opinion

This category contains 83 posts

Opinion:Research and Development: Settling for Tres Leches Cake


(ADKITCHEN) – Every new bakery starts with faith, and a business plan. Your business weather it is a bakery, car dealership, newspaper, or wedding planner can somehow relate. Continue reading

Opinion: Latino Vote National Tour Welcome to Stockton


By Fr. Dean McFalls

As a Caucasian American born into the middle class and raised in Seattle, I always considered citizenship, voting, and making a political difference as a foregone conclusion.  It never dawned on me that huge sectors of American society might feel themselves isolated, counted-out, or systematically unwelcome in the process of self-determination and of shaping the future of this great democratic nation. Continue reading

Opinion: A defect in Women


A defect in Women

Story by Lila Towns

God made women in the sixth day.   It was an intense journey of hard work and extra hours.  An angel appeared and asked: “Why do you dedicate so much time to the creation of this creature?  And the Lord answered: Have you read the project of what I want to accomplish with this creation?   It must be able to wash, but not made of plastic, it has to have more than 200 movable pieces, each exchangeable and be able to function with a diet of left overs o anything, it has to have shelter for four children simultaneously, must have a kiss that can heal anything from a knee up to a broken heart y and it will do everything with a simple two hands. Continue reading


Fr. Dean McFalls, St. Mary’s Church, Stockton, CA
Special to Bilingual Weekly

I’m writing from a picturesque island in Puget Sound called “Vashon”, just west of Seattle, where I’ve been re-uniting with a very important group of friends.  Just over thirty years ago, we launched our 7,000-mile walk called the “Bethlehem Peace Pilgrimage”.  The Trident Nuclear Submarine Base in Bangor, Washington marked our beginning point, and in the United States we landed ten months later the day the Vietnam War Memorial was dedicated.  Beginning again in Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day, we crossed the border to the North on Good Friday and eventually reached Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus, by Christmas Eve.  All told, thousands of people would join us at one point or another.  But only twelve that began from Bangor actually completed the walk together.

 

Here, in the same kind of rain that drenched us in Washington State and in Ireland in 1982 and 1983, we twelve, with other walkers, and a flock of children from seven to twenty-seven, are celebrating the difference this Walk made in our lives and in so many others.  We had preached with our feet and our presence in so many broken and conflicted places to the need for peace in every dimension of our lives.  The world had looked so bleak when we began.  And it would be in worse shape by the time we finished.

 

But we had been changed.  All of us have carried on our commitment to justice, to reconciliation, to compassion and to life in all of its stages and expressions.  The children with us come from a variety of ethnic groups and worship in a variety of faiths.  As we shared our stories from the past three decades, we were all deeply moved by the hand of God at work in having brought us together, moved us with a common purpose, and carried us along in our respective journeys of faith.

 

Our senior member, Fr. George Zabelka, died ten years ago.  He had been the Catholic Chaplain who blessed the bombing missions over Hiroshima and Nagasaki on those two fateful days of August 6th and 9th, 1945.  When he visited the devastated cities afterwards, his life had changed forever.  At 67, he suffered a great deal on the walk, but considered this a small price to pay in order to witness to a better world, a more humane way of being than war upon war, and the unending threat of destruction.

 

Soon, I’ll be in Poland.   Several dozen priests from around the world will gather for a reteat.  Before that concludes, and four of us head for Vienna, and then I, alone, for Croatia, we will all visit Auschwitz.  There, untold thousands of innocent human beings were worked to death or simply executed and burned to cinders for the sake of a madman’s lunatic ambitions.

 

I know the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were, indirectly, a consequence of Hitler’s demonic aspirations and the unholy alliances he forged with Italy and Japan.  We knew that as we walked across the United States and heard, again and again, that the Soviet Union was poised to strike.  None of us have stopped working for a better world, despite all the reasons people put forward against our vision.  But three things are certain: the world remains in very bad shape, the solution is far beyond our powers, and in spite of this, each one of us still has our part to play in the redemption of the world.  God has so ordained things that the fate of the world depends, strangely, on whether or not we cooperate with His plan for our redemption.

Opinion: Why I am Mexican and actually like Cinco de Mayo


By Sandra Barrios

With Cinco de Mayo come “the persinados” [the faithful] who get angry about it the celebration being yet another excuse for drinking, and the hardcore “I-know-all-my-history” Mexicans who criticize others for not knowing how Cinco de Mayo became a celebration. Continue reading

Opinion: Women need to stop being politely angry


By Jacquie Marroquín

During the recent Women in the World Conference in Washington D.C., Liberian Nobel Peace Prize Winner Leymah Gbowee said, “Women need to stop being politely angry.”  She was referring to the ever-escalating war on women’s access to reproductive care in the United States. This powerful statement made by this equally powerful woman begged the questions: Where are the angry women? (A question she also asked.) And exactly how angry are we?

