Tuesday, November 13, 2012

National Hispanic organization chimes in on Latino Vote

Charles Kamasaki
So What Do We Do Now?
Latinos and the 2nd Obama Admnistration

By Charles Kamasaki, National Council of La Raza

For perhaps the first time in history, the Latino vote is widely acknowledged to have proven decisive in a Presidential election. How should the community's advocates react? The natural tendency is to push for more across the board, hoping that the community's greater political power will automatically translate into public policy wins.

While surely there's some truth to this assumption, it won't be easy. Getting anything done in today's highly-charged, deeply polarized environment is very difficult. And paradoxically, the prominence of the Hispanic vote may actually reduce the incentive for some partisans on both sides of the aisle to enact policies their political opponents might get credit for.

As Latino advocates consider what to do next, it would behoove us to step back, take a hard look at the current landscape, and make some strategic, intentional decisions about where we allocate our collective advocacy resources. Let's start by taking a hard look at what just happened.

First, the good news: the absolute number of Hispanic voters in 2012 increased substantially over 2008 - a significant milestone given that overall turnout probably went down a bit.[1] As many as three-quarters of Latino voters supported the winner, President Obama, according to the Impremedia/Latino Decisions poll, which is likely more reliable than the media consortium's exit poll.

Nine newly-elected Representatives will join the Congressional Hispanic Caucus next year, and Ted Cruz will join Marco Rubio and Bob Menendez in the Senate. To the surprise of many, a ballot initiative on in-state tuition for undocumented students won a major victory in Maryland. And this hasn't gone unnoticed. Dozens of reporters, politicians, and pundits have noted the community's growing clout, often ably assisted by press events and news releases issued by Latino advocates.

However, one of the biggest dangers advocates face is believing our own spin. Without in any way denigrating the progress we've made as a result of major civic engagement efforts by many of our organizations, if we parse the data carefully there are some dark clouds hidden behind the silver lining.

On the electoral front, a major long term concern is that the Hispanic electorate is not keeping up with the community's population growth. "Straight line" growth - that is, replication of the 27-28% increases in actual voters that took place over the last two cycles - should have produced about 12.4 million Hispanic voters this year, but it appears that total Latino 2012 turnout will be below 12 million.[2]

A related concern is that the talk about the importance of the Hispanic vote was not matched by commensurate investments in expanding the electorate. As a result, hardly a dime was invested in nonpartisan citizenship or voter registration work in non-battleground states like California, Texas, New York, Illinois, or New Mexico, which have the greatest concentrations of potential - but not yet actual - Latino voters.

On the policy front, the ideological make-up of Congress hardly changed at all, and some key allies like DREAM Act sponsors Richard Lugar in the Senate and Howard Berman in the House, won't be returning next year. This means that translating the community's growing electoral power into policy change will remain difficult at best.

Allocating one's advocacy resources involve inevitable trade-offs: short-term vs. long term, pushing the envelope vs. settling for a compromise, asserting parochial interest vs. working in broader coalitions, and so on. There are no "right" answers, and obviously every institution and advocate will do what they have to do on their own top priorities. But events require us to concentrate collectively on at least two major fronts right now.

The first involves imminent debates over how to address the "fiscal cliff." Representing a community with both an immediate need for jobs and long-term human capital investments, Hispanic advocates should push for some form of immediate job creation effort and fight equally hard to protect key education and workforce programs. Achieving these goals likely will require both substantial new revenue and some entitlement reform over the long-term, meaning pitched battles with some conservatives on taxes and uncomfortable discussions with some traditional allies on entitlements.

The second is immigration reform. While it's axiomatic that most of us will be calling for reform, there are at least three things we haven't always done that we need to do now.

One is greater outreach to those not yet persuaded that reform is necessary or desirable. Enactment of a bill will require at least 30-35 Republican votes in the House and five-to-seven in the Senate. Only if we work on a bipartisan basis using all of our collective resources are we likely to achieve these goals.

Two, we need to continue to hold the Administration's feet to the fire, including demanding expansion of deferred deportation to cover, at a minimum, the parents and siblings of U.S. citizen children.

But three, and this is the hard part, at the appropriate time we'll need to be prepared to compromise when the time comes.

As immediate developments require a focus on these and other short term policy priorities, it will be equally important to focus on some crucial long term interests. Arguably the most important of these is growing the Latino electorate.

While we can and should celebrate the 11-12 million Hispanics who voted, out of slightly over 14 million registered, we cannot forget the 10 million Latino citizens of voting age who are not yet registered to vote, a group that will grow by over 500,000 per year. There are certain inherent challenges: this population is disproportionately young and low-income, has relatively low levels of educational attainment, and is highly mobile. In addition, voter ID laws and other artificial barriers are not likely to go away soon.

Charles Kamasaki is Executive Vice President of the National Council of La Raza (NCLR). He has worked for NCLR for the last 32 years; his first role with organization was at a South Texas-based program where he specialized in supporting affordable housing construction. He has since headed their Office of Research, Advocacy and Legislation and directed their Policy Analysis Center. Prior to working for the NCLR, he specialized in providing elected officials with technical assistance in housing and community development. He has held leadership positions with the Leadership Conference for Civil Rights, the National Community Reinvestment Coalition and the National Immigration Law Center. Charles is the co-author, with Raul Yzaguirre, of the seminal paper, "Black-Hispanic Tensions: One Perspective," Journal of Intergroup Relations (Winter 1994-5) and is currently taking a one-year partial leave of absence to write a book on immigration policy and politics. He can be reached at ckamasaki@nclr.org.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Will the Latino vote go unrewarded?

Latino voters will probably help reelect President Obama, but what will they get in return?
By Adrian Perez, Associate Editor, Journal On Latino Americans

Yes.  It is true.  The majority of Latino voters who will participate in this year’s Presidential election will vote for President Barack Obama.  Most will not vote for him because he has been good for Latinos, they will be voting for him because the Republicans have almost totally alienated Latino voters.

Like many other Latinos, I supported Obama’s election in 2008, not because he would have been the first President of color, but because his speeches told us there was a much brighter light if we elected him to lead the free world.  As an independent voter, I studied his and Senator John McCain’s messages to see which would better serve the Latino community and hands down, Obama was a cut above.  So what happened?

President Barack Obama has been a disappointment for Latinos in his policies and broken promises that once stirred support and a drive for change in the 2008 Presidential election.  The country has never been more divided with partisan politics playing a key role in how Latinos, documented or undocumented, are perceived.  Had the President stuck to his promises and demonstrated true leadership by standing up to racist attitudes toward Latinos and address the undocumented worker issue in a more prompt and humane level, support for his reelection would have remained or exceeded what he experienced in 2008.

