June 17, 2005

The Public Forum . . . El Foro Publico

The SOCC and Centro Board coming together

Thank you for highlighting the recent dialogue between SOCC and The Centro. I have recently become a Centro Board Member and am honored to serve la comunidad and everyone’s efforts to maximize the use of The Centro.

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself to the SOCC and to the community at large. I am originally from Houston Texas, from the barrio of Pecan Park. I have in the past served at LULAC in Houston as a Middle School Advisor, and at AAMA at George I Sanchez Charter School as an ESL Teacher. I am a college graduate of Colorado College, where I was an active member of M.E.Ch.A. I also have a Masters Degree from Boston College in Sociology where I focused on Chicano Gay and Lesbian Identities. Additionally, my second Master of Theological Studies was completed at Harvard University at the Divinity School where I focused on Mariology and the Representation of The Virgen de Guadalupe in Chicano Art. I am also a Chicano artist, mainly painting abstract expressionist images of the Virgin Maria. I am here to serve the needs of everyone that is now involved with The Centro. I am excited to learn about the history that makes The Centro a sacred place. I feel the strength that the Centro holds within its walls and within the community that have built it and also in those individuals that are now part of maintaining it. Gracias por la opportunidad!

Alejandro Rojas Salazar

We would like to thank La Prensa for their continued coverage of the boycott of the Centro Cultural de la Raza. The new Board’s accepting of the SOCC’s five-year request for dialogue and a community meeting is encouraging. Many of the issues that led to the boycott, which include nepotism, confiscation and destruction of art, exclusionary policies and forcing a Chicana activist off the Board for defending the rights of the community, are very serious and will require maturity and openness to resolve.

The SOCC has always been committed to dialogue and resolution, and has continued to work toward the empowerment of the community through programs, events, workshops, discussions and organizing. We look forward to the day when our creative and professional resources will be once again welcome at the Centro.

On June 7, the SOCC presented the Board representatives with a packet of information, which included a list of desired outcomes. These include but are not limited to:

*   Reinstatement of the Arts Advisory Committees with voting Board seats

*   Community representation on Board

*   Legitimate national search for all Centro staff positions

*   SOCC participation in selection of Executive Director and staff

*   Abolish Affirmation of Conduct Values and exclusionary policies

*   Accountability to the community

*   Open Board meetings

*   Publicly posted minutes

We are hopeful that the Board will work with the SOCC to resolve the boycott and reestablish the Centro as a safe, relevant and dynamic cultural center that is accountable to the community and supports its empowerment through art, culture and activism.

We would like to thank all those who have respected the boycott and supported the efforts of the SOCC to bring the Centro back to the community. We invite everyone to participate in the upcoming public meeting and visit our website, www.saveourcentro.org,  for regular updates.

Victor Payan
Save Our Centro Coalition

Juan Vargas played a role in the Pension Fund fiascal

Have you ever thought to wonder that wherever Juan Vargas goes, things tend to fall apart? Let’s go back to 1996 where City Councilmember Juan Vargas voted for what we now have in 2005 as the city pension crisis, this vote did not only topple San Diego’s city government but has put it near its bankruptcy. Also let us not forget Vargas’ vote and approval on the Charger ticket scandal to hand over our hard earned tax dollars to pay for Charger tickets! So after leaving San Diego in disarray, Vargas’ decides to take his troubles to the State Assembly in Sacramento and quickly begins orchestrating the reform on California’s workers compensation system as Chairman of the Insurance Committee last year. Thanks to Juan Vargas’ new worker’s comp reform the system terminates the workers rights, slashes their disability benefits, and unfairly denies medical coverage to them while Insurance companies make their profit at the expense of the injured worker.  So after all this, now Juan Vargas wants to run for Congress against Bob Filner because he can make a difference? Brother Juan, believe me, you have made a difference, please don’t do us any more favors.

Ramon Garcia

Time for Bush to help the consumer

President Bush has broken his own promise to take action to reduce the rising price of gasoline. American consumers are feeling the effects at the pump, and Bush has refused to make this vital issue a part of his agenda.

Bush’s energy policy — written by and for the energy industry — does nothing to help American consumers. This is evident by the gauging gasoline prices San Diegans have to pay. His proposal to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve does nothing to reduce the price of gas, and he has proposed virtually nothing to promote conservation or renewable energy.

It’s time for Bush to help American consumers by making reducing the price of gas a serious part of his agenda. Furthermore, it’s time for voters to let him know that they won’t stand for a President who does not follow through with his promises.

Jennifer Crawford
San Diego

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