April 26, 2002

The Public Forum ... El Foro Publico

An Open Letter

To: Senator Edward Kennedy
U.S. Senate
Washington, D.C.
Re: Nomination of Miguel Estrada

I am of Mexican extraction, born in Los Angeles, and have been actively involved in the Mexican American and Latino communities for more than forty years. During this tenure I have worked for US Mexican representation while simultaneously focusing on education, working for years as a volunteer in preschool ventures and other issues affecting US Latinos. All the while I pursued my doctorate at night school receiving a Ph.D. in Latin American Studies from the University of Southern California. Arguably I am the best known Chicano scholar in the country, named one of the top 100 educators of the 20th Century by Black Issues in Higher Education. I give this introduction so you will know that I have been involved and have a stake in the Latino community.

Over the years I have come to the conclusion that we made a tremendous error in pushing US Mexicans for appointed positions just based on the color of their skin. Here I am differentiating between elected and appointed positions because at least in the former instance there is a filtering process and people get the opportunity to know a person’s record. With appointed positions that person reflects the ideology of the person appointing him or her, and the people who the appointee is supposed to represent have no say in the matter. In California during the Clinton Administration Samuel Paz was nominated to the federal bench but his name was withdrawn because of opposition from law enforcement groups who opposed him because he had been president of the local American Civil Liberties Union and represented largely poor Latinos in police abuse cases. Paz was a popular choice and was a product of that community.

With Miguel Estrada, we have a person who is not from the Latino community who has not identified in any manner with that community. Estrada comes from a different class of Latinos who do not identify with the aspirations of most Latinos. I make an issue of this because we cannot afford to have people in high office who do not know our community but by virtue of the fact that they have a Spanish-surname will be considered spokespersons for US Latinos. Indeed, President Bush is making the appointment because he is a Latino and for him to say otherwise is hypocritical.

The tactic of the Bush administration is insidious. George Bush I appointed Clarence Thomas, hardly a Justice Marshall. George II is positioning himself to appoint Estrada, an upper class Latino who has no organic roots to Latinos overall. My life has been spent largely with one sector of the contested identity of those called Latinos, the US Mexican. While I do not believe that being of Mexican extraction is essential for the appointee, expecting him to know the issues of this community and the barriers they face to equality before the law is reasonable. Frankly, if Estrada were of Mexican extraction, had come to this country at the age of 17, and had similar class attitudes, I would not be supporting him.

It is intellectually dishonest to claim that Estrada represents Latinos, considering his privileged class position, and his lack of bonding with those who he is supposed to represent. It is hypocrisy and I urge you to oppose his nomination.

Rodolfo F. Acuna, Ph.D.
California State University, Northridge

Will the Real John Moores Stand and Deliver

JIM, one of John Moores’ real estate development enterprises, is currently engaged in final negotiations for construction of the Omni ballpark hotel in the East village area of Downtown San Diego. Having prevailed unscathed while Valerie Stallings and other elected officials died slow, public and painful political deaths, Mr. Moores continues to confidentially pursue his business interests. In addition, Moores has positioned himself as a sincere booster for the San Diego economy and its citizens.

With a trail of lawsuits behind him, crumbling infrastructure around him, and deferred maintenance on city properties in front of him, Mr. Moores marches proudly down San Diego’s main street, armed with power and success, Moores is quietly and duplicitously undermining opportunities for local workers and local businesses. Moores is planning to bring an out of state firm to town to build the ballpark hotel.

The selection of a builder from Louisiana instead of working with a local contractor that met the requirements established by the Centre city Development Cooperation (CCDC), and is licensed in California, undermines confidence in John Moores.

The general contractor initially selected for the project did his homework in working with local contractors and minority owned businesses. Their potential replacement with an out of state firm says a lot about the real John Moores. Moores is counting a few dollars rather than the cost and loss to the local economy. John Moores appears to have confused “Booster” with “Boomer”, a term for out of town construction workers who will be taking money out of San Diego.

This particularly disturbing in a community struggling with outrageous housing costs and no commitment to a living wage for its less well-heeled citizens. Given San Diego’s housing emergency and the intent of community redevelopment law under which CCDC operates, one might expect Mr. Moores to consider the impacts of his business decisions on the local economy.