I was present at the 2008 National Council of La Raza annual convention in San Diego, California, where Obama promised that immigration reform would be a priority in his first year as President.  Instead, his immigration policies of the last 4 years have resulted in the largest number of undocumented Latino deportations occurring, many without due process, which split thousands of families.

Some have argued that it hasn’t been the President’s fault.  Really?  The Department of Homeland Security is under his rule and he appointed former Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano to establish and implement the most cruel and inhumane approaches of deportation, where in many cases children had to be placed in foster homes or left with a single parent to care for them.  So why did Obama wait to take action until it was time to run for reelection?

As an olive-branch to the Latino community, Obama offered a policy this year, protecting the millions of undocumented children who were brought here by their parents, an opportunity not to be deported if they self-identified themselves as undocumented.  The problem with that policy is the Department of Homeland Security will know where these children are and if the policy is not extended, they will be deported. 

Governor Mitt Romney is no saint either, making it clear he would deport all undocumented residents, including children, unless they entered the military.  Unfortunately, they are not his policies as much as they are the Republican Party’s policies. 

Unless real Latino leadership in the U.S. stands up to the winner of this year’s Presidential winner, we can expect more of the same. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Why pollsters missed the Latino Vote - 2012 edition

Why Pollsters Missed the Latino Vote – 2012 edition

by Latino Decisions
In 1998 Harry Pachon and Rudy de la Garza wrote a report for the Tomas Rivera Policy Institute titled "Why Pollsters Missed the Latino Vote - Again!" in which they argued that polls across California failed to accurately account for Latino voters in their samples, and that pre-election polls statewide were fraught with errors as a result.  Pachon and de la Garza argued that "mainstream" pollsters failed to account for Latinos for three primary reasons: 1) their sample sizes of Latinos were far too small; 2) their Latinos samples were not representative of the Latino population within the state; and 3) they were not interviewing Latinos in Spanish at the correct proportions.  THIS WAS 14 YEARS AGO (yes I am screaming).
In 2010 Gary Segura and I wrote that not much had changed and polls continued to mis-represent the Latino vote.  It is now well-known that polls in Nevada had small, unrepresentative and biased samples of Latinos, leading them to entirely miss Harry Reid's 5-point lead over Sharron Angle.  Two weeks ago, Nate Silver wrote at 538 that some polls seem to be continuing the same mistakes and under-counting and mis-counting Latino voters, which he had originally picked up, and wrote about the day after the 2010 midterms.  Around the same time some new polls started appearing in states like Nevada and Florida with bizarre data for Latino voters - Obama only had an 8 point lead among Nevada Latinos, and Romney was actually ahead among Latinos in Florida.  Really?
And now the worst offenders might be the newest batch of national polls are attempting to estimate the national Obama-Romney horse race numbers.  Monday October 22, Monmouth University released a poll in which Romney leads Obama 48% to 45%.  Among Latinos, they report Obama leads by just 6 points - 48% to 42%.  These numbers are such extreme outliers that even Romney campaign surrogates would have a hard time believing them.  While Monmouth is the most recent, there have been many national polls with equally faulty numbers among Latinos.
Keep that 48 to 42 number in your head and let's compare across a variety of recent polls of Latino voters.  As a matter of self-interest, we'll start with four recent impreMedia-Latino Decisions tracking polls in October.  The last four polls released by IM/LD have found the Latino vote nationally at 71-20; 67-23; 72-20; 73-21.  Don't like those? NBC/Telemundo have released two polls in October of Latinos, putting the race at 70-25, and 70-20 just before that. And then there was the Pew Hispanic Center poll 10 days ago which had Obama 69-21 over Romney, and just before that CNN did a poll of Latinos putting the national vote at 70-25.  Okay - that's eight national polls of Latino voters in the month of October and the average across all eight is 70.3% for Obama to 21.9% for Romney.
The Monmouth poll is not the only one that is off, the Gallup tracking poll has also been heavily criticized for mis-calculating the minority vote. Noted Political Scientist Alan Abramowitz has written recently that Gallup has too many Whites and too few Blacks and Latinos in their sample, not keeping up with simple demographic changes in America.  And other polls are similarly off.  A Politico/GWU poll in mid-October had Latinos 53-44 for Obama, +9 nationally.
Let's examine how these faulty Latino numbers create problems with the overall national estimates.  Afterall, Latinos are estimated to comprise 10% off all voters this year.  If Latinos are only leaning to Obama 48-42, that +6 edge among 10% of the electorate only contributes a net 0.6 advantage to Obama (4.8 for Obama to 4.2 for Romney).  However, if instead Obama is leading 70.3 to 21.9 that +48.4 edge contributes a net 4.8 advantage to Obama (7.0 to 2.2), hence the national polls may be missing as much as 4 full points in Obama's national numbers.
Let's break the numbers down a bit more to see if the math adds up, as Bill Clinton is so fond of saying...
Looking at the Monmouth Poll, overall they give Romney a +3 edge nationally, 48 to 45.  According to their crosstabs by race and ethnicity (posted here), the first tab below shows the data as collected and reported by the Monmouth Poll, including their estimates of the share each racial group will comprise of the electorate.  If you take the vote percentages for each candidate times the share of the electorate that Monmouth gives each group, you can arrive at the contribution that each racial group makes towards the overall support numbers for each candidate.
Assuming the data as reported by Monmouth, Latinos would add 5.8 points to Obama and 5.0 point to Romney, a net edge of 0.8 points towards Obama.  However, in tab 2, we plug in the 8-poll average among Latinos as reported above, 70.3 to 21.9.  Here, we see Latinos contribute 8.4 points to Obama and 2.6 to Romney, a net edge of 5.8 points towards Obama.  With this adjustment, that 5 point swing in the overall national data towards Obama takes what was a +3 .6 advantage for Romney and turns it into a +1.5 advantage for Obama, 47.6 to 46.1.  This is the exact story of the 2010 Nevada data in which poll after poll showed Angle ahead of Reid, and Latinos only slightly breaking to Reid.  On Election Day Reid won by 5 points, an 8-point swing from the poll average, and he carried Latinos 90-to-10.

