January 4, 2002

2001 Year End Review

By Daniel H. Muñoz, Jr and Yvette tenBerge

Year 2001, the first year of the new millennium, has passed and it was not a very good year. The paper's headlines chronicled the disasters one after another - Energy Blackouts! School Shootings! Terrorists Attacks! Stock Market Crashes! Troops Sent Into War! And then there were the countless local headlines.

Of all the disasters, though, 2001 will be remember for one day, 9-11, the day two airplanes crashed into the twin towers of New York City's World Trade Center, another crashed into the Pentagon, and civilian heroes forced at fourth plane to crash into an empty field.

For most San Diegans we received the news of the first plane crash via the early morning radio news. As we switched on our televisions, unsure of exactly what was happening, believing it was an accident, we watched in utter disbelief as a another plane crashed into the second tower. It was at that moment that our lives changed forever.

It was declaration of war. The enigmatic face of the enemy came into focus and it was that of Osama bin Laden, the armies of our enemies were defined as the Taliban, their's was a war of terrorism, and their ultimate goal is still unknown.

Our nation unified. We griev-ed as one for the innocent lives lost. We united in our efforts to support those who survived and lost loved ones in this tragedy. Our political leaders acted as one, moving cautiously but quickly in determining a plan of action, that they are carrying out to this day. And the United States demonstrated their will, determination, and patriotism through the prominent display of American flags.

It is with this backdrop that we review the Year 2001 as was seen through the pages of La Prensa San Diego.

 

January

January 2001 is the last month that Bill Clinton serves as President. Despite losing the popular vote, but winner of the all important electorial vote, George W. Bush is quickly preparing to assume the Presidency by selecting his cabinet.

Linda Chavez withdraws nomination. In setting up his cabinet, President-elect Bush, as his top Hispanic representative in his cabinet nominated ultra-conservative Linda Chavez to serve as labor secretary. Chavez known for her support of English-only legislation, abolition of affirmative action, and her stance on undocumented immigrants. The selection of Chavez drew criticism from many of the leading Hispanic groups, as well as many within the labor movement who saw her as anti-labor. Chavez withdrew her nomination after it was discovered that she employed an illegal Guatemalan woman.

Judge Federico Castro retires. Superior Court Judge Federico Castro retires from the bench January 8 after 13 years of service in family, juvenile, and criminal courts. Judge Castro represented dignity, honor, and wisdom. Judge Castro was an individual that the Hispanic community could look to as an outstanding role model.



Modern Day Warrior Battles Chicano-on-Chicano Violence. The murals of Chicano Park, located on Logan Avenue under the I-5 and Coronado Bridge underpasses, have provided Barrio Logan residents with crash courses in Mexican culture since the 1970s. A proud Aztec warrior guards teenagers skateboarding on and around the kiosco, a concrete stage in the center of the park. A serene Virgin de Guadalupe keeps vigil over parents shuffling their children to the bathrooms, and larger-than-life faces of revolutionaries serve as reminders of past struggles to families eating their lunches. (Pictured) Lucky "Two Tears" Morales stands before a Chicano Park Mural.

Horse Race for District Eight Underway. With Juan Vargas' election to Assembly, San Diego City Council District Eight was left vacant. The City council appointed several members of the old staff to run district eight offices until a special election was held in February. Several candidates filed for the office including Kevin Hancock, Richard Babcock, Rafael Ramirez, Ralph Inzunza, Jr, Elias Rojas, and Joe Ortega.

In Memoriam Bert Corona. During the Chicano movement of the `70s there was non more influential, outside of Cesár Chavéz, than Bert Corona. On January 15, 2001 Bert Corona passed away. Corona's legacy went back as far as the "Sleepy Lagoon" murders where he was instrumental in forming the Sleepy Lagoon defense Committee. One of Corona's greatest achievement was the formation of MAPA (Mexican American Political Association) and the formation of CASA (Hermandad General de Trabajadores) where he fought to correct labor abuses.

