Letter to the Editor: Dennis Prager's blind eye

Dear Editor:

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at the irony that Dennis Prager’s assault on multi-culturalism appears in the Downey Patriot, in the deep Southwest and on the edge of the Pacific Rim, where multi-culturalism is a way of life.

To hear him tell it, some pure Christian (and white, although he won’t say it) civilization is under assault from every direction.

Prager acts as if the Western “Christian” culture developed in isolation, while in the East and other places evil was brewing. The truth of the matter is that for 500 years the West (European Countries along with our own) actively colonized the rest of the world, and specifically tried to control the Arab world in the Twentieth Century when the former colonies tried to struggle free from the West. The West is not blameless for the mess that causes migrants to want to seek a better life.

Prager is one of those “pundits” who just “says stuff,” with no rationale to back up his statements. For example, Prager states that the French Enlightenment sought the end of Christianity and the West. On the contrary, the expanding interest in science and the arts was a unifying force in Europe, and the technology that resulted from the enlightenment played a large roll in the creation of the industrial wealth of the West.

The French Revolution was a rebellion against the French state, which had tied itself to a “Christianity” that was by then rotten to the core. Would Prager prefer that the feudal kings like Louis the 14th in France had remained in power?

His analysis of the cause of the rise of Nazi-ism is equally self-serving. First, he uses a completely racist argument to say that Germans (who are of course European) were inherently violent, and that only Christianity had kept their natural violence in check. He downplays Hitler’s role as a political leader willing to play on Europe’s long-embedded anti-Semitic beliefs to whip up hatred and division as a way of maintaining power. And he most certainly turns a blind eye to the obvious parallels between Hitler’s divide-and-conquer tactics and the current hatred being whipped up against Latin-American (and almost entirely Christian) immigrants who have become the latest bogyman to supposedly threatening “our culture.”

In his grand finale, Prager says “I don’t know if a worker accident or a radical Muslim set fire to Notre Dame Cathedral …”. Well he must have cancelled his newspaper and cable TV subscriptions, because the whole world knows that so far there has been no hint of radical Muslim involvement. And we also know who burned the three churches in Louisiana, and it wasn’t the secular left, or Latin American immigrants, or other multi-cultural bogeymen that Dennis fears so much. Instead, it was a white nationalist advocating the same cultural purity that Prager advocates.

Not a word about that in Prager’s analysis of the fall of civilization.

Frank Kearns
Downey

Downey Police makes its community proud

My heart momentarily stopped as I watched on television.

The man, later identified as 24-year-old Dylan Andres Lindsey of Torrance, slung his body over the side of the speeding gray Prius, firing his long-barreled revolver at the Downey police officers in pursuit.

The Prius eventually rolled to a stop just before the railroad tracks – ironically enough – at Downey Road in Vernon.

Lindsey was the prime suspect in the murder of a Downey liquor store clerk two nights before and police tracked him to Bell Gardens after releasing his image to the media. A side by side comparison of the weapon used by the killer and Lindsey left no doubt it was the same person.

The Prius stopped with a Downey police officer right behind him. The officer exited, shielded himself, and there appeared to be an exchange of gunfire. The Prius’ windows shattered under a cloud of white smoke.

This is where my heart paused.

On live TV, it appeared the Downey officer needed to reload. He ran to the passenger side of his SUV patrol vehicle, but the door was locked. He was vulnerable.

Luckily, at that exact moment, another police officer – this one on a motorcycle – arrived at the scene, providing cover as the Downey police officer reloaded his firearm. Soon, other officers from various agencies joined the shootout and Lindsey was heavily outnumbered and outgunned.

Authorities say Lindsey suffered at least two gunshot wounds, one of which was likely self-inflicted. Unfortunately, he won’t face the consequences of his actions, as he died of his injuries Thursday morning.

After Lindsey was taken into custody and we were assured no innocent people were seriously injured in the chase and standoff, I had a few feelings:

One, incredible gratitude to Downey Police. Since the tragic murder of Gurpreet Singh, the department clearly worked 24/7 to solve the case, showing equal parts compassion and resolve. Neighboring cities have grown so accustomed to violent crime that it’s become normalized within the community. Thankfully, that’s not the case in Downey.

