January 5, 2001
The year 2000 was a special time for San Diego, the State, and the Nation. It was a Presidential election year nationally, as well as a time charged with emotional issues for the residents of San Diego and the County. The Editors spoke out in what they perceived was in the best interests of the people of San Diego and of the society in general. A sampling of some of the Editorials are included herein to recall where "La Prensa" stood on the issues of year 2000.
January 21, 2000
In the past month, La Prensa San Diego has received over a hundred letters from our readers expressing deep concern over the berthing of nuclear ships in San Diego harbor. Many of the letters had Mexican American-Latino names which was surprising. In the past, we had not noticed a fear or distrust expressed by the Latino-Mexican American community over the use of nuclear weapons or nuclear fuel materials to propel our ships.
The large number of letters were suspicious and appeared to be highly coordinated. Many of the statements were very similar in content and structure giving the impression that all these folks either attended the same conference, all received the same handout, or the letters were produced by computers. The names probably came from phone books or other lists. Some of the letters were signed by hand and others were not. All were dated and postmarked within a day or so of each other.
Raising our suspicions that the letters were not legitimate or from the Mexican American-Latino community was the form in which they were written. The syntax used throughout was more akin to AngloAmerican than Mexican American.
San Diegans have lived for decades in benign ignorance nuclear reactors at the San Onofre power site, Torrey Pines, of the Submarine Nuclear Ballistic fleet based at Point Loma, and the numerous Nuclear Carriers and conventional powered ships- of- the-line, berthed at North Island, Coronado and the Silver Strand, carrying deadly nuclear weapons in their holds.
Perhaps, because we have never suffered a serious nuclear incident, we have become inured to the threat that these letter writers see in making San Diego home to more of the nuclear powered fleet. Or perhaps, we accept it as the price of freedom.
Perhaps, these letter writers forgot that America's nuclear shield has been our protector throughout many wars, police actions, and cold wars. We cannot stick our heads in the sand and ignore the threats that we face by those nations that are inimical to our country existing.
Shall we send our Sailors, Marines, Airmen and Soldiers into battle to confront nations who right now have their nuclear weapons aimed at our country? We dare not risk the security of our nation for the those who are faint of heart.
February 1, 2000
Democratic State Senate leadership has tainted the memory of what remains of the Chávez legacy. In their rush to push for a bill to create a paid state holiday honoring César Chávez, who led the struggle to bring justice to the farm workers of California, created a bill that will burden, with additional millions of dollars in taxes, the very same people for whom he devoted his life to; the underpaid, overworked, working class of this state be they farm workers, unskilled workers, service industry workers, or migrant workers.
The bill passed 23-0 with all Republicans abstaining. If passed by the State Assembly and signed by the Governor every state employee (police, educators, prison guards, administrators, professionals, employees of every single state agency) will be paid for not working on that day. That is, most everyone will be paid by our state tax monies in the name of César Chávez, except those for whom César Chávez gave his life for: the Mexican, Latinos, Chicanos, Filipinos, all the working class people of this state and nation.
The cost will be from $60 to -100 million dollars in tax dollars for that one day. The state already pays for 13 paid holidays! The total cost for 14 paid holidays will cost the taxpayers from $840 million to $1.24 billion dollars per year!
Due to the lack of effective Affirmative Action and equal opportunities, the Mexican American- Latino community is woefully underrepresented in the employee roles of the state. They will not derive a benefit from this imposition of this tax. It will benefit those that already are in the middle-upper class segments of our society. Rather, than voting for a meaningless symbol, it would be far more relevant if César Chávez was honored by having $60-$100 million dollars be spent by the state, in celebration of his day, in upgrading their lives; the lives of the working under-class of this state!
It is quite clear that our people have been emotionally manipulated to provide a massive tax subsidy to the mostly White State paid employees. We will be the losers of those millions that could be used for the benefit of those in poverty and still working in intolerable conditions on our farms, sweatshops, service industries doing all the back breaking work that usually create the conditions of work that Chávez deplored.
It is not a comforting thought to know that if this bill passes, we will have burden our children for generations to come with millions of dollars in new taxes that serve little purpose but sooth our egos. César Chávez must be turning in his grave.
February 18, 2000
When you mention the name Juan Vargas, more often than not, they say he is a nice guy, with a friendly smile - here and now we will concede that. And if Vargas was running for Mr. Nice Guy he would have our vote, but he is not. Juan Vargas wants to represent you in Sacramento as Assemblyman for the 79th Assembly District.
The 79th Assembly District (50% D - 26% R) is San Diego County's only Democratic district, the 79th was the first county district to be "constructed" by Supreme Court masters, mostly to concentrate its Black and Latino populations. The district takes in National City, half of Chula Vista and southern San Diego city (San Ysidro). As a result, the 79th is more than three-quarters minority, with Latinos having 49 percent, Blacks 16 percent and Asians 11 percent. The district also has the lowest number of registered voters in the county.
The intent of "constructing" a district with a large minority block was to give this constituency a political voice. The question is, does Juan Vargas give the minority communities of the 79th its best voice?
Fortunately, Vargas is not an enigma, as a two-and-a-half term member of the San Diego City Council he has a long history in representing the minority community of the 8th District. Unfortunately it is not a history covered in glory.