However, we might also look at the Monmouth (or any of the national polls) data among Blacks and expect they have underestimated the Black vote for Obama.  Rather than carrying 82% of the African American vote, a more realistic prediction is that Obama will win 92% (or more) of the African American vote.  A recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll showed 94% of Blacks planning to vote for Obama and 0% for Romney.  If we add 10 points to the Black vote for Obama - an adjustment I doubt anyone would disagree with - we find a full additional point in favor of Obama nationally, 48.7% to 46.1%.
Dozens of polls this year are making these exact same errors that Harry Pachon and Rudy de la Garza pointed out 14 years ago.  And by the way, their report title carried the phrase "Again!" because they pointed out that polls in California in 1994 and 1996 had made similar mistakes in underestimating the Latino vote.
If these mistakes are being made nationally where Latinos comprise an estimated 10% of all voters, they are even worse in statewide polls in Nevada, Florida, Colorado and Arizona where Latinos comprise an even larger share of all voters.  In Florida Latinos are estimated at 17% of all voters.  If you are badly mis-calculating the candidate preference among 17% of the electorate (that's 1 out of every 6 voters), then the entire statewide estimates are wrong. A PPP poll out yesterday in Florida had Romney leading 49 to 46 among Latinos in Florida, and overall Romney was ahead 48 to 47.  The PPP poll likely had around 130 Hispanic respondents, all interviewed via robotic IVR method, which has notoriously low and problematic response rates among Latinos. A Latino Decisions October poll showed Florida Latinos backing Obama 61 to 31.
Understanding, and accurately polling the Latino electorate is important not just for the sake of getting a correct portrait of Latino voters, but because they are such a large part of the overall electorate that "missing the Latino vote" ultimately results in missing the true vote of the entire electorate, whether in a swing state, or nationally.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A Latino's perspective on Romney being Mexican

Romney better off as a Latino?
By Ruben Navarrette, CNN

(CNN) -- Sometimes a story comes along that is so utterly ridiculous that, as a commentator, your first instinct is to deal with it tongue-in-cheek.

And so it is with Mitt Romney's videotaped remarks to a roomful of donors at a fundraiser in May in Boca Raton, Florida. The GOP presidential candidate appears to say that he wishes he were Latino because he thinks it would be "helpful" to his quest and give him a "better shot" at the presidency.

Referring to his father, George, Romney told the audience:

"My dad, as you probably know, was the governor of Michigan and was the head of a car company. But he was born in Mexico ... and had he been born of Mexican parents, I'd have a better shot at winning this. But he was unfortunately born to  Americans living in Mexico. He lived there for a number of years. I mean, I say that jokingly, but it would be helpful to be Latino."

I'm tempted to respond with this: "Mitt Romney thinks it would be helpful if he were Latino. Well, Mitt, I'm Latino. And I think it would be helpful to me if I were worth $250 million. Wanna switch?"
Or, given President Barack Obama's heavy-handed immigration policies, with this: "What Mitt Romney doesn't realize is that if he were Mexican, there's a 94.6% chance that he would've already been deported by his opponent."

Romney's comments are clearly absurd, and so it's hard to take them seriously. Did the rich white guy really claim to want to be Latino because he thought it would help him win the presidency?

That's strange. Being Latino didn't seem to help Bill Richardson.

The former New Mexico governor ran for president in 2008, and he didn't get beyond the New Hampshire primary. Also, by Romney's logic, you would think that we've had a whole slew of Latinos elected president; there hasn't been a single one -- if you don't count Jimmy Smits playing President-elect Matt Santos on the final season of "The West Wing."

Romney should quit while he's ahead. Statistically, he has the golden ticket. He's a rich white male, and they're overrepresented in the exclusive club of the 44 individuals to ever serve as president. Barack Obama is an exception, and even he satisfies two of three characteristics: rich and male.

But, if Mitt really wants to get in touch with his inner Mexican, I think he'll find that it's not all churros and chocolate or pinatas and pan dulce. You see -- and you might find this hard to believe, Mitt -- but there is still a lot of discrimination in this country against Latinos as whites hunker down and try to hold on to what they have in the face of changing demographics.

For instance, Romney has two Harvard degrees, and so do I. But I'll go out on a limb here and guess that he never had anyone suggest that he was only admitted to that prestigious university because of affirmative action. Or that he is frequently told, as I am, to "go back to Mexico" -- which is ironic, given that, since I'm the grandson of a Mexican immigrant and Romney is the son of a Mexican immigrant, the GOP presidential candidate is one generation closer to the motherland than I am.

Yet, as difficult as it is, we must take Romney's comments seriously. There are three reasons that they're troubling.

First, judging from the videotape, when Romney suggested that his path to the White House would have been covered in rose petals if only he had been born Mexican, the crowd loved it. What are they thinking?

Are these the kind of people who tell themselves that their sons and daughters would have gotten into Yale or Princeton if some black kid hadn't taken their spot? Do they really believe that racial and ethnic minorities have it easy in this country? And if so, what country are they living in?

Second, if you look at the rest of Romney's remarks -- about the 47% of Americans who pay no taxes and "who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it" -- he makes a good point. Many Americans do have an entitlement mentality, and it's a real problem.

Where Romney went wrong is that the sense of entitlement isn't limited to those on government aid. It includes the kind of fat cat donors who were in the audience. They get tax breaks and corporate subsidies. They raise their kids to think they're entitled to not do the jobs that immigrants wind up doing. Romney scolded those who think they're entitled, and then he seemed to wink at the audience and tell them: "present company excluded."

Lastly, it's hard to come up with a better example of an American who sees himself as a victim with a sense of entitlement than Mitt Romney. Think about what he said. This was no joke.

Romney sounds frustrated. By suggesting that he'd have a better chance at winning this election if he were Latino, Romney is playing the victim. Poor me, I had the misfortune to be born a white male. It's clear that he thinks he was entitled to a much smoother path to the White House.

Is Romney able to fix what's broken with America? Or are people like Mitt Romney what's broken with America?

Ruben Navarrette is a CNN contributor and a nationally syndicated columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group. Follow him on Twitter: @rubennavarrette

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Perspective: GOP grooming Latinos, not Dems

Opinion: Republicans are grooming Latino leaders, Dems are not
by Jaime Rojas Jr. for NBCLatino

We saw this week the Democratic National Convention and its sea of diversity among its delegates on the Convention floor, a very stark contrast to the Republican National Convention faces we saw on television the week before. But behind the scenes, I see a very different picture regarding the grooming of Latino leadership for the future of American politics.

The Democrats paint a party of the “people” who represents the last frontier to protect what’s left of the American middle class. At the DNC, they showcased their Latino leadership. We saw my mayor, Antonio Villariagosa, prominently displayed as the chairman of the Convention. Julian Castro, the mayor of San Antonio, is billed as the rising Latino star in the Democratic Party.

The RNC, on the other hand, spotlighted their chosen ones too: Congressman Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, and Governor Susanna Martinez of New Mexico. So we ask: “Which political party is really grooming our future Latino leadership?” My short answer is….the Republican party. Here is why: The Democrats, with all their fanfare of diversity, really has no real infrastructure on a national or state level focused on grooming Latino leadership. Since Latinos just happen to make a large number in their party, really by default they have taken some leadership roles. And if you think about it, Democratic Latinos are not really in too many high level positions like governors or senior ranking congresspersons, considering the number of Latinos in the party.

