The Latino Institute and Hispanic Heritag

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HORIZONTE host José Cárdenas leads a discussion about the Latino Institute — a group of individuals, government agencies and community organizations dedicated to ensuring the quality of life for all Latinos. Also, information about an upcoming festival to celebrate Hispanic Heritage month.

José Cárdenas:
Good Evening, I am José Cárdenas. Welcome to Horizonte. With the primary over, we will talk about how Latino politicians did in the election. And we will talk about an organization of volunteers dedicated to improving the quality of life for Latinos in the Valley.

José Cárdenas:
Latinos hold elected office in various levels throughout the state. How did Tuesday's election impact them? Let's take a look at some of the results from Tuesday's primary? In the District 23 Senate race, Rebbeca Rios wins the race with 77% of the vote against the former Mayor of Casa Grande, Robert Mitchell. In the District 23 house race long time Democrat Senate leader Pete Rios cruised to victory as he seeks to switch houses running against incumbents Ernest Bustamante and Cheryl Chase. In the District 13 house race first term representative Steve Gallardo and Martha Garcia won their primary races. And in the District 16 House race Democratic incumbent Leah Landrum Taylor and Ben Miranda are victorious in the five way primary. In congressional District 2 Democratic Randy Camacho beats his opponents with 53% of the vote. In the race for Country Attorney author and attorney Andrew Thomas secured the Republican nomination with 33% of the vote beating Andrew Pacheco. What does this mean for Latino influence in the State Legislature, US Congress and the State as a whole? Joining us tonight to talk about the candidate races is columnist with the Arizona Republic, Richard Ruelas, columnist with the Arizona Republic and editorial writer Richard de Uriarte also with the Arizona Republic. Gentlemen, thank you for joining us tonight. And for the benefit of our viewers, I will refer to you, Richard de Uriarte, as Richard D and you, Richard Ruelas as Richard R. With no indication of what you political affiliation is.

>>Richard Ruelas:
It is my Hip Hop name.

>> José Cárdenas:
I'm glad we discovered that. Another first for "Horizonte".

>> Richard de Uriarte:
And I have no Hip Hop name.

>> José Cárdenas:
We focused in the introductory comments on the legislative races and other races involving Hispanics. What's your summary, Richard D, on those races.

>> Richard de Uriarte
: I think it's pretty much a wash in terms of numbers as far as the numbers of candidates that fared well. We have a few new faces in District 15, a young attorney, 39, a youngish attorney, who is currently on the Phoenix Union school board, someone who was in a very tight race with Christensen and incumbent Wally Stron in district 15 which is basically Central Phoenix. In district 13, which essentially is Maryvale, Steve Gallardo cruised he certainly cruised to victory.

>> José Cárdenas:
In fact were there any surprises in how the Latino candidates fared?

>> Richard de Uriarte:
I think that David Louhan was easily elected. And how Richard R suggested, it's good to be named Rios in district 23 in that area.

>> José Cárdenas:
Well, Richard R, was that a surprise to you, how easily Rebecca won?

>> Richard Ruelas:
I think she wins when her father wins. That name still carries a lot of weight.

>> José Cárdenas:
What about other legislative races where Hispanics were running? Any surprises to you?

>> Richard Ruelas:
I expected Alberto Guttier to do better a little better than he did, but maybe he is known a little better to media types like us than he is to the public.

>> José Cárdenas :
And Alberto was in the whole administration.

>> Richard Ruelas:
He is one of the few Latino Republicans, and I thought maybe the party might have even helped get him a little more -- a few more votes just to show that they are a big tent party.

>> Richard de Uriarte:
What do you think explains his poor showing?

>> Richard Ruelas:
The other two candidates got more votes. I don't think that a lot of attention gets paid to legislative races, so it's something on the streets, you know.

>> José Cárdenas:
Was there a lack of support by the Republican party?

>> Richard Ruelas:
The party doesn't get into many primary races.

>> José Cárdenas:
With one notable exception.

>> Richard Ruelas:
Which is odd that the legislature as a whole has taken a right turn and Huppenthal has victory over Slade Mead.

>> José Cárdenas:
I want to come back to that.

>> Richard de Uriarte:
Jose, you have to remember, people do vote their ethnic sensibilities and sensitivities. Hispanic legislators and black legislators do well when their numbers are run the district, but Anglos, but I think the name Gutierre, like the name Pacheco, although I think Andrew Pacheco in the county attorney's race did fairly well, but I think that there is a resistance in North Central Phoenix to electing someone named Guttier.

