December 14, 2001

The Public Forum ... El Foro Publico

Reader disappointed in story

I recently read your article in La Prensa San Diego titled, "Will Mexican Americans Be Cannon Fodder in the War on Terror?" by Jorge Mariscal (published December 7, 2001).

I was very disappointed in the accuracy and tone of the article. Let me explain why.

First, you were WAY off base in your statistic about Mexican-American active duty Marines. You wrote that they make up 37% of the Marine Corps' active duty strength. This not even close!! According to the military almanac (www.defenselink /mil/pubs/almanac), enlisted Marine Corps hispanics made up only 13.2% of active duty strength as of Sept 2000. Hispanics officer comprised only 3.8%. Hispanic includes Puerto Ricans, Cubans, and others besides Mexican-Americans, which means the Mexican-American percentage is far lower. I don't know where you got the number of 37%, but anyone who has spent recent time in the Marine Corps would know this couldn't be true. I thought it was very disingenous of you to use this statistic to help justify your opinion.

Second, in your attempt to describe Mexican-Americans as potential cannon fodder, I think this should be the least of concerns for Mexican-Americans. I want you to tell me how many Mexican-American Marines has been killed in action since the end of the Vietnam War. You can include Grenada, Beirut, Desert Storm, Somalia, Haitai and the current conflict in Afganistan. Then tell me how many Mexican-Americans have been killed in senseless gang related killing during those same years. Then tell me how many Mexican-Americans are locked up in state and federal prisons. (I saw a statistic in today's newspaper about juveniles locked up in a special prison for those destined for adult prison—the article said 75% of them were Latino).

Third, I don't understand that comment attributed to Rudy Acuna about Mexican -Americans and SUV's flying US flags. Does he have a problem with SUV's or the flag or both? What if you drive a Honda and fly a flag? What if you drive a lowered 62 Chevy Impala and fly a flag? Does that make it okay? I just don't get it.

Finally, I suggest you get out of your ivory tower and go take a look at the JROTC units at the local schools. For example, go see what a difference the dedicated Army instructors make at Lincoln High School. They teach many Hispanics and African Americans. They teach discipline, leadership, and provide counseling/mentoring within a community and school atmosphere that breeds failure. JROTC is not a conspiracy to ruin Mexican-American lives. I thought that kind of silly thinking went out with the 60's and Rosalio Munoz.

I will continue to monitor any more of your writing for the local press, so please be more accurate and deep thinking.

Steve Rodriguez
via email

La Prensa clouds issue in support of Boy Scouts

Regarding your editorial ("City Council must choose between the Boy Scouts or the Gay Community" November 30, 2001) in support of the Boy Scouts, you cloud the issue with talk of the good the Boy Scouts have done. Please take to heart the words I have below for those who voted in favor of supporting discrimination:

Three cheers to the three S.D. City Councilpersons who were principled enough to not renew the Scouts' sweetheart deal at Balboa Park.

To Mayor Murphy and the other Councilpersons who violated your own law against discrimination and tried to rationalize it by saying the Scouts do wonderful things for the community, I ask you following two questions?

Are you really doing our children a favor by teaching them that people should be rewarded for perpetuating discrimination? Secondly, if the Boy Scouts discriminated against Hispanics, African-Americans, Asians, or Christians, would you still have extended their lease? I'm sure you would not have done so because you would have recognized the immorality of your actions.

Paul Harris
San Diego

Daschle is a snake in the grass

In Dante's Inferno The pilgrim travels through the many stages of hell. Through this journey Dante speaks eloquently of these stages and who is assigned to what fate. Senator Tom Daschle is in serious jeopardy of many of the fates spoken of including: being torn to pieces, dumped in excrement, carrying a weighted cloak and suffering from leprosy for his actions of hypocrisy, scandal, lying and falsifying. The senators from South Dakota in response to the Presidents challenge on October 4, said in an October 13 radio address, "Our next challenge is to pass an economic stimulus package to repair the damage to America's economy caused by the September 11 attacks. Once again, we are called to put aside politics and work for the good of the nation. It is essential that both parties resist the temptation to use the economic package as a vehicle for other agendas.

We must not use the tragedy of September 11 to push through favored causes, no matter how passionately we may feel about them, if they won't provide an immediate boost to our economy. Our economic future is too important to fall victim to politics or ideology."

Then after the House of Representatives passed the stimulus package just 20 days after Bush's request, On the 24th of October, Senator Daschle said at a press conference that he was "hopeful" the Senate would pass an economic stimulus before Thanksgiving. The day after on the 25th of October Senator Daschle said, "My focus right now, out of necessity, has to be on appropriations. So I don't see [the economic stimulus plan] as front-burner an issue as I see the appropriations bills." Then on the November 2nd He said that a Stimulus Package Should Be Passed "By November 30," 2001. Then on December 3rd after still not passing it, Senator Daschle insisted he would allow just 18 members of the Senate, one-third of the Democratic Caucus plus one vote, to have veto authority over passage. Tom Daschle is a snake in the grass and changes his song before the melody even begins. The nation needs a stimulus package like the starving need food and the parched need water. Without an economic stimulus many business will bankrupt and people will lose jobs, homes and possibly lives due to the stalling of Tom Daschle and his Democrats counterparts in the Senate. God bless America! We surely need it with these games going on in the Senate.

