Hilbert Morales /EL OBSERVADOR

Lest we forget what we can do as Latinos for ourselves, consider these resolutions for the 2016 New Year. This Op-Ed is directed to those whose parents were faithful readers of EO (1980-2000). Latino millennial youths have ‘smart electronic device savvy’, but should continue to go to El Observador for useful information which is truthful, factual, and objective. Why? Because much information obtained from mainstream sources  (on line, radio, TV, and print media) has a biased  ‘spin’ which makes it propaganda. It is designed to get you to do something which someone else wants you to do. EO’s mission is to help you make informed decisions in your own best interests.

2016 is a watershed year because of two important events: (1) California needs ‘el niño’ to deliver enough rain to refill its depleted reservoirs and (2) a presidential election is scheduled.

The first 2016 resolution is to support development of wind and solar electric power for desalinization facilities to be located near the Alviso Slough (a source of Pacific Ocean seawater). Why? This capability , which will be ‘green’ and sustainable’, will produce potable water essential for all biological life (especially humans who drink at least six glasses of sweet water per day).  Admittedly the start up costs will be high, but the product (drinking water) is produced using existing desalinization technology and is independent of global weather changes. Sunlight and sea water exist in abundance at this unique location. This investment will ensure having adequate potable water supplies produced by the latest desalinization technology. It will make this region truly independent of the global warming phenomenon and drought cycle variables. The current drought underscores the need to undertake this vital ‘infra-structure project’ which mitigates future ‘sweet water’ shortages.

The second 2016 New Year Resolution: The local Latino citizens must determine who gets selected as local elected officials…School Boards, City Councils; County Supervisors, State Legislatures, Congressional Representatives (Senators and House members), Water District Boards, Superior Court Judges, etc. If we really want the law-enforcement-judicial system to change, Latino voters must support the election of new Judges who are progressive.

Resolve to support development of alternatives to being incarcerated. The Department of Corrections, Behavioral Health Services, Mental Health, Drug & Alcohol Dependency Services, Social and acute psychiatric services all need to be coordinated so as to establish an effective comprehensive ‘continuum of custodial care’ capacity. Most importantly, this community needs its courts to have alternatives to incarceration when sentencing those with mental health challenges. Let’s establish these future alternative programs with sufficient capacity to become a comprehensive system of custodial care.

A resolution addressing education is important. The Latino parent must be involved in the guidance of education policy…especially pre-K to 12 plus vocational training. All students need to develop logical and critical thinking skills. An emphasis on STEM and ‘coding’ skills needed by commercial interests must be placed in perspective. Parents are the legal guardians of their kids and must be included. Why? Too many Latino parents ‘give up’ their responsibility to teachers they honor and respect. Parents must monitor what goes on because the local industry lobbyists want skilled coders and STEM workers. This emphasis thwarts teaching students to think on their own using their cultural values which have been passed down from prior generations via their history and arts.

During this 2016 year, the local micro-economy (and its related business operations) must continue to provide jobs having living wages. Local firms, large and small, must pay their fair share of taxes which maintain and improve educational and infrastructural services.

And during this 2016 election process, do not focus on one party or the other. Political candidates will express degrees of conservatism and progressiveness. Do determine if you, as an individual, favor the conservative Republican, Independent or the progressive Democratic approach to government. Determine whose values and approaches you favor and what is most important to you. Elect those candidates and support programs you want. (Do take time to deal with your own bias, bigotry and prejudices…each of us has his/her own). Know that we all are connected to each other and must live together on the only planet known to sustain human life….let’s take care of it.

Before the Primary Elections (June, 2016), Latino citizens must register to vote. Your personal vote adds to the voice of ‘We, the People’ who are constituents. We all must influence and benefit equitably from implemented public policy & programs. We must all understand that ‘our personal interests’ begin in our own families and the community in which we reside. Focus on local issues your votes influences. Your assertiveness will be enjoyable and increase your self-esteem.