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Friday, Jan. 13, 2006 at 6:46 PM
Our regional congressman John T. Doolittle (R) for Oroville and the surrounding Sierra
foothills to Modoc 4th district has along with Tom Delay & Richard Pombo prevented a
federal investigation of Maxxam corporation's CEO Charles Hurwitz for the S & L
Doolittle also presides over the Modoc region including Medicine Lake (see Calpine protest)..
Background on Hurwitz/Maxxam;
Hurwitrz is CEO of Maxxam corporation. Maxxam is the holding corporation that took over Pacific Lumber (PL) in the mid-eighties to pay off Hurwitz's junk bond debts. Under Maxxam's control, PL has escalated their destruction of the coastal redwoods ecosystem by
clearcut/oldgrowth logging and also contributed to the worsening of Humboldt's economy by stealing PL worker's pensions and replacing PL workers with contract laborers.
Maxxam also aroused the anger of the steelworkers union after the corporate takeover of Kaiser Aluminum/Steel by Maxxam where many steelworkers were laid off and denied pensions. This led to the steeloworkers coming out to show support of treesitters in the Redwoods summer campaign led by Judi Bari & Darryl Cheryny..
"Credit must go to Maxxam CEO Charles Hurwitz, Texas billionaire and infamous corporate raider, for his unwitting role in sparking this inspiring convergence.
In 1985, Maxxam took over Pacific Lumber, and Hurwitz laid plans to clearcut old-growth redwood stands in northern California. This galvanized opposition, notably from Earth First! Then, in 1988, Hurwitz took control of Kaiser Aluminum Ñ and promptly began clearcutting jobs by closing plants.
In 1998, after Kaiser had been already chopping at employee benefits for 15 years, Hurwitz presented a contract proposal that would have meant yet more job cuts, contracting out, decreases in retiree benefits, unlimited forced overtime, and wages averaging an hour - the lowest in the industry.
In September 1998, 3,100 members of United Steel Workers of America said "Enough!" and struck five Kaiser plants in Washington state, Louisiana, and Ohio. After three and a half months of determined picketing, USWA offered to go back on the job while negotiations continued. Instead, Kaiser locked the workers out.
Incensed, the steelworkers went on the offensive. "Road warriors" began traveling around the country to seek support and extend solidarity to others.
Learning of anti-Hurwitz organizing by environmentalists, steelworkers visited California. A fruitful collaboration sprang up; hard hats joined forest defenders in tree-sits, and eco-activists publicized the union's fight. In April 1999, they jointly founded the Alliance for Sustainable Jobs and the Environment.
The eco-labor alliance did not develop overnight. The seeds for it were sown over decades by socially conscious unionists and class-conscious environmentalists.
The late Judi Bari, a persuasive voice within Earth First! for strengthening ties with workers, was both. It's no accident that Bari, a feminist and labor organizer, played this role. She represents the changed face of the U.S. workforce, made up today mostly of women, people of color, sexual minorities, and immigrants, whose second-class citizenship brings nothing-to-lose militancy to the house of labor"
Maxxam is also being protested by most of the people in Ghana for their theft of energy by their takeover of the Valco (via Kaiser) Aluminum corporation's Akosombo dam on the Volta River. Not only did this dam flood many subsistence farmers, now the energy from this dam is used for smelting aluminum and nothing goes to support the indigenous peoples of Ghana who suffered from the relocation programs and loss of farmland from the dam's construction..
"As a result of slower flow and elimination of annual floods to flush the river, the incidence of stomach and intestinal diseases have increased. The stagnant waters of the reservoir also dramatically increased breeding conditions for vectors of three waterborne diseases: schistosomiasis (transmitted by snails) and malaria (by mosquitoes). Before the filling of the reservoir, schistosomiasis afflicted 1-5% of the population. By 1979 it had become the most prevalent disease in the area, and average infection rates in lakeside villages grew to 75%.
The destruction of livelihoods has resulted in increased male emigration and a rise in the number of female-headed single-parent households, increasing women's traditional workload. Some of the displaced returnees have been accused of undermining the efficiency of power generation by "illegal farming" along the reservoir's shore, which can contribute to siltation. Government officials have called for the prevention of illegal settlements and the control of "farming and other human activities" along the lake.
The Volta Lake - which inundated 4% of Ghana's land area and resulted in one of the largest man-made lakes in the world (3,275 square miles) - swallowed some of Ghana's best agricultural lands. Yet among the world's biggest dams, Akosombo yields one of the poorest ratios of area of land inundated to installed capacity of electricity. In a recent survey of the top 40 big dams in the Third World, Akosombo - producing 0.9 kw per hectare of land - ranked 37th.
