By Chris Parker
By Jesse Marx
By John Baichtal
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Jesse Marx
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Tatiana Craine
By Judy Keen
Beth Walton's feature story concerning Holly Collins is bereft of objectivity ("In Plain Sight," 7/30/08). It is nothing more than a propaganda piece for an embittered, paranoid mother and her overzealous supporters.
Stripped of hyperbole, the only actual "fact" which appears undisputed in this saga is that Holly was unable to accept a judge's decision that her children's best interests were to be in the custody of their father. Instead of respecting this ruling she chose to kidnap the children and sever their relationship with their father. Ironically, it was Holly's efforts to interfere with that father-child relationship which caused her to lose custody of the children.
Ms. Walton could have focused on evidence of Holly's manipulation observed by the children's therapist, Dr. Cline, or similar concerns expressed by a court appointed expert. She could have highlighted the mother's repeated efforts to disrupt visitation by seeking serial protective orders coinciding with the father's visitation. Ms. Walton could have sought out information from psychologists about why the children's rote expression of fear of their father gave clues to the possibility of rehearsed, orchestrated accusations. She could have mentioned studies revealing that approximately 50 percent of abuse allegations made by women against men in custody disputes are demonstrably false. Ms. Walton did none of this. Instead she accepted Holly's invective as gospel.
I am a current employee of Starbucks and I am sick of hearing all of the bad press that Erik Forman is creating ("Revolt of the Baristas," 7/30/08). I have worked happily for Starbucks for three years now, at four different locations in Hawaii and Minnesota, and the reason I stay with Starbucks is because they offer great benefits to fit my part-time work and full-time school schedule. I have never worked anywhere that took such good care of its employees—we get paid vacation, 401K, stock options, dental, vision and health insurance, cheap life insurance, funeral leave, tuition reimbursement, flexible scheduling, and a reasonable wage for the job we have to perform (let's face it—we're not rocket scientists!) You name it, Starbucks probably provides it. There is no need for a union. I have never had any problems getting and keeping these benefits. The fact is that Erik doesn't know how to show up to work on time and that will get you fired. So please Erik, give it up, look for a new job (sounds like you've been looking into Wal-Mart), and good luck finding one as good as the one you had at Starbucks!
Tasha Boehland Minneapolis
I wonder how many of your readers grow weary of such anti-worker—rather, anti-human—sentiments such as the online subtitle to the story covering the attempts at unionization by workers at the Mall of America Starbucks: "The effort to organize local latte-slingers could hurt the ailing chain." Hurt Starbucks? It's this kind of sentiment that helps to keep workers thinking they need to make concessions to their employers—even if it means giving up pay and benefits they so desperately need (and deserve). The otherwise decent article by Matt Snyders is supposedly about Erik Forman (the fired Starbucks employee), but that subtitle is a slightly muted yet unmistakable message about where City Pages suggests readers put their sympathies. I find it appalling; do you think I'm the only one? It's time so-called "alternative" presses like City Pages (and closer to where I live now, Milwaukee's Shepherd Express) more closely examined the pro-business, anti-worker bias that creeps into their articles.
Royal Bonde-Griggs Milwaukee, Wisconsin
I was very pleased to read your "Revolt of the Baristas" piece in the July 20, 2008 issue of City Pages. As a long-time supporter of the Industrial Workers of the World (Wobblies), I always find it inspiring when young workers like barista Erik Forman take on corporate giants like Starbucks in defense of workers' right to unionize. The projected closing of 600 Starbucks stores across the country (27 in Minnesota) and the planned layoff of some 12,000 workers is just one more illustration of something that the I.W.W. has always maintained. In its founding Preamble in 1905, the I.W.W. insists that "the working class and the employing class have nothing in common" and that "between these two classes a struggle must go on until the workers of the world organize as a class." These words, written a little over a hundred years ago, seem as significant now as they did then.
Donald E. Winters Minneapolis
CORRECTION: In the 8/6/08 edition of Blotter, I incorrectly noted that City Pages gave Schieks best strip club this year. That, unfortunately, was flat-ass wrong. The Seville won that title, as they also did in 2007, for their courteous staff, reasonable cover, and most importantly, their sensuous dancers who make all feel welcome. I deeply regret this error. Seriously, I'm single... —Bradley Campbell