Tag Archives: latinos

Univision Does Better Job on SD-6 Report

Univision has done a better job on reporting on SD-6 than most mainstream media outlets here in Houston or Texas. And this one is a discussion on the issues, as mainstream media should do. Billing Sylvia Garcia and Carol Alvarado as two powerful Latinas, Univision’s Jose Carrera does a great job of introducing the candidates and an even better job of promoting their stances on issues, even that of driver licenses for undocumented immigrants.

State Immigration Issues

Both Garcia and Alvarado stated their support for the Texas DREAM Act, which allows undocumented students access to a college or university at in-state tuition rates. This should be a no-brainer beyond SD-6, in my opinion, given that these students and their parents have more than met residency requirements for in-state tuition. Both also support driver licenses for undocumented immigrants, Alvarado stating that all driver’s should have access to vehicle insurance as a measure of safety, and Garcia stating that all residents should have a State ID no matter their immigration status.

On Voter Turn-Out

I’ve made myself clear on the disappointing turn-out after both Garcia and Alvarado spent a nice chunk of change on Round 1. So, what’s the plan during the run-off?

Garcia:  States her campaign will be more forceful and motivated. If they knocked on your door 3-times, this time, they’ll knock 6. If they called you 4 times, this time, they’ll call 8 times.

Alvarado:  With a smile, she states that she will be getting in the middle of street, yelling at voters to go vote because of the election’s importance.

On Education

Both have stated their support of any effort to restore the $5.4 billion cut from K-12 education. Alvarado stated that more money beyond what has been cut is needed. The report stated Garcia was emphatic about this, but also supported reforming public education in Texas that would free teachers to teach everything and not just to the test. In the report, Garcia also stated she would fight against Rick Perry’s idea to take funding away from public schools for private school vouchers.

On Medicaid, Health Care

Both Garcia and Alvarado support an expansion of Medicaid. Garcia cited that Rick Perry not accepting federal dollars only means that what Texas invests in federal income taxes will only go to other states. Alvarado added that one in four Texans do not have health insurance.

Although both campaigns have gone negative in various ways, there is agreement beyond the issues. Garcia stated that both are going to make history, with Alvarado adding both are of good quality and hopes to see more Latinas elected to other posts.

The Main Difference? (My own commentary)

I delve deep into word games, particularly the code words campaigns use. In this race, I see a huge difference in one instance. From Day 1, I’ve seen Carol Alvarado using her “born, raised in the East End” meme as an asset, which obviously points to the fact that Sylvia Garcia was not. Garcia, on the other hand, has not run away from being born and raised in a farm-worker family in Palito Blanco, Texas down in the Valley, and it has been an asset which shows a small-town girl grew up to be a major player in the big city. In this case, I relate a lot more to Garcia because I’ve been the recipient of that kind of commentary from many locals when all one wants to do is serve and do some good. And the bottom line, some would say that most people in Houston are arrivals, rather than born here. Just sayin’.

I figure since no one had mentioned this before, I thought I’d throw that out there for conversation’s sake. Or if that makes the decision for you, great!

Great job by Jose Carrera!

SOTS: The Power of Words (or Lack of Them)

by Fidencio Leija-Chavez, Jr.

I am not a certified English teacher, and I must confess that English is my second language. However, after several years in the U.S. Navy, my community college experience and now pursuing a master’s degree, I recognize the power of words.

Today (Jan. 29) we had the opportunity to hear our Texas Governor present his State of the State address to all Texans. Following his 3,720-word discourse, the power of words resulted in a lack of words and marginal effort.

Governor Perry opened with recognizing his family, past legislators (i.e. Houston’s Sen. Gallegos) and growth of private-sector jobs. He continued by praising CEO’s, companies and state-of-the-art packing plants. While jobs, business, and the economy of Texas occupied the majority of his speech, the Latino community awaited for Governor Perry to unveil his concern and plan for issues that affect Hispanic children, college students and families throughout the state.

We’ll give him partial credit for utilizing the word education ten times, but he never once covered the hot button issues of vouchers and standardized tests. These two will more than likely push the Governor to keep legislators past their 140 days in Austin.