Juan Vargas has shown himself to be a tool of the establishment. He has, in his tenure, fallen in lock-step with the leadership of Mayor Susan Golding, rarely if ever stepping out of the shadow of the mayor. The best example of this can be found in Vargas' support of then City Manager Jack McCory and Susan Golding's attempts to cut off city advertising to La Prensa San Diego. In trying to push through the Padres deal, La Prensa was one of the few papers opposing the issue and to silence this paper the establishment threatened this paper. Going public in support of this effort was Juan Vargas, the only city councilman to publicly speak out, in the establishments' attempt to take one of the few voices of the Hispanic/Chicano communities away.
We can also follow his votes on the Padres Ballpark issue. The Padres deal with City offered Vargas an opportunity to stand up for the Hispanic community, to be a voice for that community which will be the most affected, the Barrio Logan community - yet Vargas was silent in representing their concerns. Then there was the San Diego Chargers' fiasco and lack of leadership in questioning this major boondoggle. Considering that he is a Harvard educated lawyer he should have been well versed in reading a contract. He lost an opportunity to say stop and be a voice for the minority communities of the City. Instead he followed along and voted for Chargers' seat guarantee.
We can revisit the lack of leadership on minority issues such as minority contracting with the City of San Diego. As of last report by the city, it was reported that Hispanic and Black contractors were receiving less than one (1) percent of the contracts. Where was Vargas' voice of outrage on this issue?
For years methyl-bromide was a huge issue to the residents, parents, and school children of Barrio Logan, we questioned the leadership of Juan Vargas on this issue. Then there is the issue of the 8th District being one of the worst environmental areas in the city, especial in Barrio Logan, again we question the leadership of Juan Vargas on this environmental issue. The docking of nuclear ships in the harbor, what is Vargas' position on this issue, quien sabe.
On the issue of Brown Field, Vargas has recently flipped-flopped on this issue, at first supporting the developers, but now needing the votes of the homeowners, to opposing the development - for now. Vargas has supported another developer in opening a pedestrian border crossing in San Ysidro that would kill the downtown business section of Sidro. With the residents of Barrio Logan wanting to develop their community with a mercado, Vargas has stonewalled this development.
On major issues of great concern to minority communities: Proposition 209, the anti-bilingual initiative and Prop.187 anti-affirmative action initiative, Juan Vargas was strangely silent.
In 1996 Vargas' displayed his disdain for the 8th district and the minority community when less than a month after being elected to represent the 8th district he announced his intention to run for Congress. In a county that has very little Democratic leadership Vargas then choose to run against Democratic Congressman Bob Filner - going against the Democratic Party and against a Congressman who had, up to that time, represented the Hispanic community well.
There are other instances of Juan Vargas' lack of leadership, like the time he wanted to oust all city employees who had any gang related affiliation, no matter how long ago or how little. For a Harvard trained lawyer, it was incredible that he didn't understand the constitutional ramifications of such a move and implications to minority communities which have few avenues to a life outside of the gang life -- threatening to close one of those avenues.
Juan Vargas was a loser in his bid for Congress, and now due to term limits is serving his last term as a city councilperson. Looking to continue his political career, Vargas has targeted the 79th as his best, last chance, and once again, like in `96, counting on his charming personality and Hispanic heritage to carry him to victory. But as a voter in the 79th you have to go behind the good looks and take a look at the man, and ask yourself does Juan Vargas represent my best interest?
The reason Voters of California voted in Term Limits was to do away with the career politician and to allow fresh new ideas and instill fresh blood into the system. Allow term limits to work, it is time for new ideas and new directions to flourish in the 79th Assembly District.
March 24, 2000
Is the Chamber of Commerce and the Business/Political leadership right in their assumptions that our public schools can best be run utilizing, the business model for running factories, businesses, or corporations? Is the "Bottom Line" relevant to gaining an education?
In all the rhetoric surrounding the "corporate" plans for running our schools precious little `proofs' have been given or provided that demonstrate that "what is good for business is good for `educating' our children"!
Questions must be made now before a whole generation of children are sacrificed to untested generalizations. We, as parents, educators, or as concerned citizens can little afford to suffer the loss of a single generation of children as "just another bad business decision."
In light of all the business failures that occur regularly in our country the acknowledgement must be made that business men really don't know all the answers. If they did, it wouldn't be necessary for government to bail them out so frequently at taxpayers expense.
When business men fail, the output of their factories (the widgets, bolts, cars & other non-human articles of consumption) ceases. They close their factories and walk away from their errors of judgement and lack of knowledge. The owner-leadership then fades out of sight.
What will happen if our Business/Chamber of Commerce/Political leadership discover that their "business plan" doesn't work when it comes to educating the hundreds of thousands of children involved in their `business educational experiment'? Who(m) among will take the responsibility and be accountable of the thousands of children who will be utterly destroyed by this experiment? Who will take the responsibility?
The question that must be raised is: How sound is a program that eliminates all the professional people that are trained in our schools and Universities in the field of education? Do you really believe that the head of Qualcomm would hire a lawyer to be the head of their highly technical work force and allow him to impose the rules of the Courts to run Qualcomm successfully?
