Opinion

Brown and the Latino agenda

Yes, the Latino community should be thankful for Gov. Jerry Brown's signature of the state DREAM Act which allows undocumented students in college to apply for privately funded scholarships. The governor's signature was not surprising, being that he promised to sign such legislation during a gubernatorial debate in Fresno last October.

Latinos overwhelmingly supported Brown in his successful campaign against Republican Meg Whitman. Following the Fresno debate, Brown joined a rally at a local school where the fervor for his campaign was intense.

So, why does it appear that whenever Brown takes a step forward for Latinos, it appears he takes two steps back?

When California Supreme Court justice Carlos Moreno stepped down earlier this year, Brown opted not to select a Latino to replace him. Instead, the governor chose UC Berkeley law professor Goodwin Liu, giving the seven-member court an Asian majority.

In May, Brown canceled the appointment of Isabel Barreras to the state community college Board of Governors and replaced her with the wife of one of his closest friends. Barreras, a member of the State Center Community Center board, had been appointed to the state board by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Faced with legislation strongly pushed by the United Farm Workers that would have made it easier for the union -- a long-time Brown supporter -- to organizer workers, Brown vetoed the legislation.

We agree with Víctor Acevedo, president of the Mexican American Bar Association, who told the Los Ángeles Times, about the state Supreme Court appointment: "It should have been a Latino and somebody who was native to Southern California. We are almost the majority of the people of the state of California, and for the governor to say there isn't one Latino who is qualified to serve on the court is extremely troubling. That to me is like the governor turning a cold shoulder to the Latino community in Southern California."

For the state's highest court, in a state where Latinos are changing the demographic landscape, to not have a Latino member is a travesty. The court has had only three Latino members: Cruz Reynoso, John Argüellos and Moreno.

The governor needs to realize the important role Latino voters played in his election. Not selecting Latinos to help California solve its problems is not good governance.

  Comments