Volume XXVII Number 53 December 31, 2003

2003 Year End Review

A glimpse into one memorable year

For 28 years now, La Prensa San Diego has been doing year-end reviews, and each year has been unique and interesting in its own right. Yet year 2003 stands out as one of the more interesting years in regards to diversity of stories and their impact on the Hispanic community and vice-versa the impact the Hispanic community had on the issues of the day. With society’s penchant for seemingly remembering only the latest story, the year-end review allows us the opportunity to go back over the events that got us to where we are today, as we look to the future.

January 2003

Year 2003 started out under a cloud of a depressed economy and the looming war with Iraq on the horizon. Many issues were facing the Hispanic community and America in general. To better understand the issues, and in particular the issues of the Middle-East, La Prensa San Diego collaborated with the Persian American community and Ramin Moshiri in starting the biweekly column “La Prensa Persa”.

The intent of “La Prensa Persa” was to provide a voice for the Persian American community and at the same time discuss many of the same issues that the Hispanic/Mexican American community has been facing such as civil and human rights, immigrant rights, border issues, and discrimination. This column went on to gain recognition not only locally, statewide, and nationally, eventually being recognized at a statewide awards program as a “Bridge Builder” filling the gap between minority communities.

The impact of the newly created Department of Homeland Security was starting to be felt and addressed by civil rights groups as individual freedoms were coming under attack. The intent of the Bill of Rights was being eroded as the Federal government tried to address the threat of terrorist attacks. In the meantime the Hispanic community looked to the future and the impact these new laws would have on their rights.

With war imminent, the specter of restarting the draft is raised by Congressman Cruz Rangle, Rangle’s rational was that, with the minorities overrepresentation in the Armed Forces, it was time to start drafting the privileged. Editorially, we reacted strongly to this proposal, despite the intent of the proposal the reality of a draft is that 80% of those that are sent into war are represented by minorities. This proposal never did get off the ground thanks, in no small part, to the strong opposition from the minority communities.

January 8th is the one year anniversary of President Bush’s “No Child Left Behind” initiative. Despite the lofty goals of the program, primarily closing the gap in the education of Latino students, it comes under attack from such groups as MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense Fund) which criticizes the program for the lack of funding.

January also sees Governor Gray Davis start his second term. His immediate concern was the $35 billion budget shortfall that was soon discovered as a huge underestimation and the beginning of the end for Davis.

On January 28th in his State of the Union speech, President Bush lays out his rationale for the war on Iraq, they are: (1) to eliminate Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD); (2) to diminish the threat of international terrorism; and (3) to promote democracy in Iraq and surrounding areas. Bush beats the drums for war citing the eminent threat of terrorist attacks by Iraq, the nuclear threat, and the biological threat by this country. That was the rational, but reality proved to be much different

While most of the country fell in lock-step with the plan to attack Iraq, there were some quarters that questioned the rationale and the supposed proof of such a war. La Prensa San Diego editorials also questioned the supposed proof presented by the Bush administration as did other sectors of the community. But it was a war Bush wanted, and it was a war that he got.

The University of Michigan’s affirmative action program has reached the Supreme Court and the President has challenged the program labeling it as reverse discrimination and/or as a quota system. To the Hispanic community this is seen as an extension of the racists’ attacks launched by California Governor Pete Wilson and UC Trustee Ward Connerly in the form of Proposition 209.

While the war with Iran looms, there is a “Silent War” going on along the border as describe by reporter Mariana Martinez. On January 9th 3 immigrants were killed when the pick-up truck they were riding in became involved with a high speed chase by the border patrol. A spike strip was laid in the road blowing the tires of the truck. 17 people were in the truck 3 were killed. This brings the total of immigrants killed since 1994 to 1,700.

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Paving Our Way Into Election Year 2004

Year End Review Continued

By Raymond R. Beltrán

It could be said that with all that has been happening in just the last six months, moving into the New Year might become less of an extraordinary festivity. San Diego, not to mention the rest of California, has witnessed drastic changes that lead one to believe that the New Year started with the recall of former Governor Gray Davis. But we still have a few more hours before the ball drops in New York, and before thousands of San Diego club goers pour millions of dollars into the newly constructed Historic Gaslamp District, we should sit back and take a look at what 2003 has laid out for us, while we move ahead into election year 2004.


