August 20, 2004

The Public Forum . . . El Foro Publico

Dear Tezozomoc

On July 30th, I read a remark in your newspaper where you convey to your readers that Ms. Pearl Quinones, who is currently scheduled to run for reelection for the Sweetwater School District, is perceived as someone that “can be had” and “that it’s time the school board members have little more backbone and stand up to Superintendent Ed Brand”.

If Ms. Quinones has no backbone, then why is Dr. Brand very pleased to have Stan Canaris run against her/if Dr. Band were in total control of the school board, it would be in his best interest to maintain Ms. Quinones as a board member so that his supposed “manipulation” continues. I personally have attended several board meetings and can testify that Ms. Quinones is in total control of her duties and responsibilities. She carries herself with poise and dignity and these traits are considered or confused as a sign of weakness for people who think they can always solve situations with a ruthless conduct.

Thanks to Ms. Quinones, I have been able to join and participate in several different parent committees the district offers. Parents need to be involved in their children’s education, and one of Ms. Quinones’ primary agenda is to make this happen. She has made a difference and a positive impact within the Southbay community and during these past few years, I have become acquainted with her at a personal level.

As a parent of child that is currently in High School in the Sweetwater School district, I can attest that Ms. Quinones goes far beyond her call of duty in helping parents become aware of what their rights are and that all students, receive the best academic education. Ms. Quinones is a very accessible person and has an open door policy. She personally responds to all phone calls, letters and emails that she receives from concerned parents. In fact, her personal cell phone is listed on her business card. Before Judging her, I think you should take a look at her voting record.

Ms. Quinones ... is truly a positive leader and a very caring community member. Not only does she sincerely have the parents, students, and the staff’s best interest at heart, she definitely practices what she preaches and will not settle for less.

I can’t comprehend why we, Hispanics, are always back stabbing our own people instead of joining forces to continue to become a strong Latin community, one that will honorably commune with every human race.

Rebeca Cruz
National City

Provider Need to Heal the Sick, Not Hurt Public Health through CMS Proposal

I am writing with deep concern about a proposal put forth by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which requires providers to question the citizenship and naturalization status of patients using emergency care. The current proposal, which implements Section 1011 of the Medicare and Modernization Act (MMA), has potentially massive public health implications. There is nothing in the law that requires CMS to interpret the law in this manner and there are alternative methods for collecting needed information for implementation of the law. Hospitals and advocates are widely opposed to this provision, which could go into effect as soon as this October.

If the proposal is finalized, fear and confusion will spread throughout immigrant communities, and many people will avoid emergency medical treatment, leading to aggravated illness, the spread of communicable diseases, and death. Immigrants, regardless of their immigration status, will fear that disclosing identifying information will cause their deportation and separation from children and family members, inability to become a US citizen, and failure to sponsor family members. At a time that our nation is trying to protect its residents from potential biological terrorism and contaminants, it simply does not make sense to hinder a significant portion of our population from seeking health care.

Aside from the looming public health crisis this proposal imposes, everyone should also be troubled that the CMS does not have the authority to protect this information. Exceptions in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) make it easier for law-enforcement officials and government agencies to obtain sensitive medical records, even though such information is disclosed in “confidential” settings.

In addition to the patient disincentive and encroachment of privacy, health-care providers would face an enormous increase in their administrative burdens. New technology would have to be implemented in order to collect and maintain information, and health care professionals would need to undergo extensive training. The result is that health professionals would have to take time away from treating patients. My belief is that health care workers should dedicate their time to the treatment of sick and injured patients, not to onerous paperwork.

CMS needs to adopt an alternative proposal in which patients and public health come first. I urge all elected officials to do everything in their power to stop the implementation of this dangerous CMS proposal.

Alberto M. Ochoa
San Diego

Ernestine Jones announces decision not to run for relection San Ysidro School Board

I have served as a board member in the San Ysidro School District for 16 years and have experienced many challenges and rewarding times during my tenure. Throughout these years, I have actively served the local and broad community by voting on critical issues (not always the popular one) and, at the same time, always making these decisions based on what is good for the District in its effort to provide an educational environment in which all students succeed,” which is our mission statement.

I have contemplated retirement from, time to time, during this last term. However, due to the major concerns, in the last 3 years, I remained on the San Ysidro School Board. I believe I made the right decision at the time, especially, when it relates to the decisions made by the majority of the board, December 2003 and in the early spring of 2004.

I am not seeking re-election due to my family needs that are becoming more demanding. My daughter is now attending school in Virginia where she is doing well and my mother’s health is becoming more delicate. She is 79 years old and lives in Georgia. Both of these needs have taken me out of the area more frequently and I feel that I can no longer devote the time that I have been devoting to my position as a board member which I believe is required, if we are to do a good job of serving our students, parents and staff.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my tenure as a board member and have improved my decision-making skills by keeping abreast with all that is going on in the school district and in the broad educational community, focusing on the needs of our students, parents and staff.

A special THANKS to the San Ysidro community for the opportunity to serve as your board member for 16 years.

Ernestine Jones
San Ysidro School Board

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