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PROBE: October 16, 2001

October 16, 2001

QUESTION: When the employees in Public Works came to an agreement with the county on our contract negotiations, we thought we were going to get a $150 "shoe allowance." Now we find out we're getting the money to buy a pair of boots. But there is a string attached.

The boots have to last a year. They will be monitored to make sure the boots are maintained and not mistreated. Most of us don't want to wear boots. We prefer to wear the sneakers we are used to wearing. The sneakers are cheaper and more comfortable. Most of us drive around in pickups or work in air-conditioned equipment.

Shoes have never been a problem, so why is the county making them a problem now? If the county starts monitoring boots, what's next? Will they monitor our socks and underwear? — Public Works, El Centro

Dan DeVoy, assistant director of the county Human Resource Department and the lead negotiator for the county's contract talks with employees, said the shoe issue is a "side agreement" that was put aside until salary issues were settled.


There's still time to work out disagreements in regard to the shoe allowance, he said.

However, he insists the talk of monitoring boots is new to him.

"I've sat in on all the meetings and I haven't heard this before," he said.

He promised, "I would never be involved in monitoring underwear and socks."

QUESTION: There is a stray dog down by the Department of Social Services. It's been there two weeks and every day it's gets skinnier and skinnier. It is a brown dog that looks like a hound dog.

I have called the dog catcher so many times he doesn't return my phone calls anymore. One day he finally came out. I told him where the dog was and he said the dog was gone.

"He ran away. I will come back tomorrow."

But the dog had not "run" away. He was slowly walking away.

"He's sick. If something is not done he's going to die," I insisted

The dog catcher said, "If he's sick they will euthanize him when he gets to the pound." And he left.

I would rather they killed the dog humanely than let him die a slow painful death on the street. Can you help me? — Dog Lover, El Centro

We did the best we could but we did it with a heavy heart. We were inclined toward giving the dog some slim chance at survival on the street rather than have him killed for his own good.

We told El Centro Police Chief Ray Loera about the dog and the animal control officer's lack of enthusiasm for capturing him, the chief promised to look into it.

The next day the officer showed up to get the dog. It was too late. Earlier in the day, you had picked up the dog and carted it off to the Lulu Belle Animal Haven. The people at Lulu Belle never "put a dog to sleep." We hear the dog is doing fine.

As far as we are concerned, that's a happy ending.

ANOTHER ARABIC TIDBIT — The endings of many Spanish names show their debt to Middle Eastern influence. The suffix, es or ez on names such as Rodriguez, Sanchez or Enriquez means "son" in both Arabic and Hebrew.

Sanchez started as "son of Sancho" and Rodriguez was "son of Rodrigo" and Enrique's son became Enriquez.

— Linguist, Calexico

What you're telling us is that under the skin, we're all the same. Thank you.

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