The reason is simple. The Democratic Party has a “union” mentality when it comes to grooming its next leadership. You have to start practically at birth as a member of the Party and promote your way up the ladder, until it’s your time to eventually lead. Being from California, that process and mentality is obvious with the State Democrats and the union machine. So what real chance does a young Latino have of high level leadership in the Democratic Party, if they don’t follow this “promotional” leadership process…none.

The Republicans surprisingly enough, invested last year, on the national level into a fund specifically to identify and groom 100 top Latino leaders for the Party. Impressive? Well, the fund only started with less than 2 million dollars, which in today’s economy is not much, but it’s a start. For the first time we heard not just one but two Latinos, Congressman Marco Rubio and Governor Susanna Martinez on the short list for Vice President! We recently saw Congressman Ted Cruz come in and shock everyone with his win in Texas. He had some support (money) of the RNC too.

I believe the Republican party has the better chance of grooming and possibly delivering Latino political leaders that actually will not only look like us, but also represent us appropriately. Believe it or not, Latinos’ beliefs are very similar to those of the GOP: family, fiscal conservancy, small government, and support of entrepreneurship and business. Yes, I know, shocking but very true. With our potential voting power, Latinos can vote into office (or take out of office) the right candidate to represent and act on our legislative needs. What is good for Latinos is good for America…and what is good for America is good for Latinos!

The Latino community must continue investing in ourselves and believe that our time is here now. We must support leadership-training beginning with our youth, and support national organizations like the National Hispanic Institute, based out of Texas, who go after our cream of the crop of Latino youth and train them to think like leaders and entrepreneurs. At the end of the day, it is our responsibility, no one else’s, to train, groom and support America’s future leadership! Let’s all take this call for action….it is really the American thing to do, no que no?

Jaime Rojas Jr. worked for The White House’s Office of Public Liaison and Latino outreach for President Bill Clinton, and for The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics. He is also the former President and CEO of the California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce (CHCC) and he wrote his first book in 2011 titled, “The Conservative’s Pocket Constitution.” Follow Jaime on Twitter @Jaime_Rojas

Saturday, August 25, 2012

New York politics about to change in favor of Latinos

The Ethical Fall
of Vito Lopez:
Implications for the Future of
Brooklyn Latino Politics
By Angelo Falcón (August 25, 2012)

 Ethics: Moral principles that govern a person's or group's behavior.
---Oxford Dictionary

Angelo Falcon BW
The sudden announcement of major ethical violations by Brooklyn power broker Vito Lopez by the NYS Assembly of which he has been a member since 1984 took everyone by surprise. It was widely known that he was being investigated for funny business concerning his nonprofit, the Bushwick Ridgewood Senior Citizens Council and its very very well-paid Director, his long-time girlfriend, Angela Battagli. But, to be severely censured by the Assembly for the sexual harassment of his female staff? No one really saw that coming!

This situation makes it obligatory to point out that, despite his surname, he is an Italian-American and not a Latino (although I understand that he claims he has a grandparent from Spain). However, depending on his immediate political fortunes, and calls for his resignation will no doubt emerge as the county's district leaders prepare to meet as you read this, this could have a profound impact on the nature of Latino politics and politics in general in Brooklyn. But ever since Lopez was diagnosed with Leukemia in 1993 and treated for the recurrence of cancer in 2010, the Brooklyn political class has, in many cases begrudgingly, learned over the years not to count him out prematurely.

His loss of his chairmanship of the powerful Housing Committee, of his seniority and eligibility to hold any leadership positions in the Assembly severely undercut his influence in that body, and were made all that more humiliating by his being barred from, get this, hiring any staff under 21 years of age or employing any interns. Besides his continued viability as a state legislator, questions will no doubt quickly arise as to his fitness to continue as Chair of the Kings County Democratic Party (his predecessor in this position, by the way, was Clarence Norman Jr., who is currently serving a prison sentence for three felony counts of accepting illegal campaign contributions).

The recent Democratic primary in Congressional district 7 largely covering northern Brooklyn, where incumbent Nydia Velazquez readily beat back three challengers, was generally viewed as a political battle between Velazquez and surrogates for Vito Lopez (some even speculated that all three of her challengers were put up by Lopez). The downfall of Lopez would leave a political vacuum that favors a stronger local role for politicians like Velazquez and the network of progressive reformers she is associated with, whyich now includes term-limited Councilmember and former Lopez chief of staff Diana Reyna. While it is difficult to determine what will happen to the leadership of the county organization at this point, the political demise of Lopez also means the at least temporary weakening of the King County Democratic political machine.

This would have immediate repercussions for the Dilan political family. Two strong allies of Lopez are State Senator Martin Dilan and his son Councilmember Erik Martin Dilan (as well as the younger Dilan's former chair of staff and now Assemblyman Rafael Espinal). Senator Dilan is currently being challenged in next month's Democratic primary by reformer Jason Otaño, who is backed by Velazquez. Councilmember Dilan is term-limited and his seat will be open, and it looks like Make the Road staffer Jesus Gonzalez (who recently lost in a squeaker to Espinal for the Assembly) will be making a run at that open seat. Then there is scandal-ridden Bronx Assembywoman Naomi Rivera's current boyfriend, Tommy Torres, who was reportedly planning a run to replace Reyna in the City Council with the backing of Lopez.

There are also the Latino politicos further south in the borough in the Sunset Park area. These are Assemblyman Felix Ortiz and Councilmember Sara Gonzalez. Ortiz is a politically shrewd character who will no doubt maneuver his way well through whatever party leadership changes occur, insulated in part by his relatively new role as head of the Assembly's Puerto Rican/Hispanic Legislative Task Force and its Somos El Futuro Conferences, and his role as President of the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators. Councilmember Gonzalez is up for reelection next year in a redistricted district and her main concern will be negotiating a relationship with the area's growing Asian population and White gentrifiers.

Will this opening in the leadership of the Brooklyn Democratic machine create an opportunity for a greater Latino role in running party politics in the borough? Will Brooklyn White ethnic leaders like Borough President Marty Markovitz and the Black leadership see this as a chance to more fully partner with the county's growing Latino electorate? Will they see this, as one witty boricua commentator told me, as an opportunity to finally replace Vito with a real Latino in place of a Latino "in last name only."  

The political repercussions of Lopez' fall from grace will be many, but it will be interesting to see how it affects that nature of Latino politics in the Brooklyn. It is significant that these days potentially progressive political change seems to emerge more from the rubble of exposed scandal and corruption rather than wholesome and principled civic engagement. And it is sad to say that even the possibility of something positive coming from these political disasters is never even assured.

Angelo Falcón is President of the National Institute for Latino Policy (NiLP), for which he edits The NiLP Network on Latino Issues. He is co-editor of the book, Boricuas in Gotham: Puerto Ricans in the Making of Modern New York City.He can be reached at afalcon@latinopolicy.org.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Possible 'Second Round' of foreclosures coming

 With Latinos losing homes across the nation, and with the Obama Administration pushing for more help for troubled homeowners, the Federal Housing Finance Agency says too bad for those losing their homes.  This is a clear case of Government for the Banks and by the Banks...call your legislators people! - The Perez Factor.

