Politics

This category contains 172 posts

Zapien’ meteoric rise into local politics In less than three years, goes from rookie Councilman to Chair of SJC Board of Supervisors


San Joaquin County — On Thursday December 31st Governor Jerry Brown announced the appointment of Moses Zapien as the representative of the 3rd District in the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors. The 3rd District became vacant when former Supervisor Steve Bestolarides was appointed, by a 3 to 1 vote, to County Assessor-Recorder-County Clerk on August of last year.

Zapien —who earned his law degree from the Laurence Drivon School of Law— was first elected to represent the City of Stockton’s 4th District in November of 2012. Last summer, he announced his candidacy to the higher office of County Supervisor rather than seeking a second term at City Council.

Born and raised in Stockton, Moses Zapien is the son of immigrant parents “who taught him the value of hard work and service to the community,” reads his campaign literature.

In August 2015 Zapien was appointed Deputy District Attorney to the San Joaquin County Superior Court.  At the time, he wrote on his Facebook account, “I’m excited to be rejoining the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office and being part of a team of dedicated professionals, committed to the cause of Justice and to serving victims of crime.”  However, Stockton’s Daily Newspaper, The Record, informed that —given the Supervisor’s post is a full-time job— “he has resigned from the position Thursday, December 31st.

In his website he cites “jobs, safety and openness/transparency” as his top three issues at the County Board of Supervisors. Zapien was not available to comment by the time this edition closed.

BW News – Your source of Local news covering topics of Latino interest in Stockton, California; and San Joaquin County.

 

Tax Agreement Includes Important Measures for Latino Families More work lies ahead to address restrictions placed on immigrant taxpayers


WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed an expansive tax package that will make permanent improvements to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC) enacted in 2009. Together, the EITC and CTC help to dramatically reduce poverty levels for Latino families each year. NCLR (National Council of La Raza) applauds lawmakers for their efforts to make sure that hardworking low-income families can get needed tax relief. Alone, these changes would represent a laudable win for the Latino community; however, some lawmakers in Congress were still determined to use this opportunity to target immigrants and included restrictive language in the agreement that NCLR doesn’t support.

“The expansions to the EITC and CTC in 2009 have since helped millions of working families make ends meet. Congress making these expansions permanent now is an important step for our community. We are pleased that lawmakers recognized the proven success of both anti-poverty programs and chose to act,” said Janet Murguía, President and CEO of NCLR. “Investing in measures that reward hard work is the key to building a healthier, more robust workforce that can strengthen our economy.”

The EITC amounts to as much as $6,143 per family, while the CTC can add up to $1,000 per child. Only people who are working are eligible for these programs, which are especially valuable for Latino workers, more than 40 percent of whom earn poverty-level wages.

Congressional action on the EITC and CTC is a result of the hard work and commitment of NCLR Affiliates and partner organizations in the business and progressive communities. Following countless letters, local events, op-eds, and a national poll, lawmakers responded to the advocacy efforts of Latinos across the country, who showed overwhelming support (91 percent) for making improvements to the EITC and CTC permanent without delay.

Unfortunately, some lawmakers cannot pass up an opportunity to attach anti-immigrant language to any measure and did so once again. The agreement will single out immigrant taxpayers specifically and bar millions who receive a Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) from accessing these vital tax credits in the future. Additionally, it will create potentially significant barriers for immigrants who file taxes using an ITIN.

“The House of Representatives took an important step today and millions of American working families will benefit. We are thankful for that. But Congress has once again singled out immigrant families for restrictions in legislation that has nothing to do with immigration policy. We cannot allow our community to continue to be targeted this way,” Murguía added.

Looking ahead, NCLR is committed to working with Congress and the administration to make sure that these restrictions do not harm children that tax credits do not lose their value due to inflation, and that childless low-wage workers may benefit in the future.

BW News – Your source of local news with a bridge to National action.

California’s Minimum Wage Increases to $10 per Hour


State of California — The Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) reminds California’s employers and workers that effective January 1, 2016, the state’s minimum wage will increase to $10 per hour.