Our public schools are centers of knowledge in which our children must be guided through the process of acquiring the necessary knowledge to function in our world. This includes, among other things, the arts, music, science, math, language skills, literature to name a few. It is impossible to quantify, measure, or determine "how it is that children learn or how the brain works."
It is beyond comprehension that professional educators have allowed the intrusion of essentially, uneducated, untrained, widget makers to take over a system upon which this country depends so much on.
It is time to call a halt to this effort to turn our educational system into a mindless production pipeline for turning out atomistical individuals that will be molded into complaint workers for their factories. Mechanical robots, in a word.
April 28, 2000
In their emotional, nationalistic, responses to the Elian episode, Miami's Cuban residents wasted much of their political capital that they had accumulated over the past years. They totally ignored the Mexican experiences in California during Governor Pete Wilson's par era and committed the same errors that caused Americans to turn against our efforts to gain justice in the U.S.
The emotional outbursts by the Cubans against our government, and their resorting to nationalistic tactics, worked against them just as the nationalistic attacks by Chicanos against the U.S. In the 70's worked against our interests. Large segments of the Mexican American community were offended by the nationalistic outbursts in the streets of Los Angeles by Chicanos and Mexican residents with their displays of the Mexican flag and the thrashing of the American flag. The same tactics by the Cubans i.e. use of the Cuban flag and trashing of the American flag on the streets of Miami brought grave harm to the Cuban community, and by implication to all Latinos who call the U.S. their home. Miami's Cubanos put on display, for the world to see, their disloyalty to the country and its citizens who provided a haven for them when they fled Cuba. Those acts were deeply insulting to Americans who believe in their Constitution and Bill of Rights and who willingly fought to the death in the various wars throughout the world to defend others from the acts of oppressive governments.
Cubanos failed in their major test in loyalty to their new homeland. They had freely chosen to become citizens of this country. Few, if any of them, will ever choose to return to Cuba except to visit. Millions of Mexicanos will never return to live in Mexico or give up their American Citizenship. They will return to visit because we retain our cultural affinity to the home of our ancestors. So it will be for later generations of Cubano Americanos... Así es.
History placed Cuba, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the rest of Latin America in a position of historical significance in the conquest and settlement of the American continent. They all played pivotal roles in the conquest and settlement of the Americas. They were instrumental in the WARS OF INDEPENDENCE, and provided the man power and resources for the U.S development as a world power. Unfortunately, that legacy is tarnished by the Miami Cubanos, who quickly forgot that they now are American citizens.
Unfortunately, the majority of the nation views all Latinos as cut from the same cloth. Mexican Americans, the largest of the Latino groups, will have to suffer the consequences of the actions of the Miami Cubanos. Our cause to become equal partners in the great American experiment has suffered a set back.
May 12, 2000
With loud fanfare Jack McGrory, now CEO of the San Diego Padres, recently announced an outreach goal of 20 percent participation with the Historically Underutilized Business Enterprises (HUBE) and Emerging Business Enterprise firms (BEF), in the PADRES downtown BallPark & Redevelopment Project. In what looked awfully similar to the City of San Diego's failed "outreach program," McGrory introduced the PADRES plan to increase minority (Mexican & Black firms) percentage of the construction contracts. What McGrory is served up is a `curve ball' that may look good, but that will bite you in the end.
He is offering up the same failed mechanisms that he served up as City Manager for the City of San Diego! The impression that the PADRE organization is trying to foist on the people of San Diego is that the Padres are breaking new ground in attempting to reach a goal of 20 percent participation.
The City of San Diego, at one time, had an affirmative action program in place that had set-aside goals between 20 percent to 30 percent of the city's contracts. In 1993 the Associated General Contractors, with little opposition from the city, destroyed the City's Equal Opportunity Program, claiming the program amounted to an illegal quota system. Since that time minorities have seen their share of contracting opportunities drop below 1% (one percent). Initially, in response to the declining numbers of minority contractors in City projects, the City created a mentoring program with the Latino Builders Industry Association and the Black Contractors Association. There were also technical assistance and on-the-job training programs created. And of course, there was the Turner Construction Co., program that was supposed to ensure minority participation with the Convention Center project. All these programs failed! They were short on substance and lacking in political will to make them workable. Faced with these embarrassing numbers, the San Diego City Council made another half-hearted step to address this issue. The City Council approved an outreach program to examine large contracts to determine how much work can be done by small subcontractors. General contractors who bid on city work would then be graded on their efforts to recruit small subcontractors.
Since the Padre Ballpark falls under the umbrella of a large construction contract the Padres were obligated to seek out the participation of subcontractors i.e., minority contractors. The Padres `Joint Venture contractors': Douglas E. Barnhart Inc. of San Diego; Nielsen-Dillingham Inc., with offices in San Diego; and Clark Construction Group Inc., Bethesda, MD, have deflected the issue by creating a Ballpark Outreach Team and a 12-member Business Outreach Advisory Committee and have announced a goal of 20% participation - of course there is no guarantee, no penalty if the goal of 20% is not reached, all the Padres need to show is an effort to "outreach" to minority contractors. The effort is "to look good" but offer nothing of substances. The "Joint Venture Contractors" want 100% of the contracts even though they are obligated to have equal opportunity when PUBLIC FUNDS ARE USED!