Before we get to social issues that concern the Latino community (and in my opinion – all Texans), he also failed to mention women and veterans. Even more, what about women that are veterans? His speech just dropped another letter grade.

Women are filling our classrooms, leading in small business, and continuously graduating in higher numbers in college. How could they have been left out? Now, our military men and women should be alarmed that our Texas Governor overlooked them when our soldiers are returning with some of the highest rates of PTSD ever witnessed. There are no excuses for forgetting those who have served this country.

Our community inspired four new congressional seats and holds the largest percentage of children in K-12 in the State and our Governor only mentions the word Hispanic twice. Both of those instances were related to the participation of Hispanic students taking the SAT and ACT.

Which leads our community to wonder – why did he not mention comprehensive immigration reform, sanctuary cities, Dreamers, or social issues that affect everyday Hispanic communities?

Governor Perry gave us a one sided State of the State address. He applauded his supporters and defended conservative ideology while failing to recognize issues that matter to the state’s largest constituency & voting base – women, veterans, Latinos and new American citizens. These groups are engaged, united and voting in greater numbers each year, so do not be alarmed as you see them closing the gap and shifting our state to purple as our Governor and Legislative officials fail to recognize them when it matters. Words do matter!

There were 3,720 words used in the State of the State speech by Governor Rick Perry. Below is a breakdown of keywords that were used in present, past and future tense. In addition, the words could have been used in singular, plural, and in conjunction with other words.

Veterans = 0
Women = 0
Community Colleges = 1
Minority = 1
Hispanic = 2
Economic = 5
Private = 5
Business = 6
Education = 10
Fund = 13
Jobs = 16
 

Joining DosCentavos.net as a bloguero is Fidencio “Orale” Leija-Chavez, Jr. Fidencio is a Co-Founder of Latinos. Engaged. United. Voting., a US Navy Vet, a Texas State University Bobcat studying Geographic Information Systems, a graduate of Houston’s National Hispanic Professional Organization Leadership Institute, and a local political pro.

3rd Centavo ~ Acuña: Politics is the Art of Compromise?

by Dr. Rodolfo Acuña

The most overused saying among liberals is that politics is the art of compromise, and it gripes me to no end. Liberals repeat it with such smugness as if they were sages. I find it so pretentious — to the point that I consider it a bunch of toro dung.

It is like saying that politics is the art of the possible, an equally absurd, pretentious and irritating notion. What happened to the impossible dream? Shouldn’t we always strive for something better?

If we have to have a standard wouldn’t a better saying be that politics is the art of principle after all politics is not a game. It involves people, and consequences.

In my own little world, I have seen too many Chicana/o studies programs compromised out of existence with administrators convincing Chicana/o negotiators that it was impossible to give them what they wanted, not enough money. At the same time the president of the institution draws down $300,000 a year, and gets perks such as housing, a per diem, and an automobile. One recently retired university president that I know sits on two corporate boards of directors, and draws down an extra $300,000.

This is academe’s version of one potato two potatoes three potatoes, more.

The game gets ridiculous. Faculties at institutions of higher learning supposedly have shared governance. In fact, every committee is merely advisory to the president who can accept or reject the recommendations.

For the past several years California State University professors have been playing footsies with the administration or better still the chancellor’s office over the budget and pay raises. This is a Catch-22, however. Faculty members also say that they are concerned about the escalating tuition; note that students pay as much as 80 percent of instructional costs. So where is the additional revenue going to come from? Professors love students, but not enough to forgo raises or out of principle go on strike to trim back the number of administrators and the presidents’ salaries.

It really gets ridiculous at times. At Northridge, Chicana/o studies was threatened that if it exceeded its target enrollment that the department would be penalized and its budget cut. Our former chancellor wanted to pressure the state legislature to cough up more money by turning back students. The administration minions at the disparate campuses justified this by repeating the party line that numbers do not count. In fact they laid a guilt trip on us saying that Chicana/o studies professors we were not team players because we were admitting too many students.

