Tag Archives: latinos

3rd Centavo: Acuña ~ Our Politicos Have Sold Us Out

Selling Public Space
The Chickens Will Come Home to Roost
By Rodolfo F. Acuña

On the one side is neoliberalism, with all its repressive power and its machinery of death; on the other side is the human being. There are those who resign themselves to being one more number in the huge exchange of power … But there are those who do not resign themselves … In any place in the world, anytime, any man or woman rebels to the point of tearing off the clothes resignation has woven for them and cynicism has died grey. Any man or woman, of whatever colour, in whatever tongue, speaks and says to himself or to herself: Enough is enough! Ya basta! — Subcomandante Marcos

acunaThe lambs have a problem hearing the sounds of the clarion because of a lack of long term memory. Because of this memory lapse, the Zapatistas January 1, 1994 revolt protesting the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) never sunk in. Perhaps the word neoliberal was too foreign to the lambs that had a difficult time comprehending that the word takes different forms.

News that University of California President Janet Napolitano began two days of meetings to Mexico about expanding academic and research cooperation with Mexican universities and scientific and cultural organizations has raised fears among many of us.

The U.S. War on Drugs has ravaged Mexico to the point that few U.S. students want to study there. As a consequence, about 40 out of 233,000 UC students study in Mexico each year, while about 1,900 Mexicans attended UC schools in 2013.

Ironically, Napolitano, the former secretary of Homeland Security, was involved in making U.S. drug policy; her visit coincides with that of Secretary of State John Kerry. According to the UC president this is part of the “UC’s many and varied partnerships, exchanges and collaborations with Mexico are integral to bettering lives on both sides of our national border … I’m here to ensure we grow that relationship by establishing our new project to enhance the mutual exchange of students, faculty and ideas across the border.”

For over 50 years, the Mexican American community has always encouraged exchange programs lobbying for programs with Mexico. However, many of us have come to realize that just studying in Mexico, or studying in the United States does not always have positive outcomes.

A Facebook friend, Vicente Ramírez says about these exchanges, “They’re [the UC and CSU] not going to recruit the working class–it’s a class war… They’re recruiting Mexico’s elite students so that they can then go back and apply neoliberal policies. All of Mexico’s secretaries of Economy (Secretario de Economía) and Finance (Secretario de Hacienda y Crédito Público) have gotten their Ph.D.’s from American universities since the mid-1980s. Mexico’s current Secretario de Hacienda, Luis Videgarray who successfully pushed for the privatization of PEMEX got his Ph.D. from MIT.” Ex-Mexican president Carlos Salinas de Gortari, arguably the intellectual godfather of Mexican neoliberalism, received his MA and PhD in economics from Harvard.

Upon hearing about Napolitano’s Mexican junket UC Irvine Professor Rodolfo Torres wrote. “I read this morning that Janet Napolitano is in Mexico exploring academic and research cooperation with Mexican universities. Do you think there is a proactive role UC Chicano Studies and progressive Latin American Studies faculty can play to prevent this initiative from becoming a total market-driven and neoliberal project? My Dean (Social Ecology) also announced at a school-wide faculty meeting that she will be meeting with selected faculty to discuss this US-Mexico initiative.”

UC Professor Jorge Mariscal wrote on FB, “UC is recruiting the Mexican ruling class and a token number of working-class mexicanos/as who identify with the ruling class. This process will intensify in coming years as Napolitano struggles to erase her record as DHS/Deportation Czar. One (un)intended consequence will be the slow-motion strangulation of Chicano/a programs in the UC system that refuse to subordinate the local (albeit transnational) to the ‘global’.”

It should be made clear that this initiative is not about diversity or cultural enrichment. The recruitment is global and it is about profit. When the UC or CSU turns away students the for-profit university sector in both countries thrive.

Neoliberalism at its worse will recruit wealthy Mexican students to displace U.S. minority students charging them out of state and foreign student fees. Not too many if any working class Mexican students will be able to afford the tuition and dorm costs.