Minority Contractors/Business are right back to where they started in the `60s. It is clear little has changed, the San Diego establishment has learned very little from the past. There is little sincerity to become a society of inclusion rather than exclusion. Minorities, in most aspects of their lives, are still on the outside looking in.
June 9, 2000
Rigging of the San Diego political system is underway! Fearing the outcome of submitting their, secrecy shrouded, plan for changing the form of government that has served San Diego since 1931, the City Manager form of Government, a group of well heeled operatives moved quickly, once their secret meetings concluded, to take the "people" out of the equation. They moved quickly to have their secretly concocted plan for a `Strong Mayor' form of government placed on the next election ballot without exposing it to public scrutiny until election day.
The City-Manager form of government was voted into existence by the voters in 1931 because they perceived that, that form as being the best able to provide the "checks and balances" to limit the abuses that occur when too much power is concentrated in limited hands. The power of authority to appoint City Officials was divided among the Mayor, the City Council, and the City Manager. The diffusion of power would prevent corruption and abuse by any official of the city. The running of the city was the jurisdiction of the City Manager. The responsibility of conducting the affairs of the city's municipal legislation was left to the Mayor and the City Council. It would take five votes of the City Council to remove the City Manager.
In one move separation of powers and a system of checks and balances were achieved. A professional administrator oversaw the operations of the city and the Mayor and City Council could concentrate on municipal legislation and planning. This form of government has served the city well and is still in use!
Though it has been revised many times, Citizen Charter Review Committees, appointed by the City Council and Mayor, rigorously debated the proposed changes before submitting their recommendations to the City Council. After the City approved the changes, the proposals were then placed on the ballot where they were brought under scrutiny by the general public. The people in open voting then decided if they approved or not.
What George Mitrovich, and his shadowy Cadre of usurpers, want is to avoid any debate or study of their secret documents. One is led to believe that they want a government of one person rule with no checks and balances. It would be a government where they would have the power to control. I submit this is contrary to the founding principles of our nation!
If in fact, a Carter Review is in order, it should be carried out under our existing rules and regulations, Mitrovich and company not withstanding.
June 30, 2000
It recently came to light that Councilmember Valerie Stallings made an incredible profit trading stocks in a company owned by San Diego Padres owners John Moores during the time that the San Diego City Council was making a determination on the Padres' downtown ballpark.
What we know is that Stallings, who can best be described as a novice stock trader, bought stocks in a John Moores owned company, Neon Systems, on March 5 1999 when they were first issued. She then sold the stocks at their peak price March 31, 1999 making a pretax profit of $14,000. On March 31 Stallings voted to keep the $1 billion ballpark-and-redevelopment project on track.
A stroke of luck? Maybe. Stupid? Definitely. But the real question is, was this a form of a pay-off for her support of the downtown ballpark? And if it is, all city council votes in relation to the ballpark would be void and the Padres and the City would have to start over.
For the San Diego City Council the stakes are extremely high.
The stakes are so high in fact that in a secret session city councilmembers on May 30 voted to spend $15,000 to defend Stallings during the investigation by the District Attorney's Office and the U.S. Attorney's Office. $15,000 before Stallings has been charged with any wrong doing. An expenditure that only came to light three weeks after the fact.
The `Good `ol boy' system is working to taking care of their interest!
If this was just a question of Valerie Stallings, reaction may have been different. The Hispanic community only has to harken back to the case of then City Councilmember Uvaldo Martinez and the credit card missuse, and how he was left to his own defense and ultimate ouster. But the interest at stake here are the Padres and the downtown ballpark. It doesn't go unnoticed that the lawyer hired to defend Stallings is John Wertz, the city's personal choice whenever the stakes are high.
So here we have an abject lesson of the `good ol' boys' surrounding the wagons and protecting their interest.
What we find strange is, that the city council, instead of seeking to protect their interest, are not demanding an impartial investigation to insure the integrity of the process. They are not demanding that the interest of the citizenry be protected. And where is the Grand Jury? Why are they sitting idly by? Are they not empowered to protect the interest of the community by investigating the whole matter?
The city council and mayor are elected to represent the interest of all the people, not just the special interest. If that sacred trust is compromised, if the integrity is lost, it is a greater loss than the possible loss of a ballpark.
July 7, 2000
Circus Maximas has departed... The three-ring circus put on by Raul Yzaquirre has left town. The townspeople were entertained, wined and dinned. Though Monsieur Bush and Gore were in the main ring, the ringmaster, Yzaquirre failed to convince anyone that this circus was anything but an orchestrated performance. It was designed to make the presidential candidates believe that he spoke for the millions of Mexican Americans and Latinos of this state.
The main gladiators of this County and state were noticeably absent. The battles to come will be fought, not by paid mercenaries of the `ruling' class but by the battle-hardened, tough gladiators of past political wars. Veteranos will enjoin in the political wars because they are unwilling to accept that it is our people's fate to live in object poverty, in run down barrios, excluded from the avenues to achieve economic successes, or to be systematically denied educational opportunities and excluded from the rights of full citizenship.
