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Day Laborers in Ladera Heights

March 27, 1994

* Perhaps the "compromise" that County Supervisor Yvonne Braithwaite Burke came up with in response to the problem with the day laborers in Ladera Heights may sound good to you (editorial, March 17). But who will organize and pay for the location where these laborers can congregate for hiring? Will the American Civil Liberties Union, the Coalition for Humane Immigration Rights of Los Angeles or the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, who were very quick to label the citizens of Ladera Heights racists when all they want to do is maintain their property in a manner to which they have been accustomed? Or maybe Supervisor Gloria Molina would chip in a few bucks. And more than that, will the workers cooperate in this effort to organize them so that they will not be a nuisance in a residential community?

The organized location will perhaps involve their legality in being in the United States, which has not been mentioned before in the articles that I have seen in regard to this problem.

ELAINE SENSIPER

Los Angeles

* Regarding the Ladera Heights problem:

Since illegal immigrants tend to live in low-income housing, they were hit hard by the Jan. 17 quake. Now with even fewer resources, more of them are left with no alternative to day work. Suddenly, they are portrayed as evil illegals trying to use funds which could ostensibly be better spent on legal citizens. To make matters worse, their right to their only viable means of making a living (soliciting day work on the street) is being contested and threatened. I can't image that they enjoy their highly visible poverty and vulnerability to underpayment since they have no legal recourse.

For nine years, I have had a private physical therapy clinic in the middle of the West Los Angeles area, where day labor is as prevalent as it is in Ladera Heights. We have never had an incident that hurt or threatened any of us or our patients.

I think we tend to associate poverty and squalor with crime--sometimes justifiably. We should not in this instance. These people are merely trying to survive.

SHERRY BROURMAN

Los Angeles

* The action of the Board of Supervisors regarding the day laborers in Ladera Heights (March 16) is another example of an alarming trend of elected representatives in this country to respond to the demands of non-citizens and to ignore the needs and desires of the citizens to whom they are responsible.

The citizens of Ladera Heights very clearly communicated their desire to maintain the quality of life in their neighborhood by restricting the congregating of groups of men on the sidewalks. The board arrogantly ignored them and put the desires of non-citizens first. Obviously in a culture clash such as this, the board supports the culture of foreign countries over that of its own citizens. This should be a wake-up call for all of us.

MARILYN URANGA

South Pasadena

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