>> José Cárdenas:
Is the number of Hispanic voters relatively low there?

>> Richard de Uriarte:
Absolutely. This is a district that includes North Central Phoenix and Scottsdale, that Alberto Guttier was well known to political types and media. He has won a lot of internal party systems, but when he was not supported by the pro-life vote, which certainly came out. He was not supported by the religious right or the strong conservative elements of the party, which dominated the primary, which had a more organized --

>> Richard Ruelas:
That's exactly the reason with redistricting, they -- it's almost like a deal with the devil. We'll put Latino and black voters in a few districts, so you can get a Latino and black candidate, but you'll only get a handful in the body as a whole, and as they try to draw the lines to get more candidates, the parties resist or at least the Republican party in Arizona resisted to try to make the lines more competitive. They prefer to make the lines more racially drawn, so that black and Latinos can have a handful of candidates rather than draw, say, in central Phoenix and North Central Phoenix.

>> José Cárdenas:
That overall reduces their impact you think?

>> Richard Ruelas:
Exactly.

>> Jose Cardenas:
You both mentioned the rightward tilt of the legislature as a result of the elections. Are they going to be more important?

>> Richard Ruelas:
I think it depends on what happens with the freshmen that come in and how much they look to -- if we can get Steve Gallardo and Pete Rios and Rebecca Rios to sort of rally the troops as it were and get more of the Democrats there and some of the moderate Republicans that are there, but I'm not sure how much sway that has internally.

>> Richard de Uriarte:
You know, politics is numbers. Some of it will depend on the outcome of general election races in swing districts, where some of this might play out as well, but certainly, caucuses have to be united if they are going to have any power. If caucuses stick together to sustain vetoes which might be more common at this point, but still it's to be played out.

>> Richard Ruelas:
But the hard right caucus is easier to hold a hard right caucus than a moderate Republican Hispanic caucus together.

>> José Cárdenas:
Do you foresee any significant changes as a result of the general elections at the state legislative level?

>> Richard de Uriarte:
Certainly -- probably not. I think you are going to see a substantial -- a significant turn to right in the senate, certainly. House, a few more seats, but you know it depends on leadership, too. If they are effective leaders.

>> José Cárdenas:
What does that mean?

>> Richard de Uriarte:
I think Pete Rios is a very effective leader, very good on parliamentary and strategic elements. He's been through this for 20 years. I dare say the house caucus wouldn't be ill advised to put him in a leadership role and just as an incoming freshman.

>> José Cárdenas:
Let's talk about the role of immigration that played in some of these races.

>> Richard Ruellas:
It seemed to have a mixed affect, but definitely I saw it in the county attorney's race just on the signs alone. Andrew Thomas put two things on the signs his name and the words stop illegal immigration.

>> José Cárdenas:
We had Nava and Esparza, two rising stars in the Republican party suggesting that a victory by Andrew Thomas would be a step backwards for the Arizona Republican parties efforts to recruit Hispanics do you agree with that?

>> Richard Ruelas:
Depends on what he does in general. If those signs come down, because his stance is just something about no pleads bargains for smugglers, which we can all get behind, but the stop illegal immigration slogan is divisive and I think he thought the least and I think it did paint him as an -- vote for Andrew Thomas and all of these illegal immigrants will disappears.

>> José Cárdenas:
How much of a fact do you think immigration was an issue in that race?

>> Richard de Uriarte:
Actually, I think that illegal immigration was less a factor than the pollsters and the pundits and the advisors pushed them to believe. Andrew GRAF lost to Jim Kolbe. Stan Barnes left significantly to Jeff Flake, and I think that 25% outcome for Andrew Pacheco was pretty good. He outpolled everybody other than Andrew Thomas who had already run statewide and had already won a statewide attorney general's primary.

>> José Cárdenas:
Thomas was more name recognition than anything else?

>> Richard de Uriarte:
Trust me, Richard is right. The candidates wouldn't be talking about illegal immigration if they didn't think that in a primary, in a Republican primary it was a winning issue.

>> José Cárdenas:
Even Pacheco indicated that he was strong on immigration.

>> Richard de Uriarte:
Absolutely, but, again, in the same kind of name ID, ethnic voting, I think Pacheco outpolled most of the Hispanic Latino Republicans I've seen county-wide. He's still a rising star. Whether a Latino candidate could win in a Republican primary is still to be determined.