Illegal but fighting for rights. The nomination of Linda Chavez to serve as labor secretary re-focused attention on illegal immigrants, which highlighted the unions efforts to bolster their ranks by seeking out immigrants to join their ranks. The effort was led by the AFL-CIO and would be an ongoing theme throughout the year as the 2000 Census information continued to flow highlighting the growth of the Hispanic community.

Utilities Engineered Their Own Troubles - Let Them Reap the Costs. The disastrous impact of energy deregulation continues. Out of state energy producers are charging outrageous rates based on market prices, while the distributors within the state are capped as to the price they can charge. Utilities are looking toward the public to bail them out! Meanwhile the state's residents are having to suffer through rolling blackouts as the governor wrestles with this mess.

 

February

Energy and Crisis - The Golden State of Contradiction. Weeks of Stage Three Alerts has the state of California in a depressed mood. Story after story talks about the state of emergency and the energy crisis. Rate payers are now paying 60% percent more each month, the distributors are threatening bankruptcy, and the energy providers are making millions. While the politicians scramble to salvage the gas and electric companies, the rate-payers are facing the daunting reality that they, in the end, will be ones that have to bailout these companies. Governor Davis does not look good in his handling of this crisis!



West Coast Premiere of "Customized: Art Inspired by Hot Rods, Low Riders, and American Car Culture". Escondido — "Customized: Art inspired by Hot Rods, Low Riders, and American Car Culture," which opens to the public on Sunday, February 11, 2001 at the Museum, California Center for the Arts, Escondido, examines the artists who have defined the imagery and attitude of American car culture as well as the contemporary artists who have drawn upon hot rod and low rider culture for inspiration. (Pictured) “Dave’s Dream”, Meridel Rubenstein. Irene Maria and Dave Jaramillo, San Juan New Mexico, 1980.

District 8 elections. A special election was called for after Juan Vargas abandoned the seat. While there was a full slate of candidates running for office the predetermined winner had been selected by the power structure. The eventual winner of the seat collected three times more money than all 11 other candidates in the race combined. The monies came primarily from outside interest as well as most of his endorsements. Inzunza Jr. won the seat but not without charges of strong arm tactics by his mentor, Juan Vargas. So much for district only elections allowing the district's community selecting their representative.

Shift in Minority Education Oversight Called Discriminatory. During the first meeting of Republican controlled Committee on Education and the Workforce shifted the oversight of black and Hispanic colleges to a newly created panel which oversees youth violence, child abuse and other social programs. This was a slap in the face to minority communities, separating minority education issues from other higher education issues and lumping them in with social programs. This was a heated issue that would be resolved at a later date.

Behind the Bienvenidos: Bush and Fox Neighbors, Allies with Very Different World Views. Newly elected Bush makes his first foreign visit to Mexico where he will meet with newly elected President Vicent Fox. Both are cut from similar cloth and the meeting goes well. Fox pushes for a new border policy, while Bush is looking to expand NAFTA. The two part with high hopes for the future, only to have the events of 9-11 dash all prospects.

Caldera honored at Myer. With the election of a Republican president it means that Hispanic Louis Caldera loses his appointment, by ex-President Clinton, as Secretary of the Army. Caldera who became the 17th Secretary of the Army on July 2, 1998, was honored at Fort Myer's Conmy Hall. His outstanding contributions to the Army in the areas of transformation, restructuring recruiting and marketing strategies, initiating innovative housing privatization programs, and improving the in-service education opportunities available to soldiers.

UC President Richard C. Atkinson Calls For Ending SAT I Test Requirement at UC. In a groundbreaking announcement UC President Richard Atkinson called the elimination of the SAT I Test as a requirement for students applying to UC's eight undergraduate campuses. The SAT test long considered bias, was described as being unfair by the chancellor.



Sweetwater District Students Win at Science Fair. Studying the effect of ultraviolet light on genetic mutations in molds, exploring whether soybean oil can stop the spread of bacteria and examining the impact of electromagnetic energy on the heart rate of water fleas—are just a few of the award-winning projects developed by 37 Sweetwater district students for the 47th Annual Greater San Diego Science and Engineering Fair. (Pictured) Winner in microbiology, Jessica Gomez, a senior at Chula Vista High, placed first at the 47th Annual Greater San Diego Science and Engineering Fair.