“This increase in the minimum wage is California’s second increase in 18 months. Those earning minimum wage will now have a bit more to take home every paycheck,” said Labor Commissioner Julie Su. The Labor Commissioner’s Office is a division of DIR.

Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation on September 25, 2013, raising California’s minimum wage to $9 per hour on July 1, 2014, with a final adjustment to $10 per hour on January 1, 2016. It marked the first increase in California’s hourly minimum since 2008, when the minimum wage was raised 50 cents to $8.

State law requires employers to post information on wages, hours and working conditions at a worksite area accessible to employees. Notices for the wage orders in English and Spanish can be downloaded and printed from the Workplace postings page on the DIR website.

Almost all employees in California must be paid the minimum wage as required by state law. Workers who are paid less than the minimum wage may file a wage claim with the Labor Commissioner’s office.

DIR protects and improves the health, safety and economic well-being of over 18 million wage earners, and helps their employers comply with state labor laws.

DIR’s Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE), also known as the Labor Commissioner’s Office, enforces prevailing wage rates and apprenticeship standards in public works projects, inspects workplaces for wage and hour violations, adjudicates wage claims, investigates retaliation complaints, issues licenses and registrations for businesses and educates the public on labor laws.

Employees with work-related questions or complaints may contact DIR’s Call Center in English or Spanish at 844-LABOR-DIR (844-522-6734). The California Workers’ Information line at 866-924-9757 provides recorded information in English and Spanish on a variety of work-related topics.

BW News – Your source of local news covering Latino News of the State of California

Grasping at Straws: BDCP & DWR Drown Out Real Data


The California State Seal Outside that Natural Resources Building by Deanna Lynn Wulff

The California State Seal. Natural Resources Building

Gov. Brown’s twin tunnel plan has raised ire since its inception, but the battle has grown more heated with the publication of its latest economic report. Melinda Terry, manager of the North Delta Water Agency, called the document outright fraud, while state water contractors praised it with a fact sheet pointing out its strong points (primarily, its page length). Continue reading

ASIAN PACIFIC ISLANDER AMERICAN PUBLIC AFFAIRS ASSOCIATION (APAPA) CONGRATULATES NEW & RE-ELECTED API MEMBERS


SACRAMENTO, CA – The Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs
Association (APAPA) congratulated and welcomed the following new API members to office on November 9, 2012.

Rob Bonta – CA State Assembly, District 18
Phil Ting – CA State Assembly, District 19
Ed Chau – CA State Assembly, District 49
Al Muratsuchi – CA State Assembly, District 66

APAPA also congratulated the following API members on their re-election:

Mariko Yamada – CA State Assembly, District 4
Richard Pan – CA State Assembly, District 9
Paul Fong – CA State Assembly, District 28
Das Williams – CA State Assembly, District 37

For live election results or for more information, please visit:

http://www.elections.saccounty.net/ElectionInformation/SAC_VRE_DF_left

http://www.sacbee.com/electionresults/

http://vote.sos.ca.gov/

RICKY GILL CONCEDES, CONGRATULATES OPPONENT


STOCKTON, CA, November 7, 2012 – Congressional candidate Ricky Gill made the following statement after conceding to his opponent, Congressman Jerry McNerney:

“Tonight, I called Congressman McNerney to congratulate him on his victory. I extended my best wishes to the Congressman and his family, and I expressed my willingness to act as a resource and to help him serve this community in any manner possible.

I am enormously proud of the campaign we ran, and I am humbled by the tireless efforts of the many volunteers, neighbors, and supporters who threw their efforts behind it. Although we did not emerge victorious in this campaign, I believe we accomplished something extraordinary. We put this community and its people first, and we took our story to the national stage. We fought for jobs, education, and common-sense government. We made clear that the American Dream will rise once again in this community we love so dearly.