>> Richard Ruelas:
We are seeing a creeping influence of the Protect Arizona Now initiative. Just by the fact that it's on the ballot lets political operatives think that it is a winning issue.

>> José Cárdenas:
It wasn't for Randy Graf. He was an early proponent of the initiative. What do you think happened there? Is that a more liberal Tucson that did him in?

>> Richard Ruelas:
Absolutely, because Kolbe lost the border, Graf won the border. Kolbe should not have had this tight of a race against a freshman legislature. Kolbe has been a name in this state for a long time, and he had a tight -- tight for him -- race, because Graf ran on immigration. Stan Barnes tried it against Jeff Flake.

>> José Cárdenas:
What's the difference there? What do you think happened?

>> Richard Ruelas:
I think it's hard to beat an incumbent, but it's interesting that the challengers tried this strategy, because I think they saw the fact that illegal -- they are tapping into what they see is a very real frustration in the state of not tackling the illegal immigration problem.

>> José Cárdenas:
Richard D, continuing to focus on the races, does Randy have a chance in the general election?

>> Richard de Uriarte: No, he doesn't. That's a Republican district. That's going for Trent Franks.

>> José Cárdenas:
Were you surprised at how big Franks' Marjorie of victory was in the primary?

>> Richard de Uriarte:
No, because I think -- this was a miserable 18% turnout. You are going to get your most activists and the most active people -- the most energized people were the pro-choice, religious right that wanted to make a difference. Now, it's not just abortion. It's immigration. It's the budget. It's the city's Civic Plaza as we talked before. There is a whole mantra of issues that the right, the strong right wing of the Republican party now is captured on and this frustration that Richard talked about is part of it. They feel they are losing Arizona. They are losing Arizona and they went back hard.

>> Richard Ruelas:
Camacho's best chance to beat Franks was in the last election when he was an unknown and squeak out that have primary. Now that he is a known entity, Camacho has a tough fight.

>> José Cárdenas:
What effect will the pan initiative have? Immigration has been a mixed bag in the congressional races. What effect will pan have in the general election?

>> Richard Ruelas:
Well, again, it -- we'll see how the campaign goes. They will start ramping up the anti-pan folks next week, and we'll see if the state can be shown that pan isn't the answer. But if a lot of people come out to vote for pan, they are not going to vote for Camacho.

>> José Cárdenas:
Will it have the same kind of negative repercussions for the Republican party in terms of its attempts to would the Hispanic voters as 187 did in California?

>> Richard de Uriarte:
Yeah, I think that's the concern, that Republicans, Jon Kyl, John McCain, Bettina Nava, they are concerned that prop 187 in California, what it did was, well, it passed overwhelmingly. It passed with considerable Latino support of Mexican-American support, because it says that it's against illegal immigration. What part of "illegal" don't you understand. So it can tap in, but the generating of passion is -- and the recruiting of so many new voters makes the party, the Republican party in California seem somewhat inhospitable to the growing minority voters there and in that -- the largest county in the country for Republicans is Orange County. It's now represented by at least 1 Hispanic legislator in Congress. That is the concern, that only a celebrity, Arnold Schwarzenegger was able to bridge that gap. Statewide, California Republicans are losing, and that's what Republicans here fear. That's why the pedegreed Republicans were really hoping that Andy Pacheco would win to bring a fresh brown face to the county and attract that crossover vote. That crossover vote would help George Bush. It would help John McCain, not that he needs any, but it would help Republican candidates and Republican statewide candidates, Governor's races which they've lost.

>> Richard Ruelas:
It doesn't hurt Republicans in Arizona to campaign against Protect Arizona Now, because they are not going to have much of an effect, I don't think, in whether it passes or not, and it doesn't hurt them in credibility in trying to get Hispanic voters.

>> José Cárdenas:
And I think the point has been made that Andy Pacheco did relatively well. Do you expect to see him down the road in another campaign?

>> Richard Ruelas:
I would hope so. I hope he's not too battered from this and I don't think he was beat up too much for from it, but I would hope that, you know, a Latino in the Republican party isn't a bad thing. I hope he tries again.

>> José Cárdenas:
Richard R., you made some reference to a campaign kickoff of the anti-pan forces. What are you talking about there?

