WeWork needs a new plan to address its business issues

By Angel Gutierrez

If your house had no windows, faulty wiring, and a bad foundation, what’s the first step you would take to fix it? Would you decide to repaint the house, or would you go to work fixing the essential problems first?

The answer’s obvious. But in the business world, many companies face deep foundational issues, yet nonetheless, devote their focus to cosmetics. It’s a common mistake that has spelled ruin for many promising businesses.

Could WeWork be next?

If you’re unfamiliar, WeWork is perhaps the top co-working company in the country (co-working meaning an office space where companies, usually startups, share common spaces and amenities). They’re expanding everywhere, and have recently announced a new Palo Alto location here in California.

The company hit the scene at just the right time when it was founded in 2011 – real estate was cheap due to the economic downturn, and the hip millennial business craze was in full flight across the country.

Over the last eight years, WeWork has matured from a trendy startup into a $47 billion dollar company, according to Fast Money. But as the company has grown, they’ve opened themselves up to new problems.

For starters, WeWork has a spending problem – a big one. According to Recode, last year, “[WeWork’s] net loss was $723 million in the first half of the year on about $764 million of revenue.” This wasn’t a one-off; the company has a pattern of money going in and out at just about the same rate.

That’s probably fine today while the economy is hot. But in the event of another downturn, such a small amount of cash-on-hand could be a real problem.

WeWork’s also come into some ethical dilemmas lately that threaten their reputation as a socially-conscious 21st-century company. For instance, it’s no secret that WeWork takes heavy investments from Softbank, a Japanese company that’s bankrolled by the Saudi government – especially problematic given the kingdom’s human rights violations.

Not to mention, WeWork’s also taken heat for their poor response to sexual harassment allegations and for firing cleaning staff who asked for a pay raise.

So far, WeWork has not done much to address the problems themselves. Rather, they’ve embarked on a new expansion and rebranding effort. They now operate under an umbrella brand called “the we company” and are launching new business ventures in the education and housing spaces.

Launching a new rebrand and expansion isn’t a bad thing. But if this is WeWork’s only solution to poor financial management and problematic ethical situations, then it’s not the right move.

Not to mention, the rebrand itself has raised some eyebrows. By calling itself “we,” WeWork is mirroring the name of a well-established Canadian charity called the WE Organization. The WE Organization has been around for over two decades, and in that time has made a mark around the world for their philanthropic efforts. Furthermore, the charity is involved in many of the same sectors as WeWork.

It’s one thing to change your company’s name, but when you're using a similar brand as a nonprofit that is involved in the same sectors, it's certainly not the most ideal look for the millennial-driven company.

Bottom line: WeWork’s effort to rebrand itself and grow as a business is fine. However, it is not the sole path to solving the true problems facing the company. WeWork has a lot of potential as it expands in California. If the company can solve its internal flaws, there is no doubt that WeWork will achieve even greater success.

Angel Gutierrez is the President/CEO of Crescent College.

Letter to the Editor: American Legion's 100th birthday

Dear Editor:

On Thursday, March 14, the American Legion Post 270 and the City of Downey celebrated the 100th anniversary of the American Legion at city hall.

I want to thank David Niemeyer and his band from Warren High School for playing the National Anthem. I would also like to thank the mayor's veterans sub-committee for their support and input with this celebration.

I would also thank Jason Chacon and the rest of Parks & Recreation staff for their assistance in seeing this come to fruition. And special thanks to Montebello Post 272 Honor Guard for posting the colors. Thanks also to my fellow veterans who attended this celebration.

Finally, thanks go to our Mayor Rick Rodriguez and his staff for his support.

Ray Gard
Post Commander
Post 270
Downey

Letter to the Editor: Traitor in the White House

Dear Editor:

I remember vaguely, years ago when I was a child in the 70's, President Nixon on the cover of a news magazine sitting atop our family coffee table. But I never put together the significance of the story or time until I was a teenager.

Then around the age of 12 to 13, I started to really pay attention to the news about the Tehran hostage crisis. I recognized how then candidate Reagan capitalized on then President Carter's impotence.

It was my first lesson in how the political narrative is manipulated by clever individuals who know how to work the media and control what the average person thinks.

Recently, Andrew McCabe, a former deputy director of the FBI, gave a compelling interview to 60 Minutes which was broadcast Feb. 17. In it, he details disturbing revelations about professional colleagues of his trying their best at damage control.

The question becomes: "Is President Trump compromised by a foreign power, namely Russia?" And if so, what to do about it?