As a result, this semester we have a crisis. The institution did not admit enough students; the rationale was if we had fewer students, then we would spend less. But it does not work that way. At state universities even the allocation for paper clips depends on how many students you are taking in. That is why most departments are now being told to beef up their enrollment or lose a portion of their department budget.

Good old compromise got us there as well as the illusion that faculty has power. In fact there were other possibilities. Compromise was not necessarily one of them.

The word compromise is insidious. President Barack Obama has been trying to play Henry Clay and show that he is a great compromiser – forgetting that he is not bargaining for a used car.

President Obama compromised and got his Obama care package. A half a loaf is better than none my Democrat friends repeated, smiled, and nodded. But, according to the New York Times, “Americans continue to spend more on health care than patients anywhere else. In 2009, we spent $7,960 per person, twice as much as France, which is known for providing very good health services.” An appendectomy in Germany costs a quarter of what it costs in the United States; an M.R.I. scan less than a third as much in Canada.

The U.S. devotes far more of its economy to health care than other industrialized countries. It spends two and a half times more than the other countries do for health care; most of it is funneled through giant health corporations. Why do we pay more? Could it be because Obama compromised on the single payer?

I have been to France, Spain and Germany; I can testify that the quality of care is on a par and often better than in the U.S. and the earnings and prestige of doctors is equivalent or better.

Why is this? Could it be that they don’t have giant medical corporations making tremendous profits? Just Blue Cross of California has annual revenue of $9.7 billion. This not for profit corporation made $180 million in excess profits in 2010.

The only conclusion that I can reach is that Obama was suckered into believing compromise was necessary and that politics was the art of the possible instead of sticking to principle.

Let’s be honest for a moment, immigration was put on the back burner until the Democratic party realized that in order to win that Latinos better be invited to the dance.

However, Mexican Americans, Latinos or, whatever we call them, play the same ridiculous game as white people do.

Go to the neighborhoods, ask Central Americans if they are Mexican, and they get insulted. Ask Cuban Americans if they are Mexican, and they get insulted. Many resent the fact or want to ignore that Mexican Americans make up two-thirds to 70 percent of the Latino total.

So, let’s not rock the boat, Mexicans will call any politician with a tenth Mexican blood a Latino and call them compadre. They are happy to be called anything but Mexican.

I don’t know how we are going to get out of this bind when we have to vote for people without principles. Are we going to support a Marco Rubio or a Ted Cruz because they have Spanish surnames, or George Prescott Bush because his mother was Mexican, and forget that he was once called ”the little brown one.”

It gets ridiculous — like that game played in the Huffington Post’s Latino Voices that features articles asking, do you know that this actor or actress has Latino blood? It is as stupid as the game of compromise or the art of the possible.

It reminds me of my grandfather and uncles who worked on the railroad (Southern Pacific) for fifty years who would say that a certain foreman was simpatico, they just knew he liked Mexicans. Why shouldn’t he? Mexican workers bought his lottery tickets and junk jewelry.

Support should be based on principle. I support Central and Latin Americans not because their numbers swell opportunities for politicos, but because they have suffered European and Euro-American colonialism, and come to this country for a better life. They deserve what every other human being should have.

We are not going to get a thing through compromise. Every time I look at John Boehner, Eric Cantor and their buddy in the Senate who reminds me of the bloodhound Trusty in “Lady and the Tramp”; I am reminded that a fair deal is based on integrity. I would not want any of these jokers to come to dinner – not in my house!

Before we start compromising and calling anyone our amigos remember that Boehner called a 2007 bipartisan immigration bill “a piece of shit.” This is what he thinks about us. I use the generic word Latino because I care about my Latin American family – not because I want to be Italian.

Obama is now at a crossroads. He is going to have to make a decision, and that decision does not only encompass immigration and gun control. It is about whether politics is the art of compromise, the art of the possible, or whether it is about principle.

My advice is to tell his three Republican amigos to take a hike and mint the damn trillion dollar coin. It is better to be right and to be respected than to be liked.

