July 5 2002

The Public Forum . . . El Foro Publico

Kudos to tenBerge

Congratulations to Yvette tenBerge for winning CTA’s “John Swett Award for Media Excellence.” She, and La Prensa San Diego, won for their “continuous coverage of education” issues —obviously for exposing all the shenanigans in SDCS: CTA | California Educator (http://www.cta.org/cal_educator/v6i9/diff_cta.html)

Edward Olivos
San Diego

Orale Jefito!!

About time someone spoke up and questioned Ducheny about affordable housing in San Diego. Shame on all those Democrats who have done absolutely nothing to address the subject.

What’s worse are all those union member school teachers in San Diego County who can’t even buy a ghetto home because of the outrageous real estate market. You would think that a teacher working for a school district, with good job stability and a decent income would be able to buy a home for their family and take part in the American dream of home ownership.

Instead, the likes of Ducheny, Inzunza and Filner have sucked the developers dry for campaign money and are keeping it in their pockets.

Meanwhile, good, educated union member teachers continue to live either at home with Mama or packed into rundown apartments. They continue to pay those union dues and vote Democratic and still struggle for a decent roof over their heads. Where was Ducheny? Living the high life and sucking the public trough dry.

Henry Palma
Chula Vista

Vouchers Undermine School Reform

The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling to uphold the Cleveland school voucher program encourages other states to pursue this unwise, unsuccessful and unpopular policy. Diverting public tax dollars to private and religious schools not only drains money from public schools, but it undermines real reforms such as reducing class sizes.

So far, the voucher program has drained $43 million of public tax funds. And what have we gotten for our money? Ohio’s most recent state-sanctioned evaluation of the Cleveland program compared the progress of public school students and voucher students during a two-year period. Over this period, public school students had learning gains that were greater than those achieved by voucher students in language, math and reading.

Pro-voucher legislators have claimed that they want to help disadvantaged children, but a closer look at the voucher program shows the opposite is happening. Many of the voucher schools are not willing or able to serve students with physical and learning disabilities. Public schools serve all children, but private schools play by a different set of rules.

This may explain why voters have defeated voucher initiatives every single time they’ve been placed on a state election ballot. Just because the Supreme Court says we can have vouchers doesn’t mean we should.

Laura Kohl
San Marcos

Jimmy Stewart Was Right!

There’s nothing wrong with the Pledge of Allegiance that two words won’t fix.

The 9th District Court moved to separate church and State and boldly revealed that two words-- “under God” --in fact do endorse religion and should be removed from the Pledge of Allegiance. But that doesn’t mean we have to forbid saying the Pledge, as many fundamentalists fear. It is only the endorsement of religion they threw out, not The Flag or the Republic “indivisible with liberty and justice for all.”

Those two controversial words were not penned by the Founding Fathers, but inserted in 1954 by Congress to oppose the Soviet Union. I remember as a child learning the Pledge without reference to any God and being taught later to bow down. For proof of this you can see Jimmy Steward saying the original and unchanged Pledge of Allegiance in the 1935 version of “It’s a Wonderful Life” without endorsing religion.

If it’s good enough for Jimmy Stewart, it’s good enough for me.

Let’s remember how to say the Pledge without mandating belief in God, or naming any specific God, so that religion can remain a private matter within the soul and not a litmus test for patriotism.

Loch David Crane
San Diego

Is There a Chicano Vision?

I have a simple question that I hope someone would care to answer. Here it is: Is there a Chicano Vision? What I mean by that is what does our future hold and what are we, as chicanos, doing to accomplish that? Do we have a dream? Do we know what we want for our raza, for our cultural heritage or are we just a fad?

The basis of our existence is the struggle to be recognized by our güero brothers and sisters to recognize us as Americans of these great United States. But beyond that, what is the greater vision that will ensure us a greater presence in the annals of history?

I believe that we have reasserted ourselves as strong political voice, however, how are we to wash our self identity that countless of enemies of the Chicano causa have mudded so much so that future generations don’t see chicanos as former wetbacks and a dirty image not to be associated with? The vision to be as self confident of who we are lacks, therefore, I propose we look forward, to the times when we can walk con la frente en alto, as cititzens of two cultures and two languages. The vision means to fight for our self steem and to teach the rest of our brethen in these United States how rich and bountiful we all are when we accept each other as who we are, with history, a past that ties our blood to the soil. This vision implies work, a dream, that no matter how strange frijoles and chips and salsa is there are as American as apple pie.

I hope to get an answer from someone ...

Julio César Martínez
email: julio.martinez@spray.se

Thanks for La Prensa’s Participation

I sincerely thank you for being AIAP’s feature speaker in June. It was great and educational, both in the content and delivery.

I, the Association of Iranian-American Professionals, and Kazem Zomorrodian from PCC (Persian Cultural Center) look forward to cooperations with your paper and your community. Immigration and minority rights issues are rising.

Ramin Moshiri
AIAP Board

Thank you for your insightful and passionate presentation to the NAHJ student campus in San Diego this month. The Pew Hispanic Center is grateful for your help in making the student campus a valuable experience for the 22 journalism students who participated.

Dianne Saenz
Director of Communications
Pew Hispanic Center
Washington, DC

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