US-owned Valco Aluminum, operating a smelting plant in the industrial city of Tema, is the single biggest consumer of Ghana's hydroelectricity. In 1993 it took 45% of output. Another 48% went into domestic consumption with the remaining 7% exported to Togo, Benin and Côte d'Ivoire. Sales to Valco and the neighboring countries earned Ghana 8 million in 1990, making electricity the fourth biggest source of export revenue. A significant part of this income, however, goes to service the loans contracted for the building of the dams. As of 1990 the electricity sector accounted for more than 10% of Ghana's external debts."
"Any prospects of Ghana succeeding in negotiations with Valco are further hampered by the character of the present majority owner of Kaiser, MAXXAM company whose CEO, Charles Hurwitz is a well known swindler of the Savings and Loan scheme, a corporate raider, environment destroyer and insider trader linked with major corporate criminals. To wring concessions on what is one of Kaiser's most profitable smelters from such a character is doubtful."
Looking at the patterns of business by Maxxam and Hurwitz on a timeline from the Savings and Loan scandal to the numerous corporate takeovers, layoffs, missing workers pensions, ecocide, etc.. to the continued destruction happening right now in Humboldt and elsewhere, there is a clear pattern of criminal activity on the part of Charles Hurwitz and Maxxam. When federal regulaters actually try to investigate real criminals like Hurwitz they are prevented from doing so by interference form right wing politicians like Doolittle/Delay/etc..
Here's a segment of the article from the LA Times;
"Washington - In a case that echoes the Jack Abramoff influence-peddling scandal, two Northern California Republican congressmen used their official positions to try to stop a federal investigation of a wealthy Texas businessman who provided them with political contributions.
Reps. John T. Doolittle and Richard W. Pombo joined forces with former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay of Texas to oppose an investigation by federal banking regulators into the affairs of Houston millionaire
Charles Hurwitz, documents recently obtained by The Times show. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. was seeking 0 million from Hurwitz
for his role in the collapse of a Texas savings and loan that cost taxpayers .6 billion.
The investigation was ultimately dropped.
The effort to help Hurwitz began in 1999 when DeLay wrote a letter to the chairman of the FDIC denouncing the investigation of Hurwitz as a "form of harassment and deceit on the part of government employees."
When the FDIC persisted, Doolittle and Pombo - both considered proteges of DeLay - used their power as members of the House Resources Committee to subpoena the agency's confidential records on the case, including details of the evidence FDIC investigators had compiled on
Then, in 2001, the two congressmen inserted many of the sensitive documents into the Congressional Record, making them public and accessible to Hurwitz's lawyers, a move that FDIC officials said
damaged the government's ability to pursue the banker.
The FDIC's chief spokesman characterized what Doolittle and Pombo did as "a seamy abuse of the legislative process." But soon afterward, in
2002, the FDIC dropped its case against Hurwitz, who had owned a controlling interest in the United Savings Assn. of Texas. United Savings' failure was one of the worst of the S&L debacles in the 1980s.
Doolittle, 55, an eight-term congressman, represents California's fourth district, the Sierra Foothills region and the eastern suburbs of Sacramento. He has a consistent conservative voting record, opposing gun
control and abortion and siding with property rights, timber and utility interests against environmental groups."
Here's Doolittle's homepage if anyone would like to discuss his defense of criminal Maxxam CEO Charles Hurwitz..
sample letter to John T. Doolittle;
Dear Mr. Doolittle;
Recently along with Tom Delay and Richard Pombo you deliberately prevented legitimate federal banking regulators' investigation of Maxxam CEO Charles Hurwitz for the Savings and Loan scandal. There must be a rational reason from blocking a federal investigation of the wealthy Maxxam CEO Charles Hurwitz. The reason that you gave, Mr. Doolittle, is that there wasn't sufficient evidence to warrent a federal investigation (isn't that the point of having an investigation, to provide evidence?). This omits the fact that you yourself have recieved considerable campaign contributions from Mr. Hurwitz in the past and present, and for this reason may have a vested interest in protecting Hurwitz from any federal investigations.
Many people in the fourth district believe that you are abusing your position of power by intervening from allowing federal investigators to do their job and investigate Hurwitz, an individual who chairs a corporation (Maxxam) that is engaged in numerous criminal activities to this day. We will do everything in our power to make this information available to the public and we demand answers as to why you are defending the criminal activities of Maxxam CEO Charles Hurwitz. We also are curious to specifics of how much money you recieved from Hurwitz in campaign contributions.
your constituency in the fouth district
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