>> Richard Ruelas:
Grant Woods next week is going to lead a coalition of business and political types to defeat the initiative. I think one tactic they may try is arguing that it's just a poorly worded law. It's going to do -- it's going to have an effect that no one expected just because the language of it is so poor. Cities are now looking at it like it's going to pass, now that it's on the ballot and the pole shows it's going to pass. The City of Phoenix produced a memo, what happens in Phoenix if pan passes and by looking at the strict initiative wording of what benefits, the initiative says illegal immigrants cannot receive benefits. Well, the city is trying to define what that is, and the City Attorney has concluded that it could apply to and would apply to libraries, parks, any city service, pardon me, that a citizen doesn't pay for. So we could see a horrible effect of it being put into law, the cities are going to have to follow the law as long as it's on the books until it gets a court challenge.

>> Richard de Uriarte:
The ironic thing there, if you talk to police, what they want the immigrant community to do is talk to them. Tell them who are the bad guys, they know who are victimizing them. Immigrants now do not apply for many city services because of the fear, and so subsequently, I think that my personal concern is that west side Phoenix, Maryvale, other parts of west side Phoenix, which are now under some economic and -- housing and social stress, will become worse because people will retreat from city services and thus, get the bad guys and other problems to fester. It's the reverse of what you think.

>> José Cárdenas:
The suggestion in some of the newspaper articles has been that the anti-pan initiative forces need to be led by a coalition of Anglo business people. Do you agree that that's a good strategy?

>> Richard de Uriarte:
Essentially, that's a good strategy. Look at the results of these elections. The people who vote in Arizona are older, and they are Anglo. I'm sorry, that is the truth. So who do you -- they respond to people who are like them. They are not going to respond, I don't think, to the banners of the Mexican flag flying. They are not going to respond to oh how sad these people have it, they are going to respond to calculated arguments, fearful, worrisome, and logic.

>> Richard Ruelas:
Just whether they can be in the heat of this campaign whether, they can make an argument that flies on a slogan or flies on a 30-second spot.

>> José Cárdenas:
What are the odds that pan will be defeated?

>> Richard Ruelas:
I'm hopeful, but I think it's very slim that it pass.

>> José Cárdenas:
Richard D?

>> Richard de Uriarte:
I think it depends on the campaign and the money. People can turn on things quickly. I have not seen internal polls on what the message and messengers are. I think I have an outline, but I think that things can drop. I suspect it will pass.

>> José Cárdenas:
We made some reference earlier on to the Republican county party getting involved in one of the elections. Do you want to elaborate on that? Richard R.?

>> Richard Ruelas:
Well, yeah, with the Slade Mead race against John Huppenthal, Republicans were angry at Slade Mead for siding with Napolitano in the budget battles, and so they went after him, it's extremely rare for a party to get into a primary. Usually they sit back and let people fight it out and we'll support the winner, but here they did some last-minute phone calls. I think the committee was called Republicans for Republicans, and they just martialled forces and it created a stunning victory for Huppenthal who had name recognition, but again.

>> Richard de Uriarte:
It's not unprecedented. The Democrats after redistricting went after the three Democrats --

>> José Cárdenas:
Let me do one last thing. The sheriff's race, you've got Robert Ayalla, a Hispanic running on the Democratic side. What are his chances?

>> Richard de Uriarte:
I'm not sure. I think that clearly Joe Arpaio has lost some credibility and some of his popularity, even among Republicans, and I think it might be more of a race than we would expect.

>> Richard Ruelas:
It's another race we'll have to look at.

>> José Cárdenas:
Thank you both for joining us on "Horizonte." We'll have you back soon.

>> José Cárdenas:
It's an effort to bring together Latino communities as Mike Saueda reports on how they are already making their contribution to society.

>> Reporter Mike Sauceda:
The Latino institute's mission statement as to enhance the quality of life photographer Latino communities through an effort that recognizes the richness of its culture, contributions to society and its challenges for this future. The institute is a program that the City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department, it's a collaboration of parks employee volunteers who work alongside community volunteers, agencies, Ed caters, corporations, students and sponsors. The Latino institute produces many community events such as the Latino youth leadership conference, fairs like this one that focus on giving information. The Latino institute holds conferences to inform business and community leaders about the progress the institute has made. Other local and national cities are considering organizing their own version of the Latino institute based on the accomplishments made in Phoenix.

>> José Cárdenas:
Joining us is the co-chairman of the Latino institute, Albert Santana. Tell us about yourself.

>> Albert Santana:
Well, I'm actually my current position is with the Parks and Recreation Department in the director's office. Some of my primary responsibilities are protocol officer, I handle some of the relations between the mayor, city council, city manager's office and anything to do with our department, especially events, dedications, any kind of citizen increase and in addition to that, I'm also our Hispanic community liaison. Those are some my primary responsibilities.