As this campaign closes, I encourage all residents of the 9th District to come together and work towards the bipartisan, lasting reforms this country so badly needs. I wish Congressman McNerney the best, and I congratulate him on a hard-fought victory. ”


Information provided by Ricky Gill for Congresd

San Joaquin County Election Results


Unofficial Final Results

Updated : Berryhill with 51% district wide Cathleen Galgiani 49% district wide

President:
Preliminary results for election show that President Barack Obama takes the lead in San Joaquin County.

US Senator:
Dianne Fiensteine at 61.05% versus Elizabeth Emkin at 38.06%

US Rep 9th District:
Jerry Mcnerney 54.01 % versus
Ricky Gill 45.09%

US Rep 10th District:
Jeff Denham 53.08% versus
Jose Hernandez 46.02%

Senate 5th District:
Bill Berryhill 51%% versus
Cathleen Galgiani 49%

9th Assembly District:
Antonio Amador 42.07% versus
Richard Pan 57.03%

12th Assembly District:
Kristin Olsen 61.04%versus
Christopher Mateo 38.06%

13th Assembly District:
Susan Eggman 63.05% Versus
K. Jeffery Jaffri 36.05%

Stockton Mayor:
Anthony Silva 55.05% versus
Ann Johnston 44.50%

Stockton City Council Dis. 2:
Randy Hatch 41.88% versus
Kathy Miller 58.12%

Stockton City Council Dis 4:
Diana Lowery 50.05 %versus
Moses Zapien 49.95%

Stockton City Council Dis 6:
Michael Tubbs 58.47%
Dale Fritchen 41.53%

Ballot Measures:

Yes on 30
Temporary tax to find education

No on 31
State budget, state and local gov.

No on 32
Payroll deduction for political candidates

No on 33
Driver insurance based on driving history

No on 35
Death Penalty

Yes on 35
Human trafficking

Yes on 36
Three strikes law

No on 37
Three strikes law

No on 38
Tax for early childhood education

Yes on 39
Business tax for energy funding

Yes on 50
Redistributing senate

– Results may change as ballots are counted

In the Trenches of California’s Water War: A Farmer, an Environmentalist and a Republican Envision the Future


What’s really happening, and will Gov. Brown listen?

Water lazily rolls by, acres of pear trees blanket the horizon, and tiny communities dot the landscape. Walnut Grove is a Delta town with 1,500 residents, just one ice cream shop and a mom-and-pop grocery store. It feels sleepy, humid and slow—like the Sacramento River. Brett Baker, a sixth-generation pear farmer who lives nearby, on Sutter Island, describes the area nostalgically:

The Sacramento River is the largest river in the state. It carries nearly one-third of the total annual runoff of all California streams.

“I enjoy the peace and quiet, the landscape and scenery,” he said. “I have a personal relationship with almost everyone in my town. I have known them all my life, played sports with them, was coached by them growing up. Out here, there is a real sense of community. When tragedy strikes, your neighbors pick you up and help support you.”

Tragedy might be striking.  Just 10 minutes away is the roar of Interstate 5, one of California’s major freeways. Twenty minutes farther is Sacramento and the buzzing State Capitol, where the fate of this farming community, the Delta, the state’s river system, and the largest estuary on the West Coast will be determined.

The Delta is the heart of the state’s water resources. Most rivers flow into it, the ocean meets it, key species migrate in and out of it, 25 million people draw water from it, and a large portion of agriculture relies on it to irrigate crops.  And now, Gov. Jerry Brown wants to forge ahead with a $23 billion plan to build two massive tunnels underneath or around the Delta.

The Tunnel Options – Photo courtesy of PPIC

The stakes are enormous.

The governor’s proposed Bay-Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP), also known as the tunnel conveyance system or peripheral canal, would carry part of the Sacramento River underneath the Delta in two 35-mile long tunnels to the California Aqueduct. There, the water would be pumped uphill to cities and farms in more parched regions of the state, including the southern Central Valley, Los Angeles and Santa Clara.

The canal plan has been kicking around for decades. Brown’s original peripheral canal project was voted down in a referendum in 1982, but he is back in the saddle again. “We’re going to take into account the opposition,” Brown vowed, “but we’re not going to sit here and twiddle our thumbs and stare at our navel. We’re going to make decisions and get it done.”