Two, watching the shootout unfold on TV, it was a stark reminder of the dangers Downey police officers place themselves in for the benefit of the community they serve. It was a remarkable gesture of bravery that members of the public don’t often get to see.

The pursuit, standoff and ultimate apprehension of Dylan Lindsey was seen live across the country and even around the world. Downey Police displayed poise and unbelievable professionalism.

Downey should be proud.

The real estate market is changing -- read the fine print

By Dr. David Gonzalez

The real estate market in California and across the country is seeing a radical shift. From a continual decrease in real estate brokers to a newer trend showing the decrease in the number of active agents, it is clear the market is changing.

Part of what we are seeing is a transition away from traditional real estate sales, to an online, auction format. According to the National Association of Realtors, “The majority of auctions today don't result from foreclosure of distress situations, but rather are the result of a seller choosing a cost-effective, accelerate method to sell a property.”

Gone are the days of auctions being the last resort for selling property.

The auction process often results in the sellers obtaining the funds from the sale much sooner, and buyers are able to take advantage of a competitive bidding process. The internet especially is making the auction process easier than ever before.

The real estate auction industry is being spearheaded, in part, by a company called Concierge Auctions. Concierge labels themselves as a “smart way to buy and sell luxury properties.”

Next week, Concierge Auctions is actually holding an auction right here in California, in Palm Desert. The property boasts “astounding mountain, canyon, and course views greet you each and every day from your expansive patio and your vast open floor plan.”

Despite the slick marketing material and the benefits of having a “Shark” from Shark Tank as an advisor, once you look into the record of Concierge Auctions and the lawsuits that have been filed against them, they become a cautionary tale to anyone considering using an auction company to buy or sell property.

The Real Deal reported earlier this year about a lawsuit filed by Joanne Brown, who detailed how Concierge Auctions had not informed her of the two lowest bids on her property. Without those key pieces of information, Joanne was provided a false impression of what she could expect from using Concierge.

The winning bid ended up being nearly half of what the executives at Concierge indicated they would be.

And it is not just sellers who are unsatisfied with Concierge Auctions’ record. Howard Appel, along with his partner, sued Concierge for having them bid on a property that the owners had already told Concierge wasn’t for sale- which clearly went against their agreement with the company.

According to the Wall Street Journal, not only has Concierge Auctions been sued far more often than similar companies, half of the lawsuits filed against Concierge are for “using some form of dummy or fake bidder, either to artificially drive up the price of homes, or to make it appear to sellers that there was more interest in their homes than there was in reality.”

There is even an account from someone who admits that Concierge paid them to be a shill bidder.

In 2015, Robert May sued Concierge Auctions, claiming that it had recruited him to place a fake bid on one of their properties in Idaho. Despite Concierge executives repeatedly stating that May would not win the auction, he did.

A new lawsuit filed against Concierge Auctions earlier this year detailed the horrible experience of sellers right in our area. These sellers, out of neighboring Sonoma County, used Concierge to put two of their properties up for auction.

Throughout the entire process, according to the lawsuit, Concierge provided the sellers with bad advice that resulted in the properties being sold for a much lower value than expected. Concierge didn’t even keep up their end of the most basic parts of the agreement- like how long to keep the auction open for and that there should be an attempt to sell the properties as a package deal.

And if the other lawsuits weren’t warning enough, one of Concierge Auctions African-American real estate agents sued Concierge for the company’s discriminatory practices. Ms. Hicks explained that “as a result of defendant's discriminatory practices, she has lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in commissions.”

New technology has provided incredible opportunities for buyers and sellers of real estate to reach new markets and turn a profit quickly. Despite these advancement, it still remains critical for anyone attempting to buy or sell property to read the fine print and do your research on the company, before you get scammed out of house and home.

Dr. David Gonzalez is an assistant professor of public administration and organizational leadership with Brandman University’s School of Business & Professional Studies.

Letter to the Editor: Big Cable

Dear Editor:

I am writing to you because I want to protect our open Internet.

Two years ago, the FCC under Ajit Pai repealed the Net Neutrality protections that make the Internet an open and free platform to connect and exchange ideas. If we can’t restore these protections, the Internet as we know it could change forever.