>> José Cárdenas: Give us the background of the Latino institute.

>> Albert Santana:
I'm serving as our Hispanic community liaison. I learned about this institute concept. The actual idea of the Latino institute was implemented a little over 10 years ago. It came to fruition approximately four years ago at a national recreational conference held here in Phoenix at the Civic Plaza. The idea at the time was actually implemented by some of the City of Phoenix parks and recreation employees, really to showcase what are we as a Parks and Recreation Department doing to work with our Latino community. We have various after-school programs, ASL programs, as well at other programs, and we wanted to showcase some our folks at the national level, what are we doing here in Phoenix as well as throughout the State of Arizona.

>> José Cárdenas:
Are there comparable programs in other cities in the country?

>> Albert Santana:
I believe there are. A lot of the questions that come up with, especially dealing with some of the folks on the east coast and sometimes in the Midwest is, is the different marketing approaches and the transition of fliers from English to Spanish. A lot of conversations that were coming up in our conference in 2000. We wanted to showcase what we're doing here in Phoenix. We are accustomed to some of the different Latino cultures, primarily the Mexican culture and we wanted to make sure we were doing all we could as recreation professionals to be welcoming and inclusive to make sure that all of the population diverse communities have access and are able to utilize resource that is we have.

>> José Cárdenas:
As I understands it this is a volunteer effort; is that right many

>> Albert Santana:
That's right. The heart and soul of the institute is based around its volunteers. I, like I said, I have my primary job, but the Latino institute consists City of Phoenix full-time employees, parks and recreation part-time employees, as well as some volunteers out interest within the community, everybody from the county, as well as some of our corporate folks. We have sponsors throughout a large spectrum of folks. It's really nice.

>> José Cárdenas:
I want to talk about specific programs. Right now, the month of September and October are particularly busy for you, aren't they?

>> Albert Santana:
Yes, they are. Throughout this month, primarily in October, we have beginning of the entire month of October, we have a youth conference which is going to take place on October 9th over at Phoenix College. That's a wonderful partnership we have with Phoenix College, and actually with the entire Maricopa County college system in that they give us the campus entirely for free and we're able to host a variety of workshops. We're going to bring approximately 600 students from high school, as well as 1200 from those from the 8th grade level, talking to them about vital things, such as college enrollment, the financial aid process. We're also going to be mentioning about child development. As you and I both know, this teen pregnancy rate is relatively high. We want to start talking about those issues as well.

>> José Cárdenas:
You've got other things going on, too? A concert series?

>> Albert Santana:
Yeah, we'll do Hispanic heritage month. We'll have a concert series from October 11th through 15th at patriot's square park in downtown Phoenix. At the end of that week, we'll have an Hispanic heritage festival at heritage square park. We want to highlight the multiple Latino cultures that we have. Obviously Mexican culture is very dominant in Phoenix but, we want to showcase other Latino cultures as well.

>> José Cárdenas:
And in addition, the Latino institute has other major programs, right? Including the annual conference?

>> Albert Santana:
The Latino institute is a year-round program. Beginning in January we host a variety of community events that focus on health initiatives, education initiatives. We host an annual conference. This year we were fortunate enough to bring in Henry Cisneros to be a keynote speaker to talk about issues facing the Latino community and us as a nation in general. We have a back to school event to get our young ones together.

>> José Cárdenas:
You are getting national recognition, I understand?

>> Albert Santana:
Yes, we are. We were implemented under a national conference. At the end of October, I will be flying out of -- to Reno, Nevada with my other co-chair to speak to some of our other cities of how we implemented the Latino institute, and if they were interested in --

>> José Cárdenas:
Albert, we're about out of time. If people want more information how would they give it.

>> Albert Santana:
Give us a call at 602-534-6923 or via E-mail at [email protected]

>> José Cárdenas:
Thank you for all of your volunteer work on this worthwhile project.

>> Albert Santana:
All right.

>> José Cárdenas:
If you would like to see transcripts or see what's coming up on "Horizonte," go to our web site, click on the "Horizonte" at the left of your screen and follow the links. Thanks for joining us tonight and watch us next week on "Horizonte" for our anniversary special, I'm your host, Jose Cardenas. Have a good evening.

Richard de Uriarte: Columnist and editorial writer, Arizona Republic ;

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