Having previously vetoed the initiative Senate Bill 60 (SB60) to allow migrant workers the right to driver’s licenses, our now former California Governor Gray Davis spent time reconsidering his veto decision when talks of a recall began to disseminate throughout the state. Arnold Schwarzenegger had yet to take a stand and state his position as a gubernatorial candidate, and the Latino community began to discuss whether or not California would possibly see the day when a Mexican American would become governor … Cruz Bustamante. In Pilar Marrero’s July 3rd synopses of the recall “On Latino Minds,” there were many avenues in deciding whether or not California, not to mention the Latino community, needed to risk having a Republican governor or having the established state government that began seeing the errors of its’ ways when considering the “Latino vote” and the recall. Little did anyone know that Hollywood status could play a major part in the way the state is run and that the ever surging influx of migrant workers would never see that license to drive.

On a more local and lighter note, a story by E. A. Berrera called Chicano Coffee House Survives City Harassment tells the story of one of the oldest barrios in the country, Barrio Logan, winning a small victory in the war against gentrification when Rene Guzman and his partner Ildifonso Garrillo opened the prominent, community based café shop in the middle of Sherman Heights titled Chicano Perk. For many living in the barrios of San Diego, protecting the history of the neighborhood, as well as the resident’s affinity to the land, has been a battle with the City of San Diego as the cost of homes increased and the closing construction of Petco Park became the impetus for a threat of gentrification. As fliers circulated throughout the Mexican community, prior to its opening, about an upcoming coffee house catering to barrio residents, the community awaited the place that would become home and meeting headquarters for many activists and art organizations.

América Latina Rumbo al 2004
Por Humberto Caspa, Ph.D
2004 augura un camino nuevo para América Latina. Los sucesos más relevantes ocurridos en este año (2003) hacen suponer que muchos gobiernos latinoamericanos adoptarán un camino diferente, distinto a las dos últimas décadas, donde imperaron las políticas de corte neoliberal. La viabilidad de este modelo ha sido puesta en cuestión por el Estado y la Sociedad Civil, especialmente con la reunión de la Organización Mundial de Comercio (OMC) en Cancún y después con el movimiento popular en Bolivia, respectivamente.

Derechos Humanos-EEUU: Ashcroft contra los inmigrantes
Por Mithre J. Sandrasagra
NUEVA YORK — Grupos de la sociedad civil de Estados Unidos apelaron a la justicia federal para protestar por las “discriminatorias” iniciativas del secretario de Justicia, John Ashcroft, para imponer severas leyes contra la inmigración.

Bush School Reforms Penalize Diverse Schools, Study Finds
LOS ANGELES — Thousands of schools are falling short of Washington’s new standards, not due to faltering achievement overall, but because their student diversity triggers federal sanctions more readily than schools serving less varied children, according to a new study.

From Spill Over to Tidal Wave
By Andrés Lozano
Rewording Neil Diamond’s hit song America lyrics: “Every time they make mistakes, we’re coming to America.” Hardly anything more heart wrenching than reconciling the northward thrust of incoming Mexican nationals and the causes behind such an effect. After all, acquaintances, relatives, even us made it here for the same motives.

En ocho estados carne de ‘vaca loca’
Las autoridades aseguran que no representa riesgo para los humanos
WASHINGTON, D.C. - La carne de vaca Holstein enferma de encefalopatía espongiforme bovina ha llegado hasta el momento a los mercados de ocho estados y de un territorio estadounidense, pero aún no pone en riesgo la salud de la población, dijeron en días pasados funcionarios del Departamento de Agricultura. Veda a la carne de Estados Unidos.

American Library Association showcases best-selling Latino authors Ángeles Mastretta, Richard Rodriguez
The American Library Association’s (ALA) Midwinter Meeting, January 9 - 14, 2004, San Diego, will host a series of events that showcase the literary works of some of the world’s most celebrated Latino authors. Events feature the Pura Belpré Award, one of the most prestigious literary honors given to Latino children’s book authors and illustrators, and author lectures hosted by Ángeles Mastretta and Richard Rodriguez.

Grossmont College workshop “Broaden Your Horizons” to aid ‘re-entry’ students
EL CAJON — New and potential students interested in learning more about the realities of college life as‘re-entry’ adults are invited to attend a free orientation workshop titled “Broaden Your Horizons” Tuesday, January 6, 9:30 – 12:30 p.m. on the Grossmont College campus.