Brian L. Sohn
Spring Valley

The Democratic Party is doing it, to the American people again

The Clinton and Ale Gore thing, which should never have happened, 9-11-2001 bin Laden which I wished never would have happened but did. Now we have a war going on and our democratic brothers are holding up our PRESIDENTS STIMULES package. IF the reps of the democratic party are truly in support of the American people, they should put aside there personel agenda and make an honest effort to support our President George BUSH. I don't know about you, but I think he has done a hell of agood job.

Earl R Hilderbrand
via e-mail

Figueroa Responds to Criticism of San Ysidro School District

As a member of the Governing Board of the San Ysidro School District, I feel compelled to correct the misleading letter appearing in the November 29, 2001 edition of the San Diego Tribune. The letter entitled "An Educational Conflict in San Ysidro District" reported that there was a war going on in the San Ysidro School District and that teachers had not received raises in three years.

The impasse between the teachers and the District is not about pay--it's about additional instructional time for the children of San Ysidro. The San Ysidro School District is one of the lowest performing Districts in the County and in the State. At the current rate of improvement, it would take ten (10) years to catch up with the state averages, assuming those averages don't also improve. Our undivided attention is focused on improving student achievement. We are asking the teachers for an additional fifteen minutes per day instructional time for this purpose. If we don't take drastic measures today to improve student achievement, we will lose half a generation of San Ysidro children.

Since 1989, San Ysidro teachers have received over 36% in salary increases, higher than almost every other school district in the County. In the 1999-2000 school year, teachers received a 7.43% increase. With the District's proposed 9.22% increase, beginning teachers at San Ysidro will make nearly $200.00 per day, or $36,837.00 per school year (186 days). Moreover, San Ysidro teachers have a six and one half (6½) hour work-day--below average when compared to other elementary school districts in the county. When compared to National City Elementary School District, which has similar student populations, San Ysidro Teachers work shorter days and are paid higher salaries. Yet, National City schools outperform San Ysidro schools in every grade level and every subject matter.

I was elected by the public and entrusted to manage their tax dollars. It is my responsibility to insure that your money is well spent and that the children of San Ysidro are getting the best public education possible. The academic performance indicators at San Ysidro School District are unacceptable. We must do better.

Luis Figueroa
President, Governing Board of San Ysidro School District


Figueroa Responde a Críticas del Distrito Escolar de San Ysidro

Me dirijo a ustedes como miembro de la Mesa Directiva del Distrito Escolar de San Ysidro con el deber de aclarar la información errónea que desafortunadamente fue publicada en una carta que apareció el 29 de Noviembre de 2001 en la edición del periódico San Diego Tribune. La carta titulada "Un Conflicto Educacional en el Distrito Escolar de San Ysidro" reportó que una guerra se está llevando acabo en el Distrito Escolar de San Ysidro y que los maestros no han recibido aumentos de salario de tres años.

El desacuerdo entre los maestros y el Distrito no es sobre el salario. Sino que trata sobre tiempo adicional de enseñanza para los niños/as de San Ysidro ya que actualmente contamos con uno de los promedios académicos más bajos a nivel condado y estado. De acuerdo al nivel actual de mejora nos tardaríamos diez (10) años en alcanzar el nivel del promedio académico estatal deseado, asumiendo que este no mejore. Nuestro enfoque principal es de mejorar el promedio académico del estudiante. Nosotros le estamos pidiendo a los maestros que agreguen quince minutos por día de tiempo de enseñanza para lograr mejoría en los promedios académicos. Si el día de hoy no tomamos medidas drásticas para mejorar el promedio académico de nuestros estudiantes perderemos la mitad de la generación de los niños/as de San Ysidro.

Desde 1989, los maestros de San Ysidro han recibido más del 36% en aumentos de salario, más que en muchos otros distritos en el condado. En el año escolar de 1999-2000, los maestros recibieron un aumento de 7.43%. Ahora con el aumento que propone el Distrito de 9.22%, los maestros que empiezan con San Ysidro estarán ganando cerca de $200.00 por día o $36,837.00 por año escolar (186 días). Además los maestros de San Ysidro tienen una jornada de seis horas y media (6½), la cual es menor a la jornada promedio comparándola con otros Distritos Escolares de Primaria en el condado. Cuando comparamos el Distrito Escolar de Primaria de National City, el cual tiene una población estudiantil similar, los maestros de San Ysidro trabajan días más cortos y se les pagan salarios más altos. Sin embargo, las escuelas de National City superan a las escuelas de San Ysidro en cada grado escolar y en cada materia.

Electo por el público y confiando la administración de sus impuestos, es mi respon-sabilidad asegurar que este último se esté usando debidamente y que los niños/as de San Ysidro estén recibiendo la mejor educación pública posible. Los indicadores de los promedios académicos en el Distrito Escolar de San Ysidro no son aceptables. ¡Debemos mejorar!

Luis Figueroa
Presidente, Mesa Directiva del Distrito Escolar de San Ysidro

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