April 18, 2003

The Public Forum . . . El Foro Publico

Protesta por la Decisión del Presidente Vicente Fox

Me permito distraer su tiempo y ocupaciones, para hacer un breve comentario sobre el Editorial de La Prensa San Diego, en su edición Vol. XXVII No. 14, de fecha 4 del corriente mes.

En dicho editorial, cuya mayor parte es verídica o por lo menos se ajusta al conocimiento general que se tiene sobre el Sr. Saddam Hussein, presidente de la República de Iraq, hay una confusión al referirse a la postura de Vicente Fox Quezada, presidente de México, al afirmar “Falló de actuar en el mejor interés de México”.

Según el editorial (traducción): “El presidente Vicente Fox de México, en nuestra opinión, falló en votar por los intereses de México, al escoger no apoyar a los Estados Unidos en el voto por la guerra contra Iraq, en las Naciones Unidas”; en otro párrafo, dice que:”en un brusco giro, dio la espalda a un país que le ha proporcionado ayuda financiera…” etc.

Desconozco la manera de pensar del señor Fox más allá de lo que informan los medios, pero me atrevería a asegurar que el Presidente de México, con quien no tengo ninguna relación personal y lo más cerca que lo he visto es en fotografías, no podía haber tomado otra decisión relacionado con la guerra.

La Constitución Mexicana, como todas las existentes, puede tener omisiones y lagunas, pero en el aspecto de relaciones internacionales es muy clara. El Capítulo III, Del Poder Ejecutivo, Artículo 89, dice a la letra: “Las facultades y obligaciones del Presidente son las siguientes: Fracción X. Dirigir la política exterior y celebrar tratados internacionales, sometiéndolos a la aprobación del Senado. En la conducción de tal política, el titular del Poder Ejecutivo observará los siguientes principios normativos: la autodeterminación de los pueblos; la no intervención: la solución pacífica de controversias; la proscripción de la amenaza o el uso de la fuerza en las relaciones internacionales; la igualdad jurídica de los estados, la cooperación internacional para el desarrollo, y la lucha por la paz y la seguridad internacionales”.

De no haber cumplido con el mandato constitucional, el Sr.Fox se habría expuesto al enjuiciamiento por el Congreso (“impeachment”).

Miguel Ravelo,
Chula Vista

(Del Editor):Gracias por su atenta carta. Quisimos dar a entender que dentro la ética política entre países, el principio primordial del liderazgo de un país es “defender los intereses del país primero y no los intereses personales de los “líderes” del país). En ese sentido el Presidente Fox falló). Recuerde que México participó en la Segunda Guerra Mundial apoyando a las fuerzas armadas de los Estados Unidos!


Time for Chula Vista Elementary school board to answer direct questions

THANK YOU for caring enough about our schools and children to say something! (Editoral: “Chula Vista Elementary School Board Short Changes Student’s Education” April 4, 2003). We’re trying to get a large turnout that is representative of the entire district on April 30th.

As you alluded to in your editorial, we would like to understand the real agenda of our board and superintendent. Are they going to build a new administration building? Are they using reserves to build East Chula Vista schools ahead of schedule? Why haven’t they been straightforward with the parent budget advisory committee and the teachers’ union bargaining team?

I hope the school board answers the very direct questions we ask them at the school board meeting. They’ve been asked twice about the reserve budget, but cunningly avoid repeating the phrase when they provide their “rebuttal” comments after the public comments.

Jill Galvez
Chula Vista


Students Call for No Fee Increases

Why have students across the state been organizing demonstrations calling for no increase in fees and fair treatment for the community colleges? Their anger is an intelligent reaction to the 2003-04 Governor Davis proposal to increase community college fees from the current level of $11 per unit to $24 per unit. He proposes that the $149 million increased revenue resulting from the fee increase be offset by a loss of $215 million in funding to the community colleges as a result of the loss of students resulting from the fee increase. In total the governor has proposed a 10.4% decrease in funding for the community colleges in 2003-04 when compared with the approved budget for 2002-03. To community college students all of this translates to a 188% increase in fees accompanied by decreased class offerings they pay more and receive less.

In the past when fee increases have been implemented, the loss of students has averaged a little over 1% for each $1 increase. Using this yardstick, community colleges would expect to lose in the neighborhood of 13% of its students due to the governor’s proposal. This equates to a loss in excess of 200,000 students more students than are enrolled at all of the campuses of the University of California combined. If patterns follow past year experiences, the bulk of this drop in students will be concentrated among those who are low income, Latino, African-American, and older students (who have been hard-hit by the economic recession). These students, in addition, are the least likely to have access to information concerning financial aid and opportunities to have their fees waived.

The legislature needs to reject the governor’s budget proposal for a 10.5% cut in community college funding and demand that the community colleges not be cut disproportionally when compared with K-12, the University of California and the California State University Systems.

The legislature should resist efforts to increase fees for attendance at community colleges. Community college education today has the same standing as high school education did in the past it is required in virtually all jobs that pay a living wage. A free and accessible community college education benefits all residents of California. A well-educated public increases the economic opportunity for all Californians by bringing industries into the state that require well educated work forces.

The legislature should consider whether it is good public policy to tax students for the benefit of the State General Fund and restrict access to public higher education based on race, age, and economic class. The legislature should also consider whether $149 million in new revenue (in a state budget of $100 billion) is worth the human potential lost resulting from the tax on students.

I look forward to a time when there are no fees and the ability to pay is not a determinant of who attends college. Let’s bring California back to the time when we led the nation in education and we had the wisdom not to levy a fee on community college students.

Martin Hittelman
President, Community College Council


La Prensa a source of progressive thinking!

I’ve lived in San Diego for more than 25 years.  Inasmuch as I don’t speak Spanish, I’ve never bothered picking up the Spanish-language publications offered on the newsstands.  My eye caught your paper about a year ago — there seemed to be enough English language content to make it worthwhile.

What I didn’t realize is that La Prensa San Diego is also a fabulous source of clear, progressive thinking!  Every issue is treasured; there’s so much meat here.  I regret waiting this long to discover you.  I now make a point of picking up every issue!

My profound thanks for what you offer us, and look forward to many years of constructive and progressive reading.

Jeffrey Needle
Chula Vista, CA

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