LETTERS SEPTEMBER 1995
LETTERS to the EDITOR - SEPTEMBER 1995
BACK TO CHURCH
Thanks for getting me back to church!
I had just finished reading Lisa Ladd-Wilson's 'Trane piece ("Taking notes") in the July issue when I got the Urge.
I got outta bed with the usual disclaimer to my wife: "I'll be right back, promise ..." Headed for the garage and my neglected record collection.
I found the box and started flipping album covers. After the chaos of Donna Summers, Vox Boxes of Vivaldi and song of the Pigmy Rainforests I knew that I was getting close. Sonny Rollins, Charlie Parker, Yusef Lateef, Mose Allison and at last, John Coltrane. Thought of many well spent nights during the '60s West Village bar, the Black Spot returned as I removed the carved Mexican stone chess set (that I never use) from atop my turntable (that I hardly ever use) and slipped "Giant Steps" (Atlantic 1311) on to the turning table. This was sedate and controlled classic Coltrane compared to the next disc, "Coltrane Live at the Village Vanguard Again!" Cut 2, Intro to "My Favorite Things," and side 2, "My Favorite Things" with its scat speak and my second cup of dark French roast inspired me to take daisy wheel in hand and write.
Do you know Manu Diabango's "Soul Makosa?" Best soprano sax music I've heard on vinyl. I'm looking for my copy; it's around here somewhere.
ON MINIMUM WAGE
Normally I agree with Ron Ross' views. At least I have for the last 30 years that I have known him. I respect his knowledge of economics and it is very difficult for me as a layman to offer an opposing view. However, on the issue of minimum wage I feel I must offer a different perspective.
If I were still employed by a large corporation, I would have no basis for disagreement. Especially since larger employers tend to have well-staffed personnel departments that do salary and wage comparisons and know what they have to pay to keep qualified employees.
In these cases minimum wage is a moot point. There are seldom very many minimum wage jobs, except for part-time or temporary help.
However, since I've returned I've had the opportunity to work for several small, individually owned companies. In these companies employees are often paid at or near minimum wage.
If Mr. Ross' explanation were correct in reality, as well as theoretically, these employees only have an insufficient value in the labor market. Otherwise they could move on to better-paying jobs.
But the truth of the matter is, in my opinion and based on my observation and experience, almost all of the people are adding value greater than the minimum wage. But the owners, who are all self-made successes, seem to feel that the less they can pay an employee, the more profit for them. They really don't care or know what the employee contributes, and they are very willing for the employee to quit and go elsewhere. They do not seem to recognize the value of a loyal, long-term employee.
These owners aren't Mr. Scrooge, personified. Nor are they mean individuals. They just seem to compare everyone's worth with what they used to make 30 years ago. Since they really don't survey other companies and compare wages, they have lost touch with reality.
For this reason maybe President Clinton is correct in proposing a higher minimum wage. Although the proposed minimum wage still isn't much more than a welfare recipient draws, it may be the only way numerous employees will ever get a raise.
Charles A. Bertalot
retired accounting supervisor,
Amoco Corp., Tulsa, Okla.
NO ACCUSATORY FINGER
I agree with you that Wally Graves' piece "When Little Boy fell from heaven" (August) is remarkable and I want to thank you for running it on this critical month, the 50th commemoration.
At the same time, I appeared on KHSU to discuss the question, should we have bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki? I was pleased to hear my opponent on the topic, Paul Moore, a WWII veteran, state that he and I have more in common than one might guess. He similarly made that observation about the survivors he met in Nagasaki three weeks after the bombing. They were a polite and likeable people. As a youth I found myself standing at the Marine Corps headquarters, wondering where to sign up to become a man, after all they were the only ones that claim they build men.
It was an odd twist of fate that saved my young butt from joining the ranks of America's troubled Vietnam veterans. I loved to fly through the decreasingly pristine desert on a stinky and noisy dirt bike. On one such flight, I managed to eat the handle bars and got myself a genuine deferrment -- 1Y.
As an activist for participatory non-violence for social change, I don't point an accusatory finger at any veteran, because I see my face reflected in his eyes. I likewise can't hate the ATVers -- who I see from my paddle (trips) up the slough are destroying another sacred and ancient place on this earth -- without hating myself.
While my opponent on the radio debate called me an ape at one point for my Broken Eagle effort to announce a nuclear bomb test at Reagan's speech, he was actually pretty close, as some think. I resemble nothing so much as the Hundredth Monkey -- 98 or 99, anyway.
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