October 29, 2004

The Public Forum . . . El Foro Publico

John Kerry does not support a Bracero program

With respect to the story of October 22, entitled “Both Bush, Kerry Endorse a Return to the Braceros”, by David Bacon, I must take strong exception with Mr. Bacon’s interpretation of Senator John Kerry’s position on immigration. John Kerry does not support a return to the Bracero program, in fact, he strongly supports a responsible reform of our immigration laws that honors our tradition as a nation of immigrants and that will make America stronger.

In his first hundred days as President, John Kerry will offer a reform bill that allows immigrants to earn legalization, encourages family reunification, offers a visa program with worker protections, and strengthens our border protections.  

The Bracero program, as Mr. Bacon mentions in his article, left a legacy of abuse and mistreatment of workers that should not be allowed again. John Kerry’s proposal will establish a secure channel for a limited number of temporary workers to come into the United States. To protect all working people in the United States and prevent exploitation, Kerry will ensure that these temporary workers have the protections of U.S. employment and labor laws, including fair wage protections. These protections must be rigorously enforced.

Each year, hundreds seeking a better life in our country die in the desert, often at the hands of cruel smugglers. Millions within our borders live and work in hiding, in fear and often abused. President Bush came to office promising a new approach to immigration, but his failure to take real action illustrates his indifference to this issue. His immigration outline, which he still has not formally introduced, would lock immigrant workers into a second-class status, driving down wages and safety standards for all working people in America.

John Kerry has a different approach and he will work tirelessly until reform has become law.

Heather Higginbottom
Deputy National Policy Director
Kerry-Edwards 2004

Why I’m Voting for Kerry

President Bush said Iraq under Saddam Hussein had a chemical and nuclear weapons program. Not true. He said Saddam’s government had a direct connection with Al Qaeda. Not true. (According to the 9/11 Commission and the CIA). He declared that Iraq was an immediate threat. Not true. Bush took our country to war on the basis of false assumptions. The evidence is clear that Bush overstated the flawed intelligence provided him and ignored important disputes among intelligence analysts. And what is even worse is that Bush started this preemptive war without preparing for the post-invasion period. His invasion of Iraq is clearly his worst failure, but there are many others like his tax cuts for the wealthy; his record-breaking deficits; his undeclared war on the environment; his non-response to job losses; his failure to address crises in our healthcare system. He has been derelict in his duty as Commander in Chief. I had decided to vote for Anyone But Bush!

Fortunately, voting for John Kerry is not an act of desperation. He is alternative. During his time in the Senate, he has been consistent (that’s right all you Fox News fans), consistent on environmental protection, pro-choice, campaign reform and foreign policy. He was a leader in the battle against Bush’s tax cuts for the rich. He voted against the antigay

Defense of Marriage Act. He has advocated raising the minimum wage. He has a plan to develop alternative energy sources and he has a healthcare proposal that is not national health insurance (or a “government takeover,” as Bush falsely claimed) but that would extend to coverage to millions.

John Kerry, who while testifying in front of Congress asked, “How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?” is far better able to clean up Bush’s grave mistake in Iraq. It’s not that Kerry’s plan for Iraq (internationalize the mess, speed up the training of Iraqi security forces, quicken the pace of reconstruction) comes with any guarantee of success. But a man of Kerry’s intelligence, talents and sensibilities will have a greater chance of fixing what could be an unfixable situation, and also of successfully contending with other challenges Bush has neglected. There is no doubt in my mind that Kerry, as Commander in Chief will be committed to protecting the United States from the threat posed by Al Qaeda and others; he has spent the last 20 years debating and legislating many aspects of national security. But he is fully aware of the perils that arrogance brings, and he understands the dangers of predicating

foreign policy on rhetoric and doctrine rather than reality and expertise.

John Kerry has demonstrated that he can and will fight for progressive causes. He should win the election simply because he did not mislead the nation into war. But he offers more than that. When Kerry is elected, there will be reason not just for relief but also for hope.

Amy Fader

Kerry and I share the same values

I am a person of faith, and John Kerry shares my values. His values, inspired by his faith and experience, call him to present a health care plan that will cover all American children.

George Bush does not share my values. According to my values, it is not a good thing to lose almost 2 million jobs, or to watch over 4 million more Americans slide into poverty, or to see that 5 million more Americans won’t get the health care they need.

My values do not say it is all right to treat the environment with disrespect, or to mislead us into war without a plan for peace, or to exercise poor stewardship of our economy.

This is a choice about values — and John Kerry shares my values and has my vote.

Patricia Nagy
Chula Vista

Railway Gets New Life

In the summer of 2003 a story was run about a section of the Coronado Belt Line being paved over by an “over-zealous asphalt crew” in National City at Harbor and Civic Center.

On Wednesday the SDAE board executed a Memorandum of Understanding with National City, which will require the City to replace and rebuild the grade crossing which was buried in 2003. In addition, plans to study reconnecting the Coronado Branch to the BNSF main line at 24th and Harrison in National City were put into motion.

Last July, the Save Our Heritage Organization (SOHO) won it’s lawsuit regarding the segment of the Coronado Branch that runs through the Chula Vista Bay front south of F Street. The rail line is now protected as far south as the Salt Works. The northern connections which could take the rail line all the way to downtown San Diego are now protected, preserved and will be repaired or replaced.

Last December San Diego’s Historic Resources Board voted 9-1 that the segment of rail between the Salt Works and Imperial Beach was historic. On September 7th the San Diego City Council ‘Over-ruled” the HRB’s decision that the rail line was historic. This was done at the request of County Supervisor Greg Cox with the full support of the Imperial Beach City Council. SOHO intends to file suit and defend not only the historic status of the railroad, but to preserve and protect Imperial Beach’s future transportation corridor. Imperial Beach may once again have a direct rail link to downtown San Diego.

Ed Kravitz
Imperial Beach

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