October 24, 2003

The Public Forum . . . El Foro Publico

Filipino Village to cost 30 – 40 million???

When the Honorable Mayor Nick Inzunza announced that his Number 7 goal wato build a Filipino Village along Plaza Blvd., between Euclid and Highland Avenue, I was one of those who cheered, admired, and saluted the Honorable Mayor for his concern, giving importance to the Filipinos, and recognizing the presence of Filipino businesses in National City.

Then, there was news circulating around … that the Mayor and the four Councilmen of The City of National City had approved a budget of 7.5 million dollars for the construction of the Filipino Village. I was again one of those who were excited and proud that at last a Filipino Village is coming into reality. But, my excitement was cut short when my friends asked me if I heard Mayor Nick Inzunza’s speech during the occasion of his 150 days in office at the Holiday Inn Hotel, that it cost around 30 million dollars for the construction of the Filipino Village. I did not believe them. So, during the forum group discussion about the Filipino Village, which was held at Martin Luther King Hall in National City on October 11, 2003, I asked for clarification from Councilman Ron Morrison. He explained that to complete the construction of the Filipino Village the cost is approximately 44 million dollars and the construction funds is coming from private sectors and not from The City of National City. I requested that this erroneous notion should be corrected because many people including myself believed that soon a Filipino village would be constructed by The City of National City with a 7.5 million dollar budget.

Now, I have my concerns and I need answers. ... Who are the authorized people, associations or organizations to solicit money/donations from businesses and individuals? Where will the money/donations be deposited so everything is accounted for? These people, associations or organizations that are authorized to solicit money for the construction of the Filipino village, will they get commission or percentage? Who are the signatories if there is a disbursement of expenses? If we cannot raise 30 to 44 million dollars for the construction of the Filipino Village but, there is a collection of 1 or more million dollars where will this money go?

Before the October 11, 2003 forum, I read that there are banks and other business that sponsored the Filipino Village Forum. There was also a $25.00 registration fee. I asked one of the committee members what will they do with the money left from this forum. She said that it would go to Youth Scholarship sponsored by an organization. I was surprised to hear that monies solicited for Filipino Village will be used for Scholarship… I suggest that we limit conducting forums to save expenses like printing of a Souvenir Program (I see this as unnecessary for an open forum) food, and other miscellaneous expenses. I look at this like a social function and rubbing elbows with the politicians, especially if it was only attended by 200 people (more or less). I see this too as a means of raising funds by a certain organization by using the project/name Filipino Village. The effective way to reach the general public is through newspaper; mail or letter to businesses and households or personally approaching them explaining the symbolic of building a Filipino village in National City. To address the truth that makes this happen, we need to raise 30 to 44 million dollars, so we need their support and donation.

I challenge all those who attended the Filipino Village Forum, especially the Committee Members, to be the first Filipino-Americans to donate or make pledges of $5,000.00 or more that will come out from their pocket (personal donation) to set an example so our dream to have a Filipino Village in National City will be materialized and come into reality the earliest possible time. I also challenge the Planner to donate a portion of his professional fees … If I hear it right, his professional fees for planning and designing the Filipino Village is $700,000.00 which will be paid by The City of National City.

Norma C. DeGuzman
President Fil-Am Women’s
Club of San Diego County
National City


Otay Water Board a mess

I have read with amazement the articles regarding the incredible things that have occurred at the Otay Water District. All of this, the result of certain rotten apples that have innocently been elected, by the ratepayers of this district.

What amazes me the most is the control, which Jaime Bonilla exerts over the rest of this board; as well as the incredible amount paid to the law firm of Burke Williams and Sorensen (BWS). There is definitely a connection between Bonilla and the lawyers of Burke Williams and Sorensen. The Latino partners, of BWS, were his attorneys when they were partners at their own law firm, providing services for his radio station company. Conflict of interest? Let the public decide this one.

