At La Prensa San Diego we have been publishing for 29 years now and through all those years none felt quiet like this year. In 2004 terms such as divisive, polarizing and political quagmire became a part of our everyday language. And that did not include the conversation about the war in Iraq, from which the only news we talked about was bad news.
For the Hispanic community this year was a year of self realization, of sorts. For years we have been prepping for the year of the decade, always awaiting its arrival, and to be left wanting. In a sense it did arrive in 2004, albeit not in the form and fashion anticipated.
There were changes for the Hispanic community, nationally and locally, some of which were significant, others were subtle yet profound.
We will take a look back at a sampling of the stories that we highlighted in the pages of La Prensa San Diego throughout the year and the changes within the Hispanic community, as it continues to adapt and grow.
January 2004 Politics Off and Running
The year 2004 was a Presidential election year and January found us already in full campaign mode. Coupled with the Presidential election, California’s Primary was to be held in March which meant that almost all state and local campaigns were in full swing. The early Primary would create a long and excruciating political year, that only a political junkie or pollster could love.
The year started out with President George W. Bush laying out his Immigration Policy, proposing to give legal status to millions of illegal workers, at the same time portraying the Republican Party as a compassionate conservative Party and of course appealing to the Hispanic voter. What Bush proposed was an immigration policy that was sorely lacking in details. As it turned out this policy proposal floundered, the conservatives, of course, considered it to lenient and the Democrats found it lacking, so it went no-where.
The first of the year also marked the first significant political movement as the politicians started to jockey for position with the March Primaries rapidly approaching. California Primary Elections had historically been held the first week of June, until the year 2000. Former California Governor Pete Wilson decided that California needed a greater voice in the presidential elections and moved the Primary Elections to March. For better or worse, this made local political campaigns a year long, and in some cases much longer.
Several campaigns have been in full effect since October 2003 when candidates could officially file their intent to run. Peter Q. Davis had been running to become mayor of San Diego since the summer of 2003. Vince Hall and Lori Saldana have also been campaigning for the 76th Assembly District since the summer, and all three candidates for San Diego City Attorney’s office had been campaign for several months. So, if the campaign season seemed interminable, that’s because it was.
Interesting, this year a large number of seats went uncontested. In District 2 and 3 for County of San Diego Board of Supervisors, the incumbents got an automatic pass to another term. The same could be said for City of San Diego Council District 5, City of Chula Vista Council seat 3, and County Board of Education 2nd and 4th District, all of which went unopposed. This was to only name a few, and many others faced only token opposition.
In Chula Vista, city council seat #3, there was no shortage of candidates, five residents filed for the seat. They were, Rudy Ramirez, Dan Hom, Robert Solomon, Steve Castaneda, and John L. Nezozzi.
One of the key races for the year was, who was going to serve on the San Diego City School Board. Three seats were open which meant the complexion of the board was going to dramatically change no matter who got elected. The predominately Hispanic District D had four Hispanics file for the seat. Unfortunately two of the candidates, Lupe Corona and Pilar Arballo, failed to qualify due to a lack of signatures, which lead to them running as write-in candidates. This was unfortunate in that they would have provided stark contrast to the two candidates who did qualify.
In the 76th Assembly race six candidates filed their papers. Among them was a little known Democrat Lori Saldaña.
In 2004 Hispanic print media became a hot property. New Hispanic newspapers and media groups started up this year. The Los Angeles based La Opinión’s and their owners, the Lozano Family and CPK Media announced they were leaving their partnership with the Los Angeles Times/Chicago Tribune Publishing Company and combining forces with El Diario/La Prensa to form the first ever national Spanish-language newspaper company in the United States, Impremedia LLC. Looking to make inroads into La Opinión’s stranglehold on the LA market the Tribune Publishing Company, introduced their publication Hoy to the Los Angeles markets. May the Spanish-language newspaper wars begin!
This was the backdrop by which the New Year started out.