August 4, 2006

The Public Forum . . . El Foro Publico

Editorial Hits the Mark

I applaud your editorial (July 28: “Editorial served as a wake-up call to the Democrat Party”). Your points are well taken. The Democratic Party must not expect Latino voters to automatically vote for Democrats. Democrats must work for their vote and bring to the table to participate in the Party and just not at election time.

We are trying to do that now. At the upcoming Convention to be held on September 16 in San Diego, we will have some workshops with presenters from the Latino community. There are members of the San Diego Democratic Party who recognize the importance of the Latino community not only in the southern part of the county but throughout the county.

As an elected member of the San Diego County Democratic Party, I share your concerns and will make every effort to insure that the Latino community is represented. But this is a challenge that we have been trying to achieve in the last four years in North San Diego County, where I live, without much success.

Xavier Martinez
North County

Letter re:Editorial served as a wake-up call to the Democrat Party

While your comments about the alternative romancing and then ignoring the Latino citizen voter are generally accurate, may I point out that too many citizens of EVERY ethnic group treat citizenship as a spectator sport?

I’ve had some exposure to local folks who spent months of hard work in helping to shape the curriculum of our schools. They were blue-collar and professionals, parents and grandparents, and almost entirely Anglo. I’ve attended too many school board meetings where most of the “action itiems” were on the Consent Calendar [one YES vote takes care of dozens of items with no discussion]. And why not, when the meeting chambers are nearly empty?  Sex education and other “hot” items fill those chambers, but for decisions that affect our children and our purse far more, there is zero local input.  And don’t be fooled, either through carelessness or motives more corrupt, the state laws are bent and even broken in these “open” meetings, attended by so few.

My heartfelt and sincere advice to those who want to expand the Latino voice and influence in local, state, and national political circles, is to start with the government closest to us. It’s not the work of a moment to become familiar with the nuts and bolts of local government. But it’s not rocket science either.

In my view the opening paragraphs to the Ralph H. Brown open meeting act should be memorized by every citizen. “The people of this State do not yield their sovereignty to the agencies which serve them.” 

How many folks know that by state law every school board must send a copy of the Board’s agenda to anyone who asks for it? [Gov. Code 54954.1] Based on my own experience, at first the agenda will be Greek to you. But eventually it makes sense and when you notice things that seem strange to you, call one or more Board Members and ask that it be taken from the Consent Calendar and discussed in open meeting. And then attend the meeting.

  Well, that’s the end of my lecture. Like swimming or riding a bike, active, effective citizenship must be learned and practiced.

Barbara Vickroy

Votamos por el PAN, por el PRI

Como mexicana que vive en el extranjero, los hechos que acontecen hoy en mi país, me dejan, como a tantos miles de personas, boquiabierta, indignada, plena de tristeza y sobre todo: enojo. El plantón que hoy se vive en la Ciudad es un plantón que no sólo afecta el tráfico en la Capital sino que afecta al País entero; es un acto contra la libertad.

¿Acaso usted, Señor López Obrador va a responder por el costo económico que este plantón ocasiona, por las miles y miles de horas hombre que hoy se perdieron? ¿Usted o quién va a pagar por los platos rotos?

¿Usted, o dígame quién va a responder por las vidas que hoy se perdieron de las personas que, debido a su “acampada citadina”, no pudieron llegar a tiempo a un hospital? ¿Pensó usted en ellos, en los moribundos, en los que tuvieron una emergencia, en las mexicanas que parieron hoy a la luz de un semáforo en rojo?

¿Usted o quién va a respetar y responder por el tiempo perdido de los ciudadanos que votamos por el PAN, por el PRI o por cualquier otro partido, de los que hicimos un viaje de miles de kilómetros para ir a votar a las urnas que nos corresponden?

¿Usted o quién va a responder por la imagen que nuestro país está proyectando en el extranjero?

¿Usted o quién va a responder por el turismo que después de ver lo que usted ha ocasionado decidirá ir de viaje a Costa Rica o Chile o Canadá? ¿Usted o dígame quién responde por la contaminación (en todos los sentidos) que esto está  ocasionando???

Usted, nadie más que usted, Sr. Andrés Manuel López Obrador, es el responsable. Usted, que desde su cama en el Zócalo pretende llevar a nuestro país a dormir en las calles y a cagar en las aceras. Usted que está provocando la fuga de capitales. Usted y su partido que están emperrados en decir  -cueste lo que cueste y a costa de lo que sea- que ganaron una elección donde los votos favorecen al otro candidato. Usted que pide un recuento, ¡haga cuentas señor, que no se necesita haber ido a Harvard para saber de qué lado suma más la verdad!

Desde el otro lado de la frontera, Sr. López Obrador, lloro y me angustio por el Paseo de la Reforma, por nuestro Angel de la Independencia al que usted ni voltea a ver; por las leyes y los códigos y las normas, que –como ha demostrado hasta ahora- nunca aprenderá a respetar. Me enferma su falta de escrúpulos, su ego desbordado y su carencia de civismo. Lloro por México y rezo para que el ejército y la ley y la razón salgan también a las calles a despejar ese aglomerado de malas intenciones que usted, tan “elocuentemente” ha venido a instalar en la calles de mi Ciudad. 

Monica Gutierrez
San Diego

Let Cubans write the next chapter

On Tuesday Cubans woke up in a Cuba different than the one they have known for almost 50 years — a Cuba without Fidel Castro as its head of government. But Cubans also began their day in a Cuba that was no different in their day-to-day lives. It is still without free speech, a free press or a democratically elected government. Political prisoners still languish in prisons.

Cubans have longed for Castro’s fall, anticipating it would also mark the beginning of a free Cuba.

However, this reality still eludes us. History’s true climax will be the day when a power transfer in Cuba is the result of a free, democratic process and reflects the wishes of the Cuban people, not the preordained wishes of a dictator.

With power being shifted from one dictator to another, we cannot let out that sigh of relief yet. For example, the day after Castro ceded power, members of Raíces de Esperanza spoke to a youth dissident leader on the island who is a part of the independent journalists’ group, Jóvenes Sin Censura (Youth Without Censorship).

He spoke in hopeful terms about Cuba’s future and his feeling that change is near. But he said that many people know little about the current situation because of the lack of access to real news.

Martha Beatriz Roque, who shared her reaction to the news on Univision, provided another example.

Despite Castro’s announcement, the former political prisoner remains reluctant to leave her house for fear of violence against her.

Roque and the millions of anonymous voices that dream of a better Cuba remind us of the long road ahead. It leads to a Cuba where calls to island youth no longer have to be clandestine, but are conducted in the sunshine of democracy; to a Cuba where independent journalists can freely report the news and challenge the regime’s monopoly on information; to a Cuba where Roque not only can leave her house fearlessly, but also can walk to a polling station to cast her vote for Cuban leadership.

Now more than ever, our support for the pro-democracy movement must continue, reinvigorated and ever more hopeful. It is time to shine the spotlight on the Cuban regime’s repression and work to ensure that the dictatorship does not survive the dictator.

We hope that Cuba’s next chapters will be written by the rightful authors of the country’s future, its people. The current jubilation will only be complete and lasting once the Cuban people are truly free.

Alex Burgos
Director of young professionals, Raíces de Esperanza, Washington, D.C

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