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[whitespace] Mike Honda Where's Honda? Our representative for the 15th Congressional District does not exist, according to the 2001 phone book.


Missing Mike

Got your April 2001 Pac Bell phone book? Good. Turn to page 12. Arrgh! (That, anyway, was Nüz' reaction to this bizarre collection of head shots that look as if they were taken in a Boardwalk photo booth.) The shots accompany the name, address and telephone listings for "federal and state elected officials in your directory coverage area" and are topped by a disclaimer stating, ''All information in this section was accurate at the time of publication." Uh-huh. Then how come Tom Campbell is still listed as 15th District representative, instead of current Congressmember Mike Honda? (Don't even get us started about Dubya, whose pic is in there as Prez.)

Curious as to why Honda's wasn't listed, Nüz called Pac Bell. One hour and nine phone referrals later, Dave Trussell of Pac Bell's Directory Marketing Unit in L.A. assured us that the goof-up wasn't the phone company's fault. ''It's the responsibility of newly elected officials to inform us of changes," Trussell said.

Meri Maben, Honda's district director agreed--up to a point. ''It's the House Communications Office in Washington that informs Pac Bell of changes. And our local office did get a call from Pac Bell confirming the number we'd given the House," Maben testifies.

But when Honda opened up his San Jose office in January, constituents complained they were having trouble getting through. "They'd call 411 and be given Campbell's number, instead," Maben says.

Frustrated, Maben called Victor Arranaga, Pac Bell's San Jose-based director of external affairs. "He told us Pac Bell was 'working' on it, and the problem originated in Washington," Maben says.

So how come the phone books got messed up, too? ''All orders are placed by Congress. We went by the information sent us," Arranaga persists. Hmmm. Will Honda get a free listing in April 2002? Will 411 calls to his number be free of charge? Says Arranaga, "I'll have to check with

Washington. I don't know who is billed."

Nüz fears it might take years of phoning to find out. Meanwhile, constituents can reach Honda at 831.630.5834 in Santa Cruz and 408.244.8085 in San Jose. And in case you're still wondering what the mystery man looks like, we've included a pic.

Union Eyes

Day-care workers at Swift Street, Sycamore Street and Good Beginnings (which relinquished union status in 1999 as a condition of merging with Food and Nutrition Services when Santa Cruz City funding was cut off) are pushing for union recognition.

For Tammy Thumma, site supervisor at Swift Street, it is an issue of being "forgotten, ignored and overruled" by FNS. "We're one of the lowest-paid workers, and some of us don't even have insurance," she says. "They [FNS] tell us if we work overtime, we'll be compensated, but we can never take the comp time because there aren't enough teachers to cover. We have a very high turnover rate, because teachers get so burnt out. Among other things, we're saying that we want to be part of the hiring process so we know that teachers are qualified and will take their jobs seriously."

At the end of last year, FNS raised starting wages to $9 an hour, up from $7.36. Yet hourly wages cap out at $10.75 for teachers' aids and $12.44 for teachers. FNS executive director Sam Storey won't respond until after the May 1 board meeting.

On other union fronts, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees declared a victory when Bill Graham Presents/SFX Productions moved the Medeski Martin and Wood show from the Civic Auditorium to Palookaville on April 19. The Civic's IATSE technical employees had threatened to picket the event after BGP demanded that the facility allow them to staff half of the crew with nonunion workers.

"I don't think it was about money," says Aaron Zajac, IATSE local 611's business agent. "The Parks and Recreation Department even offered to reduce city fees for this particular show if BGP agreed to use union stagehands. I think that they didn't want to set a precedent. The good news is, that after 10 years, we're now on a fast-track negotiation with the city for a facilities agreement so that we won't have to defend our jobs on a daily basis."

County employees were also crying victory following the Board of Supes April 17 meeting, at which every supe but Ellen Pirie voted not to increase the county's use of Manpower Inc., a private, nonunion contracting agency. Instead of inflating the county's contract with Manpower from $7,500 a year to $50,000 in an attempt to plug the county's gapping 22 percent vacancy rate with temporary workers, the board suggested that staff research workers' wages, which are not on a par with other Bay Area counties.

At the meeting, Jeff Almquist opposed the expansion of the contract. Mardi Wormhoudt suggested that the union and personnel work together to solve staffing problems. Jan Beautz said she didn't want to see county funds fattening up Manpower's coffers. Pirie wanted the contract expansion on the grounds that the county would lose revenue if MediCal billing positions went unfilled. Tony Campos, who supported Almquist's motion, then said the board should increase the contract "this one time only" in order to deal with "this issue of billing," just seemed confused.

"We're not against the county's use of temporary workers per se," says Nancy Elliot, president of the county chapter of SEIU local 415, an organization that itself uses temp workers. "We understand that in certain situations, it's necessary. But the problem with Manpower is that its workers are explicitly barred from unionizing. When the county uses Manpower, union budgeted positions go to nonunion workers with no representation."

Left-Wing Right

Although certain UCSC faculty are notoriously left-wing, some have difficulty translating ideas into actions. Restaurant workers, for example, have noted that some profs are terrible tippers. However, Chris Connery, Carla Freccero and Rob Wilson of UCSC's Center for Cultural Studies showed uncommon integrity last weekend. Faced with the prospect of asking visiting scholars to cross the picket line of University Professional and Technical Employees, who were striking at UCSC, the three moved their boundary 2/Worlding conference down from the city on a hill to the West Coast Santa Cruz Hotel with the help of events coordinator Shann Ritchie. "We decided to relocate the conference in solidarity," Freccero explained.

In his opening remarks at the conference (dedicated to works-in-progress of Bay Area scholars and scholars associated with the academic journal boundary 2), Connery summed up organizers' motivations: "We cross a lot of lines around here, but we don't cross picket lines."

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From the April 25-May 2, 2001 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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