The current exchanges have had little scrutiny from progressives in this country. Mexico has set a goal of sending 100,000 Mexican students a year to the U.S. by 2018. In addition, the UC and CSU system have recruiters in China, the Middle East, Asia and the U.S.. Let’s be clear, large numbers of international students impact minorities and working class students many of whom have already been priced out of the market.

Today first year students from outside California comprise almost 30 percent of freshmen at UC Berkeley and UCLA, a growth of just over 10 percent in four years. The Mercury News reports, UC Berkley’s “revenue from out-of-state and international students has grown to about $160 million, about 7 percent of its annual operating budget and more than half of its state subsidy.”

Meanwhile, at UCLA just under 28 percent of the incoming freshmen are out of state students while just over 3 percent are African American. Inside Higher Ed writes that “The number of foreign and out-of-state students admitted to the University of California’s 10 campuses soared by 43 percent this year, while the overall number of would-be freshmen admitted from within the state’s borders grew by just 3.6 percent, the university system … Out-of-state and foreign students made up nearly one in five students admitted for next fall, 18,846 of a total of 80,289.”

In the meantime, the Cal State Universities are following the same neoliberal model. Pathetically desperate the CSU has embarked on a policy of growth. The problem is that it is shifting the cost of this growth almost exclusively to students who pay over three-quarters of instructional costs and almost a hundred percent of new construction.

This leads to an insidious policy that limits space for low income students and justifies higher fees and tuition. It gives students who are turned away no alternative but to go to for-profit universities. Recently, a scheme by the community colleges to enter into a contract with the University of Kaplan to offer classes online to community college students (at a substantial fee) was derailed because of public outcry. (Until recently Kaplan was a tutorial center mainly for foreign students).

Meanwhile, California politicos are encouraging an insidious policy of divide and conquer, pitting the Asian community against the Latino and other minority communities. This has led to some Asian American leaders thinking affirmative action will discriminate against them.

I use the phrase “The Chickens are Coming Home to Roost” because the commodification of public spaces has been occurring for some time. The Zapatista revolt should have been a wake up call; however, our elected officials have sold us out. They seem more concerned with photo ops and getting elected than they are in preserving public spaces.

I cannot remember a Latino elected official since the late Marco Firebaugh who was concerned with the state of Latinos in higher education. However, the lambs have to bear responsibility for not keeping the politicos in check and allowing themselves and their public spaces to be sold on the open market.

GIVE US YOUR RICH, SEND BACK THE POOR

Rodolfo Acuña, Ph.D., is an historian, professor emeritus, and one of various scholars of Chicano studies, which he teaches at California State University, Northridge. He is the author of Occupied America: A History of ChicanosDr. Acuña writes various opinions and essays on his Facebook page and allows sites to share his thoughts.

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Tweet of the Day: Los 20 Latinos

DC followed the Austin “10-1″ single member districts battle last year and the result is that Latinos in Austin seem to be running everywhere, and not just in one or two districts. Here’s a Tweet from DC friend Paul Saldaña:

Good luck to the candidates, but I have some favorites, thus far. Here’s the list:

Mayor – Council Member Mike Martinez
District 2 – Delia Garza and Edward Reyes
District 3 – Susana Almanza, Julian Fernandez, Miguel Ancira, Mario Cantu, Eric Rangel, Sabino “Pio” Renteria and Ricardo Turollols-Bonilla
District 4 – Gregorio Casar, Monica Guzman, Marco Mancillas, Gabe Rojas, Xaiver Hernandez, Robert Perez, Jr. and Manuel A. Munoz
District 5 – Mike Rodriguez
District 7 – Pete Salazar, Jr.
District 8 – Eliza May

LD Poll: Deportations Have Alienated Young Latinos From Dems

I hate to say “I told you so,” but…

Latino Decisions just released some poll data
on how the Obama Administration’s deportation policy is affecting young Latino attitudes toward the Democratic Party.

What seems to have helped the Obama Administration’s approval numbers all these years is a lack of information.

