It’s all about immigrants

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Labor woes traced to immigrants

I just wanted to comment on “Bad as it’s ever been” [Development News, February 6].

I have never worked in the construction industry and don’t pretend to have any more knowledge on labor shortages in the construction industry than the next person. However, using one’s common sense, one could deduce that the shortage is caused by the large influx of cheap, immigrant labor. Contractors and sub-contractors obtain work by submitting a low bid for a prospective project. To complete the project and stay under bid they rely on undocumented laborers to whom they do not have to pay health benefits, paid vacation, workers compensation, etc. Thus, American workers are squeezed out of these jobs unless they want to work for a low wage without any benefits.  Then, the industry claims they have a shortage of workers and require more immigrant labor. If the government did its job and conducted frequent audits of construction companies so that they could not hire undocumented workers, then all the construction companies would be on a level playing field and we would have decent-paying blue collar jobs for those who like to work with their hands. Then, for those who did not do particularly well in school but who have a work ethic and learn better on the job than in a classroom we could offer a decent career path in the trades instead of dead-end jobs like working at Target or Staples.  

It’s interesting that a so-called progressive newspaper like the C-VILLE Weekly that is always carrying the banner of social justice would not interview former construction workers who have been forced out of the industry because of the competition from immigrant labor. No, your newspaper would instead focus on the exploitation of the immigrants instead of standing up for native-born Virginians.

If one of your reporters or columnists would like to investigate an interesting issue it would be about how population growth driven by large-scale immigration is leading to all this new development and subsequent traffic congestion, big-box stores, loss of open space and reduced quality of life that your paper is always complaining about. It’s a self-perpetuating cycle. Population growth creates crowding and causes real estate prices to increase, which results in the phenomenon of people moving out of metropolitan areas and creating a demand for affordable housing. Then, to construct this new housing we require more and more laborers and thus more immigration which leads to more crowding and then a demand for more housing.  The Washington Post recently had an article about the flight of longtime residents from Northern Virginia suburbs to exurbs. The Post then praised continued immigration as a way to replace the residents who have left instead of reaching the logical conclusion that they left due to overcrowding and lack of affordability due to the overcrowding.

One more issue that I’d like to comment on is your paper’s continued disrespectful coverage of Representative Virgil Goode. Mr. Goode was re-elected with a strong majority of the vote and as far as I know has never been suspected of any type of corruption.  Since he is conservative and your newspaper has a progressive tone, I can understand that you will not agree with many of his positions. However, if Mr. Goode supports a position or legislation that you disagree with, then run a coherent article expressing that disagreement rather than trying to portray Mr. Goode as a buffoon.  Mr. Goode is one of only a handful of congresspersons who has spoken out about a stealth plan by the Bush Administration to eventually form a North American Union and a North American Superhighway. He has also been outspoken against large-scale immigration.  The impression I have of those who work for the C-VILLE Weekly is that of a group of smart-assed, sarcastic, crass, spoiled, know-it-all and pretentious 20-somethings who have not experienced the world enough to make informed judgements.
 
Robert E. Jean
Charlottesville

The editor replies: The mean age of the editorial staff is 31.

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Damage control

I’m concerned that your February 13 article titled “Eating Disorders on Campus” [UVA News] presented misleading information about eating disorders on the UVA campus. 

Author Sheila Pell initially stated that one out of three students seen for an intake by Ms. Emily Lape, clinical social worker at UVA Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), was seeking help for an eating disorder. Ms. Lape does see a higher percentage of eating disorders than most other CAPS staff, but that reflects the fact that eating disorders is her particular area of expertise. Furthermore, our own internal data would support that the prevalence of eating disorders is much lower than that represented in your article. 

In 2005-06 60 students were seen through CAPS and newly diagnosed with an eating disorder. This represents 4 percent of all the new diagnoses rendered through our service during the past academic year. I will acknowledge that eating disorders are often underreported by students and there are many who may need help who don’t seek treatment. On the other hand, stating that one third all UVA students seeking help through CAPS are diagnosed with an eating disorder conveys an inaccurate picture.    

Your article also pointed to the struggle of one anonymous student and quoted her as saying, “I think you can prevent eating disorders—but I don’t think you can treat them at UVA.” Treating eating disorders is a complex endeavor where treatment planning and prognosis are directly related to the acuity of a patient’s condition. Those whose eating disorders are chronic and severe are not easily helped with once-weekly outpatient treatment. In fact, students with more complex eating disorders are often referred out to treatment settings that are longer term and more treatment-intensive than we can provide through CAPS. But there are also many students seen through CAPS for treatment of mild to moderate acuity eating disorders who benefit significantly from the help they receive.  

It is important that UVA students know there are adequate resources available for many who may struggle with eating disorders. Our services at CAPS may not be sufficient for all who seek help, but let’s be careful not to portray a pessimistic picture that discourages students from appropriately seeking the help they may need.  

Russ Federman, Ph.D., ABPP
Director, UVA Counseling
and Psychological Services       

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Yes, C-VILLE Weekly, as a student of the University of Virginia and a dedicated reader of C-VILLE, I found the article “Eating disorders on campus” to be absolutely horrifying.

No, my horror does not stem from the serious nature of the issues Ms. Pell addresses, but rather, from her absolutely grim critique of UVA’s treatment approach towards the disorder.

I am a third-year undergrad at the University. I personally have been struggling with my eating disorder for six years. Frankly, I have found UVA’s support system, whether through counseling from therapists like Emily Lape, or from sharing my struggles with other women such as this “Heather,” to be a crucial part of my recovery—which in fact, convinced me to go to an inpatient facility over Christmas break—definitely not a “dismal” choice for my condition.

Therefore, I vouch for Emily Lape’s program and the efforts of her colleagues at both Student Health and the University Hospital.

Ms. Pell, I feel, has made serious, but perhaps unintentional, follies in writing the article. Her naivete shines in the negative presentation of the eating disorder clinic inpatient program, as well as many misinterpretations of the interviewees’ statements.

Shall I argue that the C-VILLE Weekly promotes eating disorders? I hope not.

I ask that in the future the C-VILLE Weekly build a higher-education criteria for selecting appropriate reporters to write such columns. And furthermore, I demand that the Charlottesville weekly publish a retraction/restatement of this article.

Thank you very much, your response is appreciated.

Sarah R.
Charlottesville

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Viewer scrutiny advised

I am sorry to hear that Dan Catalano is so bored with lawmaking in a democracy  [The Odd Dominion, February 13]. He much prefers the Kill Bill type of movies to the bill killing movies made by Democratic legislators. In Catalano’s world, excitement rules and watching rulers is to be avoided because it is “mind-numbing”.  No wonder state legislators (in the majority party) feel they can do whatever they want—they feel they are immune from public scrutiny. And people like Dan Catalano encourage such lack of responsibility.

David RePass
Charlottesville



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