Letters for May 4, 2006

Trickle-down theory
The airports were all closed. Not enough pilots to fly the planes. And practically no one in the control towers.

Students from kindergarten through college had an unexpected holiday. Most of the teachers had called in sick.

Everywhere, factories and meatpacking plants were padlocked, on orders of the owners.

Construction sites were empty. The heavy equipment had been driven off.

Landscape workers showed up for work, only to find nothing to do. No tools, no supervisors.

Housekeepers rang doorbells, but no one answered.

It was impossible to wire money to relatives waiting in foreign countries; the money-transfer businesses were shut.

It was a bad day to have a burst pipe, electrical short or vehicular breakdown. Plumbers, electricians and tow-truck drivers couldn’t be reached.

Medical emergency? Poor timing. Hospitals were severely understaffed.

Toothache? Tough. Dentists weren’t practicing.

Couldn’t get a tattoo, either.

The Maury Povich Show was a rerun. The live edition was canceled due to lack of a studio audience.

It was—gasp!—A Day without Gringos.

Michael Sion

Manufacturing opinion
Re “Dirty work,” (Cover story, April 20):

I am compelled to comment on your lack of substance in the writing of this article. Having been involved in these types of industries my entire career, I am insulted by your (seemingly) authoritative knowledge of these industries. But, what are you saying? Are you trying to make a statement that industry is bad? What is your suggestion—that we shut down these industries? You don’t detail the past efforts of these industries to reduce or eliminate these pollutants. You seem to want to convict them when you repeatedly state, “the company didn’t return calls for comment.”

Most importantly, though, I don’t believe that your newspaper has ever taken the time to interview these marvelous companies that are a sampling of American technology and know-how. I believe that is because you don’t really understand the nature of manufacturing. There is a saying in Nevada: If it isn’t grown or mined, it doesn’t exist. (I modify that statement to add “or manufactured.") You are not alone in your naiveté.

I am personally honored to have worked with many of these types of companies in my career. I am reminded every time I get on an airplane that the parts Viking Metallurgical makes to prevent the turbine blades from coming through the fuselage are good for me. I’ll bet as you look around your office or type on your computer, you do not notice all the American inventions that are now made in countries like China, where we do not have to be reminded of pollutants and dirty jobs or human rights.

When we can fool ourselves into thinking that we are no longer the “polluters” that we are, it will be only because we have been successful in eradicating all American manufacturing and sending it to countries where there is no conscience or environmental concern. Gosh, I feel better already thinking about all the crap that is dumped outside the USA. Bottom line: Industry will continue to work hand-in-hand with government to continue the process of environmentally clean manufacturing. I doubt, though, that those who share the opinions that you seem to express in your article will even notice. They will be content knowing that they have done their job in eradicating the evil industrial empire.

Michael B. Stuart
President, JLM Industrial Supply

Hook has no sympathy
“We’ll take yours, if we can send some of ours,” (Right Hook, April 6):

Even though Lafferty’s final statement of his article, “We’ll take yours, if we can send some of ours,” shows some sympathy for immigrants, the following statement reveals he is completely out of touch with the realities of our immigration system: “We also have a system of legalized immigration that provides ways for immigrants seeking a better life to do just that. But if the estimated 11.5 million illegals couldn’t be bothered to do it the right way in the first place, then I don’t much care that they suffer the consequences now.”

The problem is that the United States makes it ridiculously easy to get here illegally, and very difficult, emotionally and financially, to be here legally.

This issue has personally touched my family’s life. We have been to the consulate with our huge stack of paperwork, and I, an American citizen, with our American-born son, could not get a visa for my Mexican husband. Yes, my husband made a mistake and entered illegally as a teen, and for this he was denied the visa, and I was told that I could move to Mexico (in the middle of going to school for my master’s degree).

Mr. Lafferty, you may want to get to know people who have tried to do it the right way, however clumsily. Immigrants from other countries do not have much of a choice, due to distance, so most will wait it out. But people from a border country will choose the path of least resistance.

I don’t necessarily agree with this decision. But after encountering the consulate who mistook himself for God in Ciudad Juarez, I can understand why most people don’t want to or simply can’t wait. Just because it is a system doesn’t mean it works.

Shelly M. Bale
via e-mail