 

March

Seniors Keep the Heart of Mexico Beating Strong in Barrio Logan. Our readers are introduced to the music of La Rondalla, a group made up of a dozen senior citizens who meet at the Paradise Seniors Center in Logan Heights. They share their passion for keeping the songs of their childhood alive in an ever-changing world.



Seniors keep the heart of Mexico beating strong in Barrio Logan. Harmonized voices accompanied by the strumming of guitars and the shaking of maracas drown out the sound of heavy rain and traffic outside. A dozen men and women, all between the ages of 50 and 80, sit in chairs arranged in a loose circle. Some play instruments, balancing them carefully on their knees, and others clutch well-worn sheets of music. All belt out the Spanish language lyrics to La Rondalla, their group's theme song, perfectly in tune. (Pictured) Members of La Rondalla stand outside of the Paradise Seniors Center, ready to sing.

A Mother's Fight to Turn Loss Into Community's Gain. The Latino community is reminded that it needs to do its part in order to save the lives of children suffering from leukemia. Carmen Delgadillo, a San Diego mother who recently lost her 14 year-old son Scott to leukemia, alerts us to a sad truth: her son could have been saved had more Latinos registered to become bone marrow donors.  To help explain the donation process, Maria Huaracha, now an employee of the San Diego Blood bank, shares her story. In 1998, she donated her bone marrow and saved the life of a 37 year-old German man.

North County Women Unite to Push Young Latinas Forward. The professional women who make up the North County Latinas Association host the 8th Annual Adelante Mujer Conference.  More than 500 junior high and high school-age girls and their mothers listen as professional women guide them through career workshops and share the secrets of their success.

San Diego High School Teams Design Cars of the Future. Four area high schools present their designs for automobiles of the future in DaimlerChrysler's annual "Build Your Dream Vehicle" regional competition. Poway and High Tech High Schools win first place in the contest that aims to encourage students to utilize technology and design, and to invent futuristic, environmentally friendly concept vehicles.



A Mother Fights to Turn Her Loss Into Community's Gain - A Struggle to Increase Bone Marrow Donation Awareness Within the Hispanic Community. You would not be able to tell much about Carmen Delgadillo's life by simply looking at her. This attractive, petite, 37 year-old woman easily blends in with the other stylishly dressed people sitting in Starbucks with newspapers and magazines opened and steaming coffee cups in hand. It is only after you look into her eyes and listen to her almost breathless manner of speaking that you might be able to begin to realize the impact of what she has recently been forced to live through: every parent's worst nightmare, the loss of a child. (Pictured) Scott and Eric Delgadillo. This photo was taken October 2000, Scott was 14.

The Women's Movement: San Diego Latinas Continue Carrying the Torch. Women across the country are reminded of the trials faced by the women of yesterday. This March marks the 153rd anniversary of the first Women's Rights Convention. As local women such as Sister Margaret Castro, the Administrator and Director of Religious Education and Youth Ministry at St. Rita's Catholic Church in southeast San Diego, remind us, we have come a long way, but there is still a long way to go.

César Chávez Day: A Fiesta Without a Focus? The month culminates with an official state holiday in honor of César Chávez. March 31st was designated as a day to celebrate the late Chicano labor leader who fought tirelessly for the rights of farm workers. What La Prensa discovered, though, is that this "holiday" is anything but a day off for those farm workers whose rights Chávez fought so hard to protect.

 

April

Hispanic Leaders Fight to Correct Census Undercut. The political Latino community explodes over Secretary of Commerce Donald Evan's decision to allow state governments to use unadjusted Census 2000 data in their redistricting process. Advocates for using adjusted data, such as Lt. Governor Cruz Bustamante, believe that not adjusting the numbers could cost Californians billions of dollars. Most of those who were undercounted belong to minority racial and ethnic groups, which has Hispanic organizations demanding that the Census Board be given more time to continue their analysis efforts.

Hoping for Opportunity to Express 1st Amendment Right. Bevelyn Bravo, a resident of Lincoln Park, questions the ethics of the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Why is it that they plaster the neighborhood with billboards advertising gun shows and not invitations to family-oriented events? Ms. Bravo points to billboards located at 47th and Market and 25th and Market. Publishing her letter on the front page results in the Del Mar Fairgrounds taking down the billboards. By law they must take down such billboards if even one resident complains.