FHFA: Cuts to mortgage principal would not ‘meaningfully’ reduce foreclosures

By Ronald D. Orol, MarketWatch

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — The regulator for government-seized housing giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac said Tuesday he doesn’t want the firms to cut the amount underwater borrowers owe, drawing an immediate rebuke from Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

Ed DeMarco, the acting chief of the regulator for Fannie and Freddie, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, said in a letter to the top Republican and Democrat on the Senate Banking Committee that “after much study,” he has concluded that Fannie and Freddie’s participation in the Obama administration’s program to cut the amount owed by underwater borrowers would “not make a meaningful improvement in reducing foreclosures in a cost effective way for taxpayers.”

Fannie and Freddie already have cost taxpayers over $188 billion, DeMarco said.

Geithner criticized the decision.

“I am concerned by your continued opposition to allowing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to use targeted principal reduction in their loan modification programs,” Geithner wrote in a letter in response.

Roughly 56% of all U.S. mortgages are owned or guaranteed by Fannie and Freddie and about 11 million homeowners owe more than their properties are worth. Borrowers with negative equity are often referred to as “underwater” homeowners, because they owe more than their homes are worth.

Geithner, the White House and some Democratic lawmakers have been pushing DeMarco to cut the amount underwater borrowers owe for mortgages owned by the two firms, a process known as principal reduction.

Democrats contend that principal reduction would drive the economic recovery because it would give borrowers more money to spend and make it easier for those who have no home equity to sell their homes and move to another city to take a job. Read about internal Fannie documents showing how the firm concluded that cuts to mortgages would help taxpayers
Geithner criticizes decision

Geithner said in his letter that allowing Fannie and Freddie participation in the White House principal-reduction program could help up to half a million homeowners and result in savings to the two mortgage giants of $3.6 billion when compared to other loan-modification programs. Geithner added that the Treasury’s estimate is based on FHFA’s own analysis which was provided to the Treasury.

“In view of the clear benefits that the use of principal reduction by [Fannie and Freddie] would have for homeowners, the housing market and taxpayers, I urge you to reconsider this decision,” Geithner said.

In his letter to Congress, DeMarco said that a key concern with principal reduction is whether borrowers who are current on their loans and have the ability to pay will “claim a hardship or actually become delinquent” to capture the benefits of the program. Read about DeMarco defending not cutting Fannie, Freddie principal

“Even when considering alternatives that might reduce the impact of strategic modifiers and simplify the operational issues, the general result was that the benefits would accrue to few homeowners and would not outweigh the significant costs and challenges to implement a program,” said DeMarco.

DeMarco added that FHFA analysis shows that if 3,000 to 19,000 borrowers who are current on their mortgages decide to default in search of principal reduction, the result would offset any taxpayer benefits seen in a best-case scenario envisioned by the agency. He added that weakening the reliability of the mortgage contract would have “long-term” negative implications to mortgage-credit pricing.

DeMarco added that there are other improvements that can be used to limit losses at Fannie and Freddie and improve the operation of the housing finance market. He said that regulators could further streamline refinance opportunities and expand the short-sale process.

The Treasury in January expanded a program, known as the Home Affordable Modification Program, or HAMP, that seeks to help borrowers on the verge of foreclosure by tripling incentive payments to investors who cut the amount owed by borrowers for mortgages not owned by Fannie and Freddie.

The Treasury also sought to encourage Fannie and Freddie to participate in the program by offering incentives to reduce principal for mortgages owned by the two giants. In response, FHFA conducted another analysis and came to the conclusion Tuesday that mortgage cuts would be costly. Read about the White House expanding foreclosure prevention program

A CoreLogic report from July 12 noted that negative equity and near negative-equity mortgages accounted for 28.5% of all U.S. mortgages in the first quarter of 2012, down from 30% in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Response to the decision on Capitol Hill was mixed, as expected.

“We are five years into the housing crisis, and FHFA remains paralyzed by the fear that somehow homeowners innocently trapped in the worst economy since the Great Depression are going to weasel out of paying every penny on their mortgage that they could,” said Rep. Brad Miller, Democrat of North Carolina.

However, Rep. Scott Garrett, Republican of New Jersey, said he praised DeMarco for his decision to “protect” U.S. taxpayers. “This thoughtful and analytical decision-making process should be used as model for the rest of Washington’s bureaucrats before they make decisions without properly considering the costs and benefits to the taxpayer,” Garrett said.

Ronald D. Orol is a MarketWatch reporter, based in Washington.

Monday, July 30, 2012


What ever happened to "Protect and to Serve?"  It appears neither the Anaheim PD Chief nor the elected leaders have any control on their police force, who keep showing up like goon squads to confront women and children.  I'd say this community needs counseling...

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Latino Congressman shares perspective on Obama's immigration policy

THE HILL: Obama’s immigration act is a game-changer 
By Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) -

You should not underestimate the electricity that has gone through immigrant and Hispanic neighborhoods like those in my district in Chicago since President Obama and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced that they would temporarily protect immigrant youths eligible for the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act from deportation. In two month’s time, when the first group of DREAMers comes forward to affirmatively apply for protection from deportation, it will be similar in many ways to how some people felt when same-sex couples were granted marriage licenses or African-Americans were allowed to register to vote in the South.

As in those occurrences, DREAMers coming forward will mark a new chapter, but not the last chapter, in a long struggle for inclusion in society. What these young illegal immigrants are being offered is temporary and incomplete, but tremendously important to them. And while it does not represent protection for their parents or neighbors, who might also be assets to their communities, it serves as a dramatic symbol to the rest of the nation that times are changing.

In the short run, as many as 800,000 undocumented immigrants who have lived in the United States for more than five years and who arrived before they were 16 years old, and who have stayed out of trouble and pursued an education, will be able to live and work without immediate threat of deportation. They will be able to work, to drive and to conduct their lives in many ways like the U.S. citizens they grew up with and went to school with.

Those who will benefit from the new announcement are future American leaders who grew up with my children and your children and only want America to embrace them as much as they themselves have embraced America. This is not the country of their birth, but for almost all of them, this is and will be the only country they call home. The action the Obama administration is taking recognizes that reality and takes the first step toward saying to these young immigrants, “Welcome home.”

Experts inside and outside of government — from the staff at Homeland Security, former general counsels at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, legal scholars of all stripes, scores of senators, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and a range of others — have been telling the president he is within his legal authority to act in this manner. The president and his Cabinet are exercising powers previous administrations have used to protect our national interest with regard to the application of our immigration and deportation laws.

