AP brouhaha not a big deal
Regarding "Troubling developments" ["Editorial," May 15]: The charge that the AP brouhaha is a threat to democracy overstates the case. As I understand it, the only info obtained were records of which phone numbers were called from a given set of phones; no communications were monitored or recorded. And the target is not the AP or its reporters; it's whoever in government violated the law and disclosed sensitive information.
As the editorial states, democracy needs whistleblowers, but the AP reporting was not about misdeeds, and information was disclosed that likely had serious consequences. It would be one thing if a thwarted plot and some other details were reported, but revealing the existence of a double agent was over the line; that revelation likely compromised an important operation, put the life of the agent at risk and possibly put at risk the lives of the agent's family, friends, associates and others.
The press is key to democracy, but too often the goal of the press is profit and all else be damned. Much of what passes for news and information today is not responsible journalism and is a disservice to democracy. Media is awash in a plethora of lies, misinformation, distortions, sensationalism and bias. And many of those who are crying foul over the AP brouhaha are mainly interested in protecting their jobs and lucrative paychecks and protecting media empires. Their primary concern is not democracy; they are worried more about being deprived of grist for the infotainment-industrial complex.
Dan Jacobs, Mira Mesa
Benefits and perversion
Regarding "Phone-tag hell" by David Taube about the state Employment Development Department (EDD) and unemployment benefits ["News," May 22]: I agree with the phone hassle described in the article. A friend was having the same problem, and I could not believe the phone issues he described. I invited him over to our house and we placed calls one whole day and were not able to get through. I told him to go visit a local office, which EDD does not like, but the issue has been ongoing for some time. I often wonder how many people just give up. I've discussed the issue with EDDs operations branch, and they love the present system.
Also, the article states a common misconception. Employers pay the unemployment insurance and employees pay, via payroll deduction, the state disability insurance. However, I've always considered unemployment benefits a fringe benefit of employment packages.
I retired from EDD—tax branch and the operations and disability branches—and used to give excellent service and had a federal mandate to pay unemployment benefits within a specific time frame.
Also, I was offended by your May 22 cover. I'm not sure what message it was attempting to portray, but it seemed perverted to me. Maybe I'm old fashioned.
Wayne H. Red-Horse, La Mesa
The EDD runaround
I was pleased to see your publication's coverage of unemployment disconnect ["News," May 22]. I, too, filed and I had an interview prior to getting my benefits in which I was uncertain as to whether to report a $200 payment from an employer. I spoke with someone who was fluent in another language, and communication was choppy to say the least.
After four weeks of not receiving benefits, I finally reached someone on the phone, and they said my form was incomplete because I did not check the box indicating whether I had earnings or not. I explained that I had an interview in which I discussed the money I'd received from my employer, and the person interviewing me said not to report the money received. As it turned out, that kept me from being able to collect.
I have called and called, as countless others have, only to be disconnected or rudely spoken to, thereby prompting me to call the Governor's office to get a response.
Recently, I sent two emails because my first one was not answered in 10 days as the confirmation email states. I was contacted by an EDD representative to be told I had requested claim forms to be sent to me for six weeks because I was behind six weeks in filing and I got cut off of EDD. I got behind because I could not web cert or tele-cert due to the fact that I was working and could not file using web or tele-certs. I noticed on the forms the turnaround date that I was required to return my forms by was consistently after the date that I received the forms in the mail. Now I have to attend a hearing for late filing. So, I asked the representative how I could have sent my claims in by the required date if it was after I had received the form in the mail?
To add insult to injury, when going to the career center, none of the workers would offer any assistance to claimants, stating over and over again that they were only there to assist in helping us find work.
One does have to ask, as your "Bonus News" states, how did the Labor Department collect taxes for unemployment compensation, then have a hiring freeze during the highest unemployment rates so the staff was overworked and could not perform their jobs as required, and then staff the career centers with employees who could not offer any assistance with benefit processing? Could it be that they did not like us collecting?
Jeanne DeFlorio, Downtown