Helping us keep abreast of the music scene we had the help of writer Francisco H. Ciriza who brought us such stories as the “Reigning Champions of Rock En Espanol, Mexico's Jaguares Launch U.S. Tour In Support of `Cuando El Sangre Galopa’.” Pictured is Saul Hernandez of los Jaguares.

31st Anniversary of Chicano Park Day. "Todo el poder al pueblo y todo el pueblo al poder," (All power to the people) is the theme of Chicano Park Day's 31st anniversary on Saturday, April 21. Established by Chicano activists on April 22, 1970, Chicano park in Barrio Logan has received international recognition as a major public art site for its colorful, larger-than-life mural paintings which show the past and present struggles of the Mexican and Chicano community. Visitors to the park experience traditional music and dance.

Otay Water Board Caught in a Riptide. And what is life without some measure of scandal? April is the month that the pipes burst for the Otay Water District. In a move that shocks a standing room only crowd, members of the board unanimously bump Jaime Bonilla from his seat as president after he has held office for only 4 1/2 months. Scratching the surface of this situation reveals that most of the board members appear to be double-crossing the community.

 

May

Re-enactors Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with a Bang. Historic re-enactors congregate in Old Town this year to celebrate the day on which Mexicans and Mexican-Americans honor their ancestors who fought in the 1862 Battle of Puebla in Mexico. On this day, 2,000 poorly armed men and women successfully defended their town from more than 6,000 French soldiers who were on their way to conquer Mexico City. To help bring us back to this period in history, a dedicated group of volunteers transforms an empty plot of land behind Seeley Stable into a military encampment.



San Diego High School Still Steaming Over Loss of Alfaro. The concrete steps of San Diego High's downtown campus came to life Friday morning as an angry crowd of more than 50 students, parents, alumni, teachers and school board members gathered to express their outrage at the recent firing of its well-loved principal, Tony Alfaro. (Pictured) Vice president of the San Diego High Parent, Teacher and Student Association, Yolanda Escamilla, shares her anger. She is surrounded by students, parents, teachers and alumni.


San Diego High School Still Steaming over Loss of Alfaro.
May is also the month in which teachers and parents come together to say, "enough is enough" to the Gestapo-like tactics employed by the San Diego Unified School District administration. In response to the firing of San Diego High's well-loved principal, Tony Alfaro, 50 students, parents, alumni, teachers and school board members stage a press conference to express their outrage. Although district officials claim that Alfaro voluntarily resigned five weeks short of graduation, many, including the outspoken principal, himself, state that the principal was forced to leave.

Barrio Logan Residents Choked up over Air Quality Report. Residents of Barrio Logan ­ the majority of them mothers with children in tow ­ gather to hear the preliminary results of the California Air Resources Board's 18-month environmental study entitled, "Analysis of Air Toxics Data Collected in Barrio Logan, California, from October 1999 through March 2000." Bob Fletcher, Chief of the Planning and Technical Support Division of the ARB, reports that although the toxic air pollution levels in Barrio Logan are unhealthy, they are no higher than levels measured in Chula Vista or El Cajon. Mothers of children suffering from extreme cases of asthma and other respiratory problems exchange looks of disbelief. The Environmental Health Coalition had to remind them that Mr. Fletcher is one of the "good guys."

 

June

Search for Better Life Ends in Unmarked Graves. June is the month in which local activists, clergy, labor organizers, Mexican citizens and residents take to the streets. Holding up white crosses painted with the slogan "No Olvidados" (not forgotten) and a banner which reads: "Would you walk across mountains and deserts for a job? Migrants do; hundreds of them die" they protest the growing number of migrants who die every year in their attempt to cross the border. Operation Gatekeeper, the United States'controversial border policy, was put into place in 1994. An estimated 491 lives were lost due to dehydration, hypothermia and drowning last year, alone.

