Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California on March 19, 1998 · Page 1
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Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California · Page 1

Ukiah, California
Issue Date:
Thursday, March 19, 1998
Page 1
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Ukiah Daily ournal ©1998, Donrey Media Group 14 pages, Volume 139 Number 293 50 cents tax Included LHestyle The show goes on • Page 3 InBflif 2 Jumble 11 Classifieds ...11 Lottery 14 eethtei 9 Obituaries ... .14 Crossword .. .10 Sport* fl patty Dlgiftt ..14 TV lilting* ... .10 F««ur« 10 Wwther 14 4 Thursday, March 19,1998 Casino workers gain little in compact . By GLENDA ANDERSON ; The Daily Journal ; While the model gambling compact ; between the state and a Southern Cali; fpffiia tribe increases casino workers' '. rights, it doesn't increase them by much. ! It gives only service employees, like I restaurant workers and valets, the right • to form unions and bargain with their ; casino employers. ; "Well that don't do any good. The ! majority of the casinos don't have more I than four or five restaurant workers. I don't know many that have valets, except in L.A. You have another 30,000 workers (in the state) that don't have any bargaining rights," said George Perrone, a former Shodakai Coyote Valley Casino employee who has been picketing the casino since January in protest of what he says was his unfair firing, along with a half dozen other employees. According to labor union representative Jeff Rusich, the proposed gaming compact would give only 20 of Shodakai's 200 employees the right to bargain with their employer. Rusich has been working with casino employees and the Coyote Valley tribe to try to get more rights for employees of Indian-owned casinos. Employees on Indian reservations currently can only unionize with the permission of the tribes and there is no state or federal agency they can turn to for help with employment issues other than safety. The practical result of giving only a handful of people the right to bargain is there won't be enough employees at most casinos to make unionizing workable, Rusich said. "You can see the. obvious advantage to the employers," he said. "There's no solidarity among the employees." Rusich also noted that the model compact forbids strikes and picketing, even for the employees allowed to form unions. Instead, they would have binding arbitration agreements. He said he doesn't favor strikes, but added they give employees leverage, "The threat of a strike is always an asset. (Employees) should have that right," Rusich said. Yet another slap-in-the-face to tabor by Wilson's compact is that the new employee regulations won't go into effect for a year, he said. Rusich called that a delay tactic. Howard Dickstein, an attorney who represented the Pala Band of Mission Indians during the model compact nego- See CASINO, Page 14 ime bottle By DAN McKEE The Daily Journal Dan Parker treats his bottle collection like pirate's gold. Parker's bottles may look ordinary, but they're not. Some have traveled halfway around the world two or three times on their own. Somewhere, sometime, someone has placed a scribbled note in one of the bottles, sealed it, and flung it into the sea. Pacific currents have carried it from the shores of Asia to the sandy beaches of California, Oregon and Washington. Lying forgotten on some beach, somebody has found it and the message it contains - and kept it. Now Parker wants people to share the bottles and their messages with him, so he can share them with the world. A former reporter with the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, Parker became enthralled with bottles of the seafaring kind after he learned about a woman who had found a bottle with an "interesting" message inside washed up on the Texas coast. This wasn't the first such bottle the woman had found, Parker discovered. "She had found numerous bottles because she was an inveterate beachcomber." Talking with her, Parker learned other people in the area also had found bottled messages. He talked with them, too, and ended up writing a feature story for the paper. "It got me to thinking," the 36-year-old Parker says. "What if I expanded my See BOTTLES, Page 14 This wine bottle is from San Francisco, and was tossed off a ship. Dan Parker with a few of his found bottles. Barbara Vasconcellos/The Dally Journal Railroad's future hinges on hearing Unpaid employees suffering; Hauser says he may have to look for other work By JENNIFER POOLE The Daily Journal The governing board of the Northwestern Pacific Railroad is preparing for a "watershed event" - a March 31 hearing in front of the California Transportation Commission that may well determine the future of the railroad. The CTC's yea or nay on a proposed loan repayment plan, NWP Director Allan Hemphill said at the railroad's regular meeting Wednesday, could obviate "even the continued need for this board to meet." Storm damage has shut down the NWP almost completely for almost a month now. Hourly employees working to reopen the line haven't yet been paid for the period ending March 8, although the line's new private operator, Rail-Ways, Inc., issued a letter Monday projecting payment by March 23. Rail-Ways was depending on quick reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Authority for this year's disaster to pay for the repairs it's been doing. However, Director Ruth Rockefeller learned last week, immediate FEMA money for this winter's repair work will not be forthcoming until ongoing audits of the railroad's books have been completed. The workers, Rockefeller said Wednesday, are "in desperate straits." Many cannot pay rent or make car payments and are being besieged by creditors. The five remaining management employees are also working without pay right now. In fact, as Executive Director Dan Hauser put it: "I can make it to the end of the month, then if I haven't gotten my back pay, I have to find other employment opportunities." See RAILROAD, Page 14 citv V»<7?$|;*'r City takes aim against gang violence, drugs By DAN McKEE The Daily Journal ; The city put Ukiah gangs on riotice Wednesday: violence and drug-related incidents will not be tolerated. • The City Council agreed to draft a letter to District Attorney Susan Massini asking for prosecution of gang-related violence in the Sidnie Court area to the fullest extent of the law. : But Councilwoman Guadalupe Chavez said the city needs "to go beyond criminalizing gang activity" and find alternatives to the racial and language barriers that promote it. Chavez called for establishing a Youth Center for Ukiah kids as well as creating police department substations that would serve as neighborhood patrol bases, "A wider outreach needs to be done," she said. "We need more community understanding of what gang membership is, what it means, and why kids join." One middle school student who lives in the Sidnie Court area said he believed 90 percent of all youth involved in area gangs attend classes at Pomolita. The city needs to provide "something for younger kids to do," he said. City Manager Candace Horsley said the city has received grant money for the next three years to put more officers on the streets. "We've been able to hire two new officers," Horsley said, "and we plan to hire a third." The new hires would free three veteran officers for patrol duty, Horsley said, "and gang violence will be one of their priorities." But Mayor Sheridan Malone pointed out that prosecution of gang members "is not always a major deterrent" to gang-related activities. "Community involvement is the key," Malone said. "We must provide viable alternatives" to gang membership. The discussion resulted from a letter to the city from members of the Wagensellers Neighborhood Committee, urging the city to support prosecution of gang members arrested following a neighborhood melee about two weeks ago. "I have three kids," said one area resident, "and it's scary to walk home with 30 men standing around outside wearing (gang) colors." Not all neighborhood gang members are youths, she pointed out. And she noted that "drug activity goes hand in hand with gang activity" in the area. Citywide gang activity isn't an "issue of diversion or intervention," said Eric Larson of Neighborhood Watch.' Action needs to be taken to "reassure residents they can feel safe in their homes." Raise OK'd for city workers By DAN McKEE The Daily Journal City workers will get their first raise in three years after the City Council voted Wednesday to approve agree* ments reached with employee representatives. City workers represented by Operating Engineers Local No. 3 had previously ratified the proposed one-year contract. The deal would give city workers a 2.5 percent pay raise. .,._—— "It's a minimal contract," City Manager Candace Howley said this morning, Work- ers will receive a 1 percent raise immediately, then another 1.5 percent raise in July. "We're being very conservative," Horsley said. "Our employees understand the city's financial picture." It was the same offer workers had rejected in January when the city proposed a two- year contract. "There was no incentive to sign a two-year deal," said Chuck Smith, the union's business agent. "Workers were motivated to take the city's (one-year) offer by the Stt RAISE, Pag* 14

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