Friday, November 28, 2014

Bob Dunning: It’s time to pay workers their fair share


From page A2 | April 12, 2013 |

HARVEST OF SHAME … growing up in Yolo County a number of decades ago, I was one of the local kids able to land a summer job picking tomatoes side-by-side with the hard-working men who came to this area from Mexico each year as part of the bracero program … since UC Davis had yet to develop the mechanical tomato harvester, this was back-breaking work, bending over all day picking the fruit, then straightening up only long enough to carry the heavy lug boxes to the end of the row to get your ticket punched … we were paid by the box, not the hour, truly earning the fruit of our labors …

There were, of course, many differences between me and the men I worked with that went far beyond the fact we spoke different languages … for one, I returned each evening to my parents and brother and sisters in our Davis home, while the braceros returned to their notoriously sub-standard labor camp … plus, while I used my meager earnings to buy baseball cards and bubble gum, they were sending as much as they could back to Mexico to support their families who remained behind …

So I was especially sad to read the plight of those bracero workers who are still owed money by the Mexican government for a portion of their wages that was deducted long ago and sent to a now-defunct Mexican farm bank … the government program allows compensation of $3,000, but workers must show proof of their decades-old employment, which is nearly impossible for many of those still living and still seeking justice …

Given how low the compensation is, and given that these workers contributed mightily to feeding the American public during World War II and for several decades after, it seems there might be a role here for the U.S. government as well … it’s the least we can do for those who served us so well in our time of need …

BRAIN DRAIN CONTINUES … no one knows for sure what would cause a native son to leave delightful Davis for wild and woolly Woodland, but there was Ken Hiatt’s face staring back at me from the pages of this very newspaper earlier this week announcing just such a decision … Hiatt, a talented and dedicated city of Davis employee for the past 20 years, has most recently served as the city’s community development and sustainability director … comments on his efforts in that regard have always been glowing …

Hiatt’s northward migration reunites him with former finance and budget director Paul Navazio, who now serves as Woodland city manager … both will be missed …

Interestingly, Hiatt noted that “I have always held that a position of this influence and importance in a city deserves to have someone who lives in the city and someone who is fully engaged with the community,” a sentiment I heartily endorse … unfortunately, whether it’s school teachers, firefighters, cops or city employees, the economics of housing in Davis doesn’t always allow for those who work here to also live here … that’s an unfortunate fact of life in our high-end town …

WORDS FROM THE WISE … Congregation Bet Haverim is offering the Davis community a unique opportunity to better understand the Holocaust from a survivor of that horror, UC Davis emeritus professor Alex Groth … Dr. Groth, who had a long and distinguished career teaching political science at UCD, will discuss the issues raised in his latest book, “Accomplices: Churchill, Roosevelt, and the Holocaust.” … his talk is scheduled for 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday at the Social Hall of Congregation Bet Haverim, 1715 Anderson Road …

As an undergraduate at UCD, I was one of those lucky souls who took as many of Alex Groth’s classes as allowed by law … in many other subjects my attendance was less than stellar, but I never missed one of Dr. Groth’s lectures … they remain treasures in my memory to this day …

THERE’S ALWAYS A LOCAL ANGLE … there she was, Davis High School’s only Nobel Prize winner, Carol Greider, pictured in her Johns Hopkins lab as part of a Science Times feature in the Tuesday New York Times … oddly, since The Times rarely misses a beat, there was no mention of whether Dr. Greider was a GATE student in the local school system …

— Reach Bob Dunning at





Shop-local focus highlights Small Business Saturday

By Bob Schultz | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Looking for the gift of life

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

The artistic process of a neighborhood legend

By Lily Holmes | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Davis MRAP didn’t go far: Woodland

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

Holiday shopping in full gear

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

Tell us your Putah Creek stories

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

Gorilla death prompts S.F. Zoo changes

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Bob Dunning: MRAP your arms around this

By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

Ceremony Tuesday celebrates MU bus terminal

By Dave Jones | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Explorit: Water expert will speak Dec. 15

By Lisa Justice | From Page: A3

Free bike clinic, ride set Sunday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Locals come through for families in need

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A4 | Gallery

Travel the world at Logos Books

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Dormant-season pruning tips offered

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Junior high students set walkathon fundraiser

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Horse owners needed for online survey

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Sierra Club calendars on sale Saturday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Enterprise holiday decorating contest is back

By Kimberly Yarris | From Page: A4

Flyway Nights talk focuses on sea otters of Elkhorn Slough

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Chamber of Commerce lays out 5-year plan

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

Holiday gifts galore available at crafts fair

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

Shakespeare folio discovered in France

By New York Times News Service | From Page: A7 | Gallery

Students come together for sustainability

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7 | Gallery

Workshop will answer financial aid questions

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

Wolks share their unique perspective on Davis

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

Christmas Bird Count workshop planned Wednesday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

Watch, then make, a holiday floral decoration

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9



Behavior straining friendship

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

It all started at the bookstore

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

What can we do to help?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

What if we really need it?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

Tom Elias: Utilities look to soak small users

By Tom Elias | From Page: A6

Cheers and Jeers: Thankfully, no jeers

By Our View | From Page: A6

Many thanks for a great benefit

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6



Seahawks shut down San Francisco

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Aggies out-Fox Utah State after dramatic Les shot to forces overtime

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Defense, depth lead Aggie women to home win

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Youth roundup: 10 titles for the Diamonds Level 3 gymnastics squad

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B4 | Gallery





Mumbo Gumbo plays for post-Thanksgiving dance party

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

‘Horrible Bosses 2′: Fire ‘em all!

By Derrick Bang | From Page: A11 | Gallery



Sonata evolves into more sophisticated car

By Ann M. Job | From Page: C1 | Gallery



John Walter Neves Jr.

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4



Comics: Friday, November 28, 2014 (set 2)

By Creator | From Page: B3

Comics: Friday, November 28, 2014 (set 1)

By Creator | From Page: A10