Parents and Teachers Unite: Bersin's Blueprint Provides Shoddy Foundation for San Diego Kids. Sitting in on San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) board meetings and interviewing countless parents and teachers gives us the low-down on what life is really like within the walls of SDUSD. Since Superintendent Bersin, a non-educator and the ex-"Border Czar," was hired three years ago, the community has been left out of the decision-making process. Among the community's complaints are that Mr. Bersin's  literacy-based "Blueprint for Student Success" does not mention any standards, textbooks or curriculum, that high school elective courses will eventually be discontinued, that textbooks which have been rejected by the state board of education have been purchased and that Mr. Bersin has appropriated $62 million in Title 1 funds to run his $100 million reform program.

Board Adopts Active Physics for 9th Graders. The SDUSD board majority, consisting of Ron Ottinger, Sue Braun and Ed Lopez, votes to implement a controversial Active Physics program despite protests from parents and science teachers. Although the board approves the purchase of $1.8 million in textbooks, significant changes are made to the original proposal as a result of the concerns raised by the community. Those familiar with the program call it "comic book" physics due to its watered-down approach to teaching the science.



Board Adopts Active Physics for 9th Graders: community says it's "comic book" education. Battle weary parents and science teachers within the San Diego Unified School District won a small victory on Tuesday, June 12th.
Although the Board majority still voted to implement a controversial Active Physics program and went ahead with the purchase of $1.8 million in textbooks, significant changes where made to the original proposal as a result of concerns raised by parents and teachers. (Pictured) Chancellor Anthony Alvarado discusses textbook issues with angry parents after Tuesday's board vote.


Police Tactics Questioned After Death of Mentally Ill Man. In April 2001, police shot and killed Benjamin Flores, Sr., a 60 year-old, mentally ill man who was armed with a pair of scissors. The shooting death of Flores was one of six fatal shootings during the first six months of this year, alone. A total of seven shootings occurred for all of last year. The
shootings have taken place in the wake of a serious overhaul of police policy and tactics such as, outfitting every officer with non-and less-lethal weapons in the wake of several high-profile officer involved shootings.

Community Up in Arms over Response to Police Shootings. La Prensa takes a look at the changes that have occurred in relation to police shootings, such as the shooting of Benjamin Flores, Sr., and the community's response to these changes. Some citizens are skeptical of the current review board, which they believe panders to the police. Their concerns echo calls for an independent review board. According to FBI statistics published by the Detroit Free Press last year, the San Diego police department had a higher per capita fatal officer-involved shooting rate (0.61) per 100,000 residents, than Los Angeles (0.56), New York (0.39) or Philadelphia (0.49).

Teachers Have No Confidence in Bersin. The San Diego Education Association, a teachers union made up of 8,500 SDUSD teachers, releases the findings of a six-question survey. The poll aims to assess the level of teacher satisfaction with the current administration, their practices, their programs and their policies. Of the 5,500 educators who returned their questionnaires, 93 percent gave Mr. Bersin a "Vote of No Confidence" and provided descriptions of his character such as "dictator," "close-minded" and "pond scum." As for the performance of the current school board majority (Ottinger, Braun and Lopez), 94 percent have "no confidence" in their ability to guide the district.

 

July

Renters Crying Foul Ball Over Proposed Ballpark. Over 100 community members and organizers march to raise awareness of a housing crisis, which has already rendered many Sherman Heights families homeless. Residents in this area have been facing a severe housing shortage since 1998, when the advent of the proposed ballpark paved the way for out-of-control real estate speculation.

Ballpark Dreams Leave Residents Homeless. The six Bautista children provide a look into the lives of the families who are being forced onto the streets as developers buy property and clear out families in order to jack up prices. Although their landlord never made repairs to a run-down piece of property when the family was living there, the family was kicked out to make way for a "new owner." A trip to the boarded up house on 32nd
Street months later proved that it was still empty. According to Ernest J. Reyes, Chairman of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, their landlord, is "obviously an investor."

Educational Programs Sacrificed at the Altar: SDUSD Makes Way for the Blueprint. The Sherman Heights Community roars as SDUSD district administration and the new principal of the elementary school, Valerie Voss, redirect millions of dollars from programs like SABER, an initiative that, for the past eight years has created a "wellness system of social support, health education and promotion for Sherman children and families." Trustee John de Beck, a member of the school board since 1990, sums up the reason that programs such as these are disappearing all together: "Robbing programs to support the Blueprint is a mandate."

