La prensa

2011 Year End Review

Created: 30 December, 2011
Updated: 13 September, 2023
24 min read


Former US Ambassador to Mexico, Dr. Julian Nava (left in the gray sweater), talks with the Charros.

2011 was a tumultuous year for the Hispanic community, there were some bright spots, but in general it was a tough year with a good dose of anti-immigrant sentiment, educational controversies in Arizona, high foreclosure rates for the community, and the economy continued to play havoc. 

There were some bright spots like the passage of the Dream Act in California, a hero came forth in Arizona, Daniel Hernandez, and the anti-immigrate sentiment was met with a dose of reality as economies of states with some of the toughest laws suffered. 

Add to this a healthy mix local stories highlighting the Hispanic community, stories that we covered during the year. This week we review and recall the year as it passed through the pages of in word and picture. 

Each New Year is met with hope and a promise of a prosperous New Year. For the Hispanic community 2011 was met with the term anchor baby with state legislators making headlines as they tried to change the Constitution of the United States by changing the 14th Amendment which states that persons born in the US are citizens.

The political acrimony between the parties was getting ugly led by the Tea Party movement and it all came to head with the senseless shooting spree aimed at Democratic Representative Gabrielle Giffords, and when Daniel Hernandez rushed to her aide he became a hero. The tragedy ended with six individuals killed and 14 people wounded. Many lay the blame at the feet of hateful right-wing rhetoric which has been spewing out of Arizona. Arizona was the first state to pass the toughest anti-immigrant laws, encouraged the Minuteman movement and in 2011 led the fight against ethnic studies.

At the beginning of the year, Arizona’s HB 2281 targeting ethnic studies in Tucson’s public school system went into effect. The bill prohibits K-12 classes that “promote the overthrow of the United States government,” for which Chicano studies, ethnic studies and MEChA were charged with.

At the same time in California the DREAM Act was being pursued and this effort was well under way in the New Year.


Article - Uber

Enero Zapatista includes spoken word presentations and protest singers that promote social justice in the community.

Enero Zapatista empowers the community: The seventh edition of Enero Zapatista, which kicked off with a film on human rights in Chiapas on Jan. 5 in Sherman Heights, seeks to educate the public about various community initiatives.

“The goal of the events is to shed light on the struggles within our community, in our schools,” said Enrique de la Cruz, member of the San Diego Zapatista Collective, one of the organizations involved in the series.

Locally writer and activist Carmen Miranda wrote about the effort in Escondido where the City Council had voted to move the Charros of Escondido out of their home for the past 40 years. “On a little corner Northeast of Escondido, Mexican Charros have gathered for over 40 years. There they practice and enjoy charreadas (Mexican rodeos), music, food and family. This tradition has been passed down from generation to generation.

“But an eviction notice to the Charro association from the City of Escondido may change all that. As this article goes to press, the city council is planning future meetings to discuss the final fate of the charro lienzo (arena) on the eastside of the city.”

The community rallied behind Charros and their little piece of heaven was saved through a community effort.

“Project Mexico Links Issues to Human Faces.” by Mark R. Day: How do students at an East Coast university relate their studies on U.S.-Mexico border issues to the daily lives of the people who live there? Loyola University in Baltimore, Maryland has come up with a solution — an immersion program called the Project Mexico. Twenty students from the Jesuit-run school spent the Fall semester preparing for a 10 day trip to San Diego. Then they hit the ground running in January.

Augie Bareño shared his story of “Shelltown Reflections – St Judes”: The Shelltown neighborhood of Logan Heights located in San Diego is defined by its boundaries, of Wabash and 32nd and National Avenue on the west, south to Main Street and Division Street, east to 43rd and South Crest Park, and north to Ocean view Blvd. In the 1950s, which was the time, I was growing up in its commercial center was the corner of 38th and National Ave.” This was to be one of the most popular stories of the year not only in print but on our website as well.

Augie Bareño brought us the story St. Judes in Shelltown as he took a trip down memorie lane and talked about the history of the community that surrounded the church.

That was January a tough way to start the year, at the same time it foretold of the year to come.

Article - Uber

In February we got a stark look at the economic realities facing us and the tough decisions facing the Hispanic community. One of those issues was the contract negotiations between the teachers and the district in National City. For a time it got pretty ugly with the school board threatening to bring in substitutes and replace all the teachers who went on strike. This rallied the community behind the teachers and a last minute agreement was reached in February.

