September 24, 2004

The Public Forum . . . El Foro Público

National City Politicians Need to Answer at Least One Citizen’s Questions

To La Prensa

The National City council is committing highway robbery. A crime that is unpunishable by the law. Do not let politicians of this city fool you. They have their own ideas about outing us of our rights and putting all of us on the homeless list. In this city we have more than one-fifth of the residents living below the poverty line. It is about time we got the real truth. The city is asking us to tax ourselves even more because of their inability to manage city funds. Asking us to do this is incredible. The residents of this city would like to have answers to some questions regarding our city and tax dollars.

1. Is this bond that they are asking for in this city misleading? We thought that the Sycuan Indian hotels are supposed to help pay for more firefighters and help in staffing our police departments.

2. Is big business owners hurting small business by taxing themselves?

3. Is the taxing yourself like the brown act? If we refuse to pay then is the city going to add it to our city services like they did with the increase in sewer bills that was add to our tax bill?

4. How many family members are allowed to be working for the city?

5. If there were 100 people at a meeting, how many were really National City residents?

6. How can we get agenda to these council meetings? Are there any?

7. Why is it that when we call city hall for a problem with our easements, we are told to call another city and they refuse to handle a problem that they should take care off?

8. Putting to many hotels in industrial areas can create problems. They are being set up in areas next to our navy ships building. How will this help with possible terrorist prevention?

9. Do we need extra city council personnel in our neighborhood when we already have paid city council people in this small city?

10. Do we need to hire our own attorneys so that we feel safe from the city?

11. If the state decides to raise our taxes, are we going to have to pay for even more taxes?

12. Why doesn’t the city council or the mayor’s office respond to any of our citizens complaints?

13. What happened to the rule that states that any official or anyone wanting to run for a city position needs to be a resident of this city?

14. Do we need a big lawsuit for a recall after November 2nd?

15. If the city has a healthy reserve, why do they want more of this city’s poor to pay even more money?

16. Chris Zapata never lived in National City. How does he knows what this city needs? Has he ever talked to any of us citizens?

17. Why do we have so many outside private companies working for the city?

18. How many National City residents work for the city and why don’t we have more citizens working here?

There are many more questions that need to be asked, but I take care of my bedridden mother and I am unable to ask them all. I know family and friends who live in this city are asking most of these questions. These are questions that the city council will not answer. Their response to all of this is that we need to be at their meetings if not these questions cannot be validated. Unless we attend their meetings, we are not allowed to ask questions. Some of us are unable to attend these meetings. We are unable to attend a 2-hour meeting where they only give us 2 minutes of their time, and still ignore the issues and vote the way they want. There was a time when these elected officials actually made time to answer questions and concerns from the citizens. They would offer free time to us and would come out and visit us. They were in touch with the citizens and knew that the citizens wanted. The new council has their own vision that does not include the voice of the people. I can honestly say that our politicians stink. They need to respond to the voice of the people and to the advancement of their own political careers.

Diane Salinas
National City

Reaction to Editorial: Black/Chicano Politicans Ape Mexican Politicos

I am an American of Filipino and Spanish descent and I am running for the San Diego City Council’s District 4 seat vacated by the death of Charles Lewis.

Because of my color and racial origin, I would be disenfranchised to seek the office . . . that is, if we follow the statement that reeks of bigotry of National City Councilman Luis Natividad that says, and I quote: “District 4 belongs to African-Americans and District 8 belongs to Latinos”.

I feel that Natividad’s categorization of the district where I live for almost four decades now diminishes the role and importance of the other ethno-linguistic groups, namely, Filipinos (and Asians in general) and Hispanics.

We have a stake in District 4 as much as the African Americans, the Whites and other groups which see a unification of its diverse communities rather than a division which Mr. Natividad promotes.

Since Mr. Natividad works in Charles Lewis’ District 4 office as a staffmember, I wonder what his agenda is. Could that statement mean to boost his current boss, Anthony Young, Lewis’ chief of staff, who’s also running for the vacant seat?

My candidacy faces a tough competition for there are more candidates than the finger can count, namely, Gloria Tyler Mallery, Tony Young, Bruce Williams, George Stevens, Patrick DeShields and Dwayne Crenshaw — who are all Blacks; and James Galley, who is White.

I see that only your paper, La Prensa San Diego, has denounced the idea as “ludicrous”. To which I agree wholeheartedly. We do not wish to see our district segmented into enclaves of varying colors because, after all, we are all Americans under one flag and fighting for the cause of our community.

But where does Mr. Natividad’s opinion leave us, Asians, Hispanics, Whites and the non-categorized? His opinion is not only devastatingly divisive, it also mocks the very diversity that exists in District 4.

Should I feel happy that I am of Filipino and Spanish descent that I can straddle both ethnic groups? I am not, even if it would give me a strategic political advantage, because that is not what I envision in my district.

My mantra is “fair and equal representation for all” regardless of skin color, language, culture and social standing. It is about time we speak of, about and for our community.

Marissa B. Acierto
San Diego

Vote and be a part of the change

I decided to register to vote just the other day. Actually, I just needed to change my address, but I was surprised at how easy it is to register to vote. I happened to run into a volunteer at IKEA who helped me out, but there are so many other ways to register.

The post office has registration forms and the DMV can get you registered while you sign up to renew your driver’s licence. The IRS also allows you to register when you send in your taxes. How come so many people don’t register? With the ever increasing polarization of our society, it seems obvious that everyone at least has an opinion. How about the people who happen to be out of work? Don’t they have some time to vote?

Under George Bush’s watch, America has lost 1.8 million private sector jobs, making him the first President to lose jobs since Herbert Hoover.

Yes, we did add some jobs, but the net loss (the jobs added minus the jobs created) is still almost the worst ever in the history of the US. The result is that all Americans have seen their incomes drop by an average of $1,400. Some of you have first hand knowledge of this phenomenon.

Where are the people who are out of work? Where are the people who have not gotten a raise in the last couple of years? Why not vote? What’s the harm? The least it does is give you the right to assert your opinion, and if you want change, it is one more way to make the change you want to see.

This November, we have a choice between four years of failed policies or a new direction for our country. If you want to be a part of that change, show up and vote. At the very least, register to vote, and make the decision to show up and vote in November. I know I will.

Ross Plank
San Diego

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