October 24, 2008

Editorial:

Marty Block is the right choice for the Hispanic community and the 78th Assembly District.

The race for the 78th Assembly District offers a clear and distinct choice between Marty Block, a Democrat, and John McCann, a Republican. The difference is not only about issues in the district and how the candidates would address them, but in their campaign styles. Block takes a forward looking approach while McCann appears to be stuck in the negative politics of the past.

Marty Block has focused his campaign on Education. For the Hispanic community this is good news. Education is the number one priority amongst Hispanics. Sadly, Hispanic students are at the bottom of all education indicators: graduation rates, testing, college entrance, and graduating with a degree. And Hispanics have the highest drop-out rates and teen pregnancy. Marty Block’s focus on education is strongly welcomed by our educators.

Marty Block is focused on the creation of a South Bay University Campus. He has a clear advantage over John McCann in this regard. In the Assembly, Marty Block would have stronger Education credentials than his peers. Marty Block has served for 26 years as dean, director and professor at San Diego State University, eight (8) years on the San Diego County Board of Education and eight (8) years as a San Diego Community College Trustees. Marty Block has experience working with State Legislatures in bringing home a fair share of revenues for the community colleges in San Diego, including Southwestern College. Our colleges are now on par with the rest of the state.

Marty Block could help fix an Assembly-created problem that affects two of the biggest school districts in San Diego: the Chula Vista Elementary School District and the Sweetwater Union High School District. In the 1990’s, an Assembly bill was slipped in to a state budget by former Assemblymember Steve Peace. That bill designated numbered seat elections to protect school board incumbents. The result has been a biased, geographical disparity that does not promote diversity within the South Bay School Districts or healthy competition between school board members. Parents in South West Chula Vista do have a representative sitting on any school board. There is an unreasonably high number of school board members who live in Bonita, and an unreasonable amount of croneyism amongst school board elected officials. Marty Block wants to learn more about this issue and understand how to better serve the community.

Marty Block puts a high priority on Environmental Protection and Quality of Life, both key areas for minority communities, as minorities often live in the more polluted areas. Marty Block would like to focus on job creation, affordable and accessible healthcare. We agree with his priorities. He understands the needs of Hispanics.

John McCann has chosen to run a negative, immigrant-bashing campaign. McCann’s commercials and mailers are feeding on the fear that has been instilled by right wing radicals. He uses immigration as a wedge issue to polarize the community against Hispanics. McCann’s divisive statements try to turn the election into a vote of “us” against them, (white taxpayers against Hispanics). He has twisted the words of his opponent and taken them out of context to create anger rather than solutions.

In a racially integrated district that is 28% Hispanic and well over 58% minority, McCann’s political strategy is quite strange. McCann’s racially divisive message seems out of place in the tolerant, integrated community of the 78th Assembly District. As Hispanics we have to ask ourselves if a racially biased John McCann could make us proud? The answer is an obvious NO.

In the area of education, John McCann’s message doesn’t include any reference to higher education. Doesn’t he have any hopes for his neighbors’ children to be anything more than laborers? 

As a Chula Vista council member, McCann has put his efforts into bringing the Chargers to Chula Vista, possibly at the expense of a hoped-for four year university campus. Universities bring well paying jobs, new industries and progress to communities. Football stadiums provide entertainment but do little to provide employment and educational opportunities for our children.

McCann has had a mediocre career as Chula Vista council member. We don’t see how he would improve if he were elected to the Assembly. 

It is time to elect a Leader who will lead all of the residents of the 78th Assembly District, and not just right wing minority segment of the community. It is time to elect a Leader who will address the concerns and needs of the Hispanic community. Marty Block has inspired our confidence and we trust him to elevate our education, quality of life, environment, healthcare and career opportunities. 

La Prensa San Diego Supports and Endorses Marty Block for the 78th Assembly District.

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