Freshly elected Governor Jerry Brown, in his first State of the State speech laid the groundwork for what he believed would bring about a balanced budget that would deal with the $25 billion dollar shortfall left behind by the previous administration.

Gov. Brown’s message was to the point – we need to work together and we needed to get the budget passed on time! Good message but it was politics as usual, with the exception of getting the budget passed on time. A recent law passed docked the state legislatures their pay for every day the budget was late, a few days without pay and they somehow came together on a budget in record time, compared to years past which usually went months past the state deadline.

2011 was the year that California did its redistricting by a committee of community members whose mandate was to do it by the numbers, taking politics out the process. Did it work, we think so though there has been some disagreement by the Republicans lately who feel the Democrats rigged the process. But it was an honest effort and no matter what, you can never, ever, take politics out of a political process.

As the US economy continued to falter it continued to have a big impact on Mexico’s tourism which faltered as well. From Puerto Vallarta to Tijuana, Mexico was trying to find ways to attract visitors to their vacation spots, without much luck. The tourist trade continued to falter throughout the year as Mexico struggled to find a way to attract those tourism dollars.

The New Year brought in a batch of newly elected Hispanic officials that came into office riding the Tea Party train. One of those was New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez and to bolster her conservative credentials barely a month in office issued Executive Order 2011-009 that orders New Mexico police to report all arrested undocumented persons to federal immigration authorities, this from a woman whose family came to the US as undocumented immigrants.

The battle in Arizona over Ethnic Studies waged on during the year and February protestors were being arrested for speaking their mind about HB 2281 which they stated was illegal, immoral and unconstitutional, making the teaching of Ethnic Studies in Arizona illegal.

San Ysidro High Students display their AVID Demonstration Site validation banner. Also pictured are members of the AVID validation team.

“San Ysidro High School Earns Unique Distinction: Named National AVID Demonstration School.” The success of San Ysidro High School in getting students to be college-ready has earned the school validation as a National AVID Demonstration School.

Article - Uber

Redistricting got underway in San Diego. With the passage of making the strong mayor from of government permanent it required that a new district, district 9, be added to the council so we asked the question “Will the Number 9 Be Lucky for San Diego Asian-Americans?” In the long run the answer was no. It was felt that to reflect a diverse community on the city council that the Asian community deserved a seat. But alas other forces were at work here and a second Hispanic district was created.

Politics dominated the news pages in 2011 and no story was bigger than “Wisconsin and Ohio Protestors: We Want Freedom of Choice, Not Money” a story by William O. Beeman talked about a Tea Party governor swept into office vowing to change the way things were done in the capitol, for Gov. Scott Walker this meant taking collective bargaining away from state employees. This effort was met with large scale protest as 70,000 protestors showing up at city hall and Democratic legislators skipping town to delay the final vote on this measure. The measure eventually passed but not without a long drag out battle. Today a recall of the governor is underway. The final chapter on this story is still to be told.

In some months a story thread dominates the pages, in the Month of March the thread was entertainment, movies, documentaries, and sports.

“18th Annual Latino Film Festival Brings the Best of Latino Cinema to San Diego” is an annual event hosted by the Media Arts Center and this year it was once again an outstanding presentation with 160 international films, guest celebrities, parties, family screenings presented and over 20,000 festival attendees.

“The Longoria Affair, a film by John J. Valadez” was a must see documentary that traveled to local colleges and appeared on PBS. The documentary tells the story of Mexican-American Felix Longoria, who died while fighting in World War II and his family was denied use of their south Texas town’s only funeral parlor because “the whites wouldn’t like it.”

Another documentary “The Wall: Documenting the environmental and social impact at the border” was presented in March. Writer Mariana Martinez brought the story to our readers about the diminishing of one of the most important ecosystems in the Tijuana-San Diego region: the Tijuana River Estuary.

This ecological disaster, that began with the construction of the second and third border fences in the southwestern border, is what motivated documentalist Greg Rainoff to shoot The Wall, a film that intends to show the American audience the tremendous environmental and social impact the border fences will have in our communities in order to preserve public safety and contain undocumented immigration.

Olga Mireles (center) in Northern Iraq at Fort Suse with Natasha and a Kurdish soldier behind us, they were our local allies.

“Her Uniform, Her Weapon, Her Story……” by Katia Lopez-Hodoyan was the story of Olga Mireles recently retired from the military tells her story as she adjust to civilian life and becomes involved in creating a military women’s section in San Diego’s Veteran’s Museum and Memorial Center where their military services can be represented and their story told.

