Hilbert Morales / EL OBSERVADOR
The Presidential Primary Election scheduled for Tuesday, June 7, 2016 is an excellent opportunity for Latinos to step up in great numbers with their votes. What many unregistered Latinos need to know is that they are already stakeholders in a very big enterprise: their governance at local, state, and national jurisdictional levels. Those income, sales, property taxes, and license/permit fees are all supportive of a government program which serves the community where you reside today.
Are you aware the City of San Jose has many employees and an annual budget of about $5 BILLION? The County of Santa Clara is an enterprise with 18,000 employees and an annual budget of $6 BILLION? And other local jurisdictions which your taxes support are school, transit and water districts. So, in a very real manner we are all already ‘shareholders’ with no influence until we chose to participate in local elections where ‘our voices are our collective votes’.
Dr. Christensen, SJSU (emeritus) points out in a recent email to EO that MEASURE A is very important to San Jose’s East Side community because it will fund construction of that BART station near Five Wounds Catholic Church. A ‘YES’ vote will ensure that this planned project will be implemented as designed & scheduled when fully funded.
The City of San Jose’s administrative staff have prepared their annual budgets for each and every department providing civic services. Community meetings are being held in all districts. It is heartening to know that Mayor Sam Liccardo is attending as many of these district meetings as possible. He is your CEO and those 10 SJ City Council elected officials are Board Members. Each registered voter needs to know who his/her elected City Council member is because that elected official is your contact when you need a civic service be performed. Now that the City Council is diverse in its makeup, there is no excuse for not communicating directly as a resident citizen. And you are a ‘corporate shareholder’ when you register to vote and actually vote. Those activities are what make you a supportive constituent who can hold each elected official accountable and responsible.
And that is even more the case when you have made supportive contributions to election campaign funds which are a primary way of ensuring that you, as an individual, not some special interest lobbyist, had an essential and vital role supporting elected officials who represent your interests and act on your behalf.
The County of Santa Clara is another public corporation In which you are a stakeholder. Agian, your taxes are the revenues which Board of Supervisors President Dave Cortese along with four other BOS members craft public policy which allocates revenues to underwrite services in health care, vector control, public safety & security (Office of the Sheriff and County jails), transit services (VTA), education (County Office of Education), libraries, etc. Again, the democratic process, with its checks & balances, oversight monitoring, and regulation, works best when a majority of citizens votes and participates.
Support of local governance is best achieved when citizens monitor what actually happens. It is our collected tax money which underwrites those many civic services. It is not possible for us to do for ourselves as individuals what government does to achieve the greatest good for the greatest number. With experience over time, local government has become reliable sources of many public services which are essential to achieve the high standard of living we all enjoy. And since “We, the People” have agreed to support our governance, it behooves us to insist that transparent monitoring systems be applied to all jurisdictions. This is why recent bond issues required monitoring by a ‘Citizen’s Oversight Committee’. The more citizens conduct monitoring and oversight, the more difficult it becomes for self-serving public servants to be abusive, corrupt or lax.
Consider that all natural resources in this nation as being properly subjected to monitoring and regulation in the best interests of all residents. Many billionaires became wealthy on the backs of low-paid labor (or even slave labor). It is a government agency having jurisdiction (i.e., legal authority) which provides corrective relief from abusive and self-serving activities. Today, current law enforcement and judicial systems are being scrutinized because of injustice to persons of color. Those many unjust incidents are being addressed in public forums where “We, the People” may express our values and concerns so that equity is achieved at all social levels.
That is what the Primary Election scheduled for Tuesday, June 7, 2016 is all about. It is your opportunity to responsibly speak up with your vote by mail or at a polling site. Registering to vote at the Registrar of Voters before May 23rd. Plan to vote to become a stakeholder & constituent.