Recently the case of Ruben Rodriguez, ex-auditor for the District, was decided. Mr. Rodriguez lost the case, and we must respect the decision of the court. But let’s not lose sight that he was in the process of reviewing the legal bills of BWS… If Mr. Rodriguez’s credentials were flawed, why is it that the Board members did not investigate his background prior to extending an offer of employment to him? Isn’t this typical employment practice these days? He was OK as long as he played along. But he didn’t, so he was fired. If this is not the case, then why did the Board not hire another auditor, and continue with the audit of these bills?

  So what happens now? Even though Mr. Rodriguez lost his case against the District, there are still other pending cases. Should we the ratepayers allow this board to continue? I doubt it. They need to be removed, or better yet they should resign. The firm of Burke Williams and Sorensen should be fired immediately, and made to pay for the damages caused by its legal advice and should in good faith return their fees. Good idea, but it’s doubtful that will happen.

Raul Perez
Chula Vista


Mexico meddling in U.S. affairs!

Once again the Mexican government which guards their own southern border with guns is now once again meddling in U.S. affairs! (“Donation of Books in Spanish Through Mexican Consulates in the US” 10/3/03.)

Always pushing their poor and uneducated on the American taxpayers “Gimme, Gimme, Gimme”. The Mexican government is donating books to their mostly illegal alien communities in the U.S.  in order to strengthen national identity? They are in the U.S. for Christ’s sake?

Why not educate these people back in their own homeland if they think national identity is so important? Mexico should mind it’s own business where the United States is concerned. English is part of our national identity, and so is rule of law, both subjects that are not part of the Mexican identity. Mexico seems worried about losing their citizen’s loyalty to America.

But I suppose the 26 billion dollars the Mexican government receives in remittances is their greatest resource? These are American jobs where English is spoken.

Priscilla Espinoza
Nuevo, Calif.


Reclamo Sobre Becas Patrocinadas Por Compañías Cerveceras

Con referencia al artículo publicado el día 6 de octubre, “Homerunazo! A La Educación!”, escrito por Erika Montes de Oca , me da pena ver que La Fundación de Becas Hispanas ha permitido ser manipulada por la compañía de cerveza Anheuser-Busch y sus distribuidores al aceptar los $5.000 para financiar becas para estudiantes  latinos o chicanos. Estoy seguro que hay otras entidades, ya sea compañías de negocios o fundaciones, que pueden aportar esos $5.000.

Las compañías cerveceras tienen como interés principal el promover sus ventas y que mejor oportunidad que empezar con la juventud latina. De por sí, estas compañías han secuestrado las festividades del Cinco de Mayo y la han convertido en festivales de consumo de bebidas alcohólicas en exceso. No me sorprendería si en ciertos lugares las ofrecen gratis para empezar el proceso de adicción al alcohol, que ciertamente aumentará sus ventas.

El alcohol es una droga, tal como lo es la nicotina. El uso excesivo de ambos crea una addicción. No creo yo que haya una fundación de becas que quiera aceptar fondos de compañías de tabaco. Porque es acceptable recibirlos de compañías cerveceras? 

Es bien conocido que la proporción de alcohólicos crónicos en el segmento Hispánico de la sociedad en general es bastante alta, posiblemente más del 10%, que es el porcentaje nacional. Desde el punto de vista de un alcohólico en recuperación con 19 años de sobriedad cuya vida ha cambiado inconmensurablemente para lo mejor, ha resultado de un programa de sobriedad completa, cualquier acción que remueva la atracción y la oportunidad de abusar del alcohol tiene mucho valor humano.  

El grupo que organiza las festividades del Cinco de Mayo en Barrio Logan ha tenido mucho éxito en años recientes al celebrar esas fiestas en un ambiente enteramente sobrio, sin necesidad del patrocinio de las compañías cerveceras. Ojalá y que lo continuen haciendo, y que La Fundación de Becas encuentre fondos que provengan de fuentes que no subvencionan vicios. 

Fernando F.
Solana Beach

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