Commentary

Letters to the Editor

Page 4 of 5

The real horror began in the air. Lunch consisted of a lukewarm hamburger last heated at the terminal, and when I opened the wrapper, a pint of grease poured onto the tray. I have seen better food in county lockup. Anyway, the woman next to me and her five-year-old daughter, after eating lunch, began to convulse and vomit in the air bags. Replaying the scene from Airplane was not funny this time.

With flight attendants standing five feet away, I began to request the airbags from fellow passengers, as all the bags in our area had been used and were piling up. When I requested assistance from the attendant next to my seat to help dispose of the full bags, she told me to sit down and shut up. She also said she could not touch the bags as she was a safety attendant, not a nurse; I should just place them under my seat and the rest under the seats of other passengers, and the help would get them when they cleaned the plane. Halfway through the flight, the smell was unbearable in the rear of the plane. Other passengers were shouting and screaming for them to do something, and they finally did respond: They went to the galley in back and pulled the curtain and refused to come out for the rest of the flight.

I made my connecting flight by fifteen minutes.

Bill Wilhoit
Vail

Hire and higher: I think it is all a lot of fun for people to jump on the bandwagon to trash a business that is in the news for some reason or another. Traveling is not always a fun experience. I should know: I have worked for United Airlines for over fifteen years. I am a Lead Flight Simulator Technician and am getting concerned and disgusted with a lot of the things I hear said about us in the media.

The truth of the matter is that UAL was notified well over a year ago of a large shortage of pilots and has chosen to fly the current schedule expecting pilots to cover it with overtime. Well, guess what: The pilots' contract expired, and they are now flying "by the book." Don't blame the employees for these problems; blame the current management. We went through a six-year ESOP and just recently snapped back to 1994 wages, and both the pilots and the mechanics are expecting the industry-leading contracts that we were promised at the end of this ESOP. But management has dragged its feet and deflected the blame, mainly to the pilots and weather, when it should be pointing fingers at itself. Add to this mess the airline wanting to buy USAir with the money it made from our wage cuts and adding thousands of higher-seniority employees that will knock us all down a notch, and it amounts to a real slap in the face.

We are very unhappy people and are very upset about our customers paying the price. This is plain old labor unrest, and UAL upper management has the ability to end these problems very quickly if it wanted to. Please don't blame the employees. Management has had more than enough opportunity to address these new contracts before they expired. Six years is a long time to wait for a raise! We all want to get through this as soon as possible!

Chris Minor
Aurora


SLAPP Happy

Down in the dumps: In his August 3 "Dump and Grind," Harrison Fletcher refers to Mr. Fox being hit with "a slap suit." What Fletch should have written is "SLAPP" suit. The acronym stands for Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation, and it was coined by professors Rock Pring of the University of Denver College of Law and Penelope Canan of DU. The term refers to suits filed against those who have spoken out to the government about issues. While camouflaged as claims for slander, interference with business, etc., SLAPPs are filed to harass, punish or prevent the target from speaking out on a particular issue. SLAPPs have a chilling effect on our First Amendment right to petition the government. I wish Mr. Fox luck in getting this lawsuit dismissed.

Ellen Buckley
via the Internet


The Gang's All Cheer

Bah rah: I'm writing in response to David Ehrenstein's review of But I'm a Cheerleader. According to an interview she did with the L.A. Times, Jamie Babbit decided to make this movie after reading the true story of a young girl who came out to her mother, then was kidnapped and sent to Rivendell Psychiatric Hospital in Utah, where doctors tried to force her to change her sexual orientation. Her treatment included heavy doses of psychiatric medication, being locked in a seclusion room (yes, it was painted Pepto-Bismol pink!) and being forced to smell ammonia while shown pornographic pictures of lesbian sex.

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