Republicans who have treated immigrants as political punching bags instead of people are now in a bind. Mitt Romney, when pressed repeatedly this past weekend to say whether or not he would revoke the president’s extension of temporary protections for those who would qualify for the DREAM Act, refused to answer. He has previously said he would veto the DREAM Act, that he sees laws like those passed in Arizona as a “model” for the country and that the hallmark of his immigration policy is that undocumented immigrants find things so miserable here that they deport themselves.

Obama’s leadership, and Romney’s insistence that immigrants are nothing more than pawns to be used as a political wedge issue, presents a clear choice for America. The president now welcomes the contributions of student achievers in America. Romney believes they should be deported. The president stands up against divisive and unfair laws like those passed in Arizona. Romney believes they are models for our future. The president looks at immigrants and sees people who want to build a better America. Romney looks at immigrants and sees an opportunity to pander to the extreme right wing of his party.

I believe this is a defining moment on a key national policy, and the difference between Republicans and Democrats could not be more stark. The Democratic vision, which has long represented a bipartisan, sensible middle ground on this issue, is to allow legal immigration through a controlled and orderly process and get those who are here already into a fair system where they are on the books, paying more taxes and playing by the rules. The Republican vision seems to be little more than anger, finger-pointing and partisan politics. I’m eager to have the American people choose. Extending temporary relief from deportation to DREAMers starts the process of reforming our immigration system, both because it envisions a future where mass deportation is not the centerpiece of our policy and because it will reshape the political landscape. I have little doubt that the millions of Hispanic citizens, many of whom have been frustrated by the slow pace of progress under Obama, will be reenergized by the president fighting for them. As a policy, this is a necessary, if modest, change. As a political moment in time, this is a game-changer.

Gutierrez was first elected to Congress from the 4th District of Illinois in 1992 and is the chairman of the Immigration Task Force of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Latino Veteran's group ask what happened to "Prosecutorial Discretion"

Beside having the highest number of deportations than any other President, Barack Obama promised to exercise "Prosecutorial Discretion" to assess favorable reviews of undocumented persons, in particular for those who have served in the United States military.  This promise was made in 2011 and now it appears the President has stalled this effort, which is of concern to the American GI Forum, whose goal is to protect all veterans who have served in the armed forces.  The following is an open letter from the American GI Forum California's State Commander, Willie Galvan to Associate Director for the White House Office of Public Engagement Julie C. Rodriguez:

June 2, 2012

White House Office of Public Engagement
Attn:  Julie C. Rodriguez, Associate Director
c/o White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C.

RE:      President’s “Prosecutorial Discretion”
            Deportation of U.S. Military Veterans

Dear Ms. Rodriguez:

In mid-August, 2011, we received news that the President would review over 300,000 cases then in deportation status, some of which included persons and families involving United States military veterans.  Since then we have understood that there would be two immediate consequences of the President’s action.

First, we understood that once a particular case was favorably “reviewed” the effected person would be entitled to proceed with obtaining documentation to remain legally in the United States.

Secondly, we understood that the President’s administration would take reasonable steps to assure in advance that similar persons, especially United States military veterans, would never again be placed in jeopardy of deportation under such circumstances.

By this letter, I seek your attention to the status of the President’s exercise of “Prosecutorial Discretion” as announced.  Of course, I would be particularly interested in any report you might release to me about United States military veterans in these circumstances.  How many veterans received the promised favorable “review”?  What “steps” has this administration taken to avoid jeopardy of deportation for United States military veterans in such circumstances?

Also, please provide any public documents, or references, directly responsive to my inquiry.  Thank you in advance for your anticipated prompt response.

