Posts Tagged ‘New Mexico’

Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion, Jr., Re-Elected as NALEO President

Monday, July 7th, 2008

Adolfo Carrion Jr.

NALEO Board Officers Re-Elected, Hon. Ana Rivas Logan of Miami Dade County Public Schools Elected to NALEO Board

WASHINGTON, DC -The Board of Directors of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) today re-elected Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion, Jr., as president of the organization for a second one-year term. President Carrion is the first person of Puerto Rican descent to lead the organization.

A former urban planner, teacher and community organizer, President Carrion was elected to the New York City Council in 1997. He served one term before running for the Borough Presidency of the Bronx and winning in 2001. He was elected to his first term as NALEO president in 2007.

“I want to thank my colleagues on the NALEO board for their continued support of my leadership of this important national organization,” stated NALEO President Carrion. “With more Latinos in the history of the nation voting in the 2008 presidential election, NALEO has a tremendous opportunity to raise the issues and concerns for Latinos to the forefront for discussion at a national level,” he continued. “I look forward to working with the NALEO board to usher in a new era of Latino political empowerment.”

At its meeting, the Board re-elected its officers, including New Mexico Secretary of State Marry Herrera as Vice-President; East Chicago School Board Member Fernando Trevino as Secretary; and Texas State Representative Pete P. Gallego as Treasurer. The Board also re-elected its members to another term. In addition, Board Member Ana Rivas Logan of the Miami-Dade County Public Schools was elected to serve a three-year term on the organization’s Board of Directors.

“The future success of this nation will be determined by the increased participation and continued growth of the nation’s second largest population group,” said Arturo Vargas, Executive Director for NALEO. “I am confident the NALEO Board is up to task in pursuing the organization’s mission of Latino empowerment.”

The President, Officers and Directors were selected at the Annual Meeting of the NALEO Board of Directors, the culmination of NALEO’s 25th Annual Conference, the nation’s preeminent Latino Political Convention.

Puerto Rico’s Moment in the Sun

Friday, May 23rd, 2008

By MICHAEL JANEWAY
New York Times (May 22, 2008)

PUERTO RICO, an afterthought trophy for the United States 110 years ago at the end of the Spanish-American War and an island in limbo since, has become an improbable player in the contest between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Its primary on June 1 could bolster Mrs. Clinton’s claim to a majority of the popular vote — the combined tally for all the Democratic primaries and caucuses held across the country over the past six months.

Puerto Rico’s formal role in the process is indeed weighty. Its 63 voting delegates — 55 elected ones and eight superdelegates — at the Democratic National Convention in Denver this summer will outnumber delegations from more than half the states (including Kentucky and Oregon) and the District of Columbia. Yet Puerto Rico does not have a vote in the Electoral College, nor will its 2.5 million registered voters cast ballots for president in November.

How in the world did this happen? From the beginning, the question of Puerto Rico has perplexed the United States. The island was essential to the defense of the Panama Canal, so we did not make it independent, in contrast to two other Spanish possessions we gained in the war, Cuba (which become independent in 1902) and the Philippines (1946). And we judged it foreign in language and culture — and worse, overpopulated — so New Mexico-style Americanization leading to statehood was out of the question.

Similarly, Puerto Ricans have never resolved their relationship with the United States. For almost 50 years after the Spanish-American War, Puerto Rican sentiment was divided between dreams of statehood and of independence. This ambivalence deterred the island from ever petitioning Congress for one or the other. And until mid-century, sporadic outbursts of violent nationalism haunted the scene.

Partly to put such extremism out of business, Congress in 1948 allowed Puerto Rico to elect its own governor and then in 1950 gave it an intricately designed, semi-autonomous “commonwealth” status short of statehood. Two years later, the island adopted its own Constitution, and Congress quickly ratified it.

Puerto Ricans elect their own Legislature, along with the governor. They enjoy entitlements like Social Security, but they do not pay federal income taxes. They retain their own cultural identity (Spanish is the prevailing tongue) but live under the umbrella of the American trade system and the American military. They have been citizens since 1917, but they have no vote in Congress or for the presidency.

The man who brought forth this unique arrangement, which has come to seem permanent, was Luis Muñoz Marín, who dominated Puerto Rico’s politics beginning in 1940. In 1948 he became the island’s first elected governor. He won three more terms and could easily have been “president for life.” A stretch of 116th Street in Manhattan’s Spanish Harlem is named Luis Muñoz Marín Boulevard in his honor.

Muñoz was an eloquent advocate of independence until, faced with daunting statistics at the end of World War II, he concluded that Puerto Rico’s impoverished economy could not support nationhood. So he began packaging his third-way brainchild.

