Friday, October 20, 2006

Clean Water and Dolores Huerta

There is a very real chance that the 11th CD race (Pombo vs. McNerney) will turn on an unexpected (especially by Pombo) series of events. There were a lot of things happening right now and some indicators show the race to be a tossup. A recent poll showed, given the right conditions, McNerney had a 10 point advantage. The "right conditions" were that these questions were asked after the poll taker read a positive statement on both candidates.

I was surprised when I head the results, because I happened to one who respoded to a poll that was structured exactly in that manner.

So, if it is that close, what are those difference makers? It is not the $650,000 + that the National Republican Campaign Comittee has thrown into the race. It is not the very large amounts spent by the Defenders of Wildlife and the Sierra Club. Actually it starts with Proyecto las Voces del Valle, working in conjunction with Clean Water Fund, have registered 10,592 voters, including 5,946 Latinos in just San Juaquin County. This represents a radical change in voters when the overall voter registration has gone down. I discussed this in an earlier post on another blog.

The second major event was the fact the Dolores Huerta, still active and passionate at age 76, has been stumping the district to campaign for the Democratic Candidate, Jerry McNerney. This was very well described by columnist Marty Cheek in the Morgan Hill Times last Tuesday. (subscription required).
The 76-year-old woman, who worked closely with Cesar Chávez fighting for farm workers in the 1960s, told a crowd of about 50 people outside the club's Main Street headquarters that Latino voters must support McNerney in his race against incumbent Rep. Richard Pombo, a Republican. McNerney is a better choice, she said, because he stands for human rights, improving public education, and dealing wisely with immigration issues.
Huerta also reminded people that Pombo is Portuguese, not Hispanic, and in the Centeral Valley that is a distinction of class as much as it is of national origin.

As the population of California shifts, this change will play out in district after district. People with the charisma of Dolores Huerta will inevitably influence the manner in which these new voters enter the political spectrum. I wonder exactly what the Green Party is doing about it, because this is absolutely one area where we have made a lot of noise, but probably have not registered 5,946 Latinos.

For some more background. La Proyecto de los Voces del Valle is headed by Angel Picon. Picon is a SEIU activist and the past president of the Stockton Chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC).

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