June 10, 2005

The Public Forum . . . El Foro Publico

Youth Leaders seeking community support

Some of our youth leaders and I wrote a proposal to NCLR (National Council of La Raza: the largest national constituency-based Hispanic organization)  for the Lideres conference taking place this July. The proposal was to facilitate a workshop around the Youth Organizing that we have been involved with in  San Diego County this past year. Our workshop will focus on four issues: the Militarized Border, Ending Homophobia in Schools, Unjust Gang Laws, and general Youth Organizing Practices in a conservative town. 

Our proposal was accepted/approved, however we were informed last week, giving us less than 2 months to raise over $3,000. Attending the conference will be three of our youth leaders and myself.

This conference will give our youth the rare opportunity of traveling to Philadelphia, of course a very significant city for the USA. Also, this conference will give the youth the opportunity of spreading their work, their examples and best practices of extremely difficult Youth Organizing. And finally, NCLR will be able to experience the great Youth Development that is taking place through SD Youth Organizing Committees and the MAAC Community Charter School. 

We are formally requesting the support of anyone who has the desire and resources, to assist our youth with this great opportunity. 

Attached is our sponsorship ticket that we have created. ANYTHING HELPS. So far many students have donated 5 dollars each!


Tommy Ramirez
MAAC Community Charter School , Director of Youth Advocacy

Chicano/Hispanic community not speaking up for our kids.

I think it’s really sad that my community, my gente, “the Hispanic community” “the Chicano community” is not speaking up for our kids. We just had another shooting in our community on Hilltop Dr. where a 16 year old “hispanic” youth was shot and killed and nobody made a fuss, nobody thought it was a tragedy that yet another youth was killed.

The African American community should serve as an example to us for they are concerned about their children. Black Men united are walking the streets to declare peace. They have also organized a group of og’s (ex gangmembers) to help in talking to the youth and declaring a “cease fire.”

What about us? Who’s speaking for us?

Where are the veteranos that have changed their life around and can give back and help another youngster that is headed for trouble? We need to be more united and not be afraid to speak up! I haven’t lost a child thank god and I pray I never will but as a parent and as a human being Im sad and outraged to hear about another mothers heartache losing a child to gang violence. My heart shows no color, it grieves for all our kids.

Bev Bravo

The Redevelopment Commission (ex-UDC) remains a large cause for concern among the citizens of Chula Vista

The premise that a “streamlined” (more like “railroaded”!!) process is needed may have some validity with respect to Chula Vista City staff (particularly the Community Devel. and Redev. Depts.), but it has NO validity re the CV commission review process (I am an RCC Commmissoner, and have consistently observed that it is City staff that delays the process, and almost never the commisson review). The stated primary purpose in the Chula Vista Redevelopment Commission (CVRC) By-Laws and (municipal) ordinance is to eliminate review in affected areas by the three commissions: Planning, Design Review and Resource Conservation Commission.

Further, the City has continually attempted to expand the affected territory and jurisdiction of the CVRC to include non-redev. areas in CV (How then is it the CV REDEVELOPMENT Corp.?) and current language seems to leave that door wide open.

A primary issue among CV citizens is the community/citizen review process; the existing (commission review) process “ain’t broke” and “don’t need fixin’” - on the contrary, all the substitute replacement review schemes floate by the City thus far, appear to be not only inferior but also more inefficient (what happened to “streammlining”?). Additionally the commission process is already in place and operating efficiently while a new review methodology would require it’s participants to come up to speed very rapidly to addresss the many pending development issues in CV: bayfront, Espanada, Urban Core, etc. etc.

To many, me included, the CVRC/UDC, while having some potential redeeming attributes, is largely a means to minimize citizen input and maximize and accelerate development.  We are all for balanced quality development - but our Mayor seems intent on converting our beautiful city into a high-rise haven, losing it’s family quality in the process.

Much, if not most, of the public input to the City on this matter has been ignored - certainly the more important issues of citizen review, CVRC indep. director as CV citizens with term limits, the definition (restriction) of jurisdiction and territory, etc.

Our concerns remain, yet the process seems be almost complete (within the next mmonth or so).

John Chavez

Bush Administration’s Trade Deal Puts Communities at Risk

The debate about the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) is not one about whether or not there should be trade. It is about the rules that govern trade. Our leaders must ask themselves - does CAFTA’s rules meet the test in providing effective and meaningful protections for the environment and our communities?  The answer is no: CAFTA does not meet the test.

Based on the flawed North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) model, the proposed Central America Free Trade Agreement would expand the privileges of global corporations at the expense of working families and the environment.

CAFTA follows the failed path of NAFTA and expands the ability of multinational corporations to challenge environmental and public health measures in secret trade tribunals if they interfere with profits. Under NAFTA, Mexico was forced to pay almost $16 million to a U.S. corporation after a community blocked the building of a toxic waste facility that would have threatened local drinking water supplies. Additionally, a Canadian mining company recently sued the U.S. for $50 million over the cleanup and restoration requirements of an open-pit mine in California.

Like NAFTA, CAFTA would not only give foreign investors greater rights to challenge community and environmental safeguards, but could force governments to weaken environmental standards covering a wide-range of services.  Governments could be barred from setting any limits on mining and logging activities in ecologically sensitive areas. Furthermore, CAFTA could increase food safety risks by essentially requiring food-importing countries to accept - on faith - the safety of fruit and vegetables crossing their borders.

Margrete Strand
Senior Representative of the Sierra Club’s Responsible Trade Program

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