Somewhat surprisingly, as reflected in the figure below, we found that overall knowledge of the Obama administration’s deportation policies is limited.

Good for El Prez these last five years, not good for Latinos who seem to be less engaged every year. As I’ve always said, Republicans may not be pushing “comprehensive immigration reform” but El Prez does hold the keys to the deportation buses. Of course, boasting about deportations doesn’t work, and that trick about calling him “deporter in chief” didn’t seem to help with Republicans, either.

Still, young Latinos seem to know the difference between Democrats and Republicans when it comes to immigration issues.

Our study then tested the effect of additional knowledge of mass deportations by randomly assigning half of the survey participants, after answering the question on deportations under the last two presidents, with the following: “In fact, the Obama administration has deported around one and half times more people each year than the average under President Bush.” We then asked survey participants whether they see the Democratic and Republican parties as “welcoming, unwelcoming, or neither welcoming nor unwelcoming toward Latinos.” In the control condition with no additional information 55% of respondents rated the Democrats as “welcoming,” compared to 45% among those who received the additional information on deportations; this difference is statistically significant. Learning that Obama has been deporting more people per year than his predecessor makes Latinos view the Democratic Party as less welcoming. Only 9% of our sample rated the Republican Party as welcoming to Latinos, with no significant effects for the experiment.

There’s no doubt that President Obama’s approval ratings among Latinos, generally, has taken a significant hit, especially these last few years. And that can be blamed on a blown roll-out of Obamacare and the Obama deportation policies/record. But I would also venture to predict that a good reason for young Latinos still sticking with Democrats and not Republicans is because of public policies that matter most to them:  student loan reform, health care reform, education, etc. Of course, that’s with no added information provided to those polled about other issues. In other words, the major flaw in this poll is a lack of other issues. Because I’d really like to know how young Latinos feel about a whole list of issues.

Bottom line:  It would seem to me that young Latinos are not necessarily single-issue voters. And that may be the only thing that “saves” the Democrats. Of course, a question that needs to be asked is how would they vote in 2014–or, if they even intend to vote in 2014. And if this attitude is affected by the deportation policy, then the Democratic strategy suddenly gets simpler–if the political will exists. And I won’t hold my breath for that. But it does affect the overall strategy of “turnout, turnout, turnout.”

I will say that the Democratic strategy needs to be much better than just pointing fingers at the other side and waiting for Dan Patrick’s mouth to offend 10 million Texas Mexicans and other Latinos. Something’s gotta give.

3rd Centavo: Why Latinos Don’t Vote in the Eyes of a New Generation

(Editor’s Note:  I met Ivan a couple of years ago while visiting UH-Downtown and he was in the middle of a race for student body president. A hard worker and always willing to learn, he has given some thought to one of the biggest questions in politics and presents those thoughts here. He currently works in the public service sector and is a local community activist.)

by Ivan Sanchez

ivanIn Houston, Hispanics make up about 44% of the population, but we comprise only about 8% of the business and political leadership combined. Most people would assume that voter participation would increase over time, however that has not been the case with Hispanics over time. Less than a decade ago, we had 5 Hispanic City elected officials, Today we only have two. So why it is that Houston is the most diverse city in the world except when it comes to voting?

Like most 1st generation Hispanics, my family and I immigrated to the United States for a better life. I am a recent Political Science graduate that humbly wants to share what I have learned as a 26 year old political activist. This is an attempt to inform and educate Hispanics and other members of our society about the obstructions Hispanics have in the path to political participation. Though this article is not concentrated on a solution, like when breaking a habit, we must 1st acknowledge the problem and analyze the cause.

All Numbers but no walk:

Today, Hispanics are almost half of Houston’s population. It’s calculated that by 2018, Hispanics in Houston will be 60% or more of the population. However, my friend and colleague Mario Salinas, explains that “Numbers mean nothing without the capacity to translate those numbers into meaningful action”. Yes, we are so many, yet, we are so politically immobilized. For a City the nation portrays itself in 15 years, the future is at stake.

