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Sound Off calls published July 22, 2009
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• Revolt like Chavez?

The CUSD decision totally ignores the contributions of any number of local Latino people who really were cultural leaders or had a notable influence on the community's founding. It is no doubt that Mr. Chavez was critical to the farmworker movement but he wasn't a local hero in Ceres. It is not that Mr. Chavez does not deserve to be recognized for his societal contributions but we already have Cesar Chavez Day, a state holiday in eight U.S. states. Many parks, cultural centers, libraries, schools and streets have been named in his honor in cities across the U.S. already so why should Ceres follow suit?

I question the board's honoring Mr. Chavez at the expense of local noteworthy Latinos who deserve to be recognized. Since the board has decided to stick with their decision ... I believe they risk antagonizing many local Latinos who do not respect Mr. Chavez, including many who vote, live and work in Ceres. Perhaps the voters should revolt Chavez style.

• Can't care for floods of illegals

I'm calling about immigrants and in the paper today I read about illegals getting benefits like Medi-Cal and food stamps. That's where I draw the line. People come here from different countries and we're really good to them but they need to go through the paperwork and do it legally otherwise we shouldn't be giving them all these different benefits when we can't afford these things even for the people who are already here.

I do appreciate them as people but we cannot take care of them. Mexico needs to come forward and take care of their own people. They do have vast resources in Mexico like oil and things like that.

I do thank you for this line and being able to express our opinions and I'm proud to be someone from Ceres.

• Saw Chavez ruin everything

My first job many years ago was working as a farm laborer down in Kern County. The company we worked for provided pretty good benefits for the workers. We had a lot of good laughs, standing around the noon fires as the beans and tortillas cooked. The Hispanic gentlemen that I worked with - you know they were glad to share anything with me, I was an old white boy working out there amongst them. We had a good time. We worked hard. That all ended the day Cesar Chavez turned our workplace into a war zone. I was in the fields the day the foreman crossed the picket line. In minutes his brand-new Dodge pickup was destroyed by the rocks and bats held by the Chavez gang. I was not in the fields the day that 11 people lost their lives.

In the late evenings we had to patrol the fields to protect the fruit to keep the Chavez gang from destroying it. We called the local sheriff; they didn't want to get involved, they were just a little bit too frightened to deal with this. My coworkers disdained the tactics of Cesar Chavez, one of their own. At times we prayed for our lives. Since we already were provided benefits and were happy I failed to see what good intentions Chavez had in mind when he attacked the company we worked for. Pardon me if I say that Chavez was no more than a glorified thug.

There are local Hispanics who are worthy of having a school named after them. Mike Welsh, you expect a man like Chavez who dropped out of school, to be a role model and impact impressionable young people? Board of Trustees, I credited you with more sense. Everyone of you should be replaced.

• Do anything for a neighbor

I'm calling in regards to the lady who has been married to a Mexican man for 15 years and her father-in-law is in the hospital and she lived in Michoacan ... and can't stand ... the Mexicans being so much trouble. Why has she bee married to a Mexican for 15 years? God forbid if they have children because she's going to probably tell their kids that all Mexicans are wrong. Not all Mexicans are wrong. Now all Mexicans are right.

I am a proud Mexican. I'm born here in the United States and I have Mexican ancestry and I tell my kids all the time to be proud of their ancestry. And as far as flag flying, I always fly the American flag up first. I don't even have a Mexican flag. But if I did, I wouldn't be ashmed to fly it. That's my ancestry.

And these people who are tired of the school being named after Cesar Chavez and all these farmers, who worked for these farmers? Who did all the work and they just made the money off of them. They were Mexicans. Big deal. Get over it.

I was born here and I am proud of my country. I'll do anything and everything for my country but I'll do anything and everything for my neighbor as well, even if they are from a different nationality.

• Uneasy about Obama's plan

National health care legislation is speeding through Congress, and Obama again is urging quick passage, just as he has done on other "crisis" legislation. I guess we're supposed to ignore the fact that nobody, including most members of Congress, know the details of the plan.

Yes, there are problems with the current health care system, but I'm not sure we should turn to our politicians for fixes. Remember, these same politicians are responsible for the nation's current economic mess. The crises in Medicare and Social Security also can be blamed on these same politicians.

Speaking for myself, I'm terribly uneasy about trusting them to make the correct health care decisions for myself and my loved ones.

If you, too, are uneasy about the national health care legislation in Congress, then you should contact your senators and representatives and express your misgivings.

They really need to know how you feel about this important issue.

• Who's got the small mind?

This is a comment on "Small town minds" (published in "Sound Off!" on July 15). Yes, small-town minds may not be in the medical field because they get it (education) free. We don't get anything. We have to pay for what we go to class for. And as for you, yes, you need to get out of this town if you don't like it. The laugh's on you because I am a nurse and it took me a lot of hard work. I've picked peaches, I've picked cherries, I've cut grapes. I've done everything I can in my younger life to try to make a goal for me and my children. And by george I did it. And these people come here and they get a free ride and they're in these medical fields. I could not afford it now and my daughter can't afford it. She's done the best she can and being a manager of a Wal-Mart. Think about it, you've got the small mind.

• Excited for Ceres kids

I was calling to respond to your "Stimulus money puts 300 kids to work." I was in high school. I graduated in '95 and I'm 32 now and I actually was able to have this program offered to me when I was ... It was called JTPA and I am so excited that kids nowadays can go to work and work during summer and I used to spend my money on school clothes. So when kids' parents aren't working they don't get as much so this is a great program that they brought back for these young teens to earn money. I think it needs to be offered all the time. I just want to say that I'm so excited for all these Ceres kids.