When pitching commonwealth on the mainland, Muñoz — an artist of words and imagery who also enjoyed a drink or two — would observe that Puerto Rico is the olive in the American martini. The phrase went down well in Washington, but Muñoz used different language at home. Neither Congress nor the American courts have ever embraced Muñoz’s Spanish-language phrase for “commonwealth,” universally recognized in Puerto Rico: “estado libre asociado,” or free associated state. Those three words suggested an autonomy (or even statehood or independence) beyond what came to pass. But Muñoz was too popular on the island for that to cause him trouble.

Still, Muñoz always intended to bring “enhanced autonomy” in trade, self-governance, taxation and entitlements to Puerto Rico. But Fidel Castro’s seizure of power in Cuba in 1959 moved Washington’s attention away from the commonwealth.

Muñoz left office in 1965. His dreams faded. The economy he jump-started went flat. Today, the government accounts for 30 percent of Puerto Rico’s work force (compared with 16 percent on the mainland).

Then in 1974, the Democratic National Committee and some shrewd local political strategists came up with an idea for how to play to lingering discontent over the island’s status: Why not make nice with Puerto Rico (and, as important, with the Puerto Rican vote in American cities) by awarding it the number of delegates to the Democratic presidential nominating convention that its population would yield as a state? But not until this year has a presidential race been close enough, long enough, to yield Puerto Rico a role in the endgame.

On the island, politics is focused on the longstanding deadlock between the two dominant parties, whose identities — one is for statehood and one is for enhanced autonomy — today bear no relation to those of the Republicans and Democrats in the 50 states. Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama are, gingerly, bidding for support from both of them.

But the mainland population of Puerto Ricans (like the island’s, almost four million) is watching, too. That fully enfranchised constituency is up for grabs in November. Republicans have fished in these waters, too.

Presidential candidates usually offer Puerto Ricans hazy promises that are sure to be unfulfilled. First on the list: We’ll do whatever you want about the island’s status if you deliver us an overwhelming majority for one or another option. That’s not going to happen.

Since 1967, public support on the island has seesawed inconclusively between statehood and enhanced autonomy — a better version of the deal they already have. Muñoz’s commonwealth helped eclipse independence; that course enjoys only limited support today. An overwhelming majority of Puerto Ricans wants, one way or another, to be American.

The next president could just appoint another commission, more high-level and forceful than past ones, to reopen the dormant question of Puerto Rico’s status. But there is an additional option.

Fidel Castro is gone from office, Hugo Chávez’s influence is growing, Brazil is becoming an oil power, and the United States has no Latin American policy to speak of. John F. Kennedy wisely turned to Puerto Rican leaders to help him frame a new policy for the region in 1961. Similarly, the next president could ask Puerto Rico, with its democratic tradition and its past success with economic development, to help us plan for the post-Castro Caribbean.

The United States is overdue in re-engaging with this special place, which landed in our lap as a stepchild of imperialism in 1898, and which we have never seen clearly.

Michael Janeway, a former editor of The Boston Globe and a professor of journalism and arts at Columbia, is writing a history of the United States and Puerto Rico in the 20th century.

Puerto Rico’s Moment in the Sun

Friday, May 23rd, 2008

By MICHAEL JANEWAY
New York Times (May 22, 2008)

PUERTO RICO, an afterthought trophy for the United States 110 years ago at the end of the Spanish-American War and an island in limbo since, has become an improbable player in the contest between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Its primary on June 1 could bolster Mrs. Clinton’s claim to a majority of the popular vote — the combined tally for all the Democratic primaries and caucuses held across the country over the past six months.

Puerto Rico’s formal role in the process is indeed weighty. Its 63 voting delegates — 55 elected ones and eight superdelegates — at the Democratic National Convention in Denver this summer will outnumber delegations from more than half the states (including Kentucky and Oregon) and the District of Columbia. Yet Puerto Rico does not have a vote in the Electoral College, nor will its 2.5 million registered voters cast ballots for president in November.

How in the world did this happen? From the beginning, the question of Puerto Rico has perplexed the United States. The island was essential to the defense of the Panama Canal, so we did not make it independent, in contrast to two other Spanish possessions we gained in the war, Cuba (which become independent in 1902) and the Philippines (1946). And we judged it foreign in language and culture — and worse, overpopulated — so New Mexico-style Americanization leading to statehood was out of the question.

Similarly, Puerto Ricans have never resolved their relationship with the United States. For almost 50 years after the Spanish-American War, Puerto Rican sentiment was divided between dreams of statehood and of independence. This ambivalence deterred the island from ever petitioning Congress for one or the other. And until mid-century, sporadic outbursts of violent nationalism haunted the scene.