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 Chicanos. Dr. Acuña writes various opinions on his Facebook page and allows sites to share his thoughts.

VP Biden: Hispanics Are All That And A Bag of Tostitos

Well, VP Joe Biden sorta said that. What he actually said was:

“What’s finally happened is the American people, the American people have finally begun to understand …the awesome potential, future potential of the Hispanic community,” he said Thursday at a welcome reception for new Latino members of Congress. “…Now the nation — and I might add the hemisphere — understands the Hispanic community must be courted. Must be courted.”

Of course, as I always say, it’s all about policy. And VP Biden didn’t ignore the policy implications of what he stated.

At the same time, the vice president said the deferrals are “only a small part of what has to be done.” But he also said that he believes Republicans have had a “rapid epiphany” since the election about immigration reform.

Obviously, Latinos are not only about immigration reform, but it is the one issue that Republicans, including their great brown hopes like Cruz and Rubio, have used as their means of pumping up their Tea Party base. In 2012, we all know how that went, but the message is clear:  Don’t target Latinos with hateful legislation if you want to win. And the message goes for Democrats, too.

At least the VP seems to get it.

“You’re the center of this nation’s future,” he said.

Watch Junot Diaz on Moyers!

The good folks at Moyers Media sent the link to show off to all. Thanks to them!

http://player.vimeo.com/video/56012865 (for big screen)

The life and work of Junot Díaz contains many worlds. His books, including National Book Award finalist This Is How You Lose Her and Pulitzer Prize-winner The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, journey between the old and the new, and between the America that was and the America we’re becoming. Born in the Dominican Republic, but raised in New Jersey and American to the core, Junot Díaz is a spotter of the future, a curator of the past, a man of the here-and-now.

Díaz joins Bill to discuss the evolution of the great American story. Along the way he offers funny and perceptive insights into his own work, as well as Star Wars, Moby Dick, and America’s inevitable shift to a majority minority country.

There is an enormous gap between the way the country presents itself and imagines itself and projects itself and the reality of this country,” Díaz tells Bill. “Whether we’re talking about the Latino community in North Carolina. Whether we’re talking about a very active and I think in some ways very out queer community across the United States. Or whether we’re talking about an enormous body of young voters who are either ignored or sort of pandered to or in some ways, I think that what we’re having is a new country emerging that’s been in the making for a long time.”

Click on the link to find out about a live chat with Diaz on Thursday.

SD6 Ballot Positions

SD-6 candidate Joaquin Martinez was at the County Clerk’s office this morning to draw for a ballot position and posted this pic on Facebook. Here’s the order in which the candidates will appear on the ballot.

We all know how folks say that the closer you are to the top the better for you–some say by a few percentage points if you are #1. But in a race like this, I’m pretty sure it will be all about candidate ID, doors knocked and/or bodies dragged to the polls. Good luck to all!

Meanwhile, Kuff has a post on an issue I hope to hear more about in the SD-6 special election–payday lending reform.

SD-6 Candidate Filings

Well, the good people at the Communications Department of the Secretary of State just provided me with the applications of those who have filed for a spot on the January 26 ballot for the Senate District 6 Special Election. There are eight who filed applications (in the order SOS sent them).

  • Carol Alvarado – Democrat
  • R.W. Bray – Republican
  • Susan Delgado – Democrat
  • Sylvia R. Garcia – Democrat
  • Joaquin Martinez – Democrat
  • Dorothy Olmos – Republican
  • Rodolfo “Rudy” Reyes – NO PARTY AFFILIATION LISTED
  • Maria Selva – Green

More commentary on this later, but that’s the latest. PDiddie has his comments, though.

Kuff adds this to his piece from earlier today:

What we don’t know is why there was no one at the Chron or the Trib that bothered to find this out, leaving it instead to a bunch of unpaid bloggers. Be that as it may, I’ll have a post with more information tomorrow.

All it took was a nice e-mail, actually.

DCs Top Posts of 2012

Music Reviews – Top 3

The Mavericks – Suited Up and Ready

Los Texmaniacs – Texas Towns and Tex-Mex Sounds

Johnny Hernandez – Gracias…Por Los Exitos!

