitlements like hits off a crack pipe.

San Franciscans have voted time and again in support of cannabis, both medicinal and recreational. Pot clubs are private institutions that serve a clientele, not public entities dependent on public dollars. Contrast this to the myriad development schemes that Democrats enable and direct to their favored patrons: think Bayview, Transbay and Treasure Island redevelopment, One Rincon, Octavia/Market, the high-rise condo glut in eastern SOMA, and the rapidly ripening Eastern Neighborhoods plans. Hundreds of billions of dollars in value are locked in San Francisco real estate, and San Francisco liberal and moderate Democrats are climbing all over themselves to unlock instant profit for the anointed.

Marc Salomon

San Francisco

Sneaky SEIU

The meaning of "meaningful": It's too bad SF Weekly thinks it's not "meaningful" that Democrats and Governor Schwarz-enegger are poised to agree on a healthcare package that will provide quality, affordable care for more than three million Californians ["Unhealthy Union," Matt Smith, Dec. 12]. If the wrinkles are ironed out, it will be the most far-reaching health-care plan of any state in America. It features cost containment and tough new restrictions on insurance companies, and mirrors the plans proposed by nearly all the Democratic presidential contenders. In addition, it has the support of nearly all of the state's major unions, including SEIU. It should be noted that both national and local SEIU chapters have been instrumental in the negotiations. So much for a "secret deal."

Steven Maviglio

Deputy Chief of Staff,

Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez


In Front of the

Firinn Squad

A Linkup loyalist responds: The sensationalist slant of your cover story on Bay Area Linkup ["Online Authority," Dec. 12] made for sort of a good read; however, it's a shame that the writer had such a bias and only found out what she wanted to find out about Firinn Taisdeal. She left a good deal out ... namely and briefly, that the site works really well and the vast majority of participants appreciate the way it is structured. And that's not because we are sheep or pawns or stupid.

The comment from someone comparing his experience with Bay Area Linkup to living in the Stalinist USSR is remarkably absurd — I guess you featured it to drill home your slant.

Heidi Skolnik

San Francisco


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