Partly to put such extremism out of business, Congress in 1948 allowed Puerto Rico to elect its own governor and then in 1950 gave it an intricately designed, semi-autonomous “commonwealth” status short of statehood. Two years later, the island adopted its own Constitution, and Congress quickly ratified it.

Puerto Ricans elect their own Legislature, along with the governor. They enjoy entitlements like Social Security, but they do not pay federal income taxes. They retain their own cultural identity (Spanish is the prevailing tongue) but live under the umbrella of the American trade system and the American military. They have been citizens since 1917, but they have no vote in Congress or for the presidency.

The man who brought forth this unique arrangement, which has come to seem permanent, was Luis Muñoz Marín, who dominated Puerto Rico’s politics beginning in 1940. In 1948 he became the island’s first elected governor. He won three more terms and could easily have been “president for life.” A stretch of 116th Street in Manhattan’s Spanish Harlem is named Luis Muñoz Marín Boulevard in his honor.

Muñoz was an eloquent advocate of independence until, faced with daunting statistics at the end of World War II, he concluded that Puerto Rico’s impoverished economy could not support nationhood. So he began packaging his third-way brainchild.

When pitching commonwealth on the mainland, Muñoz — an artist of words and imagery who also enjoyed a drink or two — would observe that Puerto Rico is the olive in the American martini. The phrase went down well in Washington, but Muñoz used different language at home. Neither Congress nor the American courts have ever embraced Muñoz’s Spanish-language phrase for “commonwealth,” universally recognized in Puerto Rico: “estado libre asociado,” or free associated state. Those three words suggested an autonomy (or even statehood or independence) beyond what came to pass. But Muñoz was too popular on the island for that to cause him trouble.

Still, Muñoz always intended to bring “enhanced autonomy” in trade, self-governance, taxation and entitlements to Puerto Rico. But Fidel Castro’s seizure of power in Cuba in 1959 moved Washington’s attention away from the commonwealth.

Muñoz left office in 1965. His dreams faded. The economy he jump-started went flat. Today, the government accounts for 30 percent of Puerto Rico’s work force (compared with 16 percent on the mainland).

Then in 1974, the Democratic National Committee and some shrewd local political strategists came up with an idea for how to play to lingering discontent over the island’s status: Why not make nice with Puerto Rico (and, as important, with the Puerto Rican vote in American cities) by awarding it the number of delegates to the Democratic presidential nominating convention that its population would yield as a state? But not until this year has a presidential race been close enough, long enough, to yield Puerto Rico a role in the endgame.

On the island, politics is focused on the longstanding deadlock between the two dominant parties, whose identities — one is for statehood and one is for enhanced autonomy — today bear no relation to those of the Republicans and Democrats in the 50 states. Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama are, gingerly, bidding for support from both of them.

But the mainland population of Puerto Ricans (like the island’s, almost four million) is watching, too. That fully enfranchised constituency is up for grabs in November. Republicans have fished in these waters, too.

Presidential candidates usually offer Puerto Ricans hazy promises that are sure to be unfulfilled. First on the list: We’ll do whatever you want about the island’s status if you deliver us an overwhelming majority for one or another option. That’s not going to happen.

Since 1967, public support on the island has seesawed inconclusively between statehood and enhanced autonomy — a better version of the deal they already have. Muñoz’s commonwealth helped eclipse independence; that course enjoys only limited support today. An overwhelming majority of Puerto Ricans wants, one way or another, to be American.

The next president could just appoint another commission, more high-level and forceful than past ones, to reopen the dormant question of Puerto Rico’s status. But there is an additional option.

Fidel Castro is gone from office, Hugo Chávez’s influence is growing, Brazil is becoming an oil power, and the United States has no Latin American policy to speak of. John F. Kennedy wisely turned to Puerto Rican leaders to help him frame a new policy for the region in 1961. Similarly, the next president could ask Puerto Rico, with its democratic tradition and its past success with economic development, to help us plan for the post-Castro Caribbean.

The United States is overdue in re-engaging with this special place, which landed in our lap as a stepchild of imperialism in 1898, and which we have never seen clearly.

Michael Janeway, a former editor of The Boston Globe and a professor of journalism and arts at Columbia, is writing a history of the United States and Puerto Rico in the 20th century.