Political Posts – Top 10

Did Ann Just Lose The Other 30% of Latinos? (Romney Mouth)

Dude, This Election Makes No Sense (Post-Primary)

Tacos and Votes – To Protect the Vote (Latino Vote)

Endorsement:  Vote FOR the City of Houston Bonds

RIP – Texas Senator Mario V. Gallegos

Helena is Doing What and With Whom? (City Council)

Tacos and Votes ~ All About Engaging the Community

Fort Bend Dems Open HQ

Finally, Let’s Move Toward November (Post-Primary)

Dos Centavos Endorses in Dem Primary (Post Primary)

Top 3 Posts w/ Staying Power (Pre-2012)

Celebrating 40 Years of La Raza Unida Party (by Carlos Munoz)

DC Reviews ~ Intocable – 2011

2010 Profiles ~ Kathy Cheng for the 209th Court

Top 5 Cultura and Community Posts

Tejano Music Awards Fanfare is Coming

FIEL Announces Deferred Action Assistance Program

RIP – Shaun Chapa

Houston – 33rd Annual Festival Chicano

RIP – Mike Kelley

You Callin’ Me F’urn?

Well, according to SA Mayor Julian Castro, the Republicans sure as heck think of Latinos as something foreign.

“What they’re not getting is that it’s not just about changing the tone, it’s not just about not talking about electrified fences and not being uncivil. It’s also about fundamentally changing the policies that they embrace. Being more willing to engage in conversations and discussions and actually get comprehensive immigration reform done. Get the Dream Act done. Think about and include the Latino community as a part of the fabric, the family of the Untied States which it clearly is and always has been. When they think about the Latino community you can tell in both in tone and in policy that they think of it as something foreign.”

Well, I’m glad someone with national prominence finally said this. Of course, there are a few Dems that do/have done that, too. And the Democrats have fallen over each other to support right-wing, anti-immigrant Dems here in Texas. I won’t bother rehashing the names, but we all know it’s true.

The GOP still has not begun to learn any lessons from their 2012 thrashing at the hands of Latin@s, but they are attempting to write the lesson plan to their own liking. Obviously, Castro reads them like I do.

Ultimately, when we begin to hear these type of remarks from people who do not look like Castro, then we will begin to see a lot more stirring from the Latino community.

Rick Noriega Seems Out of SD6 Race

Kuff broke the news this weekend, highlighting a letter sent by former State Rep. Rick Noriega to the SEIU screening board. Ultimately, he said:

The time is not right to take on this race, and the fundraising needed, for the Noriega family. We are dedicated to public service, and tell you this with much regret–this seat is a true opportunity for leadership, one with which great things could be accomplished.

In fact, Noriega went a bit further and challenged the currently interested to run positive campaigns.

The constituents need to expect more–the debate truly needed about education, health care, infrastructure, revenue, economic development and jobs has not been on display.

Senate District 6 needs leadership, not a bitter battle for a plum elected office. You, as leaders, need to challenge the candidates to rise above self-interest and put forth plans that create real change, real opportunity in SD6.

Yikes!

Back to fundraising, the bottom line is that it’s just too difficult to run against two well-funded opponents, no matter the name recognition. As far as the issues are concerned, it’s been my experience that in these types of races, the records and stances aren’t much different. So, the folks making the money are the oppo-research pros looking for the most negative things about an individual, rather than small things that would probably result in bigger gain. This stuff might make it to a negative mail piece (or push-card) or two, but will it resonate? Will it tamp down any enthusiasm remaining from the 2012 races?

Ultimately, this race is all about the field–who knocks on more doors, who makes more phone calls, and who drags more people to the polls. Of course, the personal negativity could reach voters in this manner, as well. Consequently, that may increase the minutes spent with a prospective voter when one is trying to reach as many as possible.

Anyway, Noriega’s announcement gives those in the running a clearer shot to the win. Of course, Rick Perry is still sitting on SD-6, and at least Sylvia Garcia has been calling on Perry to set a date.