But it’s unclear what Brown is trying to get done. The project would continue to move water from one part of the state to another, with questionable benefits for citizens, farmers, fish, fishermen and even state and federal water contractors, who have funded the project thus far. The differing perspectives of a Delta farmer, a seasoned environmentalist and a Republican supervisor show the complexities and contentiousness of what lies ahead.

Brett Baker—Delta Farmer

Delta Farmer Brett Baker and his wife Meredith stand near their 40-acre farm in Courtland, CA. The couple is expecting their first child in October.

“The Delta is the largest contiguous acreage of prime farmland in California,” said Baker. “It has a naturally reliable supply of high quality water and sufficient drainage. Basically, you are taking water from land that has proven to be sustainably productive for over 150 years and moving it to lands with toxic drainage impairments.”

Acre to acre, Delta land is one the most productive farm areas in the state.

The toxic land that Baker refers to is on the west side of San Joaquin River in the Central Valley. The area has long had problems with salinity and selenium, and it’s also a primary importer of Delta water. Salinity on the west side can be flushed out with water, provided there is drainage. But there isn’t excess water or drainage, and there may never be. The taxpayer cost of fixing the drainage problem is $2.6 to $7 billion. Only $346 million in funds are currently allocated.

Selenium presents a more significant problem for the west side. It cannot be safely dispersed into the environment. It bio-accumulates and in large quantities is toxic to wildlife, livestock and humans. In the 1980s, Kesterson Reservoir had to be closed, because of the mass bird and livestock deformities that were discovered there due to selenium build-up. The area has since been cleaned up, but pollutants are still flowing into the San Joaquin River, and more water will not fix the problem.

So why construct a canal or tunnel conveyance system and route water there?

The West Side of the San Joaquin River. Graphic courtesy of the EPA.

A portion of that water flows elsewhere, to the Metropolitan Water District and the Kern County Water Agency, for example. The giant pumps that sit in the southern part of the estuary entrap and kill thousands of fish annually. The pumps also alter the habitat of the estuary by creating a north to south flow across a tidal ecosystem, which would naturally flow east to west. The proposed tunnels would move the intake upstream to locations that might be less harmful to smelt, salmon and other endangered species. They also might avoid delivery disruptions associated with salt water intrusion and climate change.

But under the microscopes of science and regulation, even those benefits begin to look dubious. And that’s because moving intakes upstream will affect water quality for fish and farmers downstream. “If we allow the canal to be built it will ultimately result in the salting up and ruination of one of our state’s most valuable assets,” Baker said. “Research has continued to reveal that shunting more water from the system stands to condemn the canary in the coal mine.”

And Baker is right. The birds are in trouble too. Although endangered fish species get more attention because of their effect on water exports, the Delta is a primary habitat and migratory stop for millions of birds, like tundra swans and sandhill cranes. Nearly 50 percent of the Pacific Flyway’s migrating or wintering waterfowl depend on it.

Altogether, the Delta is home to more than 750 species of plants and animals, 33 of which are endangered, and likely to go extinct within the next 25 to 50 years, if not sooner. Those species includes chinook salmon, smelt, steelhead, splittail, sturgeon and river lamprey, all of which are supposed to be protected by state and federal agencies.

And California hasn’t left much breathing room for its once abundant wildlife, particularly in the Central Valley and the Delta, where most of the land is privately held and about 95 percent of natural wetlands are gone.  And water, the other primary habitat, has been over-allocated to such a high degree that little is left for plants and animals. All total, water rights exist for 531 million acre-feet, which is nearly 10 times as much as is annually available (63 million acre-feet).

The EnvironmentalistLeo Winternitz

Staten Island with sandhill cranes. The area works as a habitat and a farm. Photo courtesy of Leo Winternitz.

Leo Winternitz, associate director of Delta Restoration and Policy for the Nature Conservancy, has been living amidst these water wars for the past 30 years. He has worked for CALFED, the Sacramento Water Forum, the Department of Water Resources, and the State Water Resources Control Board—all major players in water management.