LATINOS AND PBS’ WAR SERIES

Saturday, August 25th, 2007

Rodolfo F. Acuña weighs in
on the PBS/Ken Burns Controversy

Dear Ms. Mazur:

Please forgive me if I sound a bit exasperated. It is my understanding that the controversy is about the Ken Burns’ documentary and its failure to integrate Mexican Americans and Latinos into the mainframe of the documentary. Mr. Burns has said in the past that he has a right to artistic freedom and has even claimed that he has a constitutional right to his opinion. I don’t disagree with him — and if this were a novel or a work of fiction that would be great. However, we are talking about a historical documentary.

In defense of your showing the Burns documentary, you have listed a half dozen projects that KCET will offer to California viewers, which is great — but it does not absolve the Ken Burns documentary nor the fact that you will be featuring it. That you are advertising it. That you are touting it as true story of World War II.

Just like the warden said in the film, “Cool Hand Luke,” what we have here is a failure to communicate. You would probably understand me better if you had ever been involved in civil rights. The present controversy is analogous to having the premier school in the school district segregated.

When incensed parents complain, you add a bungalow to the premier school and say, “well you have a bungalow.” When the parents further criticize the school, the response is well Mexicans have a half dozen other schools that are integrated, and we just painted them for you.

Frankly, I am too old to buy the cover up. The damage has been done and you are compounding it. Public television did not do anything after Burns arrogantly disregarded Latinos in his baseball and his jazz documentaries. We were promised that next time there would be more care given to accuracy.

Well, you messed up again.

It just shows a basic “I don’t give a shit attitude” on KCET’s part. What should have been done is to send the documentary back to the editing table and Mexican Americans and Latinos integrated into the storyline. It did not happen although in cases involving other groups you have done it. I applaud you for being sensitive to the Jewish, women and African American communities — but you know what — you disrespect Mexican and Latinos.

Cordially,

Rodolfo F. Acuña, PhD
Chicana/o Studies Department
California State University at Northridge
racuna@csun.edu

BOYCOTT KCET
BOYCOTT NPR

_____

Mare Mazur responds:

Dear Dr. Acuña:

I am very sorry you were insulted by the Ken Burns letter that ran in our September magazine. As the person responsible for the broadcast schedule and our production slate, including the magazine, I can say with certainty that offending our viewers was anything but my intention.

California Connected, which just received the Alfred I. duPonte-Columbia University Award for journalism, just concluded production on a special one-hour episode titled California at War. California at War premieres August 23rd, and will be repeated several times leading up to our broadcast of The War. This program looks at the impact World War II had on California, and more importantly, the impact California had on winning the war. To that end, it includes the history of contribution from the Hispanic community who struggled with racism on the home front while being the most decorated group of the war.

In addition to airing California at War, we renewed the rights to Valor a 30-minute documentary on Latino stories of heroism during World War II, which KCET produced as part of the LA Stories project in 1989. We have also acquired a film by Mario Barrera, Professor Emeritus, Chicano Studies, University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Maggie Rivas-Rodriguez served as the academic advisor on both of those projects.

We are also running Valentina: Mexican-Americans in World War II from our sister station in New Mexico. All of these programs will be heavily promoted in and around The War. It is our expectation that this will give us the opportunity to introduce a wide audience to the history of contribution from the Latino community.

KCET has a long record of representing the Hispanic community in our productions and programming. In 1996 my colleague Joyce Campbell was the Co-executive producer of Chicano! The History of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement which won the Nosotros Golden Eagle Award for Outstanding Documentary. She was also the executive in charge of American Family, the first Latino family drama to air on broadcast television, which KCET co-produced with Greg Nava.

In 2006 KCET was recognized by the National Hispanic Media Coalition for Excellence in Television Programming.

Ms. Campbell now serves as our Vice President of Education and Children’s Programming. In that capacity she oversees programming designed to reach the diverse audience represented in the eleven counties we serve.

This department is also responsible for the two shows that give me the greatest satisfaction: A Place of Our Own and Los Niños en Su Casa.

These are companion programs produced in both English and Spanish designed to help caregivers of pre-school aged children better prepare the children in their care for early learning.

These two series were originally developed for California distribution. While running regionally they were recognized with a George Foster Peabody Award for excellence in media, and a local Emmy. The website, which is completely bi-lingual, received the Japan Prize, an international commendation for best website. Based on our success in California, we are
able to make the programs available nationally, and are now being carried in nearly 70% of the country.

As a native Angeleno I have made the commitment that our programming, local and national, reflect the unique and diverse voices of Southern California. Again, I regret that Ken’s letter offended you. My colleagues and I work very hard to create a spirit of inclusion in all that we do, and as I began, I’m sorry that you did not find that spirit adequately communicated.

I do hope you choose to watch California at War and our other programs; we are all proud of the work and hope they resonate with our viewers. I would greatly appreciate your feedback and welcome your call should you have the
time.