Dollars for Fox, Votes for Bush. Mexican President Vicente Fox suddenly tones down his demand for amnesty for some three million Mexican immigrants illegally residing in the U.S. Both U.S. President George W. Bush and President Fox now essentially agree that a guest-worker program is the way to go, even though Fox criticized such a program as piecemeal and unacceptable just one month earlier.

 

August

San Diego Unified Pulls a Fast One On Sherman Heights Community. The program SABER serves one of the most disadvantaged populations in the San Diego school system. Of the estimated 1,000 students at Sherman Elementary, 89 percent are Latino, 79 percent of these are classified as Limited English Proficient and 99 percent of Sherman's student population qualifies to receive free breakfast and lunch. Despite the program's success within the community, SABER employees describe how SDUSD took more than one million dollars in grant money.

Local Graphic Artist Tells it Like it Is. Local, self-described "graphic artist, activist and amateur propagandist," Joel Mielke, shares his passion for poking fun at or showing support for all things political. Whether he is bemoaning President Bush's grammatical errors, passing out bumper stickers to protest San Diego's decision to invest in a ballpark or pouring his energy into groups like Amnesty International, Mr. Mielke proves that not everyone in San Diego is socially and politically asleep.

Set Free Ministry Opens Arms to Logan Heights. This Los Angeles-based ministry, which serves the "bottom one percentile" of the population, opens its second San Diego County location on the corner of 29th Street and Newton Avenue. Started in 1982 by an ex-con turned pastor named Phil Aguilar, it aims to bring more "outlaws" into the fold. Wade McKinley, once the Director of Missions for the San Diego Southern Baptist Association, has this to say about Set Free: "They are truly servants. They are as New Testament as New Testament can be."

Courthouse "Good-Will Ambassador" Says Goodbye After 25 Years. An audience of courthouse employees gathers to honor 80 year-old Ramiro "Rayme" M. Medina, the recently retired notary republic and "unofficial court ambassador" who donated 25 years of volunteer assistance to visitors to the 220 West Broadway building. Superior Court Judge Wayne L. Peterson reads aloud from a plaque to be installed near Mr. Medinass old "office" ­ a stand across from the information booth
in the courthouse lobby.



Carlsbad Sisters Make History With The Barrio Museum. Lola's 7-Up Mexican Market and Deli, located on the corner of Roosevelt Street and Walnut Avenue in Carlsbad, pulsates with the sounds of community life this Monday morning as it has on virtually every weekday morning since it was first opened by the Jauregui family in 1943. Sunlight beams into the store through propped-opened glass doors, and Mariachi music serves as a backdrop for the lively sounds of conversation and cooking coming from within. (Pictured) Ofie Escobedo flips through some of the many photos in the Barrio Museum.

September

"Legal Mistake"!: SABER Program Gets Back Grant. Thanks to the persistence of the Sherman Heights community, SDUSD admits that they made a "legal mistake" by appropriating funds from a 21st Century grant worth $195,000 per year for three years. Although SABER was supposed to be allowed to charge against the grant as of March 1, 2001 and the money was supposed to flow as of June 1, 2001, they did not receive the check from the district until Wednesday, January 2, 2002.

Community Speaks Out on Tragedy. The horrific events that occurred in Manhattan, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania on September 11 touched many more lives than the thousands that were lost. In an expression of support, people within our immediate community and the much larger community to which we belong, share their sorrow, thoughts and prayers. The words of Al Manzano of Carlsbad hit home for many San Diegans trying to deal with the tragedy: "I am trying not to be simply angry. It is important to be rational and calm, and to keep sight of our core values."

North County Combats the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children. Part one of a two-part story on the commercial sexual exploitation of children here in San Diego County outlines the results of a recently released, three-year study that shocked the social service and law enforcement communities. The sexual exploitation of children for money or to acquire food, shelter or clothing, is routinely happening right here in our city. This is an introduction to the work that is being done on behalf of these victimized children, some of whom are trafficked into the North County region from other countries.



