Police unions serve an important function

To the editor:

In response to your Tuesday editorial on Las Vegas police:

As a fairly new resident of Nevada, I find your paper's bias against the Las Vegas Police Protective Association without merit. As a former police union president, I can perhaps provide a rational explanation of the union's position that even your editorial staff can understand.

It is the union's job to protect its members. Internal Affairs investigators have one purpose: provide enough information to "indict" those investigated. They are a management tool. Once someone is "indicted," the union representative is tasked with defending that person to the best of his ability. A common criminal is entitled to a defense. Surely those who protect our communities, risking their lives, deserve the same.

Law enforcement agencies are political entities. They will sacrifice someone's career for political expediency. Police unions are the only means of checks and balances against management malfeasance in the workplace. Your citizen's commission appointed to examine management and line officer actions are controlled by management through information presentation or denial.

Metro has its problems -- many that have already been addressed by larger, more progressive law enforcement agencies such as the one I retired from. But those changes should all be reviewed and discussed with police unions who provide protections and prevent law enforcement management from having dictatorial control over their personnel. We all know what dictators are capable of.

John Stites


Grant money

To the editor:

County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani's defense or explanation -- or whatever it was -- related to the county's financial involvement with the Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth was perfectly revealing (Tuesday letter to the editor).

In order to justify her choice of grant recipient, the commissioner amazingly states, "Since there are no longer year-round schools, there has been an increase in juvenile crime." If you dig into this comment just a tiny bit you'd find out that by moving away from year-round schools, the school district saved the taxpayers several million dollars a year. It was a smart maneuver from a lot of different angles.

But, almost comically, the commissioner leaves out any statistics to demonstrate how juvenile crime has increased. I think the reason for this is that she'd have to present some data that showed how armed robberies and assaults by first-graders had increased. Or, maybe, how incidents of kindergartner flash mobs heinously pillaging unsuspecting convenience stores had increased. The commissioner either didn't understand that the year-round schedules only applied to elementary schools, or she chose to ignore that fact to further whatever she was trying to accomplish.

We have managed to make government too busy to capably function, and its leadership continues to be either increasingly ignorant or dishonest related to their varying quests to continue to move the taxpayers in the direction of "busier government."

Paul Parrish


Union side

To the editor:

I recently discovered in my mailbox a mailer in which Station Casinos levels a grave accusation against the Culinary union: that the union is deterring performers from coming to Las Vegas. That, however, is very misleading, if not patently false.

I'm neither a member nor an employee of the Culinary union. I'm just a concerned Nevadan who stands with the working families of our state.

All the Culinary union does is alert performers, clients and potential clients of Station Casinos that the company has a number of potential labor law violations pending before the National Labor Relations Board -- and suggest that they consider a change of venue.

Performers and patrons have the right to know about Station Casinos' abusive and unfair employment practices. I myself stopped patronizing Station Casinos once I found out about their actions against workers.

The truth is that Station employees just want to have the economic security, decent wages and health and retirement benefits enjoyed by their unionized counterparts at nearly every other casino in Las Vegas.

But Station Casinos doesn't want this.

Contrary to its propaganda, Station Casinos doesn't care about its employees. Station employees have not had a wage increase since 2007, the year that a handful of casino insiders took out over half a billion dollars in cash payments for themselves. And now, instead of improving working conditions for its workers, Station is launching this expensive attack against the Culinary union to undermine their employees' right to organize.

Station Casinos may have millions of dollars to suppress their employees' efforts to gain union representation. But the truth and the will of the workers will ultimately prevail.

Oscar Peralta

Las Vegas

Beaten up

To the editor:

It sickened me to watch the video of the man beaten by Henderson police officers (Wednesday Review-Journal). He didn't resist, but was held down by four or five officers and then kicked in the face multiple times and kneed in the ribs (breaking them) by another sadistic officer. When it's over, you can hear one of these tough guys laughing.

This was totally inexcusable, yet only one officer was allegedly disciplined. Wow.

Donald Hart

Las Vegas