Article - Uber

Boxing sensation Saul “CANELO” Alvarez was a big story throughout the year as boxing reporter by Stephen Galindo covered that story and many others including Manny Pacquiao which always draws a lot of readers.

“Olympian High Defends Decathlon Championship: Eagles Wins Title Second Year in a Row.” The 2011 San Diego County Academic Decathlon champions from Olympian High are flanked (on left) by their coach Ken Boulton and (on right) by San Diego County Board of Education South County Representative, Jerry Rindone.

Olympian High’s academic eagles are flying high. For the second year in a row, they have claimed the championship title in the San Diego County Academic Decathlon.

Competing against 18 teams from around the county, Olympian High was one of eight Sweetwater District schools to finish among the top 10 in the decathlon. Second place went to Hilltop High and Sweetwater High took third to give the district a sweep of the top three places

A mercado has been promised in Barrio Logan for the past 22 years and finally in March the first shovel full of dirt was finally turned over to commemorate the beginning of construction. The question to be answered: is this Mercado for the community or a part of gentrification of Barrio Logan? Only the future will tell.

The month of March ended with Arizona Republicans who had been staunch supporters of anything and everything anti-immigrant, voted against an effort by Senate President Russell Pearce to push for the US Supreme to take a look at the 14th Amendment granting citizenship to children born in the US by undocumented parents, along with other anti-immigrant legislation. All the negative publicity and the economic impact of previous anti-immigration bills finally hit home and the legislatures said enough is enough.

In April more and more reports from the US Census were coming out detailing the growth of the Hispanic community in the US. The numbers were staggering as we noted in an editorial – Hispanics accounted for 56 percent of the nation’s growth; most of this growth reflects new births. While indeed these numbers are staggering for the general public, for the Hispanic community this growth had been self-evident.

This expanded growth has come with a backlash from those once Anglo-Saxon dominated communities. In some communities where white voters are more prevalent, legislators have tried to limit and control the growth of the Hispanic community through the draconian power of legislation

Article - Uber

We only have to look north to Escondido to see this reality played out. Escondido in the past year became a city where the Hispanic population became a majority. The legislative body of that city, however, does not reflect this change. This decade long growth, which, according to the Census is fueled by births, not illegal immigration, continues to reflect an anti-Hispanic bias.

In the South Bay one of the bigger stories of the year dealt with Jesus Gandara the Superintendent of Sweetwater Unified High School District. The wheels started to come off when he hosted a wedding reception for his daughter, inviting local contractors and putting out a money tree for donations. The Gandara tenure would quickly unravel after this.

“Ex-President Fox Calls on Mexico to Legalize Drugs” by José Luis Sierra was a story with the first official call for the legalization of drugs to curtail the drug trafficking that was destroy the fabric of Mexico. At the same time President Fox, in a visit to San Diego, and called on the US to cut off the flow of guns to Mexico.

As a part of his visit to San Diego former Mexican President Vicente Fox visited the inner-city youth of Reality Changers in the heart of City Heights.

Education was an important part of our coverage in 2011, the following are some of the stories we covered.

A refreshing story at the University of California, San Diego, was the Peace Corps Commemorating 50 Years of Service. The Peace Corps commemorated 50 years of service that began with the signing of President John F. Kennedy’s executive order establishing the federal agency on March 1, 1961.

Senior Eddie Estevez, Coach Troy Vierra and Sophomore Tommy Espinoza (from L-R).

Otay Ranch High Wrestlers Make Historic State Title Run: Each year thousands of student athletes take to the wrestling mats in California high schools. After a long physically and emotionally strenuous season, a select few qualify to represent their schools at their county championship tournaments. Even fewer still qualify to represent their counties at the state championship. This year, Otay Ranch High wrestlers – Senior Eddie Estevez and Sophomore Tommy Espinoza – became only two of 10 wrestlers in Sweetwater District history to place in the top eight in the State of California.

“Giving Young Seekers of Peace and Justice their Due,” by Ernie McCray. Mission Bay High School MEChA who students received the Youth Activism Award in Los Angeles. Posing in a picture on the desktop of my iMac are some of the most brilliant people I’ve ever known, members of MEChA, a Chicano student organization at Mission Bay High led by Luis Villanueva, a remarkable educator who constantly seeks ways to create learning experiences that are relevant to their lives. Each of them is a budding community leader and exemplary American citizen.

