July 2, 1999

Political Notes — Aquí y Allá...

By Daniel H. Muñoz

Republican Party Responds to the Passage of $2.8 Billion in Bonds

Last week the Democratic controlled Assembly announced the passage of $2.8 Billion in bonds, scheduled for voter approval in the year 2000. This week Republican Assemblyman Howard Ka-loogian responded by stating that it is time the Assembly learn to live within a budget and stop indebting our children and mortgaging their future.

Kaloogian stated in his June 25 newsletter "The Kaloogian Insider": "It's time to end this borrowing binge. If crime labs need renovation, budget for it. If we want more parks and open space, dedicate money for it. That is the work of the Legislature, making tough choices among competing good ideas for the limited resources of the state. The easy choice is to take more money from you (the public) through bonds and surplus taxes. It takes self-control to live on a budget. Sadly, the tax-and-spend advocates in Sacramento have proven that is the one item they don't have in surplus."

Kaloogian went on to point out that last year's $9.1 billion school bond would end up costing $16 billion by the time it is paid off. And that the state already has $57 billion in long-term debt and another $3 billion in short-term debt.

Kaloogian also took a shot Assembly Bill 1059, sponsored by Assemblywoman Denise Ducheny, labeling the bill as "back door" bilingualism. AB 1059 will mandate that colleges and universities must certify that all new teachers can teach specifically to "English learners."

"AB 1059 contains a fatal assumption - all new teachers will be instructing English-deficient students. This is simply not true. All students need to learn, but not all students start out with English as a second language. Forcing universities to concentrate their curriculum to a certain category of students is naive and wrong," stated Kaloogian.


Bush Wooing Hispanic Voters

George W. Bush started out his first presidential swing through California at the Del Mar Fair, in the "Plaza de Mexico" exhibit. The impact of the Hispanic vote and the chasm created by the anti-Mexican policies of Pete Wilson are not lost on Bush.

In order to overcome the misgivings Hispanics have with Republicans following the battles over illegal immigration, affirmative action and bilingual education, Bush has appointed Margita Thompson, who is Hispanic and speaks Spanish, to his California effort.

Hispanics make up 15 percent of the electorate in California and nationally, 5 percent of the voting public is Hispanic, constituting the fastest growing electorate group.


Governor Davis Wishy-Washy on Affirmative Action?

Los Angeles -- Gov. Gray Davis ended the governor's role in a lawsuit filed by his predeccesor, Pete Wilson, which seeks to enforce Prop. 209, ending affirmative action programs in government. At the same time he has continued an executive order Wilson issued that blocks the state from monitoring the ethnic and gender diversity among the contractors it hires.

Civil rights groups have challenged the executive order in court, with Davis assuming Wilson's former role as the defendant in that suit. Earlier this month, a state appellate court ruled against the civil rights groups. Now they face a problem—either take Davis to the state Supreme Court or persuade him to rescind the order.

So far, Davis has not responded to their pleas.

Civil rights leaders are beginning to question Davis' commitment to live up to his campaigns promise to be a racial healer.


Term Limits Once Again Being Challenged

Sacramento -- A legislative committee approved a plan to give local voters the choice of repealing or keeping term limits on the Senators and Assembly members they send to the Legislature.

This action, by the Assembly Elections Committee, is the latest attempt by lawmakers to rewrite portions of Prop. 140, to limit terms in office.

Without debate, the committee approved a proposed constitutional amendment that would enable voters in individual Assembly and Senate districts to choose whether to retain or repeal term limits in legislative elections. In addition, the proposal would restore pensions to state lawmakers, a perk also abolished by Prop. 140.

If approved by the Legislature it would go before voters on the March 2000 ballot.


Alatorre Era Comes to an End

Los Angeles -- June 30 marked the end of Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Ala-torre's political career, after 28 years, and the end of a pioneering era of Latino leadership.

Alattorre, one of California's most powerful Latino lawmakers, career comes to an end under a cloud. Alatorre is the target of a federal corruption investigation and he recently tested positive for cocaine.

Alattorre rose up from the streets of Eastside of L.A., to become one of the pioneer leaders of Latino politics, blazing the trail by which other Hispanics followed.

Alatorre, a consummate insider and key deal-maker, know for his expensive suites and profane language, has accepted a $100,001-a-year job as a member of the state Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board.

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