Justice, equality, and opportunity are not values that can be filtered through paid- for organizations. They must be wrested from those that would deny us our fundamental rights under our Constitution and Bill of Rights. Freedom is never given but must be won on the fields of battle be they political, economic, social, and yes, even on war-scarred battlegrounds.
We as a people, have devoted our lifetimes since the 1500's, to the development of this nation. We must not settle for anything less than our rightful place in American society as equal partners.
Candidate Gore and Bush, words spoken to a supplicant group are meaningless. Words are quickly blown away by the wind. The Democratic as well as the Republican Parties, along with their office holders and elected officials must show by their deeds that the concerns of our people are and will be addressed. During the tenure of the Republican Party our people have been assaulted by the elected officials in every aspect. In California our own Governor Pete Wilson became the standard bearer attacking our people on every front. He showed no mercy. In these actions he was supported by the majority of the Republican establishment. Whom did Governor George Bush court and bring into his campaign? PETE WILSON! That is a deed that speaks volumes about the Republican standard bearer. No words can erase that deed. The Democratic Party and their elected officials have been at the forefront of turning the U.S. Border with Mexico into a war zone of unimanagable dimensions. They have turned what was once a bridge of friendship into a wall of hatred, fear, and distrust. They have set idly by while all opportunities to have our people gain equal footing in the economic sphere have been destroyed. They have been content into making of our society dependent wards of the government while using their appointed Lackeys to maintain the people in their current conditions of poverty. That is a deed that roars out to our people and tells us volumes about the Democratic Party. Vice President Gore has been part and parcel of this actions. No words spoken can blur that vision of our people being maintained in servitude.
We demand deeds now... not later... that are reflective of the recognition that we will no longer be satisfied by mere words with no substance. For whom shall we vote? ¿Quién sabe? Right now, the Mexican American and Latino voters might be in the mood to follow in the lead of the political revolution that just happened in Mexico and vote for revolutionary change in our political system.
August 11, 2000
It is now quite clear that deregulation of the gas & electric industry is not in the best interest of San Diego, the county, state or for that fact the nation. It is unconscionable that basic survival needs be deregulated and be open to the machinations of the supposed owners of our natural resources. What is next our water supply?
Leaving the health and basic welfare of this nation's population subject to the greed of the electricity and gas Barons, is an action of pure ignorance. A complete misunderstanding of the nature of capitalism, which is driven by self-interest and incredible greed, is evident. That the California legislature can be so blinded into believing that the business model functions in the best interest of the people indicates that today's politicians have completely forgotten all the abuses that were carried out during the industrial revolution in this country and England. It was not until enlighten government placed strong limitations upon the corporate moguls of that period that changes were made to protect the people from rampant exploitation. The modern example of unbridle exploitation of human beings is that carried out by Agribusiness upon the farm workers.
The problem with placing natural resources such as electricity and gas, that are vital to our survival, is that we have no alternatives that would place some restrained over the greed and abuses that are being carried by the utility providers. What has between demonstrated in California is that the business model is dysfunctional and is a very poor paradigm to run a country by.
The utilities should be under the control of the Federal government in order to protect the national interest. It is our firm belief that gas and electric energy resources should immediately be put under Federal control and the profit motive removed. There should be no ownership by individuals, corporations, or other profit making entities such as stockholders who are driven solely by the profit margin and the bottom line, but are little concerned over the safety and welfare of the nation.
September 1, 2000
The just released Census Bureau Population estimates should serve as a wake up call to all Latinos. According to the recently released figures, Whites (minus Latinos) now total 49.9% (16,526,103) of the state's 31.3 million residents. Latinos are now 31.6% (10,459,616) of the states population! Asians follow with 11.4% (3,763,072), Blacks have dropped to less than 6.7% (2,205,359), and American Indians to less than 1% (190,971).
Of importance to Latinos is the Census's report on San Diego's population. The White population has dropped to 57.5% (1,622,043) of the San Diego County population, which is still a sizable majority of the population. The Latino population, which is mostly MexicanAmerican, has risen to 26.5 % (746,931) of the population, which makes it the second largest component in the county. Though MexicanAmericans and all Latinos are of the White Race, for census purposes they are considered as a separate category of the White race. Asians follow at 9.8% (276,787), Blacks have stagnated at 5.6% (159,446) making them an almost insignificant number within the total San Diego population. Native Americans remain at less than 1% (15,637), This category will surely grow in size as their newly found casino wealth brings more of them out and they rejoin the ranks of the Native American category.
The fact that Latinos are now over 31 % of the state's population and that the Black population is a minuscule 6.7 % is of concern to all who are that `diversity' and its numbers be significantly reflected in the distribution of the economic, political, and social benefits of our state and nation. White America has been disproportional in using the societal Black screen to view all concerns of America's minorities. The `one size fits all' solution to minority issues or problems is ludicrous. By viewing all issues and problems filtered through the Black experience screen that provides answers that are problematic at best.