Article - Uber

After ten years the US military located and killed Osama bin Laden in May.

Foreclosed homes have finally reached the tip point and homeowners were venting their anger in May with protest and rallies. Bank modifications were not happening as promised while the banks had received federal dollars to help the homeowner save their homes. Eventually this would lead to the middle class America rising up in the form of Occupy Wall Street.

Pope John Paul IIwas revered by millions and had been on the fast track to Sainthood. In May John Paul II was Beatified and Katia Lopez-Hodoyán was in Italy to witness the holy event.

June marked the one year anniversary of the death of Anastasio Hernández when about twenty federal agents beat and tasered an undocumented immigrant, Anastasio Hernández, as he was being deported to Tijuana and there had been no answers regarding the beating.

“Escuela comunitaria exige un alto a recortes educativos,” Por Pablo Jaime Sáinz. Los gritos de protesta de los estudiantes en contra de los recortes a la educación estatal se escuchaban en dos idiomas: “¡Escuelas sí, prisiones no! We want schools!” Unos 400 alumnos, maestros, empleados, padres y miembros de la comunidad hicieron una demostración alrededor de una escuela en El Cajón para demostrar su descontento por los grandes recortes al presupuesto educativo que enfrentan las escuelas en California

A Hispanic group started demanding a new Latino district in City of San Diego the feeling was that the Census showed growth within the Hispanic community and that it needed representation. They saw the area of City Heights as the area that best reflected this growth. The proposed district turned out to be an elongated district that was dissected by various ethnic groups and demographics, which would later prove to be difficult for the Latino community to develop a unified group in order to support Latino candidates.

Tijuana hit the news pages once again, seems like whenever they do it is not good news and this story was no exception, “The Police and Sexual Assault.” Turns out the local police forced a female detainee to strip naked and dance while in custody. Of course this made YouTube which lead to 15 police officers getting fired.

The other big news story out of Tijuana was the arrest of former-Mayor Hank Rohn which had all of Mexico talking. The timing of the arrest was odd in that he had just announced his intention to run for office once, again, that was until his home was raided and he was charged with having a large number of prohibited weapons in his possession. The charges would later be dropped.

Article - Uber

The end finally came for Jesus Gandara at Sweetwater after surrounding all this issues of mismanagement of excessive spending. After some raucous board meetings the board of directors finally bought out Gandara’s contract which in turn angered many in the community. Gandara was quickly replaced Dr. Ed Brand.

Nick Aguilar cited bad health and stepped down from his position as board member of Southwestern Community College. The vacancy would be filled by Humberto Peraza.

“Achievement Gaps: How Hispanic and White Students in Public Schools Perform in Mathematics and Reading on the National Assessment of Educational Progress.” Hispanics are the fastest-growing segment of the United States population. Additionally a substantial proportion of Hispanic students in grades 4 (37 percent) and 8 (21 percent) are English language learners. These two facts-the growing size of the Hispanic population in the United States and the percentage of fourth- and eighth-grade Hispanic students that are English language learners-underlie the achievement gap between Hispanic and White fourth- and eighth-graders. Closing the Hispanic-White achievement gap remains a challenge.

Assemblymember Marty Block has recognized retired Naval Chief Warrant Officer Richard Peña as Veteran of the Year for the 78th Assembly District.

In July retired Naval Officer Richard Peña Honored as 78th Assembly District Veteran of the Year. Pearl Harbor Survivor has Long Record of Service to his Community. Assemblymember Marty Block has recognized retired Naval Chief Warrant Officer Richard Peña as Veteran of the Year for the 78th Assembly District.

Boycott the All-Star Ga-me! was the cry that went up in 2010 after Arizona passed SB1070, at the time the harshest anti-immigrant legislation. Hispanic ballplayers indicated back then that they would boycott the game. But one year later and with SB1070 gutted by the courts the boycott did not come off as once hoped. The ballplayers played and the community, in general, showed only passive disdain for the game.

“Through Our Blood: Historic Restoration of Chicano Park Murals Begins,” By Gail Pérez. The restoration of Chicano Park began in the middle of year and we documented the progress throughout.

Professional lucha libre is back in San Diego: An event featuring some of the most popular luchadores will try to revive the lucha libre scene in San Diego.

Phase one of the DREAM Act was passed by the State Legislators and the Governor signed the bill that allowed un-documented students who qualify for reduced in-state tuition to apply for $88 million in private scholarship funds administered by the University of California, Cal State University and the California Community Colleges. This was the first of two bills to fulfill the completion of the DREAM Act in California.

