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Archived: From Our Readers

Re:  “Commerce Takes Labor Decisions Public, Imposes Pay Cuts, Pub. Aug. 26, 2010

Regarding the Eastern Group Publications’ article on employee labor relations the Commerce City Employees Association feels it is important to clarify a few points.

City Administrator Jorge Rifá continues to make the false claim that the Commerce City Employees were after the wages of management employees. What employees did do is send a letter dated July 3, 2010 to community residents stating the wages of the City Administrator Jorge Rifá were close to $200,000 annually plus a car allowance or City vehicle provided to him at no cost.

The Commerce City Employees Association (CCEA) took this action to emphasize that the City’s highest paid employee was not only asking for deep, permanent cuts to full and part-time city employee salaries, but for cuts to resident’s programs and services. We objected to permanent cuts to employees and cuts to resident’s programs.

Also, it is important to point out that the voluntary pay cut the City Administrator took occurred two days after the letter went to residents. This came after Rifá asked his management team to take a 3.5% pay cut last year…one he did not take himself.

Additionally, the administrative time defined benefit, which is essentially a paid 45 minute lunch for employees who work 10 hour days, was established at least as far back as 1964 by Commerce’s first City Administrator Laurence O’Rourke. Furthermore, given that it is cost neutral we disagree with the notion that it is representative of “bad government.”

These beliefs reflect CCEA’s mission of protecting resident programs and services and protecting the jobs of the hard working City employees who proudly serve the residents of the City of Commerce.  We applaud the leadership of the Mayor and the Mayor Pro Tem and their efforts to solve the budget deficit facing the City.

Kevin Larsen is president of the  Commerce City Employees Association

RE: Guest author responds to reader on “Free Music Plays on in Montebello,’ Pub. Aug. 12, 2010

I was just reading Margot Eiser’s comment in the “From Our Readers” section on my article on the concerts in the park.

I reported correctly, and you published accurately, that Cook Hill is sponsoring four of the five concerts. The article in no way implies that Cook Hill is sponsoring all five.

The article even quotes city officials on their appreciation of the sponsorship.

The city is in no way being slighted in the article.

So I am a bit confused by her comments.

Anne Donofrio-Holter

Re: “Boyle Heights Development’s Get Underway,’ Pub. Aug. 26, 2010.

I for one would like to know where these backdoor meeting by E-LAC (East Los Angeles Community Corporation) take place in Boyle Heights?

Also where did these 400 residents come from that were at this meeting?

Surely not where I live and own property in Boyle Heights. I have been active in the community for over 20 years…

I am currently a member of Homeowners Association, Boyle Heights Neighborhood.org, and a board member of the Boyle Heights Historical Society, and other organizations throughout the community. Not one of these organizations was contacted about this meeting by E-LAC or the developers.

These developers and E-LAC need to look for other communities for their developments.

Boyle Heights currently has over 100,000 residents… 378 more affordable housing (units) that have up to 3 bedrooms each and built only blocks away from one another will just not work.

…They even ask for more vendors!

Some community members and business owners have been trying to rid the community of these vendors for 10 years. Give us quality stores and movie theaters… keep the money here in Boyle Heights.

These developers and E-LAC need to start talking to those who own property and care about the community and what takes place here, where we own and live in Boyle Heights.

E-LAC needs to go back to East Los Angeles and do their development where they have more open space and stay out of Boyle Heights! E-LAC is a big disappointment to Boyle Heights.

Victoria Bailer-Torres of Boyle Heights