As to how things are going – he says simply, “The situation is more acute. The environment is really suffering from the overuse. We need to think in terms of migratory corridors,” he continues. “If you acquire any piece of property, without a strategic plan then you have postage stamp approach and that doesn’t work. You need to have a corridor of different habitats interconnected.”

But putting that into action is no easy task. The Delta region has more than 500,000 acres of agricultural land, most of which was formerly wetland habitat. About five percent of the original environment is left.

To restore a portion, the Nature Conservancy acquired a 9200-acre tract in the Delta, called Staten Island. The area provides prime habitat for sandhill cranes and other migratory waterfowl. But the $35 million land purchase has been criticized. Half of the money for the acquisition came from the state funds for flood protection, and today, it’s managed primarily as a farmland and wetland—not as a flood plain. The island is below sea level, and it isn’t ideally located for tidal marsh restoration. Still, 15 percent of the Sacramento Valley sandhill crane population and thousands of birds use the area as a winter habitat.

Sandhill cranes and tundra swans fly thousands of miles in the fall to spend their winter in the Delta. Photo courtesy of Leo Winternitz.

The BDCP, at least, has a cohesive plan for restoration. It may include 80,000 acres of tidal marsh habitat and up to 45,000 acres of agricultural and grasslands habitat. But that makes Delta farmers nervous, as does changing the position of the water intake system and increasing exports, which was originally part of the plan.

And that’s where the project starts to hit serious trouble.

The BDCP sets off a series of agency interactions between the Department of Water Resources (DWR), the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB), the California Department State Fish and Game (DFG), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Delta Stewardship Council (DSC). Each agency is tasked with a particular aspect of protecting and managing the state’s natural resources. And there is a lot to protect:—California is one of the most bio-diverse places in the world.

Among these water agencies, there is a confusing array of regulations and interactions. But there are clear guidelines. “It is now state policy that we have co-equal goals of ecosystem restoration and water reliability,” Winternitz said, regarding the Delta Reform Act of 2009. “Any solution has to include environmental consideration. That is a big positive. We just have to communicate better about what this means and how to implement it.”

But what’s being communicated is tough medicine for everyone.

The public trust recommendations for the Delta are the hub of public policy, and the agencies are circling around it. To resuscitate the system, scientific research indicates the need to increase river flows and decrease Delta water consumption by nearly 50 percent, or 13.7 to 14.6 million-acre feet. Those recommendations are supposed to play a primary role in water planning and policy—and to some extent they have.

In July, when Brown made his public announcement, he endorsed a 55-page joint set of agency recommendations for the BDCP. The latest version includes a smaller intake system and no guaranteed export amount; instead, continued scientific studies over the 15-year construction period will determine whether exports are higher or lower than they are today. But notably, the joint recommendations also state: “Only a small percentage of research in the Bay Delta is controversial.”

Right now, what keeps the Delta ecosystem intact are court-ordered flow criteria. The current rulings limit south of Delta exports to an average of 4.9 million acre-feet. If you applied the public trust recommendations exports would drop to 3.7 to 3.9 million acre-feet, about 25 percent. That also means that the rest of the state, including cities, irrigation districts and farms, would have to reduce use and put water back into the system.

What would we gain?

Winternitz explains, “The species we are concerned about evolved in the habitats we need to restore. Those ecosystem processes, which provide for water quality and other important benefits, are the same ones that we humans need.  And that’s why there is this whole effort to get these species turned around. If we can repair their world, we can repair our world. We’ll have better air, better places to swim and play, better places to live. It’s really our own system that we are trying to clean up.”

But can California clean up? The quick and easy answer is yes. With water recycling, conservation, efficient technology and better water management, California can meet the needs of the environment, agriculture and a growing population. There is a mountain of data, coming from nearly every water agency, suggesting that improvements can be made. Conservation is the cheapest and easiest way to create to a new supply. There is more new potential water from these investments than California regularly exports from the Delta, and they come without the damage to fish or farmers.

