A project of the Center for Community Change

This fire isn’t out

From advocate Fredi Avalos:

Human Rights Workers, Friends, and Colleagues,
 
I am writing this to express my feelings about another “fire” that was lit a nearly year ago. 
 
A few weeks ago the Mayor went on the Roger Hedgecock show to express his support for the San Diego Minute Men’s project to “clear out the canyons.”  (see The southern Poverty Law center site www.splc.org or www.minutemenunvarnished for more on the S.D. Minutemen).  These canyons have been the sites for unspeakable hate crimes committed against Mexican workers. But perhaps even more disturbing, is that the Mayor himself gave credence to the growing rhetoric of hate being spread by White Supremacist groups who are trying to blame the migrants for the San Diego fires. He said in response to Hedgecock’s accusation that the immigrants are the real fire hazard, “we can’t have the camps down there with the fire danger”. Instead of using this forum to quell the reactionary fear mongering by right wing radio hosts, he decided to join forces with them.
 
His decision to repeat a wrong he was publicly chastised for not even a year ago requires examination. As many of you know, last year, the Mayor looked a contingency of human rights workers, which included me, in the eye and said he would “never again” lend the legitimacy of his office to organized violence in our communities. This was after he had gone on the Rick Roberts’ show and gave a “wink and nod” to White Supremacist groups planning to “campout” in the canyons last fall. In the interview with Roberts, he said “a fire had been lit.”  Prophetic words indeed. Two months later after over 150 phone calls and emails, and a prayer vigil in front of his office, told us that he “was sorry” and that “it was a mistake he would never make again.”
 
I have been lied to by politicians before – but I must say-this is the first time one looked directly in my face and lied so up close and personally.
 
One can only conclude that after coming out so courageously, in support of gay rights, he needed to find another way to let his right wing contingency know that he was still “one of them.” Mexicans and Mexican Americans it seems are easily used as scapegoats for this vicious campaign of hate and mean spiritedness. A campaign he has now willing become the poster boy for-again. 
 
Of course, what is very transparent here is that if  Sanders is really looking for answers, he should look to decisions made in his own office. He, and San Diego taxpayers, have continually refused to compensate firefighters fairly for the work they do. And they have continued to turn a deaf ear to the pleas of city leaders, including the former fire chief, for more and better fire fighting equipment. The last fire chief himself resigned in frustration.
 
Please write or call his office to express your concern at 619-236-6330 his fax number is 619-236-6330. People, we have to let our elected officials know that hate radio is not an appropriate public form. In this climate of fear, we can no longer stay silent.
 
Fredi Avalos

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