I have lived 52 years on this planet come April, and I have never witnessed something like this before. Excuse me if I choke a bit and lose my train of thought.

What we have here is an unprecedented occasion where major law enforcement players believe the White house has been compromised by Vladimir Putin through Donald Trump.

At the same time you have major Republican figures like Mitch McConnell and Leslie Graham collaborating with Trump to push their own political agendas knowing the controversy that surrounds him (Trump).

Nothing, apparently, not even the suggestion of the highest office in the land being compromised by foreign powers can discourage the self aggrandizing right wing figures from taking advantage of the chaos and distraction that Trump's presidency dictates.

It is profoundly disgusting to witness the current Republican leadership opportunistically pushing forth their agendas while everyone seems to be distracted by the scandal that is Donald Trump.

Two things come to mind: first, this President is no doubt a traitor to this country and a Benedict Arnold.

Second, there are GOP leaders who will suffer the indignities of all collaborators throughout history, the end of their careers if they are lucky. Being dragged into the street by an angry mob if they are not lucky.

My great hope is the latter.

Garett Bell
Downey

Letter to the Editor: U.S. intervention in Venezuela

Dear Editor:

Much has been said about the US intervening in Venezuela to restore democracy in that country. While this is very laudable, it is a misguided effort.

If we are serious about expelling socialism from this continent, we should restore democracy in Cuba. This would be easier since we already have a military base there.

Cuba has been the effective exporter of socialism to Latin America since 1960 when Fidel Castro consolidated his power in Cuba. Sixty years later, the Castro dynasty continues in Cuba and we have never done anything to eradicate it.

Once Cuba is no longer socialist, Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela will not have the services of their intelligence apparatus to spy on their own people. Their military “advisors” will have to return to Cuba and so will all the “experts” that Cuba has exported to its satellites countries to maintain vigil over their population.

If we are going to intervene in the name of democracy, let’s do it where it will be more effective. Let’s get rid of the Castros’ pernicious influence in Latin America once and for all.

Jorge Montero
Downey

Letter to the Editor: Breastfeeding policy

Dear Editor:

Congratulations to the Downey Unified School District for receiving an A from the California Women’s Law Center for its policies protecting the rights of lactating students and employees.

These policies are not just an investment in the employees and students—it is an investment in their children, and in our future. Breastfeeding has been proven to contribute greatly to public health. It is the safest, most nutritious food for babies and can provide lifelong health benefits. Breastfeeding has also been proven to be a healthy choice for mothers, lowering their rates of breast cancer and other diseases. It is environmentally sustainable and is affordable for all mothers.

But breastfeeding is not something a student can pursue as hobby—after school or just on the weekends. A lactating woman must express her milk every couple of hours or she will be at risk for infection and the eventual cessation of breastfeeding. So when a teen makes the decision to breastfeed her baby, she is making a very adult decision. She is making a big commitment that is not without sacrifice. She is investing her time and energy in not only the health of her child, but also in the relationship and bond that will lead to a well-rounded and successful older child and adult. By providing the necessary accommodations, DUSD is living up to its Character Counts motto that we all see around our great city.

In just three short years, DUSD improved their grade from a ‘D’ to an ‘A.’ In DUSD today, a teenager who finds herself pregnant might choose not to have an abortion, or she might not drop out of high school, seeing that she can still possibly finish high school and be the mother she envisions herself being. It’s not an easy path, but mothers are phenomenally good multi-takers. And when it seems doable, more teen mothers will take that path.

Supporting these students is a really smart move on the part of DUSD. It is a policy to not further marginalize individuals who are already somewhat marginalized. With this new policy, DUSD benefits all of us as well.

Lana Joy Wahlquist
Downey

The author is an accredited leader with La Leche League of Downey.

Letter to the Editor: Rio San Gabriel principal and staff

Dear Editor:

As one of the many grandparents who drop off their grandkids at Rio San Gabriel Elementary, I want to “shout from the rooftops” about the incredibly hardworking and loving teachers, principal and staff at this school.

As I sit comfortably warm and dry in my car, certain teachers rush to my car (every car) with an umbrella to shield my grandson from the pouring rain and walk him to the safety of the covered walkway.

Thank you for leading and teaching with your hearts - everyday, rain or shine!

Joan Heisler
Downey

How patience plays a role in local news coverage

Let me start off by saying this: I love my job at the Downey Patriot; I am not complaining.

One of the benefits of having a community paper is that you can rest assured that the individuals involved are dedicated to the distribution of information to a city that oftentimes they have very strong ties to (I myself am a “Downey Kid,” having been born, raised, and still residing here).