One might also expect CCDC to advocate on behalf of local businesses. If an out of state firm with no commitment to the community is allowed to secure the hotel construction contract, local contractors and workers will be negatively impacted; and the small businesses at the end of the construction food chain will certainly be hurt.

Moores’ actions are a slap in the face to local businesses and workers. In addition, his support of the Racial Privacy Imitative raises concerns about who John Moores really is and what his motivations are. Will the real John Moores stand up?

Allie Pruitt
San Diego

Sherman Charter Petition a Fraud:

Parents are being misled, given false information and tricked into signing a petition against the Sherman Science and Technology Charter School effort. People are being told that you have to pay to attend the school and it would no longer be a public school. They are also being told that there would be no Bilingual/Biliteracy education, extended day intersession for students and that current students will not be able to attend. They are being asked to sign a petition “to help our programs,” yet there is no information at the top of the petition explaining what they are signing or who is behind the anti-charter propaganda. Flyers are being distributed with false information, as well. People from way outside the neighborhood are being pressured to sign with very little information given. The petition is a fraud.

We ask that parents be informed with “True” information, so that they can make an informed choice.

This charter school will:

*Be a free public school
*Be available to Sherman Heights children!
*Provide more literacy opportunities and bilingual/biliteracy education
*Promote higher achievement
*Provide more programs
*Provide school subjects like social studies, science, technology, arts
*Prepare your children for higher education
*Be under the local control of parents and teachers
*Bring in more money to the school
*Have Extended day and Intersession Programs
*Provide Science and Technology Literacy
*Provide teachers aides in K-2 classrooms
Don’t be fooled. Say YES to this Charter public school.

Laura Norris and
Claudia Alcaraz
Parents from Sherman School

Los Padres de la Escuela Sherman Están Siendo Engañados

Los padres de la escuela Sherman están siendo engañados, dándoles información falsa y engañados para que firmaran una petición en contra de la nueva escuela Autónoma Sherman de Ciencias y Tecnología. Se le dice a la gente que tendrían que pagar para asistir a la escuela y que no sería escuela pública. Que no habrá educación bilingüe/biliteraria, y que no habrá día extenso o intercession para los estudiantes. Les han dicho que los estudiantes que ahora asisten a la escuela no podrán asistir. Les están pidiendo que firmen una petición “para ayudar a nues-tros programas.” No hay información en la parte superior de la petición que explique qué es lo que están firmando o quién está detras de esta propaganda en contra de la autonomía. Los volantes están siendo distribuídos con información falsa, también. Gente de afuera de la comunidad está siendo presionada en firmar con muy poca información. La petición es un fraude.

Les pedimos a los padres que sean informados con la información “verídica”, para que puedan elegir mejor.

Esta escuela autónoma será:

*Escuela Pública Gratuita
*Estará disponible para los niños de Sherman Heights.
*Proveerá más oportunidades para obtener una educacíon *Bilingue/Biliterato
*Promoveerá aprovechamiento alto
*Proveerá más programas
*Proveerá temas como Estudios Sociales, Ciencia, Tecnología y arte
*Preparará a sus niños para una educación secundaria
*Va a estar bajo control local de los padres y maestros
(Tendrá días completos extensos y programa de intercessión.
*Proveerá literatura en ciencia y tecnología
*Proveerá ayudantes de maestros en salones de Kinder a Segundo.
No se deje engañar. Diga SI a esta escuela pública autónoma.

Laura Norris y
Claudia Alcaraz
Padres Preocupados de Escuela Sherman

Red Cross should clean house

I remain amazed that the Chapter’s Director still has the job, and still at $309,000 annual salary. It begins to sound more and more like a real ‘Good Ole Boy/Gal’ situation. When 1/3 of the Board of Directors resign, and only the Chairman of the Board and the Executive Committee of the Board deal with and approve the Directors salary. One really begins to wounder what all the other perks they have been giving themselves over the years.

And all of this dealing with a public organization that is reportedly organized to deal with hurting and needy of our society. This becomes especially repugnate when the Directors annual salary outstrips the amount given to the Alpine fire victims by two thirds.

I say enough is enough, and National should clean house in San Diego and start all over.

Lyle Daun

Letters to the Editor Return to the Frontpage