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We Are Not Crooks

City Paper managed to do a hatchet job on International Longshoremen’s Association Local 333 (“Union Busted,” Feature, Nov. 24). The overwhelming majority of the members of my local are dedicated, hard-working, tax-paying citizens. We are assets to our communities. In a dangerous industry, we work in all kinds of weather to transport America’s goods.

In college statistics, I learned that you can make statistics say anything you want. By your own numbers, over 97 percent of our members weren’t arrested for anything last year. These citizens paid their taxes and participated in blood drives, community organizations, and youth groups. They sent their kids to college to better their lives.

To impugn the integrity of longshoremen and women with the broad brush that you did does a disservice to our people. All longshore workers must pass both state and federal security background checks to become employed at the port. Yes, there are those with a checkered past, but that doesn’t make them bad people, just ones that have made a mistake. Most have redeemed themselves admirably.

We have choices to make in this country. We can exclude people who have made a mistake from society forever, creating a permanent underclass. Or, we can provide jobs doing honest work to people who make mistakes when they have paid the price for their mistakes. For me, the second choice seems like the right choice. To paint a different picture of the men and women who work hard at the port is to miss the boat!

The men and women of ILA Local 333 improve our community and our economy. I stand with them.

John Blom
Baltimore

The writer is the president of International Longshoreman’s Association Local 333.

scenes of the crime

Your interview with Inside Job director Charles Ferguson (Arts & Entertainment, Nov. 3) was important, and appreciated. I only wish we lived in a world where hours of conversation, and subsequent understanding, could be easily obtained from people who have done their homework.

Of course, without the American public being DDed (dumbed-down)—at least since Pearl Harbor, probably since time immemorial—situations as described by Inside Job would not be possible.

Thanks for helping generate interest in a film that may go a long way toward informing people as to just how their lives have been stolen by history’s greatest and most hideous thieves. This is a crime that approaches the Holocaust in scope.

J. Michael Kenyon
Port Orford, Or.

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