OPEN LETTER TO THE COMMUNITY
by Herman Baca / October 27, 2010
Numerous persons in the Chicano community have asked if anything will substantially change after next weeks elections, especially with all the His-Her Panics candidates running for public office?
The question is important for those seeking change to address and find solutions to the myriad of problems/issues affecting our communities.
To answer the questions we must revisit our peoples’ recent political history. Politically our people have only been involved at the national level since the early 60’s when the “Viva Kennedy Clubs” were organized. In 1968 (42 years ago) when others and myself got involved with electoral politics thru MAPA (Mexican American Political Association) our people were truly a distinct minority. In those years we didn’t even exist to U.S. institutions and were referred to as the “forgotten, invisible, and silent minority.”
In 2010 demographics have changed, many cities that used to be predominately white in CA and other states are today as Mexican as Guadalajara, or Mexico City. In 2010 we are no longer “little,” and in the very near future our people will be the majority population in CA, other Southwestern states and the largest ethnic minority in the U.S. In 1968 politically there was only one elected person of Mexican ancestry in the CA state legislature (Alex Garcia-Los Angeles). In San Diego County one elected person of Mexican ancestry, Louie Camacho from National City.
Today in 2010 we have thousands of elected officials, “senators, congresspersons, governors, state senators, assemblypersons, mayors, council persons, school trustees, etc.” Yet with all those thousands of politicians I doubt few in the community would disagree with me that socially, economically and politically things are worst for our people in 2010 than in 1968? WHY? For the simply reason that in 2010 there are more of us than in 1968.
So the questions remain, with thousands of elected politicians and more wanting to get elected will anything substantially change, and are we really playing the game of politics? The answer unfortunately is NO, because as an old time politician in the 70’s stated, “if your going to be in politics you need to know how to count; people and money because that is the basis of all political power,” but he also added, “it’s got to be organized people and money, because politics is not a game of individuals but of competing economic and political interests!”
The other question would be, is the system manipulating individual His-Her panics to control and define our people political interests?
Unfortunately YES, because without organized political POWER His-Her panics politicians can only be accountable and represent those who have organized people and money. In other words, “follow the money trail” and you will hear the political song elected His-Her panics officials listen to, dance to, and I can guarantee you it is not Mariachi music!
So in 2010 my question is, where are our organized people and money?
It’s also my political belief that Bell, CA happened because Chicano communities have basically gone from a historical colonial condition, when in the past our people couldn’t register to vote, run or hold office, to a present neo-colonial situation. A neo-colonial situation where the existing shrinking Anglo economic and political system use naïve His-Her Panics individuals, “go along, get along” so-called community organizations, elected politicians and minority newspapers to politically manipulate and control the community.
The above neo-colonial analogy is nowhere clearer than in National City (NC), CA, the city where I was raised, grew up, reside and been involved politically for over 40 years. Politically NC is important because it is a case study of what CA will look like in the near future. It is SD County’s 2nd oldest city, population 70 % Mexican ancestry, 16% Filipino, 10% Anglo, poorest city in SD County, 1/3 home ownership, and governed politically and economically by a shrinking Anglo minority (10%) with the shameful acquiescence of elected His-Her Panics minority officials. Economic interests that do not live in NC control NC’s Mayor Ron Morrison, who in actuality represents but 10% of the city Anglo population. In times past Morrison could of easily been a mayor from the ante belle South, or even South Africa’s apartheid system. Morrison has aptly proven that when he arrogantly and disrespectfully pushed for NC to do business with an Arizona company with full knowledge that NC is 70% Mexican, and Arizona’s anti-Mexican, race-baiting SB 1070 had been denounced by churches, cities, human rights organizations, entertainers, etc., with many calling for an economic boycott of Arizona.
NC “elected” and appointed His-Her Panics officials are just as culpable by failing to address significant issues affecting 70% (Chicanos) of NC’s residents. Both elected (especially council person Mayoral candidate Alejandra Sotelo-Solis) and other appointed His-Her Panic officials refused to state their public positions to the community on Arizona SB 1070 or contracting with an Arizona company after 3 correspondences. NC growing deficit after the city imposed one of the highest sale taxes resulting in the closing of senior programs, library, swimming pool x number of days has not been discussed. Elected officials and candidates have ignored the city’s “Mile of Cars” loan of over $600,000 to repair a sign, free rent for appointed official (who make over $100,000), 3 raises for the mayor’s “assistant”, and police sitting persons on the sidewalk like “Vietcong prisoners” for simply traffic violations, etc.
It’s obvious that until such time as our community addresses the systemic issue of creating political power based on organized people and money that what we witnessed in Bell, CA and happening in cities like NC will increase in communities thru-out CA.
In closing, as I stated in a meeting with the Editor of the San Diego Union-Tribune to his question of His-Her Panic politicians representation, “if you were to offer to sell me every His-Her Panic politicians I wouldn’t give you $5.00 dollars for the whole lot, excuse me I wouldn’t give you $5 pesos!”
Herman Baca is the president of the Chicano Rights Committee.