May 9, 2008

The Public Forum . . . El Foro Público

Who truly represent the working class Latino Majority in San Diego County?

The answer to this question surprised even me; for my answer is “No one represents the Latinos of San Diego County.”

I looked at this answer in three parts: The Latino Voter, the Latino Political Leaders, and the Politicians and officials we have to choose from in local and regional elections.

The Latino voters: For the most part, we, who come home after a full hard day of work and shower at night have removed ourselves from the political system. Family, job… just making-it getting harder and harder every day; who has time to understand all the things going on in the world outside of the things we must do to stay alive? There are a few of us who are really trying to make a difference, but they are not the kind of people who make noise in public or present themselves to the power-elites as being the Authentic voice of the Chicanos.

Sure we have people who are actually helping and working, every day, trying to gain a representative voice for the Mexicanos, but the power-elites of even our own groups work diligently to silence them least they ‘rock the boat’ and endanger important contracts and business contacts. Is this why more working class Mexicanos and Chicanos in San Diego (as well as in California) act as if they could care less about what politicians say or who get into office – is it really always the same for the working class Latinos – regardless of who is in power? And yet, in a fear which seems all too real, that standing-up and making a difference does little else than drawing a target on our backs for and unrepresentative City Government, we refuse to even vote – as if this single act of defiance give us some little power over our null political destiny. I over heard a man say a few years ago on May 1, “they can march in the streets all they want; we will still take their home.” YET, we do not vote, and until we vote, we have no real voice in our City.

The Self-Proclaimed Latino Political Leaders: Everyone knows the difference between a working person who is “of the people” — attempting to help his/her neighbors and the people who claim to represent the “Latinos” as they leave the barrios every evening for their real homes in Coronado, Kensington… or Rancho Santa Fe. If someone is making money off claiming to represent the people, it is a safe bet they are also looking-out for their own best interests and not the interest of the people. They have important sounding names and give their endorsements to one political candidate after another – all while guarding the gate – insuring that no Mexican will complain about the injustices and inequities suffered by the Majority of our Brothers and Sisters. How is it that these so-called Latino Political Groups and Associations do not demand of the politicians, that they say ‘We’ endorse, that reflective and equitable inclusions of the Latino people take place? How is it that any group inserting “Latino” into the name it calls itself, or claiming to represent the Latino of San Diego County, can sit idly by as our unarmed young men are shot by law enforcement, our working men and women are harried and harassed by vigilantes, and our children are failed by a school system which refuses to hire Latino Teachers and administrators at the levels the Latino Students represent? But, there is a bright side to all this - typically we are smart enough to know that the ‘sell-outs’ who go around claiming to be Latino Representatives are, for the most part or so it seems, really just looking to feather their own nests.

The Politicians: In a governmental structure that seems to be free of accountability — maintaining control and the statuesque appears to be the number one priority. Myself, I believe there is not one person in a single elected position who is doing a satisfactory job. What is worse, those of us who do vote more often then not find we have a choice of one candidate being not as bad as the other! When your political choice is a known bad or likely bad – what choice do the people really have? As every elected official and representative in the City of San Diego has refused to demand inclusion and representation of the single largest yet least represented group in San Diego (the Latino) fair and equitable representation does not seem to be part of any of their agendas. But, they can do this because of why? Is it because our self-appointed Latino Leaders have endorse them – so they claim to have the support of all the Latinos as the construct redevelopment agencies, and committees, and boards, and departments which are nearly Latino Free Environments? For every politician, official, and city/county employee who seems to find an excuse ‘NOT to include the Latino at representative levels,’ I give a vote of No Confidence. In the end I look back to a conversation I once had with George Stevens; he once told me, “they [politicians] can start out any color they want, but after they [politicians] are elected they [politicians] are all the same color – money green.”

“Vote” mis camaradas – straighten nuestras espaldas y nuestras voces son cabezas – en nuestros barrios que somos la mayoría – en los corazones que somos unidos.

Gregory Morales
San Diego

In Chula Vista Charater/Identity needs to be defined

Too often the genesis for development within the city of Chula Vista has been identified by way of waiting for the chance appearance of a “suitor.” However, there is no good reason for us (i.e., the city of Chula Vista) to just sit by the phone and wait for a suitor or chance cards to show. The culture should be to seek out, or preserve as the case may be, that which comports with the character of our city, thereby also comporting with our character as individuals. This means that character, or identity, must first be defined. The General Plan Protection Initiative issue is about defining the identity of Chula Vista. It has been said that “there needs to be a there there.” The initiative should be considered in the light of whether it would protect the character and identity of Chula Vista(ns), already defined by all concerned Chula Vistans, through many meetings involving much civil discourse and exchange of ideas, manifested in the agreement reached and articulated in the General Plan. The residents of Chula Vista naturally define their own character, be it by statement, or silence. Does the intitiative provide the guaranteed opportunity for residents to ensure they say what their identity is, and not surrogates in this time of crisis in trust concerning our political and corporate culture? Is wealth, solely in terms of money, our only consideration, as it has been allowed to be the defining characteristic in other areas of this county and country? I think this is also about the opportunity to conserve and develop Chula Vista as a model of wholesome and happy excellence. If you will, please: “Carpe diem”: make use of the opportunity.

Todd G. Glanz
Chula Vista

Russ Hall’s business position questioned

I attended the Southwest Chula Vista Civic Association Candidates Forum sponsored by several local newspapers including La Prensa and moderated by a local Toastmaster. At that forum, Chula Vista City Council candidate Russ Hall stated that the Home Depot that was to be built on Third Ave (at the old K-mart site) was driven out of town by a local group and that is one of the reasons that the city of Chula Vista is in bad economic shape.

After the debate, I asked candidate Hall about how it was driven out and he stated “It was because the lady who ran this organization drove it out and he could show me the letter to prove it.” He was referring to Southwest Civic Association president Theresa Acerro.

When I pointed out that it was a sound corporate business decision to not build an unprofitable store and that was the reason it was not built, he insisted that was not the reason and continued to state it was driven out. This went on for several more minutes. His viewpoint makes no economic sense and does not reflect an understanding of large corporation’s decisions based on profit and loss. It was recently reported that “Home Depot to close 15 Flagship Stores” which confirms my premise.

Chula Vista is in bad economic shape now, but we cannot afford to elect someone that is a short fuse on a stick of dynamite and does not value the input from the local residents and business people. 

Jerry Thomas
Chula Vista

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