A Historical Analysis:
By Herman Baca
In Mexico they call it what it is, “Corruption, La Mordida.” In the U.S. especially in San Diego County they call it, “Campaign Contributions.” District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis the most anti-Mexican District Attorney in SD County’s history, a Republican with a political agenda, running for Mayor of San Diego. Dumanis has a long history of criminalizing, profiling, and defaming persons of Mexican ancestry (i.e. CV Councilman Steve Castaneda), and entire Mexican communities such as Old Town National City.
“Old Town National City (OTNC) gangs, which has prowled National City streets since World War II and whose members, in some cases go back four generations in the same family, etc.”
Dumanis is also known for her political grandstanding news conferences and recently announced that criminal charges had been filed against three Sweetwater Union District Trustees, a former District Superintendant and one South Bay contractor. All were accused of being involved in “pay-for-play,” with businesses that had been awarded hundreds of millions of dollars of voter-approved bond projects.
So no one misunderstands, this analysis is not a defense of the indicted politicians…the indefensible, cannot be defended, and the courts will determine innocence or guilt!
According to Dumanis, “This case is an excellent example of our office’s commitment to prosecuting public integrity cases.”
Dumanis’s indictments have raised anger and questions in the Chicano community against the indicted politicians and herself. The main questions being, what is Pay-for-Play, are the indictments selective, were the indictments political motivated by white politicians, and why has this happened politically to our community?
What is Pay-for-Play? It is a euphemism for political corruption, but in political practice it’s as American as apple pie. Part and parcel of the U.S. political system from the President right down to the elected dog catcher. Ex-speaker of the California State Assembly (1969), Jess Unruh described it in terms of, “Money is the mother’s milk of politics,” and on lobbyists, “If you can’t eat their food, drink their booze, screw their women and then vote against them, you have no business being up here.”
Politically, Democratic President Obama has raised 220 million dollars, and Republican candidate Mitt Romney 56 million? SD Mayor Jerry Sanders received thousands for his 2008 re-election campaign, $45,000 plus for his failed half-cent sales-tax hike, etc. Dumanis herself received large contributions from law enforcement.
The question begs, can anyone be so naïve as to believe that politicians don’t owe those contributors something in return? The reality is that Pay-for-Play permeates the entire political system; while most Anglos believe that it only exists with so-called minority politicians!
Are D.A. Dumanis” indictments selective? The history of the white run “just-us” prosecution sentencing and court system is one of being historically selective. In the past, prosecutors and local courts sentenced young Chicanos for up to 15 years in prison for possessing one-marijuana joint, today young Anglos are sentenced to drug treatment centers. On the other hand, the Federal Court system sentence thousands of Mexicans for immigration violations in assembly line fashion for the sole benefit of the prison industrial complex.
Blatant examples of selective enforcement, indictments, and prosecution of Mexicans, and other minorities compared to white politicians are right before our eyes. Ex-councilman Ralph Inzunza (Mexican) was indicted along with Charles Lewis (Afro-American) and Michael Zucchet (White). All three were charged with the same crimes. Inzunza was convicted and most likely will go to prison, Charles Lewis passed away, and Michael Zucchet was found innocent, and now has a high paying job as General Manager of the SD Municipal Employees Association? As one friend wittily stated, “The white man was found innocent, the black man is dead, and the Mexican is going to jail, guess nothing ever changes, eh?”
In the past ex SD councilpersons Jess Haro, Uvaldo Martinez, Ralph Inzunza and CV’s City Councilman Steve Castaneda (found innocent) were all selectively indicted for doing the same thing that most politicians at city hall were, and are still doing.
Case in point: concerning the dual standard and preferential application of the law is…San Diego’s Mayor Jerry Sanders case. Sanders allowed; despite City Attorney Jan Goldsmith legal advice that the move wasn’t legally permissible … Qualcomm Stadium to temporarily rename Snapdragon Stadium to promote the wireless chip giant’s smart phone processor during three nationally televised football games. Sanders decision is nothing less than a quid pro quo, Pay-for-Play. The proof, news reports that Qualcomm co-founder Irwin Jacobs contributed thousands to Sanders re-election campaign, and $45,000 into the mayor’s failed push for a half-cent sales-tax hike, etc.
Until D.A. Dumanis answers why she has not enforced the law, investigated or indicted Mayor Sanders’ for his Pay-for-Play case, not indicted others (Anglos?) in the Sweetwater District case, that questions and betrayal of the publics trust shown by the community now being directed at the indicted politicians, will soon be directed at her.
Rest assured if D.A. Dumanis fails to address the above, many in our community will continue to believe what my witty friend so succulently stated, “The white man was found innocent, the black man is dead, and the Mexican is going to jail, guess nothing ever changes, eh?”
Part 2 next week: – Why has this happens politically to our community? Baca is president of the Committee on Chicano Rights