Flex Your Power, California’s statewide energy efficiency initiative, is encouraging ethnic, rural and low-income residents to “flex their power” now and to save energy and money on their utility bills
“With high energy prices now – which are only going to get higher in the future – this is the time to invest in energy efficiency,” said Wally McGuire, who runs the Flex Your Power campaign. Energy prices are up dramatically from the previous year—42 percent higher for natural gas, 60 percent higher for fuel oil than two years ago.


San Ysidro School District Should be folded into The San Diego Unified School District!
It no longer amazes or surprises us when strange things happen in the San Ysidro School District; in fact we take it as a matter of fact. The latest fiasco is the firing of Superintendent Jorge Parra, evidently, for not getting along with the majority school board members. This comes as little surprise since Parra was anointed by a single board member, without Community input or search committee. Then Superintendent Jose Torres, after only a sixth month tenure, was fired. To date he is still receiving a salary.

Etc. Etc. Etc.
Reviews, Sporting news, and other tid bits

Reseña del Año 2003:
Por: Paco Zavala

Al terminar de sonar las doce campanadas del 31 de enero del 2002, esperamos con luz de gozo, regocijo, amor, felicidad y paz este año del 2003; para algunos se les dió de ésta manera, pero para otros fue triste su decepción, no se les dió, por miles de circunstancias no se conceden estos deseos, pero es imprudente no volverlas a desear para el año que viene del 2004. Esperamos que estos deseos a todo mundo lleguen e inunden sus fuentes de trabajo y de vivencia a cada momento y consolidémonos en una sola petición, si, que haya paz, mucha paz y tranquilidad en todo el orbe terráqueo. ¡ Feliz Año Nuevo 2004!

Taurus do Brasil

Enero: En nuestra primera edición de este año reseñamos el año 2002. Publicamos durante todo el año 2003 nuestra columna “Mosaico de Actividades Culturales en Tijuana”, en la que cubrimos y reseñamos una serie de actividades y eventos vinculados con la proyección del arte y la cultura como ya lo señalaremos. Reseñamos el inicio de la temporada de ópera en San Diego la que realizó su apertura con la ópera “Fidelio” de Beethoven. Presentamos una nota referente sobre el III Premio a la Excelencia de lo Nuestro. En nuestra columna de Mosaico, conversamos con la actriz Andrea Coto; también presentamos una visita que realizamos a la exhibición de escriños de Rosa Valencia. También escribimos una nota sobre la publicación del libro “Siga esta Ruta” de Curt Coffman/ Gabriel Gonzalez Molina. Entrevistamos a tres artistas del medio: Marina Carbajal, conductora de TV y cantante, Miguel Angel Saldaña, actor, guionista y director de teatro y cine y a Taurus do Brasil. Reseñamos el libro “Condición Física para Vivir Mejor” de Bill Phillips y Michael D’Orso, publicamos una nota sobre el pequeño diccionario Larousse. Reseñamos el libro “La Novia Oscura” de Laura Restrepo.

Lo Mejor y Peor de Hollywood
El 2003 pasará como uno de los mejores años en memoria reciente
Por Jose Daniel Bort

Este fue un año de películas valientes, heroicas en sus temas pero también sin miedo a enfrentar el peligro directamente a los ojos. Con actuaciones inolvidables por parte de actores consagrados y nuevas figuras jóvenes que resaltarán el firmamento de ahora en adelante. La cosecha es abundante este año maravilloso.

A continuación presentamos un resúmen de lo más interesante que aconteció en este 2003:

“Matchstick Men” es la primera novela de Eric García que recibe tratamiento cinematográfico

Lo Bueno

El cine épico consiguió dos joyas en “Master and Commander” con Russell Crowe y “The Last Samurai” con Tom Cruise. Octubre trajo dos clásicos contemporáneos: “Kill Bill” y “Mystic River”, mientras otras no se pueden considerar tanto, pero si fueron muy divertidas: “Scary movie 3” y “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” (de acuerdo con el cristal como se mire, si es para reirse o para asustarse). Robert Rodríguez se lució con “Once upon a Time in Mexico” y “Spy Kids: 3D” y Ridley Scott lo hizo con “Matchstick Men”. Sofia Coppola demostró su pedigree con “Lost in Translation”.

Vamos al Cine:
El monstruo dentro de nosotros
Charlize Theron departe de su usual trabajo en ‘Monster’
Por Jose Daniel Bort
Una de los placeres más grandes de ir al cine es perderse dentro de la historia que los cineastas proponen; seguir a los personajes en su viaje sin siquiera acordarse que son actores profesionales. Aunque parezca mentira, esto no sucede a menudo. Es más, sucede muy poco.

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