The House of Representatives has passed the Save the Internet Act, which will restore the open Internet protections that were repealed by the FCC in 2017. Now, Senate Republicans and Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema are blocking the bill at the Senate, despite the overwhelming and cross partisan support that Net Neutrality has with the American public.

I hope our Senators vote in favor of this bill. Otherwise we’ll be forced to hold them accountable at the ballot box in 2020.

Juliette Arteaga
Downey

Letter to the Editor: SB 50

Dear Editor:

This is in response to SB 50. (“Downey Voices Opposition to Controversial Housing Legislation,” 4/25/19).

It’s us, the California voters’ fault. We voted a San Francisco soclalist to state office. Their goal is to socialize housing and force us to public transportation, shaming those who own a single-family residence and drive a vehicle.

Sen. Wiener thinks those of us who enjoy our grassy backyards and those like me who drive a truck are selfish and greedy.

Well, Sen. Wiener, when you give up your capitol home and state-paid driver, I’ll consider that. But not before.

John Conner
Maywood

Letter to the Editor: Plastic in tuna

Dear Editor:

Dr. Frischer, in his column of April 25, extols the virtue of eating fish, however, he does warn of consuming large amounts of fresh tuna, swordfish, king mackerel, marlin, halibut and other special as they can contain high volumes of mercury.

Another worrisome factor might be microscopic bits of plastic. Oceanic plankton, near the bottom of the food chain, contain tiny bits of plastic. As the plankton are consumed, the plastic moves up the food chain and ultimately is concentrated in the largest fish, such as swordfish and tuna.

Plastic is so ubiquitous in our oceans as it can be safely assumed that all tuna contain plastic. As a consequence of this, it can also be safely assumed that all of our bodies contain microscopic bits of plastic.

The level of research on this subject is such that it isn’t clear if the plastic has any deleterious effect upon us.

Dr. Frischer stated that he was fond of tuna salad sandwiches. I hope this doesn’t cause him to switch to peanut butter and jelly.

Jack Russell
Downey

CalMet monopoly

Dear Editor:

While living in Downey, I spoke to Councilman Dave Gafin several times about CalMet fee increases that I believed were unreasonable. Since it is a monopoly, it is up to the City Council to determine if they were fair and necessary.

We cancelled our service when we moved from Downey in October, 2018, and were told by them we would receive a refund for the amount we had overpaid. Thinking that four months was more than adequate time, we called on February 26, 2019 to learn the status, and were told it had not yet been processed. Really?

We called again on March 22, 2019, and were told no one had looked at the account. REALLY?

What do you suppose would have happened if we had been delinquent in our payment of the account? On April 24, I called and asked to speak to a manager. When she finally picked up the call, she said the check would be mailed that day. It is only a small amount, but it is the principle of the thing that so greatly annoys me.

To whom does this monopoly answer?

Hal Nelson
Former Downey resident

Letter to the Editor: Coyote frustration

Dear Editor:

I was filled with incredulity when I read your coyote story (“Residents Frustrated with Coyotes,” 4/11/19). The statements made by Mayor Rick Rodriguez fall well short of a focus on reporting and any potential solution.

I have been a homeowner in the Island community within the city of Downey for over three years. When I first moved to Downey, the coyotes sightings and interactions were far less prevalent than they are today. The experience is contrary to what was stated by Mayor Rodriguez.

The potential reporting gap is likely the tools used for information capture. Many residents in the Downey community utilize the NextDoor application rather than the city reporting tool. There are obvious advantages such as immediate notification and response with the Nextdoor Application. I would suggest that the City of Downey look to provide such advancements in notification. As such, it will lead to a more accurate number of coyote sightings and interactions.

Fearing a lawsuit from an animal rights activists group should only be half of the legal fear. Many residents rescue animals that become valuable family pets. Twice I have witnessed coyotes carrying lifeless cats and on four occasions found the partially consumed bodies of cats in local yards and Treasure Island Park. It would seem that a lack of action out fear of a lawsuit from some external entity will serve to force residents to press legal action against the city for slow / no action to address the problem. The residents of Downey are not asking for someone to exterminate the coyotes, but do want a community drafted plan to alleviate the issue.