The downside, however, is community papers are often tiny in comparison to the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, and even Orange County Register’s that people often associate with a newsroom.

There’s no extreme hustle and bustle at The Downey Patriot. You won’t find rows of loud whizzing, red-hot printing presses here. Most of our visitors are merely popping in to ask where the mammogram office is (it’s out the door and to the left, by the way).

The Downey Patriot is a small staff; walk into the office on any given day and you will find a handful of people in advertising / legals, our graphic designer, our publisher, and our two-man editorial team.

Let me repeat. Two. Man. Editorial team.

Now before you ask “what about the contributors,” yes, we do have a handful of great and talented individuals who do contribute to our weekly publication. Mark Fetter covers sports. Lorine Parks covers poetry and community events.

We do have the occasional intern, but they usually end up falling through. My Editor Eric Pierce is always telling me that “nine out of ten don’t work out,” although he now jokes that I was “number ten.”

But when it gets right down to the “regular ol’ news,” breaking news, crime, and human interest, much of that falls on the shoulders of Eric and I. Again, this isn’t a complaint; I can tell you for an absolute fact that we are both passionate about what we do.

But it admittedly gets a little frustrating when we get bombarded with comments and tweets about why we covered one thing over another. Why this crime wasn’t mentioned. Why we haven’t reached out to this sport team, but highlighted that one. Why your story hasn’t been published yet.

The Patriot is not a biased paper. It is not a lazy paper. We are not aloof.

The Patriot is however limited in its resources. Often times, what is published or not is determined by space and what is (or is not) available. Sometimes, we’re just forced to “pick our battles.”

This is where the “community” in “community newspaper” could really do wonders.

Want a team’s accomplishments to be featured? Send us a photo and a caption. A student doing great things? Shoot us an email. Fifteen police units with guns drawn and pointed at your neighbor’s house? Tweet us.

Often times our stories and tips come from you guys: the residents of Downey. We could not do our job without you; just cut us a little bit of slack sometimes.

We’re not intentionally ignoring you. We’re not shoving anything under the rug. Most times, we’re already backlogged with interviews, assignments, and content waiting to be published.

And lastly, in case I haven’t said it already…

Two. Man. Editorial team.

Part of being a journalist is having a thick skin. Maybe I still need to work on that.

In the meantime, the Downey Patriot will always be committed to providing the City of Downey with the news, public information, and stories that our community deserves. We’re not perfect, and we are most definitely small, but with the right support we are mighty. We are always open to hearing about what you, our readers, feel should fill your paper because in the end it is your paper.

Just remember, an email, tweet, or phone can go a long way with just a little bit of patience.

Support for Assembly member Garcia

Dear Editor:

If Saturday’s high attendance at Assemblymember Cristina Garcia’s inauguration is any indication of how well respected and admired she is, we can expect more responsive and courageous leadership from her for the 58th assembly district.

Heavy rainfall (a symbol of good luck according to Asian cultures) on her inauguration day could not dampen the enthusiasm of her constituents as they cheered her on for her bold activism. Hence, it was befitting that long-time union activist Dolores Huerta did the honor of swearing in Cristina alongside notable, long-time union activist Maria Elena Durazo, now a current California State Senator.

The display of enthusiasm among diverse constituents from across the 58th assembly district was evident as they showed up in full force to support her. And I’m certain she felt their overwhelming support behind her. The impact she has had on the 58th assembly district is why voters overwhelmingly voted her in for a consecutive term.

To our state Assembly member I say, “Cristina, you have had our back, and your constituents have yours, too. Continue to lead with confidence as many of us welcome your bold, tenacious leadership.”

Sandra Nevarez
Downey

Letter to the Editor: Don't dump your pets

Dear Editor:

I am writing this letter in great hope that it will shift the consciousness of anyone that is considering dumping their pet at an animal shelter that euthanizes animals.

I know that you are probably thinking that someone will adopt your pet, or that some fantastic rescue group will step in and save your dog just in the nick of time. How I wish it were true that every single animal that sits in a kill shelter would be saved from taking their final breath waiting for a forever home that never materialized.

If you truly love your animal and can’t keep them for whatever reason, I ask that you do everything in your power to find them a loving forever home. As a volunteer at an animal shelter, I can tell you that the most beautiful, loving, trustworthy, friendly animals in our communities are losing their lives there; don’t fool yourself into believing that they only euthanize feeble old animals. Everyone is fair game, and everyone needs to be moved along to make room for the new batch of animals that are constantly coming through the shelter doors.