But the long hard truth is that change is difficult.

The Republican SupervisorJim DeMartini

DeMartini spends his mornings on his farm and the afternoons in the county supervisor’s office in downtown Modesto.

Stanislaus County Supervisor Jim DeMartini knows first-hand just how difficult. In his office in Modesto, just south of the Delta, pictures of George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan and Arnold Schwarzenegger hang from the walls. DeMartini is a Republican farmer pushing to preserve prime farmland from sprawling development.

“There is no other place in the world like this; we can grow 200 types of crops here,” he said. “We have good access to water, and right now, there is no permanent protection of agriculture.”

California agriculture produces half of U.S. grown nuts, fruits and vegetables. It is also home to nine of nation’s most productive counties, and Stanislaus County is one of them.

DeMartini owns 1200 acres between Ceres and Patterson and grows a mixture of almonds, walnuts, peaches and grapes on the east side of the Central Valley. Three miles of his land borders the Tuolumne River, a primary tributary to the San Joaquin River, which flows into the Bay-Delta. He has voluntarily remediated about 120 acres and turned it back into wetlands. “Wilderness and agriculture can co-exist; there is no reason we can’t work it out,” he said, “We have 43 species of birds out there, and I want to keep it that way. It’s beautiful.”

Stanislaus County has adopted a land use plan for agriculture, but the cities within the county haven’t come up with their own plans and agreed to control sprawl. “They just want to keep growing out,” DeMartini said. “You can’t keep eroding the farmland and stay self-sufficient. The building association doesn’t want any policy adopted at all. They don’t want any restrictions.”

DeMartini planned a workshop with the Mayor’s Association to create a land use policy for each of the nine cities. “Everyone had a scheduling problem, and I never did hear from them again,” he said. “It’s been more than a year now.”  It’s surprising, since sprawl has never worked for the region. Stanislaus County has double-digit unemployment and high foreclosures—all remnants of the housing crisis.

Still, the area is on the forefront of innovation. The Oakdale Irrigation District is improving its water delivery system, and the Patterson Irrigation District is building a cross-valley channel, which could transport water east to west without going through the Delta. More recently, Modesto farmer Bill Lyons sold 1,603 acres along the Tuolumne River, to be used for wildlife and wetland restoration.

In general, what DeMartini is advocating has little to do with the peripheral canal or the tunnels. But his plans aren’t far from what’s likely to become state law. His proposals mirror the legally-mandated policies set forth by the state’s overarching water plan. California’s  88-year Delta Plan focuses on wetland preservation, habitat restoration, farmland protection and reduced reliance on Delta water. The agency putting the plan together, the Delta Stewardship Council (DSC), has an appellate role regarding the canal and conveyance system. If the BDCP is approved, it will automatically be folded into the Delta Plan without review, unless someone makes an appeal.

Regarding the peripheral canal, DeMartini remains skeptical.  “I don’t think the plan is going to make it past environmental review,” he added. “I don’t know how they will pay for it either. It seems like it’s come out of nowhere.”

The question remains: Where will it go?

Note: This South of Delta Exports chart was updated on August 30, 2012 for clarity. The tunnel intake capacity is 6.5 million acre-feet. The total physical capacity to export water is 11 million acre-feet. A detailed explanation will follow in a forthcoming article.


 
English: Portrait of Pennsylvania State Senator .

English: Portrait of Pennsylvania State Senator . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

MARK SCOLFORO,Associated Press

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A senior Pennsylvania state senator faces allegations he violated rules of professional conduct for lawyers while working for a Utah-based company that helps find heirs to people who died without leaving a will. Continue reading


 

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Congresswoman Lois Capps (D-CA23) sent a letter calling on Office of Management and Budget Acting Director Jeffrey Zients to take steps to protect federal workers from renting vehicles under safety recall while they are traveling on official business.

