Friday, August 7, 2009

letter to the editor

i'm not really a "letter to the editor" type of gal or at least i haven't been for the first 41 years of my life, but a few weeks ago i sat at my computer searching for a job and in the background michael jackson's memorial service was on the television. as i watched all the grandeur unfold and read reports about the City of Los Angeles footing the bill ... well ... i was angered enough to launch my letter writing career!

yesterday as i was running i thought about the letter and that it was never published and then realized, doh!, i have my very own publishing vehicle. so, here ya go ... my very first "letter to the editor":

Dear Editor,

I am outraged by the City of Los Angeles’ spending on Michael Jackson’s memorial service. It’s not that I think Mr. Jackson shouldn’t be honored, I do. He made great contributions to us all and I have the fondest memories of boppin’ along to The Jackson 5 with my brothers and sisters throughout the 1970’s. However, as a now grown woman who was recently laid off from her job, I am dancing to a different tune.

For the past six years I have worked for a non-profit agency that relies heavily upon State and Federal contracts for a great portion of its budget. As we sat with an unapproved budget and a State in total financial crisis, we had to look at suspending services to our clients, cutting out programs and reducing our staff.

In an attempt to not leave our city’s most needy without the services they so desperately rely upon, a few of us lost our jobs. My hope is that with our education and skills the set back we experience will be less than what our clients would have faced had they not received the subsidies they need in order to meet their most basic needs.

That being said, I am appalled by the fact that the City of Los Angeles saw fit to spend, what reports are saying is upwards of $4 million, on Mr. Jackson’s memorial. While I am not privy to the Jackson family’s finances, I’d bet what money I do have that they have more than enough to appropriately memorialize him. The fact that Mayor Villaraigosa saw fit to Tweet throughout the day yesterday, appealing to the citizens of Los Angeles to donate to the Michael Jackson Memorial Fund to offset the costs is beyond comprehension to me.

The City has put up a webpage where you can make a donation through PayPal. Have they done that for the families that are at risk of losing their CalWorks benefits? What about for the hard working employees, such as myself, who no longer have jobs so that others can continue to thrive, is there a webpage to donate to that cause?

To me it is downright irresponsible of the City to have gone ahead with the memorial. What about honoring Mr. Jackson with a street in his name (though I am sure that is in the works too)? How about holding candle light vigils a la John Lennon’s passing? What about the City filling in where the State is failing our citizens and making donations, in Mr. Jackson’s name, to our cities neediest?

These are all honorable, responsible, inspiring acts that are much more sensitive to our current economic climate and much more in keeping with a budding young social consciousness that has started to take root with our new Presidential administration.

Writing a letter to the editor is something I have never done before, but I am so pained by our City’s insensitivity, I simply had to say something.

Catherine M. Griffin

*later reports indicated that the actual cost to the City was $1.4 million, but still ...


Jennifer Harrison said...

did you just blog 2x in one week!? Or within a 72 hour period.? I LOVE IT.

Agree with you on this whole MJ issue...a bit over the top.

Mama Simmons said...

Very well stated, Cat.

It's amazing how irresponsibly money is spent sometimes, isn't it? I don't think Hawaii is quite as bad off as Cali right now, but 1100 state workers just laid off... and then you see these crazy projects where they're spending money repaving parking lots that were perfectly paved to begin with... and you're like, couldn't that money be much better spent? Maybe paving a road that people actually use more often? One that is actually ripped up? Who makes these decisions?

I'm glad you published your letter on the blog.

D said...

41?!?!?! hmmmm...

Beth said...

Ugh. Very well written. I will never pretend to understand how state/federal money is spent. Like I said - ugh.

Roo said...