The current rains have created great overgrowth of many plants and bushes. The overgrowth creates many hiding places for coyote dens or just can just serve as cover for lone coyotes. The Island residents have seen progress being made on reducing this issue in Treasure Island Park over the last week.

As residents we appreciate the action and ask that it become part of the routine maintenance procedures within Downey parks.

Robbin Messier
Downey

Dear Editor:

I am a retired 62-year-old, 10-year resident of Downey. I am a member of the Nextdoor app and have read a lot about coyote sightings and pet kills. I’ve spent the bulk of my life in Manhattan Beach and Torrance respectively.

Growing up, we never had a wild animal problem until the last five years or so. No one's pets were being attacked and killed by coyotes. So the argument that we are encroaching on their territory and must coexist is a farce.

Allow me to comment on the mayor’s points. First of all, the concern for many of us is not *our* being attacked, it is the ability of the coyote to scale a six foot cinderblock wall like a cat. No pet, dog nor cat is safe in their own back yard. Our pets are our family!

A friend in Torrance had her small dog killed, partially eaten and then, because the dog was too heavy to carry back over the six foot wall...buried in her flower bed for later consumption. My friend was home at the time and never heard a thing.

The mayor also mentioned the cost of lawsuits, but for what, I cannot tell: “What we’re trying to do is be intelligent as well as aggressive, because the last thing we want to do is spend tax dollars on a lawsuit. Any defense lawyer will tell you that any amount of defense for any court action, any litigation, starts at $50,000. That’s tax dollars…I’m very careful how we spend tax dollars.” Huh? What kind of lawsuit?

Also mentioned is the cost of setting traps at $200 a pop. What? Torrance has implemented trapping in response to their residents but if you are not willing to spend the money, get a bunch of us "hysterical" citizens together to set and monitor traps. When a coyote is trapped, proper authorities would then be contacted to remove and euthanize this predator. Many of us are keen animal rights proponents who are pro-domesticated companions over wild canines.

If our mayor feels unable to handle the expense on his own, please get together with our neighbor communities and start trapping and eliminating these predators.

Christine Ige
Downey


Dear Editor:

Mayor Rodriguez called residents’ complaints about coyotes “exagerrated” and “hype.” It’s apparent he has never lost a pet to a coyote.

Coyotes are a growing danger in our community, and not just because they threaten our pets. These coyotes are growing increasingly comfortable around humans and it’s only a matter of time until a human is attacked and seriously hurt (if not worse).

The mayor owes an apology to Downey residents. But even better, he needs to stop talking, start listening, and take the concerns of his constituents more seriously.

Sandra Sampley
Downey

Letter to the Editor: Bellflower councilman's lewd joke

Dear Editor:

I am very upset that a Bellflower city council meeting started with an XXX rated joke about rape by a councilman, and not a prayer or a flag salute.

I believe what we witnessed and heard violated the city’s, school district’s, county’s, state’s, and federal government’s sexual harassment policies to prevent a hostile work in environment at city hall for employees and citizens. The punchline of the councilman’s joke tried to normalize rape and other crimes reserved for XXX movies for the very disturbed.

The dirty joke culture of the council should give all parents pause when giving permission for their students/ children to attend or watch city council meetings for civics credit in person, on local cable or online. Luckily, the joke was given just before the meeting started for the sake of those children who could have been watching.

Since November and December, I have sent the council testimony and other evidence to be considered for an ethics review of this same councilman. Bellflower’s inaction now has given this councilman the idea he can say anything, and this violates government policies to protect students, employees, and taxpayer dollars.

John Paul Drayer
Bellflower

Letter to the Editor: A new perspective on homeless

Dear Editor:

Kudos to Lorine Parks for her fine backstory about some of our homeless in Downey.

I, for one, “Miss Skeptical,” have become so leery and disappointed with the drug/alcohol abuse and con artists connected with street people that most of the time I write people off.

Thank you for this fine article and please continue this most needed awareness.

Babs Keller
Downey

Letter to the Editor: Local newspapers

Dear Editor:

I loved Michael Chirco’s story in the March 21 issue of the Downey Patriot. (“The Paper at My Feet.”) It put a smile on my face.

