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Open Salon
March 21, 2011

Copyright © 2011 Marc Norton

You would think former President
Bill Clinton would have more sense than to bust a boycott at the Westin St. Francis, one of the swankest hotels in San Francisco.

Well, maybe Bill has trouble understanding the meaning of  "boycott," just as he famously had trouble understanding the meaning
of "is."

This is a boycott called by hard-working, salt-of-the-earth kind
of folks -- room cleaners, housemen, dishwashers, bellmen, cooks and servers -- asking for nothing more than a living wage and some respect.  Despite the troubled economy, the St. Francis has been pulling in the dough of late.  The St. Francis workers have been tussling with the hotel for many months now, so the boycott certainly is no secret.  The workers would be more than satisfied with the deal the San Francisco Hilton agreed to only a few days before Clinton showed up in town.

The former Prez has lost a lot of weight lately, so we know he can restrain his more gluttonous side when he wants to.  But it was his more gluttonous side that prevailed on Wednesday, March 16, when he slipped into the St. Francis despite the loud and raucous picket line outside the hotel.  Bill reportedly makes upwards of $300,000 for one of his speeches.  On this occasion he addressed a meeting of ICANN, a group of Silicon Valley movers-and-shakers, who certainly have no trouble raising the kind of money he usually gets.

At one point Bill had his finger on a button that could have blown the world to smithereens.  He managed to avoid doing that, although he did drop a few bombs here and there, like most Presidents do, including our incumbent Nobel Peace Prize winner. Apparently with all those big issues in his big head, Bill just didn't have time to take note of the people serving him and catering to him at the St. Francis, despite the fact that he probably earned more in the few minutes he took to make his speech than those workers make in ten years.

Clinton left the St. Francis with his pockets full, but his conscience empty.

 
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