News Clips Feb. 12, 2010

An Election Sets a Record, and Not a Good One

There’s a nearly 100-year-old picture of protesting Chicago suffragettes, all dressed in white and demanding that women get the vote. A second is of a crowd of mostly blacks at a voter registration rally apparently in San Francisco in the late 1980s. Finally, there’s a sea of mostly Latino Chicagoans at an immigration rights march a few years back, some holding “Latino Vote” placards…..

……My only solace came from Mark Hansen, a political scientist at the University of Chicago, who has researched voter turnout. I asked where the United States stood. Mr. Hansen called up a slide he uses, comparing 24 developed democracies in Europe, North America, Japan, New Zealand, Australia and Israel.

“Yeah, we’re on the low end,” he said.

Indeed, we’re Michael Jordan: No. 23.

Lawsuit claims Irving voting district violates equal protection

Eleven Irving residents on Thursday filed a federal lawsuit against the city, claiming the new single-member City Council District 1 violates the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution.

The suit argues that citizenship of each single-member district’s population was not taken into account when Irving’s new election system was devised and that only overall population was considered. The lawsuit says such a system violates the “one person, one vote” provision of the 14th Amendment because the number of eligible voters in each district varies widely.

Hispanic museum envisioned

Two South Florida firms are helping conceptualize a possible National Museum of the American Latino in Washington, D.C.

The commission studying the potential creation of the National Museum of the American Latino selected contractors who will produce a report to determine the museum’s viability and whether it should become part of the Smithsonian Institution in the nation’s capital.

Two South Florida firms — Balsera Communications and República — are among those chosen by the federal commission, which meets in late February in Miami to outline a work schedule aimed at completing the report and submitting it to Congress before the end of the year. The two companies will promote the project and organize public forums.

Sandoval ramps up Nevada governor campaign

Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Sandoval, a former U.S. judge, stressed an upbringing focused on hard work and his experience as the first Hispanic to win statewide office in Nevada in a speech Thursday to the Latino Lions Club.
Seeking support from an important voting bloc, Sandoval said he was brought up to believe one can achieve anything if willing to work for it.”They discouraged me from running (for the state Assembly) because they felt a Hispanic could not win a district that was 99 percent Caucasian,” Sandoval said of his first race, which he won with more than 80 percent of the vote. “When I ran for attorney general, no Hispanic had been elected to statewide office in Nevada. But I decided it was very important that I take that challenge.”

Immigration reform proves a thorny issue for politicians

Washington — The day after President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address — during which he uttered exactly one sentence about immigration reform — Democratic congressional leaders were asked if the issue was dead.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid stepped up to field the answer, even though the question had been directed at a colleague.

“The president, I don’t think, dropped the ball,” Reid said, explaining the White House has spoken to congressional leaders on the issue. “It’s something we need to do. It’s something we’re committed to do and we will do it as soon as we can.”

California Assembly’s vote on Maldonado: neither yes nor no

In a vote on Schwarzenegger’s pick for lieutenant governor, he fails to garner a 41-vote majority for or against. The administration says that means he can be installed, but others disagree.
Reporting from Sacramento – The state Assembly refused Thursday to confirm Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s choice to fill the empty lieutenant governor seat, but the administration is vowing to install moderate state Sen. Abel Maldonado (R-Santa Maria) nonetheless, saying the vote is moot.

The 80-member house voted 37 to 35 in favor of Maldonado’s appointment — failing to achieve a 41-vote majority for or against him. The Schwarzenegger administration said the tally means that Maldonado gets the job because the state Constitution says the nominee takes office if he is “neither confirmed nor refused confirmation.”,0,7069825.story

Good Content Is Critical For Reaching Hispanics Online

Content has always been king, but probably never more so than in today’s Hispanic online market.

Social media have completely changed the nature of how content for online consumption is produced. Companies must now speak to consumers through content that’s less formal, more timely, shorter and ultimately more engaging.

A Fatal Ending for a Family Forced Apart by Immigration Law

WEST BABYLON, N.Y. — Elizabeth Drummond was a single mother from a hardscrabble family whose roots go back to the Mayflower and an American Indian tribe. The man she married, Segundo Encalada, was a relative newcomer to the United States, sent illegally by his parents from Ecuador when he was 17.

He soon became “Daddy Segundo” to her little boy, coached her through the Caesarean births of two daughters, and worked construction and landscaping jobs here on Long Island to support them all.

Tackling illegal immigration from the top

A crackdown on alleged smuggling operations is a step in the right direction.
Super Express Van Tours of Houston was not your ordinary bus line. It served neither tourists nor commuters. Instead, federal officials say, it specialized in transporting illegal immigrants around the country. Once they arrived from Mexico, it kept the passengers under lock and key in “safe houses” — preventing both scrutiny from outsiders and possible escapes — until it loaded them into minivans and shuttled them to cities across the United States, including Los Angeles, Atlanta and Miami.,0,10384.story

Informants can greatly aid U.S. authorities but still face deportation

Some say promises of help getting residency were broken. Turning on such people is unfair and a disincentive for others, some officials say. But others say they can have criminal or terrorist ties.

Reporting from Seattle – Ernesto Gamboa was a rare find — the sort of informant who might come along once or twice in a cop’s career.

The 41-year-old Salvadoran auto mechanic assisted police in making hundreds of drug busts in the Pacific Northwest over 14 years.

Armed only with a cellphone, he had a knack for posing as a drug buyer or seller, leading to harrowing transactions between heavily armed traffickers and narcotics agents. For about $10,000 a year, he risked his life time and again, according to those who worked with him. Undercover detectives came to trust him with their own lives.,0,7837884.story

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