It’s impolite and unreasonable women who have been behind every Women’s Movement victory, from the right to vote to the right to choose. We are living in urgent times. If we are going to fight back against the assault on women we must be impolite. In fact, we must be downright vulgar and unreasonable in defense of our bodies, our health and our choices.

We win when we channel artists like Favianna Rodriguez, whose latest poster series succinctly captures the rational reaction to the Republican war on women: “Keep ur government off my $#@!%.”

We defeated Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell by voicing our outrage when he introduced a bill that would force women to undergo medically unnecessary trans-vaginal ultrasounds with plastic probes after a woman made the difficult choice to have an abortion. Awesome !!!

We win when our impolite anger extends to the occupation of social networking pages belonging to those Republican state legislators who mistakenly believe the right to govern our bodies is up for negotiation. We bombarded said pages with sarcastic questions about those pesky problems with periods, cancer, pregnancy, vaginal probes, abortion and contraception. Not one question was answered. We were vocal and they were stunned silent. Mission accomplished.

When the Susan B. Komen Foundation made the disastrous decision to defund Planned Parenthood, they immediately felt the wrath of angry masses. Not only did it spur a fierce online campaign calling out the foundation for playing politics with women’s health, but also this reaction from a former supporter who told the Susan B. Komen Foundation to “Kiss my a@#!”  Boom!  Win again!

Let me be crystal clear with both Republican and Democrat politicians: Your insistence to legislate women’s health and reproductive choice is not up for discussion. Period.

Roe v. Wade is the law of the land. There will be no negotiation. Period.

We will channel comedienne Anjelah Johnson and say, “We will cut you!” Then, we will write a song about it that Paquita la del Barrio will headline in her next tour called “Me Están Oyendo, Ratas de dos Patas?” (Are you listening two legged Rat?) Your insistence to control women’s health, bodies and choice couched under your right to freedom and faith will be met with consistent, impolite, unapologetic and downright vulgar righteous indignation. And make no mistake.  Women. Will. Win.

We are taking the war from cyberspace to streets across the country on April 28th for the Unite Against the War on Women protests. If you’re ready to stop being politely angry, join a protest in your state. By offering our brand of unapologetic, impolite anger, we honor Nobel Peace prizewinner Leymah Gbowee and say:

We are paying attention.

We are angry.

We will not stand down.

Opinion:Overdraft Fees


Just recently I followed the footsteps of many others to switch from a bank (specifically from Bank of America) over to a local credit union. They asked me if it was because of the ‘fees.’ It would be a true statement to say it was because of the ‘fees’ but I think they were referring to the specific fee that recently had the public up in arms and I however, was leaving because of Overdraft fees. Continue reading

Opinion: Los San Patricios


By Pablo Rodriguez
Rodríguez is the Executive Director of Communities for a New California (CNC),

Had you ever heard of the St. Patrick’s Battalion? Did you know that thanks to Los San Patricios, you could wear a “Kiss Me I’m an Immigrant” and a “Kiss Me I’m Irish” button with your best green garb on St. Patrick’s Day?

This Saturday, Mexican and Irish artists will gather in Fresno, California to celebrate a strong bond dating back 166 years between Ireland and Mexico. Through traditional song, dance and music, artists will commemorate the Irish immigrant soldiers that formed the St. Patrick’s Battalion and are regarded as heroes, by Mexicans and Irish, of the U.S.-Mexico War of 1846 to 1848.

The concert will benefit the Central Valley Dream Team (CVDT), a Fresno-based organization that fights for equal access to education for undocumented students. The CVDT funds scholarships, provides a network of support, and advocates for a federal DREAM Act, and other pro-immigrant legislation.

About el Batallón de San Patricio:

The battalion’s story begins with Ireland’s potato famine (The Great Hunger: Britain’s genocide by starvation) of the 1840s that took the lives of half of its population. One million Irish set sail to the United States and other countries.

In May 1846, the United States declared war on Mexico and found itself with the need to fill its fighting ranks. In one of the earliest examples of a poverty draft, recently arrived Irish immigrants were enticed to join the army by promises of pay and citizenship: “Be a soldier, earn your pay, and bring your folks to the U.S.A.” Scores of young Catholic Irishmen joined the predominantly Protestant U.S. Army within days of landing in New York.

Not long after crossing the Rio Grande, a group of Irish immigrant conscripts began questioning the virtue of war against Mexico. They started to see war as an arbitrary use of force and an unjust land grab. Facing ethnic and immigrant discrimination by their mostly Anglo-Protestant commanders, hundreds of soldiers defected and formed the St. Patrick’s Battalion under the leadership of John Riley. They fought bravely, with many losing their lives, for the Mexican people they shared a common religion and cultural experience with.