Willie Galvan

Willie Galvan, State Commander
American GI Forum of California


Saturday, June 2, 2012

AZ Democrats no better for Latinos

Have Democrats shown their true color in Arizona campaign?
By Salomon Baldenegro
Estimadas/os: The Arizona Democratic Party is waging a campaign against Democrat Wenona Benally Baldenegro—who is on track to make history by being the first Native American woman (ever!!) to be elected to Congress and the first Native American, man or woman, from Arizona to be elected to Congress.
This campaign against Wenona is rooted in an essay, “All Politics is Local: The Democratic Party’s Abandonment of the Core,” by Dr. Rudy Acuña, in which Acuña criticizes the Arizona Democratic Party for not supporting candidates of color or issues of import to the Mexican American community and mentions Wenona. The Arizona Democratic Party Executive Director, Luis Heredia, retaliated against Acuña by going after Wenona Benally Baldenegro.
[Acuña’s essay and a follow-up essay, “An Illusion Becomes a Delusion…Maybe I am Missing Something,” are Attached. Note that both essays are embedded in a single document. I urge you to read them to get the full flavor of the dynamics at play here.]
Concomitant to the campaign against Wenona by Heredia, Bill Roe, Arizona Democratic Party Chairman, is sponsoring fundraisers for Wenona’s Democratic Party opponent. So much for the stated—and obviously false—policy of the Democratic Party that it will not takes sides in contested Primaries.
The behavior by the Arizona Democratic Party begs the question: Where is the logic in the Arizona Democratic Party’s going all out to derail the historical candidacy of a highly qualified Native American woman who has deep ties to the Mexican American community and to support a candidate who supports racist legislation (SB 1070) and compares Mexican immigrants to terrorists?
And especially in a presidential election year, when the Democrats are bragging that Arizona will vote Democratic in November and are counting on the Latino and Native American communities, two of its largest and historically most loyal constituency groups, to be the deciding factors in that election?
I daresay that in pursuing its anti-Mexican American-Native American agenda, the Democratic Party ignores the reality that the Democratic Party needs us more than we need the Democratic Party!
Full disclosure, but…
Before I go on: Wenona Benally Baldenegro is my daughter-in-law. So, there is a personal dimension in my posting. But let’s be clear: I make absolutely no apologies for defending Wenona against the racist attacks being visited upon her by the Arizona Democratic Party and its sycophants and minions.
But, my relationship to Wenona aside, over my 45-plus-year history of activism in the civil-rights struggle I (and others) have raised the issues I raise here. In fact, it was these very issues that got many of us to take on the Democratic Party and to form La Raza Unida Party in the 1970s.
Republicans attack us openly…Democrats do it behind closed doors
Latinos are under attack in Arizona. The Republicans leading that war on Latinos wear their hate of Mexicans and other brown-skinned peoples as a badge. They campaign for office on it.
The Democrats, on the other hand, and particularly the Arizona Democratic Party, pretend to be our friends even as they enable and hold hands with the Mexican haters and dispense the Party’s resources on the basis of race and ethnicity—and as is detailed below, brown is the wrong color to be if one wants access to the Arizona Democratic Party’s resources and help.
I do not say this lightly. Look at the totality of the evidence detailed herein:
Arizona Democratic Party Chair Enables Russell Pearce and SB 1070
In 2010, when SB 1070—the most blatantly hate-inspired, racist piece of legislation Mexican Americans have seen in decades—was passed and signed into law, Don Bivens, Chairman of the Arizona Democratic Party, set out to appease the Mexican Haters and enabled SB 1070.
Bivens established the Arizona Democratic Party’s policy that Democratic candidates could not/would not speak out against SB 1070 nor involve themselves in any protests of SB 1070, etc., so as not to alienate the Mexican Haters.
For example, in 2010 Bivens and the Arizona Democratic Party hired a political consultant to coach Democratic candidates. At the workshops he held for actual and potential candidates, the consultant emphatically and repeatedly told the candidates not to “…touch SB 1070 with a ten-foot pole.”
As Stephen Lemons, analyzing the 2010 election results, reported in the Phoenix New Times (November 11, 2010):
“In fact, Democratic candidates and their flacks were encouraged to avoid the dreaded term ‘SB 1070’ altogether, as if it invoked the Devil himself.
“They were advised by internal pollsters, focus group gurus, and party hacks to talk ‘tough’ on the border or even…embrace it and ignore the stench of nativism sticking to them.”
In practical terms, then, the Arizona Democratic Party, under Bivens’ leadership and direction, enabled Russell Pearce, Joe Arpaio, Jan Brewer, Tom Horne, John Huppenthal, and the rest of that gang of Mexican Haters.
Not surprisingly, Gov. Jan Brewer hired Snell and Wilmer, the law firm in which Bivens is a partner, to defend SB 1070 against the U.S. Department of Justice’s lawsuit.
HB 2281—the vile first cousin to SB 1070
In the previous section I mention Tom Horne and John Huppenthal (previous and current Arizona State Superintendent of Instruction, respectively), the Mexican Haters behind HB 2281, which deems that Mexican American history is “un-American,” “un-patriotic” and illegal.
HB 2281 led to the dismantling of the highly successful Mexican American Studies curriculum in the Tucson Unified School District (TUSD), the firing of MAS teachers and Director, and the banning of books by Mexican American and Native American authors in TUSD.
SB 1070 is the vehicle Horne and Huppenthal used to set the stage for HB 2281 and to determine that the history of Mexican Americans belongs in the educational trash bin.
Thus, SB 1070 and HB 2281 are inextricably linked. To support SB 1070—directly or by appeasing its proponents—is to support HB 2281.
Here’s the present situation…
In Arizona’s Congressional District 1, two people are running in the Democratic Primary. One is white—Ann Kirkpatrick—and supports SB 1070 and opposes the Dream Act (she refused to vote for it the two times it came before the U.S. House during her one-term tenure).
The other candidate is a highly-qualified Native American woman—Wenona Benally Baldenegro—who has strong ties to the Mexican American community and who has been actively involved in fighting SB 1070 and HB 2281 and has stood with the DREAMers, the young people who, at great risk, have been promoting the DREAM Act.
The Democratic Party, as a matter of policy and practice, is not supposed to get involved—i.e., support one candidate over another—in contested Primaries…yet
    * The Arizona Democratic Party is supporting SB 1070 supporter, Ann Kirkpatrick. The Party’s Executive Director, Luis Heredia (appointed to his position by the aforementioned Don Bivens) is calling people who support Wenona Benally Baldenegro and asking them to withdraw their support of Wenona. The plan is to force Wenona out of the race so as to guarantee SB 1070 supporter Kirkpatrick a victory.
Heredia’s campaign against Wenona was meant to be a stealth, “whisper” campaign. But Heredia made the mistake of calling a prominent Tucson Mexican American activist, a strong Wenona supporter, who is heavily involved in the fight against HB 2281—as I and Wenona and my entire family areand the Arizona Democratic Party isn’t—to “demand” that that person withdraw her support of Wenona. In reaction to Heredia’s “demand,” a family member of that person sent Heredia a scathing e-mail.
And that is how I, and others, became aware of Heredia’s and the Democratic Party’s campaign to derail Wenona Benally Baldenegro’s congressional campaign.
    * Complementing Heredia’s campaign against Wenona, the Chairman of the Arizona Democratic Party, Bill Roe, is sponsoring fundraisers at his home for SB 1070 supporter Ann Kirkpatrick—at the end of this post is the Invitation to a September 14, 2011, Kirkpatrick fundraiser sent out by Roe. [Kirkpatrick was NOT a Congresswoman then, nor is she now, despite Roe’s description of her.]
So, the two top Arizona Democratic Party officials, Chairman Bill Roe and Executive Director Luis Heredia are working in tandem to (1) promote Kirkpatrick and (2) derail Wenona Baldenegro’s candidacy.
One has to be abysmally stupid to believe that Roe and Heredia are acting “rogue.” Roe and Heredia cannot separate their powerful, official capacities from their personal personae when they call people to promote or demonize particular candidates. They are doing what they’re doing on behalf of the Arizona Democratic Party, protestations that they are acting as individuals notwithstanding.
And if you are a Democrat in Arizona, the Arizona Democratic Party is doing the above—as well as what is detailed below—in your name and on your behalf!
The contrast between Wenona Benally Baldenegro and Kirkpatrick could not be clearer…
I do not say that Kirkpatrick supports SB 1070 lightly. Look at the record:
    * Kirkpatrick served one term in Congress. As a Congresswoman, Kirkpatrick stood with the Republicans and fought the U.S. Department of Justice’s lawsuit against SB 1070, calling it a “sideshow” and insisted that SB 1070 be allowed to stand. On KPCC Radio (July 28, 2010) Kirkpatrick noted that she had asked the Obama administration to drop the lawsuit against SB 1070.
On CBS News (July 7, 2010) Kirkpatrick again called the DOJ lawsuit against SB 1070 a “sideshow” and argued the case that instead of fighting SB 1070, the Obama administration should be “securing the border.”
In denouncing the Department of Justice lawsuit against SB 1070, Kirkpatrick stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Russell Pearce, Jan Brewer, and Joe Arpaio.
Defending SB 1070 at a candidate forum in 2010, Kirkpatrick compared Mexican immigrants to terrorists, saying that: “It is way too easy for terrorists to walk through the desert into the United States.”
There is not a single instance of a terrorist coming into our country via the southern border or of a Mexican immigrant being involved in terrorism—not one!
But this is the line that Russell Pearce, Joe Arpaio, Paul Babeu, Jan Brewer, and Ann Kirkpatrick use to scare Arizonans into jumping on the Mexican-hating bandwagon.
    * During Kirkpatrick’s one term in Congress, the DREAM Act came before the House twice. Both times Kirkpatrick made it a point to be absent so as not to vote for the Dream Act.
In contrast to Kirkpatrick, Wenona Benally Baldenegro has been very active in fighting SB 1070 and HB 2281, and she stood with the DREAM students who courageously and at great risk sat in in Senator John McCain’s Tucson office last summer in support of the Dream Act.
Indeed, the contrast between Wenona Benally Baldenegro, whom the Arizona Democratic Party is demonizing, and Ann Kirkpatrick, whom the Arizona Democratic Party is supporting, could not be clearer.
The racial aspects of Heredia’s and the Democratic Party’s actions are unmistakable.
Obviously, to the Arizona Democratic Party, anyone, even a loser who supports racist legislation and compares Mexicans to terrorists, is preferable to a highly qualified Native American woman! [The term “loser” is meant literally: because Kirkpatrick turned her back on her base—Latinos, Native Americans, unions, environmentalists, etc.—she lost her re-election bid.]
Heredia, Roe, and the Arizona Democratic Party are determined to assure that Native Americans will not be represented in Congress—at least, not during their watch!
Heredia and the Arizona Democratic Party have Mexican Criteria and White Criteria…
The Democratic Party’s campaign against Wenona Benally Baldenegro is not an anomaly.
Consider the following examples:
    * Justifying his campaign to derail Wenona’s candidacy, Heredia told Rudy Acuña in an e-mail last week: “I take great concern when people like Wenona want to fast track political trust” (“…people like Wenona”? Heredia may as well have said, “Those people…”)…
Witness the situation regarding Rodney Glassman, who was elected to the Tucson City Council but did not bother to finish his single term. In Sarah Palin style, Glassman resigned his City Council seat in mid-term to “fast track” to the U.S. Senate.
The entire Democratic Establishment, including Heredia, supported Rodney Glassman in that “fast track” Senate race over Chicano union organizer Randy Parraz, who led the historic Recall Pearce movement.
Obviously, the Democratic Party’s “fast track” criterion applies only to Mexican American and Native American candidates. If you’re white, you can “fast track” to your heart’s content!
Likewise regarding access to Party resources:
    * Just last week (May, 2012) Heredia and the Arizona Democratic Party denied a Mexican American Congressional candidate access to Party resources (e.g., voter registration lists) on the basis that the candidate was “not Democrat enough,” that is, that he changed his registration from Republican to Democrat three (3) years ago.
    * Yet Heredia and the Arizona Democratic Party openly and strongly supported and made available all its resources to U.S. Senate candidate Rodney Glassman, who had only recently changed his voter registration from Republican to Democrat when he ran for U.S. Senate.
    * And Ann Kirkpatrick, whom Luis Heredia, Bill Roe, and the Arizona Democratic Party are supporting, is a Republican who changed her registration to Democrat so as to run for Congress.
    *Heredia and the Arizona Democratic Party also denied another Mexican American candidate access to Party resources because, in Heredia’s words (on the talk radio program “The Lou Show,” May 20, 2012), that candidate has Republicans supporting her, which, according to Heredia, calls into question the candidate’s Democratic bona fides.
But white Democratic candidates routinely tout as a POSITIVE aspect of their candidacies that they enjoy Republican support and even have “Republicans For [Name of Candidate]” committees. Heredia and the Arizona Democratic Party make available to these candidates the full gamut of Arizona Democratic Party support and resources. [As we speak, there’s one such campaign going on, in which the Arizona Democratic Party is fully engaged.]
And, of course, Rodney Glassman, whom Heredia and the Arizona Democratic Party supported fully and enthusiastically, received support from his Republican family and their friends.
Clearly, Heredia’s and the Arizona Democratic Party’s policy and practice regarding who can “fast track” and who is “Democrat enough” to be able to access Democratic Party resources are based on race and ethnicity. How else can the above actions be explained?
[For the record: I do not know either of the Mexican American candidates I reference above—I met one of them for all of about 90 seconds a few weeks ago—and am not involved in either of their campaigns. My comments above serve only to illustrate the Arizona Democratic Party’s practice of applying policies differentially, based on race and ethnicity.]
And it’s not just Wenona and the race-based policies and practices…
I have focused on the Arizona Democratic Party’s betrayal of Democratic principles by their support for SB 1070-supporter Kirkpatrick and the race-based policies and practices described above, but Kirkpatrick’s betrayal of Democratic principles goes beyond her support for SB 1070 and opposition to the Dream Act, viz.:.
During her single term in Congress, Kirpatrick:
   * Refused to co-sponsor, and stood with the Republicans regarding the Employee Free Choice Act. The EFCA speaks to the issue of the rights of workers to unionize. Specifically, it would allow employees to form unions by signing cards authorizing union representation, and establish harsher penalties for employers who violate employee rights when workers seek to form a union.
   *Supported the union-busting Rio Tinto corporation that is proposing to set up a non-union mine operation in the Oak Flats area, northeast of Superior, AZ, and which will entail the destruction of sacred Apache land. Native American tribes appealed to Kirkpatrick not to support the destruction of their sacred grounds, but her loyalty to Rio Tinto prevailed, a betrayal of her commitment to the Apache Tribe during her campaign.
   *Turned her back on her environmentalist support base (The Sierra Club and others) by supporting the Rio Tinto mine, which, in addition to destroying Apache sacred sites, will do immense environmental damage.
   *Joined with Republicans to support the tax cuts for the wealthy passed under President Bush, betraying her promise during her campaign to vote to repeal the tax cuts for the wealthy.
Kirkpatrick’s consistent betrayal of Democratic principles and her habit of voting more often with Republicans than Democrats prompted the White Mountain Democrats to unanimously pass (on July 8, 2009) a Resolution to:
“Call on the Sierra Club, Emily’s List, the Hon. Chris Van Hollen, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee; the Arizona Democratic Party and the party’s major donors, to withhold further funding of Ann Kirkpatrick’s campaign until it is determined that she supports Democratic principles.”
“Call on the Hon. James E. Clyburn, (House) Majority Whip, and Phil Schiliro, director of legislative affairs for the White House, to explain to Rep. Kirkpatrick the importance of keeping faith with her constituents.”
And this is the person whom the Arizona Democratic Party is supporting over a viable, well-qualified Native American woman who is on the cusp of making history and who stands on the right side of the issues the Democratic Party purports to stand for? Incredible!!
But mark my words: as they have been doing since time immemorial, Don Bivens’, Bill Roe’s and Luis Heredia’s Democratic Party will come around this political season asking for our financial support, asking us to sacrifice family time to volunteer for their party and candidates (e.g., Ann Kirkpatrick), etc.
And because the Democratic Party believes it owns us and our support, they take that support for granted.
Al fin y al cabo, the Democratic Party, en cuanto La Raza, es como el azadón—jala pa’ un lado nomás. In the final analysis, the Democratic Party, with regard to Latinos, is like the hoe—it works only in one direction.