The MexicanAmerican-Latino historical and cultural screens are invaluable to understanding and dealing with America's largest minority. We can no longer be satisfied with being a "stepchild or secondary" to the Black experience which is totally different than ours. We as Chicanos must step up to the plate and demand that our issues, our needs, our concerns be on the front burner of all politicians and of governing entities. We must insist that we be a part of the dialogue and decision-making process when it comes to dealing with the country's economic, political and societal issues.
Though we share with the Blacks many of the same problems in racism, discrimination, exclusion and manipulation of our leaders, we now must demand that we be seated at the bargaining table and lead the dialogue. It is time that White America take off their Black screens and take into account the millions of Latinos who have been excluded and include them and their vision of the Americas! We will not be denied, nor will we continue to allow the ruling oligarchies to play off the Black and Brown races against each other.
September 22, 2000
How long is it going to take for the overwhelmed Mayor and her Eight Council lightweights to realize that they have been made to look like total incompetents by the PADRES Larry Luciano and John Moores? The City Treasury must look like the easiest vault in the world to raid. Like pirates of old, PADRES John and Larry not only are cleaning out the bank of all its treasure but in the process also conned the "SANTOS & SANTAS" Golding, Kehoe, Stallings, Vargas, Wear, Mathis, Warden, McCarty & Stevens to sign over part of downtown San Diego to Messrs. Luciano and Moores for little or nothing. This billion-dollar give away is unparallel in the annals of California history.
Why should we be surprised? Do the citizens of San Diego really believe that every shark in the world is not aware of the total ineptitude the Mayor, the City Council, the City Attorney, and the City (mis-manager)? Our city is up for grabs! Why aren't we shocked when the former city manager Jack McGrory became a highly paid employee of the PADRE organization? The give-away of the city began under `his watch.' It was obvious that Susan Golding was nothing but a willing pawn to his machinations. How else can you explain the hapless Charger ticket guarantee? How else can you explain the city SANTOS/as rush to tear down portions of the Football stadium in order to provide Charger owner Alex Spanos with multi-million dollar expansion with luxury boxes from which he collects all the money. Mr. Spanos has no shame. He doesn't back up to the City Treasurer's office to collect the millions of dollars in ticket guarantees.
PADRES Luciano (lucky) is a man from the big city, New York. He is used to dealing with small town hicks, such as we have. It's like taking candy from a baby. At the rate Luciano & Moores are going, it wouldn't surprise me if the mayor and council sign over the City Hall over to them for a Padre Ticket office.
Why do I gloat every time I see the $21 million Ryan Leaf go out and lose another game? I should cry because it means another 60,000 tickets have to be bought by Mayor Susan Golding's city. But it really makes me feel good in a perverse way to know that Spanos also makes idiot mistakes.
Does anyone really care if a baseball stadium is built across from the Convention Center? I don't. And I suspect Luciano and Moores don't care either. They got what they really wanted in the first place half of downtown San Diego for next to nothing! That is the real prize. The Players don't need a new massive stadium. A renovated sand lot would be fine. That's all that most `minor league teams' play in. Lets face it folks what you see is what you got! Lane field was great for the old PADRES. At the moment it's too good for the losers that now dare call themselves PADRES!
September 29, 2000
Hispanic Heritage Month is a time when we pause to remember and bring to memory the role of our forefathers, the Hispanos, those with whom we share a common language, culture, and heritage. This is the common thread that encompasses and unites the various subgroups, nationalities and ethnic groups throughout the world.
Often times, in our country, we are chided for not calling ourselves "Americans." The inference is that only the United States of America is the only country that is America when in fact the entire continent was labeled and defined as America by the early founders of the continent. In a sense, what our nativist non-Hispanic citizens are asking us for us to ignore or forget over 2,000 years of our history.
The term Hispanic is not of recent origin. It comes from the noun Spania that was given by the ancient Carthaginians, who colonized the southern part of the Iberian Peninsula (Spain) around 500 BC! Later, the Roman Empire occupied the peninsula during the first century A.D. The Romans brought state authority, law, education, and commerce, architecture, roads, livestock and Roman Catholicism.
The language of Roman Spania became Latin and the peninsula was known as Hispania. The Roman `Latin' formed the basis for the Romance languages that evolved from: Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese and Romanian.
The term Latino came from the Spanish language that evolved from the Latin language. Latino is often used to describe who we are in contemporary U.S.A. It is only partially correct.
It is irrational to ask us to deny 2,000 years of Spanish history and culture. We are not only the children of the Spanish conquest we are also the children of the Huichol, Yaqui, Huasteca, Maya, Tarahumara, Zapotecan, Azteca, Olme-can, Tehuacan, Tolteca, Taino, Inca, all ancient indigenous civilizations that lived in what became known "the Americas."
We are the children created in that vast cauldron of history and culture that came about with the colonization of the Americas and the mating of the indigenous tribes and the European Hispano. We were named Mestizos. Within us were the seeds of the Hispanic culture and language co-mingled with that of our indigenous origins. Our country of origin identifies us; those whose linage is the country of Mexico are Mexicano/Mestizo. We share the Spanish and Indigenous traits with those of Mexico. Our place of origin clearly defines who we are.
Someone from Colombia is a Colombiano whose distinctive indigenous cultural traits make him different from the Mexicano. But we all share our common Spanish ancestry. It is that which binds us into one Raza.
