April 9, 2004

The Public Forum . . . El Foro Publico

Coverage of 9/11 Quilt display helps in record turnout

Thank you for your coverage of the 9/11 Quilt displayed at Cuyamaca College March 24-28. The advance coverage in the March 19 edition of La Prensa San Diego helped draw a record attendance to the exhibit.

Corey Gammel, president of United in Memory, the nonprofit organization that founded the quilt, estimates the showing here at our college in East County’s Rancho San Diego drew more than 10,000 people, a number that exceeded by double the attendance of a display last year in New York City.

Many viewers were moved to tears as they studied the more than 3,000 individual squares that represented the lives cut short of every victim of the Sept. 11 tragedies. As one person commented to a TV reporter, each hand-stitched square was a window into that particular person’s life: the fishing tackle pinned to one reveals a devoted angler; the Harry Potter icons sewed onto another tells us of that person’s fondness for reading J.K. Rowling.

The Heritage of the Americas Museum, located here on campus, partnered with Cuyamaca to bring the quilt to the college. It was the inspiration and desire of museum director Cheryl Minshew to share the United in Memory quilt with the rest of us in San Diego County after seeing this wonderful creation at an earlier exhibit. Cheryl’s unflagging enthusiasm and tireless effort, helped make this most memorable experience possible.

Cuyamaca College regularly hosts community forums marking historic events and people: the JFK assassination, Brown vs. Board of Education, Women’s History Month, and the latest to add to this list, the 9/11 quilt. We look forward to other opportunities to bring members of the community together in the name of education and enlightenment.

Geraldine M. Perri, Ph.D.
President, Cuyamaca College

UCSD student gets help with his education thanks to La Prensa

I would sincerly like to thank you for publishing both of the articles that I sent you. You are the only person that responded to me and the only newspaper that published my articles. The fact that you did that for me means a lot to me.

This quarter at UCSD I will take the information from the articles, (the amount of phone calls triggered, and the number of people who took part in these programs), and I will write a research paper about ‘How Media Can Positively Effect Social Change.’ I think I would like to go to an M.F.A. program in either writing or film after I graduate here at UCSD. I realize how powerful media can be and thus I would like to reach as many people as possible regarding socially progressive art.  Anyway, thanks again for all your help. I greatly appreciate it.

Paul Reeves

Support Federal Marriage Amendment

President Bush and other conservatives have been accused in recent weeks of seeking to “put bias in the Constitution” by endorsing an amendment that would define marriage as solely the union of one man and one woman. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Gay marriage has never been a constitutional right in America — or any other civilized nation. Those who support the amendment aren’t trying to deprive homosexuals of any of the legal protections they currently enjoy; instead, they are trying to prevent runaway courts from creating out of thin air new “rights” that would prove detrimental to society.

Yelling “discrimination” is not the only strategy liberals have unleashed to defeat this amendment, though. They also have argued that gay marriage is a civil rights issue akin to the African-American struggle for equality.  No less a civil rights icon than Jesse Jackson has denounced that claim, noting that “gays were never called three-fifths human in the Constitution.”

These and other distortions of the truth must be resisted, because marriage and the benefits it brings must be protected.

Ana M. Gonzalez
San Ysidro

Who Runs National City?

The uncomfortable truth, known to most National City (NC) residents/taxpayers/voters for years, is now public . . . that the National City Police Department (NCPD) is out of control, accountable to no one, a law on to itself, and condoned by past and present Mayor’s and City Council’s. Proof of this fact occurred when the Mayor and City Council ordered a felony investigation of the J.C. Penney incident, only to have the NCPD defy the council’s order by refusing to release the report. Unfortunately, it has also raised the disturbing political question of who is in charge, and runs NC’s government.

Consider statements made by:

Everett Bobbitt, NCPD’s hired two-bit gunslinger “liaryer,” “The City Council cannot run the Police Department, (SD Union 3-17-04), and the obtaining of a restraining order to block city officials from investigating the NCPD role in the JC Penney incident (SD Union 4-02-04.)

Al Bailey, an 18-year retired police officer who is chairman of the bogus, biased, police-controlled Community and Police Relations Commission, “a public hearing will be held on the J.C. Penney incident inviting the residents of NC who supports our police department to attend and demonstrate their support” (SD Union 4-1-01.)

Mayor Nick Inzunza, “until the (JC Penney) investigation report is made public, (I) can’t speculate on the safety of National City residents from the threat of police detainment and deportation” (La Prensa-3-19-04.)

These statements have reinforced the perception that the Mayor and City Council are not in control and an impasse or a crisis of leadership exists at city hall. Whether this perception is true or not, the facts remain that NC’s young, inexperienced Mayor and the “rubber stamp” City Council are now reaping what they sowed because of their arrogant and undemocratic handling of Proposition L. In 2003, the Mayor and City Council had an opportunity to address voter concerns over festering deterioration of police/community relations. Instead, elected officials challenged the 2300 voter-signed petitions that called for the creation of a community-based police review board with subpoena powers. After the passage of Proposition L (70% voter approval), the council politically manipulated the results by creating the present toothless and bogus police controlled review board.

The sellout of Proposition L to the NCPD by the Mayor and City Council, has now come back to haunt them and is the primary reason for the current impasse and crisis of leadership at City Hall.

N.C. residents/ voters/taxpayers are tired and demand answers to the following questions: Who is running City Hall? If the answer is City Hall, then what assurances are there that the NCPD is controlled and accountable to the elected representatives?

Herman Baca
Committee on Chicano Rights
National City

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