Article - Uber

Sweetwater High School in National City celebrates the completion of its renovations in August. The community of National City is proud of their only high school and came out to join in the celebration and take a look at the new buildings and classrooms.

The San Diego State University kicked off their football season with high expections and part of the reason is because of tightend Gavin Escobar who was expected to a big part of the Aztec attack. Escobar did not disappoint he had an excellent season with a record of 8-5.

‘Fast and Furious’Gun Tracking Operation is big news, describing how the US government allowed guns to be moved illegal into drug-cartel hands with the idea of tracking the guns. The government lost track of the guns and the guns were showing up at crime scenes.

In the last quarter of the year we are highlighting the most interesting stories during the time starting with “The DREAM Act.” Phase one of the act was passed a couple of months ago and now the second phase and the more controversially legislation is passed completing the DREAM Act.

In September Assemblyman Gil Cedillo (D-Los Angeles), author of the California DREAM Act legislation saw the final stage passed and signed into law. The measure would allow undocumented students who qualify for reduced in-state tuition to apply for Cal Grants, community college waivers and other public aid programs.

The San Ysidro Port of Entry Collapses, shutting down busiest border crossing in the world. 24 people were injured and they figured it would take at least a week before fully opening the border, but it only took a couple of days and the border crossing was back in action.

“A new South Bay chamber serving the Mexican and Mexican-American business community.” The South Bay business community is looking to have a say in their business direction and by coming together now they are preparing for 2012.

Mexico is in turmoil in September as they once again take up the issue of abortion with the start of deliberations on the constitutionality of reforms made to 18 state constitutions regarding the right to life from conception. The rejection of such reforms is seen as success for human and reproductive rights of women. The discussion is centered on two legislations in particular, the reforms made in Baja California and San Luis Potosí state constitutions, but the supreme court ruling could affect all the other16 states that have made similar reforms.

Article - Uber

Occupy Wall Street springs to life as a disgruntled middle class community occupies Wall Street demanding equality in the sharing of the wealth and their focus is on the greed demonstrated at Wall Street. It started out as a group of disgruntled citizens who were frustrated with the economy and the way things had been going. They wanted to protest and publicly demonstrate against political decisions which seem to favor the rich over everyone else. So they organized an occupation of Wall Street – right in front of the NY Stock Exchange – which they saw as the epic center for greed.

“The ‘Heart of Dixie’ Needs Bypass Surgery STAT.” First it was Arizona and now Alabama has joined the rush to pass even harsher anti-immigration laws, the difference being that the U.S. District Judge of Alabama upheld their laws. Based on the ruling, Alabama police will be able to conduct immigration checks during routine traffic stops and public schools will be required to check students’ immigration status upon enrollment. Later in the year Alabama legislators started looking at toning down the laws due to negative impact to their economy.

The Presidential race is in full swing for the Republican Party as they try to find a candidate who will challenge Obama in 2012. In October leading the pack was Herman Cain, it was his down home, matter of fact attitude that attracted voters. On immigration Cain was determined to solidfy his right wing credential by declaring he would electrify the border fence as his answer to immigrants crossing the border looking for work. Turned out Cain had bigger problems and was soon out of the race.

Logan Heights teen named volunteer of the year. Ar-mando Herrera likes helping others. The 15 year-old is so committed to community service, that he has contributed more than 500 hours of volunteer service at the Logan Heights Branch of the San Diego Public Library assisting in various projects from shelving books to recruiting youth to participate in programs.

Border Angels Celebrate 25 Years of Service: On Nov. 19, 2011, the Border Angels celebrated their 25 anniversary celebration at the San Diego Centro Cultural de la Raza. The Border Angels was founded by Enrique Morones in 1986. The organization is best known for providing food, water and clothing stations in remote border areas, such as the Imperial Valley area and mountain areas.

In this article

Latest articles
New Poll Shows Gloria, Lawson-Remer Vulnerable
Mayor, City Attorney, and Supervisor races all in play in November.
24 May, 2024
4 min read
FEMA Allocates Nearly $20M for SD Migrant Transition Center
Federal funds will help new arrivals dropped off in SD after being processed.
24 May, 2024
2 min read
CV Candidate Drops Out, Cardenas Recruiting Replacement
Convicted felon looking for candidate to challenge incumbent board member.
21 May, 2024
5 min read