October 10, 2003

Editorial:

When is a community meeting Not a community meeting?

The proposed Filipino Village in National City is one of Mayor Nick Inzunza’s pet projects and is on the fast track to becoming reality. The city has already acquired federal monies to improve Plaza Boulevard, which is underway, and there are banners on the street proclaiming Filipino heritage.

While the Filipino Village idea appears to be a done deal there are still certain steps that must be taken and one of the more important steps is community input to discuss the overall plan and this is where the rub comes in. Up till now there has been no formal community meeting by the city, but this weekend on October 11, there is what appears to be a community meeting to discuss and plan “A Vision of the Filipino Village.”

Mayor Nick Inzunza has gone so far as to send an official letter inviting the community to “A Community Forum which will give you and your members the opportunity to learn more about the Filipino Village and participate in its design and development…” The problem is, there is a $25.00 registration fee per person to attend this “community” meeting. This meeting is being organized by the Filipino American Development Initiatives, Filipino American Chamber of Commerece and the Council of Philippine American Organizations.

This is outrageous that in one of the poorest cities, in a city that is trying to promote community involvement that a fee is being charged for community participation with a project that is being funded by taxpayers. Community meetings to discuss city projects must be open to the whole community which means that there cannot be a financial burden to attend a community meeting, to discuss how their tax monies will be spent! That they are charging to attend this meeting is outrageous!

What is worse is that it appears as though the Mayor is using his office and spending taxpayer’s monies to promote this event. We recently saw the trouble that councilman Luis Natividad got into for using his office to film a commercial endorsing Cruz Bustamante for governor. What is the difference between what Natividad did and what Inzunza is doing?

So the question is how will the city handle the information that is contrived from the meeting representing only the views of those who could afford to attend, versus a true community meeting organized by the city that is still needed to get the feedback of the rest of the majority of the community and their vision for Plaza Blvd.?

It is apparent that this supposed community meeting is exclusionary and that they are trying to limit the input to a select few!

One other tidbit in regards to the information sent out by the Mayor a second flyer that states the $25 registration fee the flyer states that this “community” meeting is “supported by: Mayor Nick Inzunza and the National City Council.” In our call to two of the city councilmen they knew little about the meeting and we had to forward the flyers for their information, so something fishy is going on here at National City, City Hall!

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