December 8, 2006

Editorial:

Mayor Sanders’ Feeling Pretty Good About His First Year as Mayor - Hispanic Community Has A Different Perspective

San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders is feeling pretty good about himself these days, so much so, that he held a press conference to tout his successes in his first year. The Hispanic community of San Diego is not getting the same feelings. In fact, the community, La Gente, is feeling rather uneasy.

The Mayor’s office recently put out a “Fact Sheet” detailing his major accomplishments. Like most politicos, he takes credit for projects that were started long before he took the Oath of Office. We have a different report on Mayor Sanders first year in office.

Thus far, what stand out glaringly are the total absences or mention of San Diego’s Hispanics in any relevant positions or appointments. We are the missing element of the San Diego population…We don’t exist! When Sanders first compiled his core department heads, not one Hispanic was a part of this team. In a city that is comprised of 27% Hispanics, not to have the input and acknowledgement of at least one Hispanic is a disgrace and slap in the face to this community. The Hispanic community is an important element of the City and County of San Diego.

The Mexican market now pours billions of dollars in cross border businesses into San Diego’s economy each year, so, you would think that these facts should be or would be recognized at the highest level. But by looking at Mayor Sanders’ core advisors you wouldn’t know there was a Hispanic element in the city.

The Hispanic community is clearly nervous over the direction of Mayor Sanders’ plans to fix the pension fund scandal and deficit. The focus of this issue is clearly the city employees in which the Hispanic community is a large part of. As the largest employer, the city represents a unique opportunity for many within the Hispanic community to work themselves out of the vicious cycle of unemployment/underemployment, earn a decent wage, provide for the family, receive health benefits, and feel secure in the golden years with an adequate retirement benefits. Under Mayor Sanders’ proposal and ballot measure, Prop. C and B, the Mayor intends to take these away.

With the Mayor “outsourcing” city jobs, that include such work as printing, refuge work, janitorial and quite possibly police and fire services, these jobs will be outsourced to the highest bidder who will be under no obligation to provide health benefits, a living wage, or a retirement package. The Mayor has shown a complete disdain for the quality of life of the working man in the city.

We find it incredible that despite the fact that the city employees had no role in the pension fund debacle, they continue to pay the price for this fiasco. We have yet to see a proposal that addresses the abuses that took place which bought us a Republican Convention and Petco Park. John Moores is laughing all the way to the bank and former Mayor Susan Golding sits comfortably at home secure in the knowledge that she will never be held accountable for her actions which lead the Pension Fund debacle.

And, while Mayor Sanders was campaigning on the promise that he would not raise taxes to fix the pension fund debacle, he never did say he wouldn’t raise the water rates, this coupled with the rise in gas and electricity rates. Once again, the working class is being hit the hardest as the Mayor attempts to fix the broken down sewer system, and as monies that were to be used for the sewer system – were spent toward conventions and ballparks!

The Hispanic Community noted how quickly the mayor eliminated funds for public pools, again a quality of life issue for minority communities. Funding was only restored after the city council insisted on it. Council members were blamed for the loss of funding only to find out that they were left out of the loop on this decision.

When the Minutemen went into Rancho Penasquitos to demonstrate against migrant workers camping out in the canyon, Mayor Sanders went on the Rick Roberts radio show, the main promoter of the Minutemen action, where Roberts asked Sanders if he was going to support the Minuteman’s position, at which Sanders gave tacit support, with a callous response: “The fire has been lit. Action will be rapid.”

At the bottom of the Mayor’s list of challenges, he lists “building trust”. With the Hispanic community, he’s a dismal failure!

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