More than science:

Political Science predicts voting probability by calculating a person or group’s Social Economic Status, also known as SES. Though Hispanic SES is a major factor on why we don’t vote, it can additionally be generational differences, how we spend our free time, fear, and the different countries that we come from. So let’s break down SES.

SES, Social Economic Status:

SES is based on 3 key factors: age, income, and education. The more the age, income and education, the higher the probability that a person votes. It also works the other way around, as the younger, the less income and education, the less one is likely to vote. Unfortunately for us, Hispanics are among the lowest ranking ethnicities on the SES scale.

SES, Age:

The Hispanic ethnicity in general is the youngest group in the United states. Our age median numbers are incredibly young at a national median compared to other Ethnicities. According to the 2010 census, the median age of Hispanics is 27 years old – An age where immediate compensation is an instinct, and the future seems far away. An age where the trendy thing to do is work for immediate gratification instead of the long term educational future. With that statistic, we must make education easier to access, not harder – making it interesting would serve as icing on the cake.

SES, Education:

According to the 2010 Census, only 16% of Hispanics that graduate high school decide to attend college. Out of these few that attend college, only 51% of Latinos that start college complete their bachelor’s degree. Hence, in Houston, Hispanics have an educated work force of roughly 8%. With no education, this leads our community to have a big blue collar work force, and the lower the available skills, consequently, the lower the income.

SES, Income:

In the US, approximately 10 million out of 58 million Hispanics do not have full “legal” permission to contribute to the community we vouched and risked our live to come to. That’s approximately 20% of our Hispanic brothers and sisters that are undocumented Americans, living in the shadows and are exploited with extremely low wages, or worse, wage theft. Though education is the major barrier to income, an additional obstruction to income exists by language barriers. Documented Americans know how hard it can be to find a Job at times, but the reality of obtaining a good paying job while not knowing  prefect English and/or the lack of a degree is slim to none in this century.

Education cycle:

As Hispanics tend to have lower incomes due to our limited education, we compensate the loss of low income by having two jobs and by working long shifts on the weekends. Naturally, Hispanic families are very family oriented, and as good of intentions we mean to each other, families further compensate the loss of income by utilizing the younger generations in order to make ends meet. As a new century-academic graduate, I witnessed hundreds of Hispanic friends that didn’t graduate high school and college because they decided to support their parents, siblings and households. With millions of Hispanic families ending their opportunity to an educational career, the consequence to our political participation is catastrophic.

Fear:

The majority of Hispanic [immigrants] come from different countries with corrupt and ruthless governmental systems. This fear is so credible and embedded in our psyche that it affects our SES to the core. Even when we finally end up in the high portion of the SES scale (older, high income and educated), we tend to break off the “proven” SES guidelines as they misunderstand this new government and try to avoid it at all cost. This drives our few “powerful” and educated Hispanics in the workforce to not pay attention to the new democracy they are living in.

Self-Hispanic Wound:

In 2014, Hispanics:  Mexicans, Colombians, Cubans, Ecuadoreans, Argentineans, Bolivians, Salvadorians, Peruvians, and every other Latino country and descendancy – make up the 44% of Houston’s population. However, the countries we come from divide our united voice as each Latino of a corresponding country separates themselves into multiple segregated groups, therefore forming smaller separate percentages. Our cultures, soccer fanaticism, pride and other variables are separating and diminishing our united voice in the United States. Hispanics need to realize that no matter where we come from, here in the US, we all pledge to one flag. There is nothing wrong with preserving the culture, but we need to understand that we as individuals are nothing without each other. And as Houston is a melting pot of all ethnicities, I only hope all Hispanics melt together as well. My family already did.

Demoralization:

When rarely involved, Hispanics usually vote for candidates that carry Hispanic sounding names. Texas now has their 1st “Hispanic” US Senator. That Senator, like most Hispanics, also came to the US for a better life. Ironically, that Senator wants to deport Hispanics and does not even support a fair Immigration Reform that has a path to Citizenship. As Hispanics are generally politically inactive, they see and hear these high powered elected officials do this to their families and neighbors, only furthering the mistrust of government and demoralizing our potential.