I think every city should have a Downey Patriot to inform them of what’s happening in their city. Personally, I would love to see more crimes.

We had one today and thanks to the Downey Police Department, they caught caught their man after a short foot pursuit. I love happy endings.

My neighbors and I are very grateful to the police department.

Margie Gutierrez
Downey

Letter to the Editor: No more bars in Downtown Downey

Dear Editor:

So The Avenue is going to be another drinking establishment? (“Proposed Buyer of Avenue Theatre Asks to Extend Escrow,” 3/28/19)

First, Foxy’s became the Downey Brewing Company, a place that the new owners didn’t even bother fixing on the outside but is obviously succeeding in attracting the hardcore drinking crowd.

Then Club DB Lounge and Godtti’s on Firestone have been expanded and draw even more drinking crowds late into the morning hours.

Oh, then you have the restaurants that are truly bars with food that have gone through suspicious name changes: BRB (formerly Mi Cielo) and Tempo Cantina (formerly Cocina Distrito).

The part that seems the most deceitful is that many of these Downey businesses started off by saying they were going to offer “quality eating experiences” and shortly after they stop providing decent food and focus exclusively on the sale of alcohol.

What is there to draw anyone to the Downtown Downey scene? Only the farmers market on Saturdays, the new Studio Movie Grill, and a few legitimate eating establishments. Other than that, the revamping of downtown has sold out to the highest bidder, those who don’t care about creating a downtown with character and charm and instead focus on the monetary potential: alcohol sells!

M. Padilla
Downey

Letter to the Editor: CVS swiped my personal data

Dear Editor:

On March 9, I went to the CVS at 7915 Florence Ave. to return a $7.69 item.

When I presented the item along with original purchase receipt to the clerk, he stated an ID was required. Why, I had no idea but obligingly I removed my California driver’s license and placed it on the counter for him to view. Instantly the clerk snatched my license from the counter and swiped it through his register reader.

I was not asked permission nor forewarned in any way that my most valuable private driver’s license identity/data would be stolen from me in this manner. Aghast, stunned, incredulous, infuriated and violated best describe my feelings upon this outrageous theft of my identity.

When I sufficiently recovered from my shock to speak to the manager, he told me, “Since November this has been CVS policy.”

If I was told my license must be scanned to make the return, I would have emphatically declined since my license data privacy is vastly more important to me than a $7.69 return.

Who knows in what data bank my driver’s license data now resides? Who knows what can or will be done with it? Who knows if the data bank is breached or sold or rented, what nefarious acts may ensue using my identity? Who knows how many CVS customers everywhere are victims of this identity theft scheme?

It’s too late for me but I hope others will be aware of this (what should be illegal) CVS policy before they also become victims.

Barbara Sterling
Downey

When leaders don't think

I take exception to Rick Rodriguez’ comment (Mayor’s Corner, Downey Patriot, March 22) that begins, “One of my favorite times of the year is when we get to celebrate STEM education at the City of STEM Big Science Fest at the Columbia Memorial Science Center. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics and is the driving force in schools to prepare our children for the future…”

If he’d said that STEM is “a driving force” instead of “the driving force,” I could have lived with the statement. But there has been too much accepted opinion, on the part of the public, the media, and in much of academia itself, that the STEM curriculum is the only one worth pursuing, while in fact the purpose of education should be to educate—to teach the ability to understand as well as think something through, and to provide an individual with the means to pursue information in order to gain knowledge, and with luck and as time goes by, wisdom.

Who can deny that the areas covered by the STEM acronym have not just underscored but created almost everything we know and experience by way of the physical and material development of civilization? For thousands of years, mathematicians and scientists, architects, agronomers, physicians, building and road engineers, chemists, botanists, geographers, biologists and other figures have worked within a universal scheme of experimental observation and demonstrable proof to make ultimate use of the simple question, “I wonder why?”

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But there are other aspects of human experience that are just as fundamentally crucial, and which we’re not examining closely enough in our historic moment. They would include the moral and ethical considerations we ponder when we think of how we use, or won’t use, technology. Why do we feel uncomfortable at the idea of universal facial recognition, where you can go anywhere and have your order taken? Or do we? The same with AI and the imminence of thought-reading machines. What do they threaten by way of loss of freedom? And who, ultimately, controls the use of new discoveries? Government? Corporations? The military?

