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In today's pages: Unions are bad. No, they're good! No, wait, they're bad.

Unions, Barack Obama, NFL, Roski, City of Industry, Pakistan, Swat Valley, LA DWP, David Nahai, FTC, bloggers, advertising, Mojave National Preserve, separation of church and state Matthew Continetti, associate editor of the Weekly Standard, gets the Op-Ed page rolling this morning by accusing President Obama of being organized labor's Santa Claus. The First Community Organizer may believe that unionization helps lift workers into the middle class, Continetti writes, but the numbers don't support that argument:

The costs of a heavily unionized workforce outweigh the benefits. Organized labor often politicizes the workforce and hinders economic efficiency. Once a workplace is unionized, it's more difficult to fire unproductive workers, and thus a lot harder to hire good ones too. In their new book, "Rich States, Poor States," Arthur Laffer, Stephen Moore and Jonathan Williams rank all 50 states based on economic performance over the last decade. Seven out of the 10 best performing are right-to-work states. Eight of the 10 worst performing are not.

Speaking of a unionized workforce, columnist Tim Rutten urges the state Senate to waive some California environmental rules to let developer Ed Roski Jr. build a football stadium in the City of Industry. Why?

Los Angeles is in the grip of an unemployment crisis, and independent estimates say the stadium project will create 12,000 construction jobs and 6,732 permanent positions in the adjacent facilities -- 100% of them unionized, paying good wages with real benefits.

Alllll-righty then. Closing out the page, Anna Husarska, senior policy advisor at the International Rescue Committee, laments the "huge human cost" of the Taliban's operations in Pakistan's Swat Valley and the government's counteroffensive. The image above is an illustration of the psychic toll; it's a drawing by a schoolgirl in the Swat Valley named Sheema.

On the other half of the opinion pages, the Times editorial board blasts the L.A. Department of Water and Power for the fabulous parting gifts it's planning to shower on departing chief H. David Nahai. We like how Nahai defied union leaders (the Opinion page's m├ęchants du jour) to bring in more renewable power from outside the district, but we still don't see the need to pay him his salary for the rest of the year:

[J]ust because it's common doesn't make it right. The DWP's stated justification for paying Nahai, who is leaving to join former President Clinton's Climate Initiative, nearly $82,000 by Dec. 31 is that his institutional knowledge is needed during the transition to a new chief. Left unmentioned is that the department's interim chief will be S. David Freeman, who was managing federal energy policy when Nahai was in grade school and ran the DWP from 1997 to 2001. The idea that Freeman needs advice from Nahai, who was criticized for his inexperience when he was appointed to head the DWP less than two years ago, is laughable.

The board also says the Federal Trade Commission's new guidelines for online advertisers could put too much scrutiny on bloggers and amateur product reviewers. And it warns that the Supreme Court's review of a case involving the giant cross in California's Mojave National Preserve threatens to "blow a gaping hole" in the 1st Amendment's wall between church and state.

-- Jon Healey


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Are unions good?Yes,they raise the cost of labor and stimulate the manpower reductions needed for low consumer prices.
When you go to the bank you now have a ATM.Most companies would like to cut their labor force by 80% like the banks did.
The AMA created the small medical school enrollment so their members can flourish.They know this causes financial pain,and they should also know it led directly to big pharmacy and drug trials.IN surgery we now have computers cutting open heads and doing brain surgery.Pretty soon Bones on Star Trek will be reality.
The UAW workers know one of them now does the work of 30 laborers.The United Mine Workers watch as the Powder River basin produces more coal than all the other sources in the lower 48,and this mechanized site does the work of thousands of formerly employed miners.
When workers get organized they can influence elections as watching the Democratic Convention most observers saw the largest union present was the NEA,the teachers. In second place were the professor's unions AAUP.In third place were the police,prison guards,and firemen.These all depend on real estate taxes or tuition.
Well with the fall in real estate prices,no teacher is safe.Their source of revenues is gone,it's history,caput.This is one reason the teachers want more support from Obama and Congress. Now, this support comes at a cost,higher tuitions,less services,and less accounting of school systems. Colleges insist they are slashing personnel like private industry.Has anyone graphed the salary increases and personnel growth of teachers and professors over the past twenty years?Does this match the population?
And with computers and television,shouldn't these folks face some cutbacks?
The solution by these unions remains the same,more money for them,and more insured loans for students.Meanwhile they get away with fixing prices in colleges,and they tepidly approach any shift in curriculum with alarm since it might mean a loss of jobs.

david barron

Ask Human Resources for his offer letter. The payment details are either in there or not......otherwise, I'm sure it was to keep Nahai...."Hush".....I know David Freeman. He certainly doesn't need a "Nahai" for consultation. But wait a second....Nahai going over with Clinton? Isn't there a Jay Carson in the mayors office who once worked for billionaire Steven Bing, and weren't Clinton, Carson and antonio in Vegas together......and didn't Steven Bing lend his jet to Clinton to go pickup the two journalist women in Korea? And isn't Mr Bing interested in those MTA contracts?
And wasn't a Korean mfg co's bid to build commuter trains here in LA turned down by antonio two years ago?

Gosh! I wish I was a councilmember for the regular folks.

I'm david barron



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The Opinion L.A. blog is the work of Los Angeles Times Editorial Board membersNicholas Goldberg, Robert Greene, Carla Hall, Jon Healey, Sandra Hernandez, Karin Klein, Michael McGough, Jim Newton and Dan Turner. Columnists Patt Morrison and Doyle McManus also write for the blog, as do Letters editor Paul Thornton, copy chief Paul Whitefield and senior web producer Alexandra Le Tellier.

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