A record number were present during the La Raza Roundtable meeting held on Friday, January 27, 2017. The attraction which brought 125 local attendees was the program with the scheduled presence of CA Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de León and CA Senator Ben Huesos. Also present were BOS President Dave Cortese, Mayor Sam Liccardo, seven SJ City Council members, and CA Assembly member Ash Kalra (Kalra is involved in many of the issues presented by the speakers).
Chair Victor Garza presided; SJPD Chief Eddie Garcia gave the benediction and then each one present introduced themselves. Next followed Standing Committee reports. The ‘Educators’ made several announcements and Paul Guerrero, Esq., gave a brief High Speed Rail Project summary. Fourteen of 16 Standing Committees chose not to make reports in order to maximize the time available to the scheduled speakers.
SJ Mayor Sam Liccardo briefly assured all present that San Jose would be a ‘Sanctuary City’ which means that SJPD’s officers would not report ‘undocumented individuals’ to ICE (Immigration & Customs Enforcement). The uncertainty the SJ City Council would deal with is what might be the action taken by Trump Administration officials who had threatened to ‘withhold federal funding already allocated by the U.S. Congress. San Jose City residents needed to understand that the City Council would make the appropriate policy and fund allocation adjustments, if required. Mayor Sam then introduced Magdalena Carrasco, (District 5), who has been appointed The Vice Mayor, City of San Jose (a standing ovation followed).
Vice Mayor Carrasco, then introduced Senator Kevin De León, who informed all that last November 9, 2016, when it was certain that Donald J. Trump had become the President-Elect, Steps were taken to engage Eric Holder, Esq., and his legal firm with a $300,000 retainer ($25,000 per month) to ensure that California would have the best legal representation in any federal court. De León had anticipated that the State of California ‘may have to go it alone’ in resisting the national policies promoted by the future Trump Administration. De León correctly anticipated that California, which is the 5th largest global economy with a very diverse work force and population, and which provided $86 billion in revenues to the U.S. Treasury, needed to be ready to push back to receive the federal funding already allocated by the U.S. Congress.
Kevin De León, as the first Mexican-American in 130 years duly elected to be the President Pro Tempore, reminded all present that Trump, during the campaign, had made many racist, and troubling statements which now it seems President Trump will try to enact: building the wall; replacement of the Affordable Care Act (Obama Care); privatization attempts for social security and education; renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (Canada, Mexico & USA); federal funds for repair & maintenance of CA’s infrastructure (roads, bridges, harbors, airports, etc); and more are all on the negotiation table. Kevin De León said, “I am proud to be a Californian; I pledge that I will do what is required for the residents of CA. The secession of CA from the United States of America is not an option, because no states have successfully dealt with national resources and policies as a single state. This is about American ideals and its core values as documented in our U.S. Constitution.”
De León asked all present to support the CA Assembly which now has 29 Latino members in its Hispanic Caucus. The Founding Fathers of America enacted a national constitution which did not allow for one individual or ideology to become the master and ruler of all the rest of us.”
Kevin De León ended his passionate presentation with the following statement, “California is prepared to cooperate with the Trump Administration when its policies and proposed actions are fair to the residents of California. However, if the Trump Administration attempts to impose policies which are unconstitutional or unfair, we are prepared to resist, to push back, to insist upon fair and equitable programs and treatment for the residents of this State of California! We will defend our people.” A lengthly standing ovation followed.
SJ City Council member Raul Peralez (District 3) introduced CA Senator Ben Huesos (CA District 40) who doubled down what Kevin De León had presented. Senator Huesos said, “CA has always been the place where an individual could develop him/herself to whatever exceptional individual you could become.”
Both Senator De León and Huesos had authored Senate Bill 6 (SB6) and SB 54. SB 6 which authorized the use of general funds to underwrite nonprofit agencies (CBO/NGO) to provide the legal services immigrants ‘in removal’ needed urgently, was passed December 5, 2016 (Google it at ‘SB 6 California’ to obtain more information). SB 54 dealt with hazardous materials, training a workforce, and development of risk management plans dealing with petroleum and similar hazardous materials (Google ‘SB 54, California’ entitled “Hazardous Materials Management; Skilled Workforce development; Risk Management Plans required).
Huesos is the Chair of the Senate Committee on the Environment and the CA Coastal Commission. CA’s environmental protection regulations are more stringent that those promulgated by the federal EPA. When the Trump Administration tries to ‘relax EPA regulations’, Senator Ben Huesos will be ready to push back in order for CA to remain an effective participant dealing with the Global Climate Change issues which have not been accepted by the Trump Administration.
At the conclusion of his comments, support for both speakers was expressed by a standing ovation followed by ‘Chicano Clapping’.
The meeting was concluded at this point. NOTE: The local community must understand that Latinos have a voice and new leadership. And what transpired here was ‘the point of the spear’.