North County Combats The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children. The world of the commercial sexual exploitation of children has begun to permeate our homes. News programs and talk shows have introduced viewers to the silhouettes of child prostitutes, or to the digitally scrambled faces of pimps whose voices provide hard-to-swallow details. (Pictured) Sheriff Rick Castro sifts through anonymous letters that inform him about houses of prostitution in Vista.


Our Invisible Children: A Night on San Diego's Streets. This article introduces some of the "invisible" teens and young adults who struggle to survive on San Diego's streets each day, and outlines the life of an outreach worker for Storefront, San Diego's only emergency shelter for homeless youth. In the words of Storefront Outreach Team Leader, Daniel Manson: "People are very judgmental when it comes to homeless and runaway teens. Personally, I think that, instead of trying to fix the problem, we need to think outside of the box and try to end the problem."

 

October

San Diego Unified School District Trustees Threatened with Shooting.  On October 5 La Prensa breaks a story which outrages San Diegans throughout the county. In an e-mail that then Board President Sue Braun sent to then Vice President Ron Ottinger and others within the SDUSD administration, she issued a threat against fellow board members Frances O' Neill Zimmerman and John de Beck: "John and Frances get so outrageous that they upset the rest of the board members including me... the only idea I have is to shoot the both of them. I was thinking of a way to get them both with one bullet..."



San Diego Unified School District Trustees Threatened With Shooting. (Pictured) Fran Zimmerman second from left.

SDUSD Board Crumbling: Community Says "Resign," Latino Coalition Gives "Vote of No Confidence." In front of an audience packed with parents, teachers and community members, Sue Braun issues a formal apology to fellow board members John de Beck and Frances O'Neill Zimmerman. She admits that she made a "terrible error in judgment" and follows this with the statement, "Of course, it was not meant seriously, as the City Schools Police and San Diego Police have found through their investigations." In the second formal vote of "No Confidence" issued in three months, the Latino Coalition states their position: they have no confidence in the implementation of Mr. Bersin and Mr. Alvarado's Blueprint for Student Success.

Local Group Warns Dulces Equal Disaster. The Environmental Health Coalition (EHC) warns San Diegans to steer clear of the popular Dulmex brand bolirindo lollipops, coconut rolls and tamarindo rolls due to their high lead content. According to Leticia Ayala, Lead Prevention Project Coordinator for the EHC, "The paint on these wrappers is lead based, and there are two ways in which people can be exposed. Little kids handling the product often touch their mouths with their hands. Also, the candy, itself, is acidic which causes the lead to leech out into the candy."

New San Diego Unified Board President Stifles Community and Teachers. The SDUSD board's newly elected president, Ron Ottinger, is out to prove that his will not be a "kinder, gentler" reign. Mr. Ottinger is deemed the new board president after a 3-2 vote, a vote from which Trustees John de Beck and Frances O'Neill Zimmerman abstained as per a joint statement issued and dated October 16. As Marc Knapp, President of the San Diego Education Association, approaches the podium to address the board on behalf of district teachers, hundreds of teachers, parents and students silently file down to the floor of the auditorium. Each carries petitions covered with the signatures of community members and district employees demanding the resignation of Ms. Braun. Mr. Ottinger calls for an adjournment of the meeting and police usher the audience out of the auditorium.

 

November

As we slowly creep back to normality we begin to look forward to the holidays. At the same time we must continue bringing relevant stories to our readers.

UCSD Students Rally for Affirmative Action. More than 100 students donned black T-shirts emblazoned with the words "Still separate and unequal." This was in response to the drop in acceptance rates for ethnic applications since Proposition 209 went into effect in 1997. The rally was part of a national campaign to pressure college administrators to increase their affirmative action efforts.

President tightens U.S. access. President Bush orders a sweeping review of U.S. immigration to keep suspected terrorists out of the country. This in turn tightened the security at the border, which in turn continued the long delays crossing the border and hurting border businesses.



