By Michael Smerconish
Two weeks ago, I spent the weekend air jordans cheap in Los Angeles. I was there to give a speech, attend a book signing, and deliver a radio show. The speech was at a Monday luncheon, and upon arrival back at my hotel I could see there was a commotion across the street, but I wasn't initially sure of the cause.
Inside my room, I had a surreal experience watching the local news - there was the exterior of the hotel, complete with a shot that depicted my open door leading to a small balcony.
It was then that I learned that Jay Leno was among a few dozen protesters complaining about the hotel's ownership. The landmark where I was staying, best known for five-star service and an iconic roofline that adorned the album cover of the Eagles' Hotel California, was the Beverly Hills Hotel.
Leno and company were calling attention to the fact that far up the hotel ownership chain sits the sultan of Brunei, who is in the process of instituting sharia law in his tiny, oil-rich nation. I had no idea of the ownership connection prior to my stay.
The hotel website and my electronic key touted the "Dorchester Collection" of hotels and referenced several other well-known properties. I departed the night of the protest to catch a scheduled red-eye to Philadelphia, so I never had to confront the issue of whether I'd continue to stay at the hotel given my newfound knowledge.
The night after my departure, the Beverly Hills City Council passed a resolution (5-0) that "urges the government of Brunei to divest itself of the Beverly Hills Hotel and any other properties it may own in Beverly Hills." The hotel pays million in annual bed taxes and an additional million in city taxes.
Soon thereafter, at a town hall meeting for employees, the hotel management announced that all jobs and wages of employees are secure despite the decline in business. I was happy to hear that. I have no sympathy for the sultan - the idea of sharia is abhorrent - but I do for those workers.
News accounts say that 600 people work at the hotel, and over the span of two nights, I had interactions with many of them. Like the guy who needed to take an iron to my suit because it looked like a truck ran over it when I unpacked. Or the valet who helped retrieve my rental car.
The housekeeping supervisor who saw a half-dozen of my books in my room and felt obliged to put a bookmark in each. And the concierge who gave me driving directions. They cheap air jordans free shipping aren't members of Hollywood's rich and famous.
I doubt any of them live in cheap air jordans Beverly Hills. They're American workers, hustling to earn a living, who are now probably a bit fearful about their jobs in a tough economy.
Despite management's assurance, one has to wonder whether a protracted protest will ultimately jeopardize their livelihood. The only certainty seems that the protest will have no impact on the intended target.
No protest of the Beverly Hills Hotel can impact the sultan's wealth. His country is only the size of Delaware and yet it's the fifth-richest in the world. So wealthy that all of its citizens receive free education and health care.
A friend had joined me at the hotel. Only now am I remembering that, after he booked his room online, he kept tabs on the rate being charged and alerted me to two reductions enabling both of us to negotiate a savings. Perhaps that was attributable to cancellations spurred by the high-profile protest movement. Ellen DeGeneres is on board and so, too, is Sir Richard Branson.
Project Care, the Motion Picture Television Fund, and the Beverly Hills Bar Association have all canceled events. Steven Young, who is on the board of the association's charitable arm, told me he was "shocked" to learn of the hotel's ownership.
He said that where his group "stands for the highest principles of justice, the violations of human rights through the implementation of harsh criminal laws, including the chopping off of limbs, the stoning of homosexuals and adulterers, and the unconscionable treatment of women, all of which are an anathema to our American values, made it morally untenable to continue to patronize the hotel."
"In making the decision not to cheap jordans online further patronize the hotel, there was a full recognition that innocent management and staff members of the hotel may be adversely affected," he said.
Perhaps a better way to protect those innocents would be a response from the White House.
Last March, President Obama met with the sultan in the Oval Office, where he opened a media availability by remarking, "Well, it is a great pleasure to welcome my good friend, his majesty the sultan of Brunei. ... He is a key leader in the Southeast Asia region, but also widely respected around the world."
I can find no statement of condemnation by the White House or State Department on the implementation of sharia law in Brunei.
Perhaps the Hollywood elite would be better served enlisting the support of a president whose ear they certainly have rather than putting American workers in the crosshairs.
Michael Smerconish writes for The Philadelphia Inquirer, and is host of "Smerconish" on CNN. Readers may contact
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