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Poor Conditions

October 05, 1994

My commendations for printing the story about Maria Echaveste's return to Ventura County to revisit her roots and finding nothing much has changed ("U.S. Official Strengthens Ties to Field Workers," Aug. 27). Have we forgotten Edward R. Murrow's searing documentary, "Harvest of Shame"?

It's unfortunate that Ms. Echaveste, as head of the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hours Division, cannot do more to improve the living quarters of migrant farm workers in Ventura County.

Recently, my wife and I drove along Port Hueneme Road to tour the USS Port Royal, which was open for public tours at the Naval Construction Battalion Center, when we crossed the railroad tracks marking the entrance to Oxnard and Port Hueneme. I was shocked to see dilapidated homes situated a few feet away from the tracks. A dumpster piled high with refuse was in the center of the compound. A dirt road led into the dirt-centered compound. The homes were badly in need of paint.

How can Oxnard expose children to such dangerous living conditions? I hope Ms. Echaveste has an opportunity to visit this area on her next visit.

SAMUEL M. ROSEN

Newbury Park

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