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Thursday, January 26, 2006

Trabajo, senior?

You drive by them quickly, trying not to make eye contact. You don’t slow down and you don’t stop for anything but red lights and you definitely don’t park and get out. If you have to park- especially if you drive a pickup truck, as I do- you walk away from your vehicle as quick as possible.

You know they are desperate men, and you don’t dare look them in the eye.

They are the day laborers, standing around all day in all kinds of weather, ready to do any kind of work for almost any pay. And you can’t look them in the eye because you have no work for them. You can’t look them in the eye because they work twice as hard as you do for a quarter the pay. You can’t look them in the eye because you know they are the targets of racism, ignorance, stupidity, and hatred, and you can’t help but wonder, if the shoe was on the other foot- how would you act?

You imagine what they must think of you and your people. You see the kind of abuse and ridicule they face every day, and you just can’t deal with the thought of what they must think of you and yours.

And now we want to take away their jobs.

In a surprise twist, the Township Committee has dropped the idea of creating a downtown muster zone and instead may designate the downtown a "no-stopping zone" to make it illegal for contractors to pick up per-diem workers. The township attorney will now draft an ordinance that makes the downtown area — Cunliffe wasn't specific, but that usually refers to the box of Route 9 to Lexington Avenue and First to Fourth streets — a "no-stopping zone." The ordinance also would likely ban standing, cruising, double-parking or picking people up, Cunliffe said, adding that he wants a legal ruling on whether his idea can be implemented.

From the Asbury Park Press.