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LA Times targets Cesar Chavez legacy

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There is something distasteful that in the week before Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Los Angeles Times has decided to run a four-part series that maligns the legacy of one of California's greatest civil rights leaders, Cesar Chavez. Of course, if the foundation is bad, if there is graft and corruption, it should be exposed. There's just something about the timing.

We're still plowing through this incredibly long article, but we wonder at its tone. It blames the union for having no unionized vineyards in the valley where the United Farm Workers movement came into being. But haven't federal laws continued to favor agribusiness over unions? Similarly, it decries the UFW's "undercutting" another union, overlooking the fact that unions aren't exactly one big happy family right now. This summer, the Change to Win Coalition, led by the SEIU, broke away from the AFL-CIO in an effort to be more nimble and conduct better outreach. The UFW is a member of the Change to Win Coalition, which means that it is working with the nation's fastest-growing — some might say most powerful — unions.

We'll revisit the issue after we've had a chance to read the entire series careully. We realize that pratically everyone in town is lining up to applaud the LAT's "hard hitting" journalism. We're curious, because right now it's looking to us like some of the Times' blows are landing below the belt.