As a result, both Mexico and Ireland issued postage stamps commemorating Los San Patricios. There is a statue of Jon Riley in his hometown of Clifden, Ireland, a gift from Mexico to Ireland. In 1959, the Mexican government dedicated a commemorative plaque to Los San Patricios in San Angel just outside of Mexico City. The plaque lists the names of the battalion of immigrants who lost their lives in battle and execution.

The Spirit of Los San Patricios Today

I’m confident that if the DREAM Act passes in states like California, Illinois, and Maryland, a federal DREAM Act will foster an entire generation of students that positively impact our country. I’m repeatedly taken aback by the ability of undocumented students to overcome obstacles they face in their lives. I marvel at the character it takes to be able to transform those experiences into sources of strength and pride. Their challenging life experiences are only surpassed by their willingness and desire to learn. Their fluency, often in Spanish and English, and sometimes other languages, allow them to move confidently between cultures, articulating our community’s needs and advocating for change.

This Saturday, make your way to Fresno and celebrate Los San Patricios with the Central Valley DREAM Team.  If you can’t make it to Fresno, raise a glass as you sing a joyous song with friends. Toast to the spirit galvanized by struggle.  Toast to the immigrant aspirations, hopes, and dreams of the St. Patrick’s Battalion. Give a shout out loud: “Que Vivan Los San Patricios!”

OPINION: In numbers no-one beats us, but… What is the benefit of being many?


Armando Cervantes

Armando Cervantes Editor of Cambalache Newspaper

 

Armando A. Cervantes-Bastidas is the Editor of Tracy, California’s “Cambalache” Newspaper 

For a long time we have asked for amnesty legislation without any positive results.  If the same demands continue without a conclusive cultural and educational base, the effort will be useless.  What we should highlight—with firmness—are the successful achievements our culture has contributed to this nation, which start even before this nation’s roots.  We should show the Caucasians that we are good students and we don’t just complain or publicly protest. Continue reading

Five ways California is helping the immigrant community


Pablo Rodriguez former CEO of Dolores Huerta Foundation

SACRAMENTO, CA – There’s no doubt immigration reform has a long way to go to ensure family reunification and a path to citizenship for the undocumented community. We must continue to fight for a federal DREAM Act and demand an end to Secure Communities and 287(g) programs that allow state and local law enforcement agencies to partner with ICE. But I remain hopeful because California had major victories last year that prove just how powerful uniting with dignity as our moral compass can be.

Continue reading

Opinion: Secure Communities Program


By Jacquie Marroquin

In his 2013 proposed budget, President Obama outlined the administration’s plan to cut $17 million from the failed and expensive 16-year-old 287(g) Program to expand the equally failed and expensive four year-old Secure Communities Program. Continue reading

Opinion: Do it right, or don’t do it at all


By Gaylord Garcia

On Friday, February 17, 2012, the Stockton Record reported that the city of Stockton plans to cut its downtown housing goal by 90%. The goal was set in a 2009 project to combat climate change, and envisioned creating 3,000 new residences—that goal has been cut to 300. Also mentioned in the article was a panel discussion following a visit to Stockton by the Urban Land Institute. This was the Urban Land Institute’s second visit, the first of which took place in 1997. As an audience member, it was disheartening to hear the panelists’ statements that their current suggestions had been mentioned in the 1997 report, and the implementation of those suggestions is still necessary to revitalizing our downtown. Continue reading

DOES IT REALLY MATTER?


benignoStockton,CA- It seems as though everyone I talk to says they are watching the republican debates. Some wonder: why? While almost everyone was watching the democratic debates a few years ago, they said if the president had not debated, he would not have received the nomination, nor won the election.

Continue reading

Opinion: Fear or Rights?


 

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By  Pablo Rodriguez

On Monday April 4, 2011, dozens of Tea Party members and anti-immigrant supporters met in Sacramento, California to listen to Assembly Member Tim Donnelly and Arizona’s Senator/author of [Senate Bill] SB 1070, Russell Pearce, as they introduced a new bill, known as Assembly Bill (AB) 26. Donnelly and Pearce said they would work arduously to pass immigration laws in California similar to those passed in Arizona. Leaders of immigrant rights movements decided not to give any media attention to Donnelly or Pearce. AB 26 died quietly the following day at the Judicial Assembly Committee of California.

The prompt defeat of AB 26 was one of the many defeats coming for both Donnelly and Pearce. Tired of the divided politics, and Pearce’s corruption, a volunteer army under the leadership of organizer Randy Parraz, and operating under the name “Citizens for a Better Arizona”, led a successful and historic campaign against Senator Pearce who was removed from office. This was the first time in the United States where a President of the Senate was removed from his duties during session.

