Saturday, October 15, 2011

Monday at the Casa De La Raza there was a forum for the Ten Santa Barbara City Council Candidates.

‘I’m Back” after a month hiatus and I have a question for you; Is that a good thing or a bad thing? I have been reflecting a lot over these past 4 or 5 weeks as to what has all my blog writing these past two years has really meant? Let’s be honest I spend an awful lot of time sharing my view on things be it in the local or national spotlight.  As you might guess I have a few things on my mind to share with you all here today. So much so that this will be a two part posting.
First I want to start off and let the Ten City Council candidates know I really enjoyed myself at the forum last Monday held at the Casa De La Raza. I must admit that our Mayor Helene Schneider surprised me the other night. You see when she was introduced to the audience at the Casa she began to blush (Very Cute). Here our Mayor speaks to the public countless times and yet she still appears to have humility, I like that! In fact all the current City Council and Candidates that I have had the pleasure of speaking with, I really enjoyed them. The views that I share are not meant to be a personal attack on anyone unlike Santa Barbara Politics.

 The Casa De La Raza is a special place for me since my grandparents Manuel and Angie Zuniga’s names use to appear on the original founder’s wall in the lobby. I can only remember a few other names like Leo Martinez and Manuel Unzueta, I still see Manuel now and again.

I have shared this before story before that when I was in 6th grade I sat next to Cesar Chavez in that very hall the forum was just held in. He was speaking to the community and I sat front and center right next to him that whole evening. I remember my grandparents being very pleased as they sat in the row behind me. The significance of that night did not hit me until a couple of years ago when I was sharing this story with an adult customer. There was a little Mexican American boy listening and he was just in awe of the fact that I had met Cesar Chavez, I must admit it was a great feeling for me.

 I can also remember the grape boycotts and the fund raisers held for the farm workers here in Santa Barbara. Than after the fund raiser people would gather at my grandparents to share some menudo and playing that damn Mariachi music. Being Mexican American and not bilingual I did not have my appreciation for that wonderful music as I do know.
My grandfather Manuel (I named my oldest son after him) was a tough man but I never heard him use the words “White” or “Black” to describe a person or race EVER. He was proud to be both an American, one that landed on the “D Day” invasion and of his Mexican heritage. When I was about thirty Julie and I moved to northern California first to Stockton than to a little piece of heaven called Galt CA. When I would come home and visit my grandparents I was surprised to learn my grandfather had worked as a farm worker all over Arizona and California. He would name the tiniest places like French Camp and tell me about the crops they grew and about the people that had settled there. In Lodi for example it was of heavy German descent, and Solvang of course was Danish.

I was always surprised of how much history my grandfather knew about all these places. You see his brothers and him would follow the crops for years in order to get by and they knew firsthand the needs of the Farm Workers. For that matter so did my grandmother and many of my aunts I guess that is part of the reason they both  worked so hard and helped with creating the Casa De La Raza, for that matter so did my former in laws.

From Jr. High School all the way through High school I would dress like a lot the other kids.  A white J.C. Penny’s (had to be J.C. Penney’s) tee shirt, ironed corduroys and spotless hush puppy shoes. I was just like all the other kids including one current City Council Candidate Sebastian Aldana Jr. I wonder if the kids today were stilling dressing like that would that be considered “Gang Attire”?

 So why did I share all this with you today? To let you know how proud I am of being Mexican American. And to also let you know that all this bias coverage of our youth and dealing with “Gangs” has become VERY INSULTING to me. I do not feel the insulting part is intentional but at the same time I feel the bias coverage is. My memories are priceless and yet our politicians whether intentional or not continue to Insult me and a large part of our community, enough is enough.

Let’s set the facts straight about crime in Santa Barbara:
2010 Violent Crimes subtotal was down 31% and Aggravated Assault was down 37% .
We should be praising Law Enforcement instead of playing politics with our youth
. We need to see honest numbers
and praise the current efforts of both law Enforcement and the public who work with our youth on a daily basis. We also need to recognize that politicking for money off false data is no longer allowed.  So when I see the Police Officers Association on T.V. in adds claiming  that “Crime is on the raise and spiraling out of control”, as they share their endorsement for city Council I get very upset. That is not a true statement but your Pension costs are out of control Investigate that!

Please stop insulting a large part of your Community with falsehoods about crime and those who run on that platform should be ashamed of yourselves. The second part of this posting will cover what was missing from the media coverage at last Mondays City Council candidate forum. But I will share with you what that was! As well as current crime data AGAIN and places where you can do your own research.

Plastic Bags really, that was the biggest part of last Monday's forum?
I find it odd that both the Santa Barbara News Press and Daily purposely left off the question I was able to get asked by the mediator.
The question I had asked was in two parts
A. Do you feel a Gang Injunction is necessary?
B. Do you feel that it was right for City Council to move forward without holding any public forums?

S.B.C.C.C. The place where COMMON SENSE never goes out of style!

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