UCSD Students Rally for Affirmative Action. More than 100 students donned black T-shirts emblazoned with the words "Still separate and unequal," waved colorful signs with messages like "No university without diversity," and rattled aluminum cans full of coins at UCSD's Price Center Plaza on October 30 as part of a national campaign to pressure college administrators to increase their affirmative action efforts.Among the groups that participated in this rally were the African-American Student Union, the Asian Pacific Student Alliance, Movimiento Estudiantil Chicana/o de Aztlan, Kaigiban Philipino, Students for Economic Justice and the Student Affirmative Action Coalition.

"Lessons of Liberty": National Veterans Awareness Week. Veterans Day took on a particularly poignant meaning this month as troops continued to be deployed to the Middle East and as Reservist are being called up.

Splitting of INS Proposed. The many roles of the INS by many is viewed as too cumbersome for one agency to effectively handle. Rep. James Sen-senbrenner and Rep. George Gekas introduced a bill that would split the agency into two with different missions. Criticism of the Immigration and Naturalization Service is nothing new but with the failure of the INS in identifying the expired visas of the 19 hijackers the criticism was intensified.

Hilltop Elementary Gets Connected With PacBell Community Grant. Education is a key goal with Pacific Bell and toward this end The Pacific Bell Foundation, in their inaugural year of awarding this grant, made $350,000 in grant money available to community groups who are developing "innovative programs" that use technology for "education, economic and community development issues." We highlighted Hilltop Elementary school and their plans to create the Hilltop Community Media Center.

MALDEF ripped over remap fight. MALDEF challenges with newly redrawn election boundaries charging that the new districts dilute Latino voting strength." In response to this challenge two Hispanic State Senators responded to the MALDEF challenge calling their lawsuit "frivolous and racially divisive." They went on to say that the new districts were supported by 23 of the California's 26 Latino lawmakers.

City of Carlsbad Evicts Migrant Workers In Time for the Holidays. Just in time for the holidays the City of Carlsbad evicts approximately 140 men from their shacks near Agua Hedionda Lagoon. These men work in the fields nearby providing cheap labor for the growers which in turn provides the consumer benefit. Nearby residents and local migrant support groups protested the eviction.

Calling all Santas. For years local LULAC has been feeding 250 families each Christmas. But this year with many of the local donations being diverted to the survivors of 9-11 this leaves precious little for the local charities. Lisa Marguet writes a compelling story documenting the struggles in raising the monies to continue helping these families.

Christmas Wishes. Despite the commercialism of Christmas, the children of Sherman Heights Community Center remind us that not all wishes are elaborate.

Latinas Increasingly Running for, Winning Office. The National Association of Elected Latino Officials found that in 2001 Latinas constituted 38 percent or 1,952 out of the total Latino elected positions across the country compared to only holding 32 percent or 1,661 elected positions in 1996.

 

December

During the month of December we celebrate La Virgen de Guadalupe with such stories as "The Importance of the Apparitions of Our lady of Guadalupe," and "La Virgen de Guadalupe Unites People of All Ages and Ethnicities: Parade Celebrates Heritage and Culture."

We also wrote about the "Vista Sheriffs Make Christmas Dreams Come True," and "Mariposas Program Matches Sherman Girls With Mentors."

Of more serious note other stories we covered during the month of December included: "Will Mexican Americans Be Cannon Fodder in the War on Terror? Writer Jorge Mariscal ask the question will the war on terror, citing the figure that Mexican Americans now make up 37 percent of all active-duty Marines. "Tangled Roots _ Argentina's Economic Crisis Runs Deep," Marcelo Ballve took a look at the historical and cultural stumbling blocks that have led to economic crisis that has engulfed Argentina. "Agua Prieta's Comité Fronterizo de Obreras," Greg Bloom describes the economic uncertainty of the border and Mexican workers attempts to unionize. And finally we reported on the "Janitors Sweep Through Horton Plaza," a story about the "Justice for Janitors" effort to make holiday shoppers aware of the poverty wages payed and the recent beating of a union organizer by mall security.

This was the year 2001 as we brought it to you through the pages of La Prensa San Diego. It was our intent to inform, to educate, and to entertain. We hope that we have met our goals and look forward to the new year 2002, it has to be better than the last.

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