I often hear, “Win the Latino vote, win the political landscape. All we have to do is get Latinos to vote!”

Well Geez! If it were that easy, you would think it would be done by now, no? However, before the system tries to win our vote, they must win our hearts and minds. Information translates to empowerment, and when the system empowers us, they might just earn our vote. However, the ball is in our court as we cannot wait for the system to help us.

The answer to political participation is inside the mind of all who cannot afford education. We need to educate and organize ourselves to ensure the blossoming economic future of Houston and this Country by uniting within ourselves and our allies. We need to get out of our comfort zone, and become constant active participants on the field. Though this is an informative article and not a solution concentrated piece, you can start by empowering others and sharing this article. Let’s create a laser sharp focus on engaging and educating the youth, their schools and our churches. Education is the only true equalizer of this century, and we need to massively advertise and educate that elections matter – their family’s lives may depend on it one day.

Lone Star College System Agrees to Single Member Districts

I just about moved back to the ‘burbs when I found out that the voting rights lawyer for the Democrats (Chad Dunn) led the legal effort to change the way elections are held in the Lone Star College System.

The way they have been held in the past definitely bothered me during my decade in the ‘burbs since Latinos could never get elected, and only a couple of African Americans ever won. Even when an anti-immigrant, right-wing Hispanic (Martin Basaldua) was appointed, his own political party didn’t help him get re-elected (he lost).

The agreement includes a new voting map based on the 2010 Census that will take effect next year. The map divides the college system into districts each represented by a single elected board member.

In addition, board elections will be moved from May during odd years to November during even years to maximize voter participation, court documents state.

As suburban as the college system is, it is fast becoming quite diverse. The diversity had previously been centered at its North Harris campus; however, the face of all of the campuses is much different, now.

About 30 percent are Hispanic, 16 percent black and 46 percent Anglo, the lawsuit said.

I’m looking forward to seeing the new map to see how these districts are mapped out.

Abbott’s Hispandering vs His Real Message

So, we’ve heard that Greg Abbott likes to get an “awww!” from Latinos when he mentions he married a Latina. Well, this weekend, he showed up and spoke at a local Latino business club thing, along with a whole bunch of other Republicans trying to play nice with brown biz folk.

My response? Meh! Policies matter, people!

Anyway, soon after Wendy Davis announced, along with all of the mysogynistic, anti-woman stuff that has been tossed at her, Abbott stated that she would bring “California values” to Texas. He’s probably trying to speak to the racist homophobes who get off on that kind of stuff, but I think it sends a real message to Latinos given CA Governor Jerry Brown’s recent signing of Latino and immigrant friendly laws.

Brown just signed a law which helps stop local law enforcement from doing immigration enforcement and the undue racial profiling that comes with it. Wendy Davis voted against SB9 in 2011, which Abbott supported, and would have done the opposite of CA’s Trust Act. I don’t know about you, but this is a California value I like.

Another bit about Greg Abbott’s disdain for “California values,” it turns out Brown also signed a bill allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses. Doing so will provide access to vehicle insurance–a boon to public safety, the economy, and business interests. Gregg Abbott’s campaign attacked Wendy Davis for supporting a similar measure during her recent visit to TribFest.

Abbott supported cutting billions from public education and universities. Abbott has fought against access to health care (Obamacare), which Latinos support in huge numbers. Latinos even supported expanding Medicaid, but Abbott did not.

I don’t know about you, but I’m thinking “California values” means anything pro-Latino and/or Pro-Immigrant. Message received.

Latinos To Appeal Ruling on County Map

The Chron reports that Latino activists who a local federal judge ruled against over Harris County’s redistricting have decided to move forward with an appeal.

Activists who believe a now-adopted Harris County redistricting plan illegally dilutes Latino votes in the only Latino-opportunity commissioner precinct are set to appeal a ruling made at the beginning of the month.