Today, as we share our Hispanic Heritage, let us not forget that today's Latino, Hispano, Mexicano, Chileno, and all of us whose origins are based in Latin America (geographical areas of the Caribbean, Northern, central, and south America,) are joined together in the greatest formation of the new "Mestisaje" since the Spanish conquest. We are now intermixing our Spanish/indigenous being with that of France, England, Germany, Ireland, Holland, Italy, in a word with all other verities and types of peoples that reside in the United States and creating the new Mestisaje of all the peoples of the Americas.
The results of this new Mestisaje will define The United States of America as well as all the countries of the Americas for centuries to come. Clearly, the future will bring wonders that few can imagine or contemplate. We will become a new Race! And the United States will have in place a clearly defined Race of people that will become identified with its geographical location.
In a sense during the month of September and October, we are celebrating the heritage of the future Americans.
October 27, 2000
The ELECTION cycle is rapidly coming to a close. Without question, this has become an election where the candidates and the voting public have a serious disconnect. There has not been a moment, in time where the voters have been able to relate or communicate with the candidates. Instant polls, which prove nothing, have fueled the campaigns direction. The issue of the moment, the spurious outburst of the moment, has become the instant policy of the moment. Marketing models, television and print media feedback loops have controlled the political agenda. There has developed a human disconnect with Governor George Bush and Vice President Al Gore, perhaps that is why there are so many undecided voters at this late stage of the election process.
The American voter is in a valley of indecision, confused and in the dark as to what either candidate really is about or what their vision of the future for America is. We know what the kitchen issues that require no great presence of mind. But, little is known of their philosophical orientations; their vision of America's role in international affairs: Their "grand plan" or vision for America through the 21st century; little is known of their "grand" moral principles that will guide and sustain them in the presidency. There has been little outreach to the nation's voters to sense the pulse of the American voter to discover the sense of where the American people are. In the whole political campaign the missing element, the voter, has been missing. There has not been a "people's" campaign. The American public has been neatly labeled, stereotyped, packaged and marketed as so much sausage on the production line. The voters were completely ignored from the political process.
The closed nature of the national campaign is ominous. The manipulation of the American public by the national media is disquieting. Its participation, as a willing partner in a fantasy dance, with the ruling oligarchies to carry out their false propaganda brings back memories of the role Gobbles played in relation with Hitler and Nazi Germany. The closeness of the national media to those in power has worked to keep the public operating, in a vacuum essentially uninformed, voiceless, and manipulated by false advertisements and propaganda. It is quite obvious that the national media monopolies operate at the back and call of those who grant them their monopolies to control what is read, heard, and seen in America. The general public is hapless and powerless to change what is happening.
That the media monopolies function more and more in the interests of the parties in power is matter of grave concern. A serious disconnect between the "public" and the elected public servants has been created. It brings into question the role of the national media in national elections. It brings into question whether America isn't becoming more and more totalitarian and closed rather than more democratic and open.
As both major parties become more and more closely identified, in ideology and intent, and the major media continues to identify with them, America appears to be closer and closer to becoming a single party totalitarian system that could spell danger for our democratic institutions and system of government. Perhaps it is time for our national media to dialogue their historical role as the fourth estate in the preservation of democracy and their failures in ignoring this vital role in the name of profits.
November 3, 2000
The race for the 79th Assembly District for all intents and purposes is over. The real race for this district took place back in June during the primaries, between the Democratic contenders. The foregone conclusion is that Juan Vargas will win the seat, in this, a Democratic safe district.
The Democratic Party and the powers that be cleared the path for Vargas, when the only viable contender, Chula Vista City Councilmember Steve Padilla, who had already announced his intention to run, was convinced to withdraw from this race. This left a relatively unknown, with scant financial backing, left to face Vargas in the primary, and predictably lost. But the real losers in this race will be the residents of the 79th Assembly District.
Vargas is a consummate politician whose one goal is self-aggrandization, which makes him the perfect candidate for the power structure - a politician that they can control.
What this means is that on issues where leadership is called for, Vargas has shown the unique ability of fading into the background. Perfect examples of this, of course, are with the Charges debacle with the ticket guarantee. Or we can point to the Padre Stadium deal and the compound problems that have and will continue arise out of this mess. On issues of particular concern to the Hispanic community and minority community in general, Vargas has repeatedly demonstrated the distinct lack of ability to step forward and fill the leadership void. Again, a perfect example can be found in the embarrassing numbers by the City of San Diego in the areas of minority contracting. While the city shows that Hispanics are receiving less that 0.5% of the contracts, Blacks, women and Asians are doing even worse Vargas was conspicuously silent this issue.
On these and other major issues Vargas fades to the background in what is his attempt in not upsetting the power structure, the major campaign donors, the John Moores, Alex Spanos, the General Contractors, and the like...
On issues where there is no major apparent donor money at risk Vargas still fails to move forward. Case in point would be development of vacant property in Barrio Logan across the street from Chuey's restaurant. There are two competing groups for the use of the property; community members who would like to see a community facility erected; and the business community who want to develop businesses in the area. Vargas has failed to show leadership, develop a consensus among the community and move forward with a plan. To date the vacant lot still sits empty.