Boxer and Capps are the lead sponsors of House and Senate legislation – the Rachel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Car Act of 2012 – which would ensure the safety of America’s rental car fleet by preventing rental car companies from renting or selling recalled cars or trucks. According to Boxer, the legislation is named in honor of Raechel and Jacqueline Houck, who was killed in a tragic accident in 2004 that she says was caused by an unrepaired defect in a PT Cruiser rented from Enterprise that was under a safety recall.

The two California lawmakers wrote in the letter, “This terrible accident drew attention to the fact that car rental companies are not required to repair vehicles under safety recall before they are rented or sold to the public. We have written legislation to close this loophole and are working with our colleagues in the House and Senate to enact this measure into law.

“In the meantime, we believe it is imperative that we protect people from unsafe recalled vehicles,” the lawmakers wrote. “So today we are urging the Federal government to put in place policies that will ensure that no Federal employee rents a vehicle under safety recall until it has been fixed.”

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

“¡Todos a Votar!” (“Let’s Vote!”) National Tour Makes its First Stop in Stockton


STOCKTON, CA- Stockton is the first stop of the national campaign ¡Todos a Votar! (Let`s Vote) tour to register and mobilize Latino voters.

Led by six national Latino advocacy groups, ¡Todos a Votar! Campaign kickoff was held on Thursday, July 26 at the Comision Honorifica Mexicana, “La Jamaica” and is expected to travel to four cities and five other states.

The 2012 presidential election could be one of the most important for Latinos because the political party debates are polarizing issues close to home, such as jobs, taxes, immigration and health care.

“We will decide who will be elected president of the United States and who will be running the congress…  we will also make sure that the issues that we care about are placed on the agenda,” said Eliseo Medina, Service Employees International Union International Secretary Treasure.

Vanessa Maciel and Adriana Granados, two volunteers of Mi Familia Vota, walk through the streets of Stockton encouraging people to cast their vote.

Labor rights leader, Eliseo Medina

Through the door to door campaign Vanessa Maciel (23) and Adriana Granados (14), two of the thirty volunteers in Stockton, are determined to increase the Latino voter turnout in the San Joaquin County.
Are you registered to vote? is the question that Maciel and Granados continuously  ask as they walk through the streets of Stockton, hoping to register as many new voters as they can.

 
“I am Latina…I really want to get out there and help,” said Macias. “I been a volunteer for two weeks…the message I want to get out is to encourage the community to vote.”
The goal of the campaign is to nationally register 650,000 new voters, – two thousand of them in the San Joaquin County.
For the labor rights leader, Medina, this November the election will also determine whether 1.2 million dreamers and eleven million workers, will legalize their immigration status.The Latino electorate is not a “sleeping giant,” says Arnulfo de la Cruz, California State Director of “Mi Familia Vota,” one of the national participating Latino advocacy groups.

“We [Latinos] are working one to three jobs, we are taking care of the children, we are up early, so we are not sleeping; we are an ignored block,” said De la Cruz. “I don’t think candidates and the political infrastructure do enough to reach Latino voters.”

“Political campaigns have limited money, so they will spend it on people who always vote to try to convince them to vote for them,” explains De la Cruz.  “They will not go out to a Barrio (neighborhood) where there’s Latinos not participating to try to engage them to vote.”

With 30 volunteers in Stockton and 25 Modesto, the campaign plans to triple the number of volunteers as the election gets closer.

The ¡Todos a Votar! National Tour will next travel to Los Angeles, Riverside and San Diego, to eventually reach Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Florida and Colorado.

According the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), in California, New Mexico and Texas, at least one in five voters will be Latino.

“These are all states where the Latino vote will play a decisive role,” said Medina. “Democracy works best when we all participate.”

Contact Dennise Rocha, Info@bilingualweekly.com

Supreme Court Rules on Arizona’s Immigration Law; SB 1070


Seal of the United States Court of Appeals for...

Seal of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

WASHINGTON, D.C.  – This week the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit came to conclusion that Arizona’s controversial immigration legislation, Senate Bill (S.B.) 1070, was determined to be mostly unlawful following a 5 to 3 vote —which excluded Justice Kagen out of the 9 members— ruled in the case Arizona v. United States. 

