October 7, 2005

Schwarzenegger Criticized For Comments About Latinos

Assembly Member De La Torre Says Governor’s Comments to a San Diego Newspaper Show Governor Has Failed to Lead

Assembly Member Hector De La Torre (D-South Gate) assailed new comments by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger published in the San Diego Union Tribune this past weekend about the state’s Latino population, saying he’s become the “Excusinator.”

“The Governor has ignored California’s Latino community for more than two years and continues to make excuses for it,” said De La Torre. “By saying he hasn’t built bridges with Latinos because he was too busy with other issues is shocking. He’s become the ‘Excusinator.’ I don’t think anyone will be fooled by the governor’s election eve regrets.”

“The Governor has had numerous opportunities to build bridges with the Latino community,” says De La Torre. “Instead, he has been busy calling right-wing radio shows to support the untrained, vigilante Minutemen and giving the cold shoulder to our state’s largest trading partner, Mexico. His staff even barred a reporter from La Opinion, the state’s largest Spanish-language newspaper, from covering one of his events.”

“We in the administration have not done the best job with Latinos,” Schwarzenegger told the newspaper in remarks published this weekend. “It is regretful to say that because I concentrated so much on fixing the economy, so much on fixing this and fixing that and was overwhelmed with so many different things when I took office that we have not intentionally, but just neglected to bring in more Latinos, have more meetings, more outreach to Latino groups.”

“This isn’t about having more meetings. It’s about being a fulltime governor that focuses on issues that matter to all Californians — including the Latino community,” said De La Torre. “Unfortunately, this governor only seems to know how to campaign, not to lead.”

“The Governor hasn’t provided leadership on homeland security, he isn’t addressing how to provide health care for the millions of Californians who can’t afford it, or fixing our energy problems,” said De La Torre. “He’s spent one out of five days out of state, and spends far more time fundraising and campaigning than anything else.”

De La Torre noted that the Schwarzenegger Administration does not have a single Latino cabinet member and has appointed only a handful of Latino judges. “Even President Bush, who arguably is ‘fixing this and fixing that’ too, has found the time to work on a more inclusive administration.”

In a poll published by the Public Policy Institute of California this week, only 18 percent of Latino voters approved of the job the Governor is doing – the lowest of any group surveyed

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