The shelters will tell you what can we do? We have no choice but to euthanize, this is a problem created by society, we’re cleaning up their mess by destroying these animals. Shelters will continue doing business this way. It’s up to us as citizens to step up to the plate and take care of our animals until they are old. There isn’t a day that goes by that they don’t give us every ounce of love that is inside of them -- they run to the door to happily greet us when we get home from work, they cheer us up on our saddest days, and they are happy to share every minute of their lives with us.

Don’t turn your back on your animal and betray them by dumping them at a shelter that kills animals.

Patty Jackson
Downey

Letter to the Editor: Infanticide

Dear Editor:

It should be very clear by now how dark and far our country has allowed itself to fall by worshiping at the altar of infanticide. The blood lust is sickening.

This on so many levels grieves me. When, where and how our heavenly father chooses to deal with this abomination, we better not get in his way, including myself. These are defenseless human babies, not farm animals. Not only is this vile and insane, but barbaric.

I believe when God’s righteous wrath is unleashed, not even prayer is going to make a difference. This is a warning -- turn back from these evil decisions before it’s too late.

Angel Cortes
Downey

Rising crime? We're getting a wall and guard tower

It’s good to be rich.

In 2020, The Case, Malibu’s first gated community in more than 20 years, will be opening up. Each of the new homes will have a price tag of $40 million to $60 million, six-foot walls and given the increase in robberies in this area, the community will feature a 24-hour guard tower.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, “Data from the LAPD’s West L.A. Division, which covers Brentwood and Pacific Palisades, burglaries are up 14 percent over the same period in 2017 and up 41 percent over 2016, and the prospect of a 24-hour guard gains appeal.”

Also on the list of new gated communities are The Mountain in Beverly Hills; Park Bel Air property across from the Beverly Hills Hotel and Beverly Park, which is home to Mark Wahlberg, Denzel Washington and Sumner Redstone; and Brentwood Country Estates off Mandeville Canyon Road, where Arnold Schwarzenegger lives. Tom Brady and wife Gisele Bundchen lived there before they sold their home to Dr. Dre for $40 million in 2014.

The Bel Air Crest and Mulholland Estates are also famed for housing A-listers (Jennifer Lawrence purchased Jessica Simpson’s Mulholland Estates home for $8.2 million in 2014) as are several developments in Calabasas like the Oaks, a double-gated community where the Kardashians, Drake and Justin Bieber have resided.

What about the rest of us? Crime is also on the rise in East L.A., South Central, all of Los Angeles County, the Central Valley, and throughout California.

Crime is on the rise because many like the rich, liberal elite vote for soft-on-crime proposals like Proposition 47. That ballot measure reduced many drug and property crimes from felonies to misdemeanors. Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer talks candidly about the impact of Proposition 47: “There’s an individual we have arrested 83 times since Prop 47 has passed, all on petty thefts, 83 times. That’s their job, that’s their career, they’re emboldened to do it because there’s no consequences.”

But those nice folks in Malibu voted to support Prop. 47 in a big way, by about 75 percent [3,303 yes – 1,200 no]. In the other proposed and guarded communities, the folks in Beverly Hills voted to support Prop. 47, three to one [4,650 yes – 2,225 no].

Why do the rich keep voting for measures that make it easier for criminals? The rich have the luxury to deal with the possible effects. They can protect their families from behind their gates and walls and protection by armed guards.

Again, what about all the rest of us?

What about the working families or single parents who can’t afford to live in these gated communities, with six-foot walls or armed guards? The middle and working class, who go in and out each day to support their family, feed and clothe their kids, and are just trying to get ahead in life. What about those people who are sick and tired of dealing with shoplifters, having their car broken into, and seeing drug addicts shooting up in public places?

The rich get to either make or influence the laws, by using their money to convince the rest of the state how to vote and no matter how it turns out, these elite, then get to protect themselves from any dire consequences.

Raul Riesgo is a commentator who has been featured on Spanish language news outlets Telemundo and Mundo Fox News discussing both political and Latino community issues. Follow him on Twitter @rariesgo

Letter to the Editor: Dennis Prager's willful ignorance

Dear Editor:

I just read Dennis Prager's article, a rant against leftists that somehow has something to do with the wall. The article is nothing but hot air.

From what I've heard the Democrats are not opposed to modern effective border security. In many parts of the border a wall would be useless; drones and more patrols would be much more effective. Prager should know that that's what the Democrats support.