In her long-anticipated decision, issued Aug. 1, U.S. District Judge Vanessa Gilmore said the plaintiffs, led by Houston City Councilmen James Rodriguez and Ed Gonzalez, were unable to demonstrate that a map adopted two years ago by the Harris County Commissioners Court was unconstitutional or that race was the predominant factor in the design of the plan.

The notice of appeal was filed Thursday in the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals by plaintiffs’ attorney Chad Dunn, general counsel for the Texas Democratic Party.

The initial lawsuit, which went to trial in November, was filed in 2011 as the Commissioners Court prepared to adopt a map with precinct boundaries based on the 2010 census. After the ruling, the court adopted those boundaries at a meeting on Aug. 13.

I’m looking forward to reading that appeal.

The Notion That The GOP Needs to Embrace People

An article in the Lubbock Avalanche Journal (by Enrique Rangel) caught my eye this weekend. It talked about the need for the Republican party to embrace minorities, and featured in the article was a complaining (again) Aaron Pena.

The article takes us back to Texas Monthly’s cover photo featuring Wendy Davis and the Castro brothers, which earned the Castros the insult of “wetback” from a bigot, to which Mayor Castro responded. Apparently, so did Aaron Pena.

So, Peña spoke up as loudly as he could.

“As conservatives grounded in principles of decency and respect for all people, it is our responsibility to openly denounce these sorts of demeaning statements,” he wrote in a letter to the editor published in the San Antonio Express-News.

“Our state is changing in many ways, demographically and otherwise,” Peña added. “If we are to move forward cohesively and productively as the great state we are, we must put these ugly vestiges of our past behind us.”

Given Republican attacks on women and the state budget, I’m haven’t seen the “decency and respect,” but as the immigration debate moves forward, it seems the vitriol is getting worse, thanks to Republican Steve King of Iowa and his “canteloupe” comments about DREAMers. Needless to say, it is even upsetting Republicans like Pena.

Over the years, King has also compared immigrants to dogs and proposed an electrified fence along the border with Mexico.

Back in Texas, Dallas tea party leader Ken Emanuelson said recently Republicans don’t want blacks to vote because they overwhelmingly support Democrats.

“Our party doesn’t need those people and we should denounce them as strongly as we can when they make or post those ugly comments,” Peña said.

Even another Republican Latino had something to say.

“The problem is that those at the top, the leaders, don’t know how to deal with these people (the bigots),” said former Rep. Raul Torres of Corpus Christi.

“They have failed us miserably, hoping the problem will go away.” Torres said of GOP leaders who say little or nothing when a racist remark triggers a public uproar.

Hell, although not racist in nature, but more “chicken-shittedness,” I had my issues with the Democrats who listened to a consultant who told them back in 2005 that the immigration issue would just go away and not to engage Republicans on it. That said, not much has changed, other than some cosmetic engagement and, now, a complete giveaway of the store (border militarization) during the negotiation over immigration reform to appease the Republicans–which has failed.

Bottom line, it will take a lot more than simply “being nice” to turn Latinos “red,” in vote and not in anger. Republican stances on education (K-12 and College), Obamacare, and jobs/economy are not very well liked by Latinos according to the latest Latino Decisions polling.

Much like it is said that Latinos are not monolithic (although Obama’s 71% in 2012 says much), they are also not a one-issue group of people, unless Republicans go negative on immigration (which then turns into anti-Latino rhetoric).

I had a relatively short conversation with a Republican Latina who attended the Gus Garcia Day celebration this weekend who tells me she is going to file to take on John Cornyn for U.S. Senate because of his stances on immigration. Other than telling her she faces a lonely road in the GOTea primary, since Latinos stay away from that primary a lot more often than from the Dem primary, it was difficult not to smirk. “Bless her heart,” I thought, but I reminded her of the fact that Latinos are not a one-issue people, and Republican primary voters are certainly not what you would call pro-Latino or pro-immigrant, given the kind  of stuff they come up with at their conventions.

