Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is in Mexicali today (9/23) visiting the Governor of Baja California, Eugenio Elorduy, ostensibly to discuss Border and Educational issues. While this seems admirable, it has a feel of patronization by the Governor. It has been obvious that he has very little respect for Mexico’s elected leadership and/or the Mexican people
Schwarzenegger has given no indication that actual trade and commerce between the countries account for billions of dollars in economic growth for both countries! Mexico is California’s largest trading partner, receiving $14 billion or 12 percent other state’s total exports. The San Diego/Tijuana border and the border crossing is the busiest in the world with 5-6 million crossings each month and with 42% of those crossers coming into the San Diego region to shop and play contributing billions of dollars to the local economy. Governor Schwarzenegger should arrive with his “Sombrero” in hand and demonstrate the political astuteness of his awareness of the importance of maintaining a healthy relationship with the country of Mexico.
With the kind of economic dependency on both sides of the border, you would think that there would be some sort of concerted effort to foster a better understanding and dialogue between the two countries and in particular between the two states. Yet the exact opposite has occurred. With the exception of a cameo appearance, Governor Schwarze-negger has virtually ignored Baja California and whatever economic commissions that had been developed under former governor, Gray Davis, which have been allowed to wither away.
Governor Schwarzenegger has followed the racist attitudes of former Republican Governor Pete Wilson who attacked and alienated Mexico and the Mexican American citizens of California. Wilson created a hostile atmosphere that strained the relations between the states. Schwarzenegger has continued the trend and of strained relations with his full support of the Minuteman effort, his continued veto of immigrant driver’s licenses, his lack of Hispanic representation on staff, and his failure to maintain economic outreach, started under Governor Gray Davis. He wallows in the illusion that he can ignore and mistreat Mexico and still receive the support of the Mexican American Voters of this State. Governor Schwarze-negger now finds himself at an all time low in the polls. Of interest, he now finds 70 percent of the Mexican American community disapproving of his job as Governor!
With Schwarzenegger in Mexicali is Sunne Wright McPeak, the state’s business, transportation and housing secretary, Homeland Security Director Matthew Bettenhausen and the former Boarder Czar, Education Secretary Alan Bersin. Stupidly, missing from this entourage are the representatives of the Mexican American Community, the most powerful voting block in California politics!