In Prager's telling the Democrats are silly people. No, he looks pretty silly for being pathetically uninformed. Just a cursory search online reveals that in Texas for certain and other border locations as well, many landowners are opposed to the federal government's plan to confiscate parts of their property via eminent domain for the purpose of building the wall, storing materials, etc. They have organized and will take the federal government to court, and that opposition and those court proceedings will outlast Trump's term in office.

The Democrats as a whole and Republicans whose congressional districts run along the border know this wall business is a fiasco and will never be built. Why doesn't Dennis Prager know it?

Muriel Schuerman
Downey

Letter to the Editor: Political poetry

Dear Editor:

The House once shining on the hill
is now entrenched with many ills
A place where jokers now preside
And haughty queens now rule inside

Spewing profanity for all to hear
No respect and honor here.
Where apathetic kings beguiled
Along with others laugh and smile.

The wall’s immoral the jokers shout
ICE and barriers we can do without.
Bring your drugs and criminals too
With open borders we welcome you.

Hopefully soon the “know-it-alls”
Like a deck of cards will fall
And President Trump can build our wall.

Martha Morrissy
Downey

Letter to the Editor: Lakewood Boulevard

Dear Editor:

Just wanted to thank the people responsible for all the nice work that was completed on Lakewood Boulevard from Gallatin to Telegraph.

I noticed that the light under the freeway bridge is a bit dim, not sure if lights were replaced but maybe they can be replaced to be a little brighter.

I also have another issue: the lane that is a non-passing lane going towards Telegraph causes lots of grief during traffic time. Maybe if CalTrans or the traffic department can put soft pylons on there so traffic will not pass through there. This causes road rage, and even sometimes more people disobeying the traffic laws.

Otherwise the work was done very nicely and quickly. Thanks again.

M. Contreras
Downey

Letter to the Editor: Alzheimer's legislation

Dear Editor:

I am thrilled that the President recently signed the Building Our Largest Dementia (BOLD) infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act into law, which will create a nationwide Alzheimer’s public health infrastructure to implement effective Alzheimer’s interventions.

I am greatly pleased that Senators Feinstein and Harris and Congresswoman Roybal-Allard have proven records as supporting issues related to the Alzheimer’s crisis and each supported BOLD.

The BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act will create the change necessary for those living with the disease and their caregivers to live a higher quality of life while reducing the costs associated with Alzheimer’s. BOLD would enable us to increase early detection and diagnosis, reduce risk, prevent avoidable hospitalizations, reduce health disparities, support the needs of caregivers and support care planning for those living with this disease.

This legislation is particularly important to our Downey community: in California, Alzheimer’s is the third leading cause of death-- as opposed to the rest of the country in which Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death. Our city is home to a beautifully diverse population, and we need to ensure data is collected so we can create programs to serve everyone.

Latinos/Hispanics are 1.5 times more likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and African Americans are twice as likely. Women are two-thirds of those diagnosed— and women are two-thirds of all caregivers as well. No one is immune to Alzheimer’s, a disease which cannot be prevented or cured.

Last week week our leaders in Washington, D.C., took on one of this nation’s greatest health challenges, Alzheimer’s disease, and passed legislation into law that will greatly affect those facing this devastating disease. Thank you.

Bruce McDaniel
Downey

Letter to the Editor: Proof we landed on the moon

Dear Editor:

In response to Mike Sandoval’s recent letter (“Moon Landing Denier,” 12/26/18) and his yearly July letter denying the moon landing, there is plenty of evidence that proves that it really did happen.

There are two main concrete pieces of evidence: pictures of the moon landing sites and the moon rocks brought back.

To begin with, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter that launched in 2009 has taken pictures of the Apollo landing sites and other countries’ space agencies (China, India, Japan) have spotted that same sites with their own satellites.

The second solid evidence comes from the 382 kilograms of moon rocks and that was brought back from the Apollo 11 mission and given to 135 other countries. Multiple tests were performed that confirmed they were of lunar origin.

This was later confirmed in the 1970’s when the Soviet Union’s Luna unmanned spacecraft brought back a third of one kilogram of rocks back to Earth and shared samples with international scientists that confirmed the same characteristics of the moon rocks brought back by Apollo 11.

There is other evidence of the Apollo 11 mission: such as explaining the more common topics of the pictures, such as why the US flag appears to be waving, why no stars appear in the background and the shadows, but I figured the best evidence to prove the Apollo 11 moon landing was through the concrete evidence I explained: the pictures of the landing sites from other independent space agencies and the moon rocks.

All the facts are there, but I am interested to hear Mr. Sandoval’s theories regarding the independent space agencies’ pictures and the moon rocks.

Guillermo Vazquez
Downey