In California, Assembly Member Tim Donnelly found another opportunity for right wing radio. Immediately following Governor Jerry Brown signing the second part of the California Dream Act (AB 131) in October, Donnelly and his right wing supporters started a campaign to overturn the California Dream Act. Donnelly said to the media, “All we need is 504,000 valid signatures, and I believe we will probably have a million.” Target gift cards and professional signature gatherers were able to reach 447,514 signatures by the deadline January 5, 2012.

The first week of 2012 turned out to be a bad week for Assembly Member Donnelly. At the beginning of the week, he was detained and ticketed for having a loaded 45 caliber gun and a secondary bullet charger with five bullets in a Southwest Airlines flight at Ontario’s Airport. Days after being cited, Donnelly affirmed that he was armed following recent death threats as a result of his campaign to defeat the California Dream Act. He insists that he erroneously left the weapon on his suitcase and he forgot to take it out before boarding the flight to Sacramento.

There is an evident contradiction in Donnelly’s story. He did not notify the office of the California State Assembly Speaker or the Sergeant at Arms about the presumed death threats. If he really felt threatened, he could have asked for—and he would have received— additional security by the California Highway Patrol.

Donnelly has frequently noted that he is a patriot who would like to impose the “right to bear arms.” It would be interesting to see if he will continue leading the “right to bear arms”, when he is before a judge that may condemn him to a year behind bars. Will he be as vocal about the “rights to bear arms” with the Security and Transportation Administration that could also impose a $10,000 fine? I predict that Donnelly “the Patriot” will coward.

Pablo Rodriguez is Executive Director of Communities for a New California, formally the Director of the Community Organization Institute of Dolores Huerta

OPINION: WHEN IS IT ENOUGH?


CarolHadley(2)

 

The house has sat empty for almost seven months.  First the owner and his college buddies left, then his dad moved in with his wife (?), then they left and then someone moved in, and mysterious people began coming by and picking up little white boxes.  Who knew: maybe they were selling lunches?  Then the traffic picked up a little more.  Then the night of the big party, there was loud music and a big fire pit in the backyard, and funny smells.  At one o’clock in the morning, the music was interrupting our sleep, so we made a quick call to 911.  (This was before all the cuts.)  The police came out, and soon the party was over. 

Then all was quiet, except for the traffic—day and night. Several months later we found out the tenants had had no water or electricity for about four months.  How did they get along?  Some neighbors were loaning them water with hoses run behind our houses.   They were given 48 hours to vacate, and vacate they did, leaving a huge smelly mess.  Remember it takes water to flush toilets. You guessed it: that’s where the smell mess comes into the story.  First they were there, and then they were gone in the middle of the night.

Did we sit back and hide behind our curtains?  Did we say it was not our problem?  Did we close our eyes to this situation?  No: this was our neighborhood, this is where we lived, where we had an active Neighborhood Watch.  We made the necessary phone calls to our Community Service Officer (also before the cuts), code enforcement came, and soon the house was empty of people—or so we thought. But they did leave a huge mess in the house.

Soon we would see the side gate was open when it had been locked.  We noticed every now and again someone would get into the empty house.  How did they get in and why?  Neighborhood Captains checked the backyard, and the sliding back doors were open; it was a mess. Police were called and came out (before the cuts) and would close up the house. 

We boarded-up the gate to protect the house, which seemed unwanted, like no one cared about it.  We tried contacting the owners at the last address we had, but the mail was returned as “undeliverable.” The house has not been foreclosed.  It was as if time forgot the house, except those looking for a place to do drugs and to hang out where they thought they would not be caught. 

The night the two men in the SUV came and began taking furniture was just too much for our neighborhood.  We could have sat by and watched the trespassers at work and stealing furniture, but enough was enough. This is our neighborhood, where neighbors watch out for each one another, where if one person loses a family member, it is like we have all lost a relative, where we celebrate good and bad news together: this was our HOOD.  We called the police (after the cuts) and they came.  They were proud that we cared enough to get involved, and protect our area.  Death’s around the corner, but not in our area if we stay alert.  We didn’t catch the crooks, but the crooks knew we were there as we tried to get their license plate number.  We did follow where they went. 

Once again we boarded up the gates, boarded up the door and notified the only company we knew might care.  They said they’d be out within 3 to 5 days to board the whole house up.  Thanked us for caring and said it was okay for us to board the entrance until they could come out.  They also could not believe we lived in Stockton and cared enough to be involved.  It was with great pride as we told them we did care and we had a neighborhood who said, “NOT IN OUR NEIGHBORHOOD, BECAUSE ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.”  

We don’t need “Marshall Plans,” we need active Neighborhood Watches where neighbors know neighbors, like in the OLD DAYS.  Where neighbors knew the kids on the block and watched out for them.  Where when you went on vacations you knew your house was safe, because your neighbors watched out for your house, because next time it was your turn. 

It is time to take back our neighborhoods.  Care enough, and soon the gangs and crooks will know we have neighborhoods that say, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. 

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