Is scientific theory unassailable? What about when it’s used to justify the extermination of groups of people, as in the Holocaust? Or in the hideously cruel medical experiments on African-Americans and the mentally ill during the early 20th century? Believe it or not, there was once a prominent school of science that told us that character and intellect are determined by the shape of your head. It was called Phrenology. Some people still think there’s something to it.

Where does STEM fit into our notion of political engagement, of ethical behavior, of personal, familial and community relations, of right and wrong? Conversely, what is it that keeps us denying the utterly catastrophic changes that are upon us due to the scientifically proven fact of climate change?

These are existential questions that call in philosophy and art to help express the mysteriously perverse complexity of human behavior. And they’re outside the lines of STEM.

I don’t know if our local educators are asking these questions when it’s great to get kids off their Instagram feeds and out onto the excellent adventure of science. But it’s clear that Rick Rodriguez, in yet another of his feel-good pronouncements, isn’t. I don’t mean to single him out; he seems a good-hearted fellow who puts himself out there for the community, even if he makes ill-considered statements, like his recent comparison between the Mark Taper Forum and the Downey Civic Theatre, as though they were close to being the same thing.

And besides, for decades now, every local politician who becomes Downey mayor has had to wave the baton as drum major for the civic band. It’s an increasingly scarifying world out there; it doesn’t hurt to get a little reassurance at home.

Photo by Joan Anderson

Photo by Joan Anderson

But we don’t need a leader who doesn’t think before he speaks. I’m posing this in the larger context of the healthy changes that seem to be going on in Downey, which appears to be bouncing back from the collapse of the aerospace industry, and of Tesla’s betrayal. Without a vigorous cultural life, a busy gallery and club scene, a verdant city center for people to gather and discuss, or just sit and muse; and in the midst of a demographic shift that’s transformed Downey into a largely Latin-American and Asian city, the abundance of volunteer groups and community organizations have put a bounce back into Downey’s step.

I think part of this has to due with the physical expansion of the Kaiser Permanente medical complex, one of whose buildings recently gained certification as a children’s hospital. A large number of KP professionals and semi-professionals, plus administrative staff, are either commuting to Downey or looking to move here, if they haven’t already. The younger ones see good schools, numerous places of worship, excellent social services and fire and police departments, and recognize it as a good place to raise a family. Downey’s ethnic transformation is taking place without the usual tensions and resentments that accompany powerful change between social groups. Maserati’s proposed dealership move here, however small, tells us that they’re seeing something worth investing in.

Downey’s civic leaders have, over the past decades, made a point of reaching out to business in a state that has made business onerously expensive. Credit them for that. At the same time, they’ve tended to lack the breadth of knowledge and interest, the deeper perspectives on history and the currents of change, that could help them make relatively informed decisions in steering Downey to a greater place. They didn’t need all that in the past. Downey’s always had it pretty good. But just listen to them now, when the council is in session. Even if they’re compelled to deal with time-consuming agenda items, their references are depressingly narrow. We’re not seeing widely informed men and women work through community problems and weigh the implications of their decisions—or lack of them. Mostly we’re watching bureaucrats in action, happiest when giving out ribbons and commendations.

There are dangerous and explosive forces operating in American society right now, where the widespread anger we see in almost every sector of society is an expression of the primal fear of what we’re losing, what’s becoming of us. The money is gone except to the few, leaving the rest of us to live in debt. The notion of fair play is becoming a sucker’s game. The sense of personal autonomy and control is vanishing in the rise of a media surveillance state. The country is breaking up into bickering tribes at home while the rest of the world moves ahead in solving its problems and finding new trade routes that don’t include us.

How all this has affected the private lives of our local citizens and neighbors is of course impossible to know. But Downey isn’t impervious to change. Obligatory half-time speeches aren’t cutting it anymore. Those forces of anarchy and destruction are out there, and it’s becoming more and more imperative that if our Downey leaders want to talk to us in a meaningful way, they’ll need to listen to themselves first.

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