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Published: Monday, 4/26/2004

Mt. Olive cares about farm workers

A recent Blade story described a Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) rally promoting the boycott of Mt. Olive products.

The article mentioned that our company indicated it "has no control over conditions" that farm workers face. As a point of clarification, we believe farmers, as independent employers, are ultimately responsible for their operations.

As a customer buying cucumbers in North Carolina, Mt. Olive has demonstrated its commitment to encouraging good conditions for farm workers: We carefully select our suppliers, we set clear and enforceable compliance expectations, and we offer supplier incentives for good practices.

Over time we have also collaborated with others to address specific farm worker concerns on a broader level. We are currently involved in several initiatives, including migrant worker housing and expanded worker's compensation insurance coverage for agricultural workers.

The core boycott issue is a question of who should determine union representation on farms. FLOC is demanding that Mt. Olive require independent farmers and their workers to negotiate and sign a union representation contract, and that Mt. Olive participate as a party in the negotiations. We believe union representation is up to employees and their employers.

Throughout the rally, which involved Toledo high school students, FLOC's position and those of its supporters appeared to be the only perspective officially put forward. The young people of Toledo deserve an understanding that all issues, including this one, have differing viewpoints.

Anyone seeking to learn more about Mt. Olive's position on the boycott should visit our Web site: www.mtolivepickles.com.

LYNN WILLIAMS

Community Relations

Mt. Olive Pickle Company, Inc.

Mt. Olive, N.C.

Outrageous, incomprehensible, and a misuse of our levy funds. The Toledo Zoo buys two acres for $450,000 for a more convenient parking lot! The zoo has 1,500 spaces presently available, not to mention it will pave over prime waterfront land.

Next the zoo will ask voters for $200,000 to $300,000 more to build the parking lot.

The zoo is a jewel, a wonderful attraction. But this is plain stupid.

I have never voted against a zoo levy request but will never, ever vote for another one again.

JEFF HOHL

Burroughs Drive

Your April 17 editorial ended with a question, "Why did he do it?" in reference to the perceived change in U.S. policy with regard to the territories that Israel presently controls and which Palestinians claim as their own.

The simple answer to the question is this: President Bush finally decided that the Palestinians have not and will not negotiate unless forced to. They have, to quote Abba Eban, "never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity."

In l967, Israel said, "Recognize us, make peace, and you can have the lands back." No one answered, so there have been almost 40 years of fighting.

When a nation is faced with an opponent who says, "We will destroy you," there is only one solution: defense, the strongest possible defense.

SYLVAN D. KAMENS

Rabbi

Congregation B'nai Israel

Kenwood Boulevard

I got my morning's good laugh when I read in The Blade that Mexico was demanding why six British were in Mexico illegally.

Did I miss something here? The United States has about 11 million illegals and it seems that no one here is demanding anything. Maybe the British could use the excuse that they were trying to increase their living standards.

IRA R. ZAUTNER

Oregon

Karl Rove states that appealing to the religious right is a paramount goal of George W. Bush's campaign. John Kerry feels pressured to include his religious beliefs in political speeches. Independent pollster John Zogby notes that religion has become a major divisive force in American politics.

The Constitution clearly separates government from religion. That mandate was echoed by John F. Kennedy in 1960: "I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute ... I believe in a President whose religious views are his own private affair, neither imposed by him upon the nation or imposed by the nation upon him as a condition to holding that office."

Religion and politics don't mix; however, an individual's religion often determines his or her individual vote and that's as it should be. We choose the candidate whose voting record on important issues most closely reflects our own beliefs. Different strokes for different folks. Thomas Carlyle said, "Democracy will prevail when men believe the vote of Judas as good as that of Jesus Christ."

God is omnipotent. Nothing we do can increase or decrease God's power.

Some political strategists target "hot" issues like abortion, the Ten Commandments, gay marriage, etc. so that supporting their candidate makes us feel self-righteous as we square off against each other.

If God is love, then fighting in the name of God is not only contradictory but counterproductive.

Christianity is not just about the cross (pain, suffering), but about the ultimate triumph over the cross ... the resurrection of the spirit. We celebrate that resurrection when we strive to unite rather than divide; to uplift rather than judge; to acknowledge differences and magnify similarities.

Who Would Jesus Choose? Only God ... and we can rest assured that, in spite of political propaganda to the contrary, God is in control.

BARBARA NELSON

Wauseon

There's been a lot of talk lately about TV and talk radio pandering to the lowest common denominator, but the music industry has been doing it for years. The latest example is William Hung. Here's a man whose only claim to fame is that he went on American Idol and displayed his complete and utter lack of talent, and for his trouble he wound up with a record contract.

The flip side of the coin is someone like Amy Fairchild, who by rights should be a household name by now. She is the only person to win the John Lennon Songwriting Contest two years in a row.

She also won the Billboard Songwriting Contest, and is easily the equal of someone like Sheryl Crow. Still, the only place you can buy her music is through an unfortunately little-known Internet music shop that specializes in independent bands.

If the record companies really want to increase sales they need to hire fewer lawyers and more talent scouts who actually look for talent and not novelty acts.

DOUG TABNER

Grantwood Drive

Remember how Republicans tried to scare us about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction? Well, they are at it again. They cannot stand the fact that Democrats are uniting behind John Kerry.

I would like to see an open debate about the issues without any more scare tactics from either side.

BRIAN FULCHER

Middlesex Drive

I just cannot take it any longer. Do the media and Democrats really hate the President so much that they will trump up a story that he really knew about Sept. 11 before it happened? Any person living in America with half a brain realizes that the President would have stopped any attack had he known beforehand it would take place. The only people falling for the media lies are the same people who believed that Bill Clinton never had sex. Let's get behind the President, win the war, and get our boys back home.

JIM MOLINE

Sylvania



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