This ambivalence by Vargas' for the constituents of the 8th district was made abundantly clear after his first election to a full term when, before the last campaign poster was taken down, Vargas announced his intention to challenge a fellow democrat for a congressional seat. Not only is it unheard of, to challenge a sitting incumbent of the same Party, but if by the off-chance he had won, the residents of the district would have been left without representation and probably would have had to settle for a appointed representative, which by the way, will happen with two years left on Vargas' term as a city councilman. And if this point needed to be driven home, Vargas did this quit nicely with his recent condescending comments over the Latino endorsements of Dick Murphy for mayor (Vargas is a Roberts supporter), equating them with the Taco Bell Chihuahua!
We could continue with further examples of the stripe by which Vargas is painted, but we are limited by space. The point we are trying to make is that the residents of the 79th Assembly District were really left with little choice in their representation. The power structure selected their man and he was ushered in. The losers in this whole deal are not only the constituents of the district, but the Hispanic community as whole, for it will be by the character of Juan Vargas that the rest of the Hispanic community will be judged.
December 1, 2000
While the North American public awaits the "Miami Sound Machine" to produce our next president, Mexico's 100 million citizens will celebrate the assumption of La Presidencia de México, by Vicente Fox! In many ways Mexico has arrived at a historic period in its glorious history. For the first time, since the time of "La Conquista," Mexico can proclaim that "La Verdadera Revolución," that began in 1910, has finally achieved its goals!
The one party rule has ended! The rule by Caciques, Military, Caudillos, and the landed aristocracy have come up against the will of the people and have suffered a setback that it may never recover from! From the tip of Yucatán, Chiapas, Campeche to the northern reaches of Baja California, Sonora, and Nuevo Leon, La Raza has spoken out loud and clear. They want democracy and a government by the people, for the people and by God they got it.
Alaska, Canada, the United States are now bound together with the other great North American nation MEXICO by the great notion of DEMOCRACY! They are the bow of the ship of state that is the American continent. Meso America. Along with all the nations that make up the South American continent, founded by the Spanish Conquest, are the remainder and ARE vital parts of this continent. We are bound together. We should remember that if the middle and fantail of this great ship of state flounders and sinks, it would bring down with it the bow of the ship and sink us all.
Meanwhile, the two Nero's fiddle... while Rome burns. It is time to close this sad charade and get the ship of state back on course. It is time the people of the U.S. speak out and bring an end to this sad chapter in our history.
December 8, 2000
How one views Susan Golding's reign as mayor of San Diego is dependent on whether one is looking through rose colored lenses or peered through lenses scarred by the wounds inflicted upon our community.
The company paper, the San Diego Union- Tribune, has ignored the problematic nature of her tenure in office and touted and supported every move she made regardless of the damage to the public good. Their recent coverage of her tenure in office pointedly ignored all the problems that were generated "during her watch"!
The view from La Prensa San Diego was a far different reality of the golden "Golding" years. Our view was conditioned by the every day reality of the constant neglect of our communities.
A few of her "accomplishments" that impacted upon the minority community:
Mayor Susan Golding took it upon herself to label all Mexicans, Chicanos, as being "drug addicts, pushers," responsible for all the crimes in the county, including being responsible for all the rapes, shootings in the county. She generated hysteria in the communities that led to the killings, beatings and jailing of our people. Massive oppression and suppression of our Civil Rights were carried out in our barrios by the law enforcement agencies.
Massive protests were held against the Mayor, La Prensa demanded for the Mayor to show proof or publicly retract her racist statements. Eventually, the Mayor was forced to retract her unfounded statements. However, the damage had been done; our people became the target of all the extremists groups in the city and county. Retribution of sorts was had when her husband was charged with laundering money for the drug cartels and was sent to prison.
Under her watch, Latinos, Mexican Americans, Blacks, in fact all non-white businesses were excluded from receiving city contracts. Affirmative action died while she sided with the massive white business entities that were already getting 85 percent of the city's business. Currently minorities get less than 5 percent.
The minority city districts were the most polluted in the county and the state. Under the Golding administration Logan Heights was and is the most dangerous place to live. San Ysidro and its river of shame is still the biggest source of pollution in our oceans.
Employment of minorities, while she was Mayor, was at 3 percent even though minorities were 12-27% of the population. Minorities were relegated primarily to the lowest paid jobs in the city. The glass ceiling existed and kept minorities out of the top jobs, or mid level positions.
Street maintenance, lighting in our communities, sidewalks don't exist, slums are the norm, poverty, under and unemployment, are rampant in our barrios.
Aids is now killing our youth, drugs are easier to get than a free meal, justice doesn't exist...
These are but a few of the "low marks" of her administration. We could print out the 50 pages of projects for our neighborhoods that have not been carried out. But, heck, lets look at her highlights: Charger ticket give-away that costs the city millions, using public monies to build baseball stadiums, while the poor and homeless freeze on the streets for lack of shelter, providing tax shelters for wealthy businesses, while the working class is starving.
Oh yes, it has been a grand time while Susan Golding was in office. The Chamber of Commerce loved her, the Union-Trib loved her, the rich and wealthy loved her... She was their ombudsman!