 

  Continue reading

President Obama Reflects on the Impact of Title IX


By US President Barak Obama

Coaching my daughter Sasha’s basketball team is one of those times when I just get to be “Dad.” I snag rebounds, run drills, and have a little fun. More importantly, I get to watch Sasha and her teammates improve together, start thinking like a team, and develop self-confidence.

Any parent knows there are few things more fulfilling than watching your child discover a passion for something. And as a parent, you’ll do anything to make sure he or she grows up believing she can take that ambition as far as she wants; that your child will embrace that quintessentially American idea that she can go as far as her talents will take her.

But it wasn’t so long ago that something like pursuing varsity sports was an unlikely dream for young women in America. Their teams often made do with second-rate facilities, hand-me-down uniforms, and next to no funding.

What changed? Well, 40 years ago, committed women from around the country, driven by everyone who said they couldn’t do something, worked with Congress to ban gender discrimination in our public schools. Title IX was the result of their efforts, and this week, we celebrated its 40th anniversary—40 years of ensuring equal education, in and out of the classroom, regardless of gender.

I was reminded of this milestone last month, when I awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Pat Summitt. When she started out as a basketball coach, Pat drove the team van to away games. She washed the uniforms in her own washing machine. One night she and her team even camped out in an opponent’s gym because they had no funding for a hotel. But she and her players kept their chins up and their heads in the game. And in 38 years at the University of Tennessee, Pat won eight national championships and tallied more than 1,000 wins—the most by any college coach, man or woman. More important, every single woman who ever played for Pat has either graduated or is on her way to a degree.

Today, thanks in no small part to the confidence and determination they developed through competitive sports and the work ethic they learned with their teammates, girls who play sports are more likely to excel in school. In fact, more women as a whole now graduate from college than men. This is a great accomplishment—not just for one sport or one college or even just for women but for America. And this is what Title IX is all about.

Let’s not forget, Title IX isn’t just about sports. From addressing inequality in math and science education to preventing sexual assault on campus to fairly funding athletic programs, Title IX ensures equality for our young people in every aspect of their education. It’s a springboard for success: it’s thanks in part to legislation like Title IX that more women graduate from college prepared to work in a much broader range of fields, including engineering and technology. I’ve said that women will shape the destiny of this country, and I mean it. The more confident, empowered women who enter our boardrooms and courtrooms, legislatures, and hospitals, the stronger we become as a country.

And that is what we are seeing today. Women are not just taking a seat at the table or sitting at the head of it, they are creating success on their own terms. The women who grew up with Title IX now pioneer scientific breakthroughs, run thriving businesses, govern states, and, yes, coach varsity teams. Because they do, today’s young women grow up hearing fewer voices that tell them “You can’t,” and more voices that tell them “You can.”

We have come so far. But there’s so much farther we can go. There are always more barriers we can break and more progress we can make. As president, I’ll do my part to keep Title IX strong and vibrant, and maintain our schools as doorways of opportunity so every child has a fair shot at success. And as a dad, I’ll do whatever it takes to make sure that this country remains the place where, no matter who you are or what you look like, you can make it if you try.

The piece was published in Newsweek

New Immigration Policy applies to those already in deportation proceedings, and is only guaranteed for two years


Bilingual Weekly News

Update August 07, 2012: New information details voluntary deferred action for those who have never been in deportation proceedings. Read more here. http://bwnews.us/2012/08/06/who-and-where-the-dreamers-are/

(bw) WASHINGTON, D.C.- U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced on June 15, 2012  that new procedures would be in place for immigration deportation proceedings deferment for certain young immigrants.

“Our nation’s immigration laws must be enforced in a firm and sensible manner,” said Secretary Napolitano. “But they are not designed to be blindly enforced without consideration given to the individual circumstances of each case. Nor are they designed to remove productive young people to countries where they may not have lived or even speak the language. Discretion, which is used in so many other areas, is especially justified here.” Continue reading

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