By Daniel L. Muñoz
At the beginning of each year it is common to reflect on the previous 12 months, and to contemplate what most impacted us in our personal lives, our state, our city, our community and in our country. In a sense, it is most difficult for those of us who work in the media to be objective. We have learned that at any given time the media sees only a portion of reality. Reporters, columnists, editors, cartoonists, in sum the totality of those who work in the media, struggle daily to make sense of an essentially meaningless world.
Not wishing to mislead our faithful readers, La Prensa San Diego made it clear in our very first edition back in January 1976, that we would report the news as conditioned by our ethnic, historic, cultural and life experiences as structured by our linguistic abilities, which give meaning to our own objective reality. In a nutshell, what that means is that often times we don't interpret the world as an Anglo-European would. We don't make sense of the world as a black person, an Oriental person, or as any other major population in America would. We observe our world through our cultural screen, as seen through our brown eyes and as interpreted through the brown computer in our brains, and filtered through our language and education.
Naturally, as we age, we become mixed in the petri dish of life, and our sense of who we are becomes conditioned by the normative culture, language and common history. Our core condition is altered, but not removed (perhaps this is why we still love beans, tortillas, and enchiladas!). In those areas where we share congruence, it is possible to view an event with some commonality. It is these events of which we shall now speak in our "Wish List for the Year 2002."
San Diego City Government: At a time when the state and the nation are deeply mired in an economic recession and ways are being sought to conserve monies to provide for the common good, San Diego Municipal Government, under its City Manager form of government, is being mismanaged. We have watched its infrastructure decay, its citizens be over-taxed, and government services to its citizens become captive to a form of government in which there is no accountability. Neither our elected officials nor our appointed City Managers are being held responsible for what has occurred, and it is our CITY TREASURY which has been raided to benefit the financial interests of private corporations, to the detriment of the City as a whole.
Year 2002 Resolution#1: That a Blue Ribbon Committee be created. Its job will be to recommend a new form of government that will be responsible and held accountable to the citizens of San Diego.
Grand Jury: In an effort to make our city system accountable, Our Grand Jury system continues to investigate and make recommendations, but it has no power or ability to do anything other than make recommendations. Its current structure makes a mockery of the Grand Jury system. Responsible citizens will not serve on a Grand Jury which operates under the control of the District Attorney and which doesn't have police powers to make the changes that will help the government function properly.
Year 2002 Resolution #2: Establish a Blue Ribbon Committee that will have the power to change the current structure of the County Grand Jury System. Provide it with independent legal enforcement powers. Remove the Grand Jury from the control of appointive and elected political officials and turn it into an instrument that will respond to citizen complaints of abuse of power by elected and/or appointive city officials.
Civil Rights and Equal Opportunities: The city of San Diego has earned a national reputation for denying the civil rights and equal opportunities of minorities and the working class. Our city has become an equal opportunity haven for white contractors, developers and vendors. It has catered to and become a city of opportunity for corporate conglomerates, high-tech enterprises and wealthy elites. There is no equal opportunity in San Diego! We are a city in which a small business community, financial community and community of political elites control the political and financial wealth. This is to the detriment of the ever-growing working class and financially deprived members of San Diego.
Year 2002 Resolution #3: Create a special prosecutor, with the power of a czar, who will force the city to implement all federal, state, county and city equal opportunity resolutions and laws. This person will bring civil rights and an equality of opportunity to the city of San Diego. Create a Charter Review Committee that will suggest means to legally bring change to the way in which the city of San Diego does business.
Year 2002 RESOLUTION #4: Eliminate all subsidies to groups that serve only the wealthy such as the opera, the symphony, The Old Globe Theater, art museums, the Chamber of Commerce, etc. Stop all subsidies to organizations that serve only very narrow, non-humanitarian purposes. Stop all financial handouts and bail outs to wealthy business developers. Stop providing them with hefty discounts on electricity, water, gas and taxes! Eliminating welfare to the wealthy would go a long way toward helping a population that is routinely denied the opportunity to gain sufficient money to survive in San Diego. If there is no justifiable general good for non-essential organizations, they should not be financed by the poor (such as the PADRES and the CHARGERS). Current and past City Managers have never been able to stop raids on the City Treasury and elected officials have never been able to red-line all of these give aways. Recommend that all requests for city funds by non-profits and profit making entities or individuals be reviewed by a special prosecutor with the power to red-line all "handouts" to wealthy individuals and organizations.
It is time that we involve the citizenry in the running of San Diego... Who knows, we may finally get our streets repaired, our sewage spills eliminated, the pollution of our beaches stopped, our slums eradicated, our highways repaired, street lights placed on our neighborhoods, traffic signals placed at our busy intersections... Well, you get the picture.