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Day Laborers in Ladera Heights

February 06, 1994

* We are writing in response to Supervisor Yvonne B. Burke's column ("The Problem Up Close," Commentary, Jan. 25). We are the day laborers who wait for work in Ladera Heights, and we take issue with Burke on a number of points.

First, she stated that she has been "attempting to resolve this problem" for more than a year, yet we have never been approached by the supervisor or any of her staff. It is difficult to imagine such attempts absent our participation, which we believe is key to the process of reaching a viable resolution of this issue. A public policy "solution" that excludes a principal party seems doomed to failure.

Second, the supervisor claims that we have not been involved in negotiations, yet since Burke first introduced her ordinance in October we have been actively involved. In fact, it was the very advocates she accuses of not working with us who brought us into the discussion. We have participated in several meetings, including meetings in which residents and representatives from Burke's office were present. In addition, more than two dozen of us attended the Jan. 25 Board of Supervisor's meeting to register our opposition to the proposed ordinance.

As to the supervisor's accusations that we harass women and children, we are saddened and offended. As fathers and husbands, we have the utmost respect for women and children. We invite Burke and anyone else to come to the Ladera Heights commercial district where we wait for work and see for themselves that we are not the kind of people she accuses us of being. We have concrete ideas on how to resolve the legitimate concerns which many of us share with other Ladera Heights community members. We hope the supervisor is willing to listen to our ideas and to see us for what we are--honest workers and family men who are struggling to maintain our families and our dignity.

JUAN CARLOS RUIZ

FAUSTO DUBON

Los Angeles

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