What is normally a quieter time for news has turned into a December flurry of developments that requires closer attention.
Federal tax legislation, California wildfires, Dream Act revival, Congressional resignations, Senate election in Alabama, craze over ‘Coco,’ sexual harassment accusations in the state Capitol, candidates queue up for 2018 elections, and more.
Let’s raise a glass of eggnog and give thanks that there was never a war against Christmas.
1. Should people be surprised at the number of powerful men who have been hit with sexual harassment claims?
Not really. Men have been in power for a long time, and some have abused that power to take advantage of women through the years. The #metoo movement roared its power a couple of months ago, giving women a venue to illustrate how widespread the problem is. When powerful Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein is brought down by his awful behavior, you know the time of reckoning has come for men. The problem we see is that elected officials appear to want to hold on to their seats of power rather than do the right thing. And, who ever came up with the description of women as “the weaker sex?”
2. Is sexual harassment done only by those in power?
No. You don’t have to be a business owner, a Hollywood producer or a U.S. Senate candidate to – or even male – to abuse your power. Everyone probably knows someone who has been sexually harassed. Even sexual harassment training by companies doesn’t appear to have made a dent on the problem. Women working in the fields, female disc jockeys, store clerks and others are just as vulnerable.
3. At the immigration rally in Washington, D.C. last Wednesday, the protesters (including Democratic Congressman Luis Gutiérrez of Chicago and United Farm Workers president Arturo S. Rodríguez) wore lime green gloves. Why?
The green gloves represented hope for the 800,000 DACA recipients who now have no way to stay in this country legally because Congress has yet to take up a DACA extension or the DREAM Act. By the way, about 180 protesters were arrested for civil disobedience.
4. How about turning to something more positive?
We’d like to, but the problem won’t go away until men see women as equals. And, until Congress grows a spine and deals with an immigration issue that has eluded a solution for more than a generation.
5. Do you think the entire country has warmed up to ‘Coco?’
Pretty much. Did you catch legendary Hollywood director Steven Spielberg tell Vida en el Valle that he took his grandchildren to see the movie and they enjoyed it while on the California Hall of Fame red carpet? However, full embrace will not come until the mainstream media gets it correct that a calavera (skeleton) is not a ghost! At least one movie critic wrote about a ghost in the movie. Where is abuelita (grandma) and her chancla (shoe) when it’s needed!
6. You wrote so much (two stories) about Tom Uribes upon his retirement as a public information officer at Fresno State after 30 years. What there something you forgot to write about him?
Thanks for asking. Yes. Tom is actually 6-foot-1, which seems surprising because I figured he was at least 6-3. That’s probably because he stands out as a Latino. The average height of a Latino in the U.S. is 5 feet, 7.1 inches (non-Hispanic white is 5 feet, 9.8 inches). Yes, he did play basketball on weekends with his colleagues.
7. It appears there are many bad things about the Republican tax bill plans, both in the Senate and House versions. What is the worst?
Easy. The House contains a provision that alimony payments will no longer be tax deductible for divorce settlements made after Dec. 31. That means, if you’re thinking about getting a divorce, you better speed it up!
8. OK, we see that you post a lot of photos of runners and folklórico dancing. Which is your favorite?
That’s tough. A runner understands the training and discipline involved in tackling anything from a 1-mile run to an ultra. A dancer also goes through hours of training and discipline in the footwork and body movements necessary. It’s a toss-up.
9. Do you have anything to add about the California Supreme Court ruling in Gerawan Farming vs. the Agricultural Labor Relations Board?
Do you have time to read a James A. Michener-length reply? Just say that the issue isn’t over yet. There’s still an appellate court decision on counting of ballots from a union decertification vote, plus Gerawan has signaled it will appeal the Nov. 27 court ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.
10. Being that this is probably your last column of 2017, what did you love most about this year?
As always, it’s the new people one meets as a reporter. From Chicano author Kenneth Robert Chacón to Modesto barrio survivor-turned-Harvard grad student Manny Escamilla to art benefactor Vivian Velasco Paz to teen pageant winner Kara Durán to lip-sincing principal Jason Noll of Tracy High School to McFarland High School freshman runner Kayli Gonzales, there are interesting people and stories out there. Hope to meet more of them in 2018.
Juan Esparza Loera has been editor of Vida en el Valle since it began publication in August 1990. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org