Nonetheless, a run by her may be what it takes to convince Republicans to let go of the new-Jim Crow attitude they are portraying with their immigration stances, voter ID, etc. But she would still be a Latina Republican left to defend and convince Latinos on draconian budget cuts and everything else the GOP is trying to dismantle.

In other words, the name-calling is just one part of the reason Republicans aren’t earning the Latino vote.

 

 

Pro-Migrant Poll on Latino Support for GOP Unrealistic

When it comes to polling anyone, it’s all in the question. Republican pollsters ask questions one way, Democratic pollsters ask another way, usually. Well, Latino Decisions’ recent poll on Latino support for Rubio, Bush, and Paul Ryan is quite disingenuous. 

While the 2016 presidential election is a full three years away many of the high profile Republican contenders are enmeshed in the immigration reform debate, and if Republicans demonstrate strong leadership on passing comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship possible candidates such as Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush and Paul Ryan could get strong support from Latino voters.  However if Rubio, Bush or Ryan distance themselves from the immigration bill and House Republicans defeat the measure none of the GOP candidates stands to improve on the historic Romney 2012 defeat among Latinos. [Full poll results here]

Latino Decisions and others have done other polling in the recent past about how Latinos feel about various issues, and when it comes right down to it, Latinos fall in line with Democratic Party-promoted policies on education, health care, and jobs/economy. So, why weren’t these polled voters reminded of the Rubio, Bush, and especially Ryan positions on those policies. Ryan (and Romney) was defeated in 2012 because of those positions.

It is obvious to me that the poll was created to put a scare into Republicans, but assuming that Latinos are solely single issue voters taints the poll. We are not.

On top of that, the current Latino political conversation has included the addition of the “border surge” to the bill which Rubio very loudly insisted be included or he would not play the game anymore. I won’t even go into Bush’s “fertile” remark. And, Ryan, well, he still wants to cut off our viejitos and viejitas from Social Security.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been a fan of Latino Decisions. Recently, they even wrote up a defense of the Voting Rights Act backed up by science and numbers. So, I know they are capable of good work. But  this last poll goes against what we should be doing–educating and empowering Latino voters with facts. And especially about candidates.

Besides, we are seeing everyday that the GOP is not going to budge on immigration reform, and moreover, that the GOP has all but given up on the Latino vote. At least, that’s how it looks today.

SB1: Who’s Fighting For Latin@ Interests?

If one hasn’t noticed themake-up of the Senate Bill 1 (the budget) conference committee, one should take a look-see. One will find that on the Texas House side, there are no Latinos. State Rep. Sylvester Turner, I’m sure, serves folks well, but Latinos are not even represented on the committee. On the Senate side, at the very least there is one Latino (Hinojosa) and one whose district has a good chunk of Latino population (Whitmire). Why is the Texas House different?

Before anyone responds with, “what about this group?” or “that group?” let’s get real. Mexican Americans and Latinos are the fasting growing demographic; if anything, it was more than evident in the last Census. Republicans proved it by redrawing Congressional and other district boundaries with the intent of decreasing the power of the Latino vote in one way or another.

Obviously, as far as Republicans are concerned, Latinos are on their radar, but the results of their actions have tended to be negative, rather than supportive.

Here are some facts:

  • Hispanics accounted for 65% of Texas’ population growth.
  • Non-Hispanic Whites account for 45% of the population.
  • As Education is a major portion of the budget, half of Texas’ K-12 students are Hispanic.

I can go on with the demographics, obviously. And I can also give an entire listing of how billions cut from K-12 and higher education, or cuts to health care, in 2011 have affected Latinos. And if it affected Latinos, one knows it affected everyone else, too.

I guess all I’m asking for is a little fairness and representation on a conference committee that is supposed to decide on a budget that affects a huge chunk of Texans. A huge chunk that has obviously impacted politics and policy in Texas.

If you want me to suggest names, I can give you some, too, but chances are they will be members of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus.