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“The Illusion of Inclusion!”

Created: 14 February, 2014
Updated: 26 July, 2022
6 min read

The Defeat of Mayoral Candidate David Alvarez

(A Historical Analysis)

By Herman Baca

With the election of Republican Kevin Faulconer as Mayor of San Diego defeating “Hispanic” Democrat Councilman David Alvarez, another election has come and gone, leaving the ever growing Chicano community with the historical political question, what happened? There is an old saying that states, “In order for a people to find a solution to historical issues/problems, people first need to know what those issues/problems are, but then the only way a people can discover what the problems/issues are… is by reading and understand ones’ history.”

A day before the mayoral election a friend of mine asked me to make a prediction about Alvarez’s chances of winning. I responded to him by stating, “My prediction…. all the horses I have ever seen in a horse race had 4 legs, and all had a chance of winning the race. However, in my political opinion (historically speaking) regarding the Faulconer/Alvarez race…the system will win, and our people will lose again. Why? Because of what I have witnessed going all the way back to Assemblyman Pete Chacon, San Diego City Councilman Jess Haro, Uvaldo Martinez, and thousands of “brown messiahs’ politicians” that were going to save us. That to me is the, “Illusion of Inclusion.” To continue to believe in the “Illusion of Inclusion” insures, that we as a people will continue to lose (no matter what our numbers are, or what color the politician are), until such time that we have the power of ORGANIZED people and money to make politicians; brown, white, black, yellow, etc. accountable to our needs and interests. That can and will only happen when our people are educated, politicized and organized thru the principle of self-determination.

After 45 years of being politically involved, starting in electoral and then movement politics, I have to state that I no longer believe in politicians, Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny.

Why, because of what I have witnessed since 1970 when our people only had one legislator, Assemblyman Alex Garcia from East Los Angeles in the entire CA State Legislature, and San Diego County had one elected person of Mexican ancestry in National City, Councilman Louie Camacho. In 2014 there are thousands of politicians, and Chicanos are now poised (in the near future) to become the majority population in CA. However, who in their right mind can honestly state, in spite of those thousands of politicians that our people are better off in 2014 than in 1970? Daily there are right violations at the border and in our community by law enforcement, massive deportations (over two million Mexican workers) by the Obama administration, more of youth in prisons than colleges, police brutality, etc.

Unfortunately those issues/problems have not, and cannot be resolved by electoral politics or His-Her Panic politicians. Those problem/issues will and can only be resolved (as I stated above) when our people are educated, politicized and organized thru self-determination, then and only then will the “Illusion of Inclusion” be ended.

But the immediate political question for our community still remains, what were some of the political reasons for Councilman David Alvarez’s defeat? In my opinion those political reasons were:

1. What few will say or admit publicly in San Diego … race. It’s a public fact now that a North (majority Anglo) and South (majority Mexican) split exists in San Diego. Another fact is that historical, San Diego has always been a traditional Republican, right wing, conservative and business oriented city that the U-T has always supported. One would have to be out of their political mind to believe that the good old boy system (Anglo) would allow (for the first time in 118 years) the election of a Mayor of Mexican ancestry; who would then have appointed a new city councilperson (also Mexican) to the 8th council district. Whether one believes it or not, it is an axiom of history that the privilege, never give up their privileges voluntarily.

2. Alvarez’s youth and inexperience.

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3. President Obama’s endorsement. President Obama’s approval ratings are in the cellar, including in our own community where many persons are angry at Obama for lying to them about immigration reform, and deporting over 2 million undocumented Mexican workers.

4. The perception held by many persons that Alvarez had handcuffed his political independence, due to the obscene amount of money (5.2 million total) that unions (4.2 million) contributed to his campaign.

5. Low voter registration (18% registration in our community), turnout (43% total voters) and low voting in South San Diego, i.e. only 29% voted in his own district.

With the above said; the only issue before newly elected Mayor REPUBLICAN Kevin Faulconer concerning our community is how he will address the needs and interests of San Diego’s fastest growing population? Will Faulconer change the Republican Party’s time tested race baiting anti-Mexican attacks, or will he continue them as he displayed by having racist Escondido Mayor Sam Abed on his victory podium election night? As the old Mexican saying states, “dime con quien andas, y te digo quien eres.”

Finally there is another old saying that states, “The more things change, the more they remain the same.” The defeat of David Alvarez while traumatic to many in our community, historically it is not the first time that a Chicano has ran or lost the Mayor’s race in San Diego. Many forget that the first Chicano to run for San Diego Mayor was a professor (San Diego City College) who ran in 1970 as a La Raza Unida candidate, his name; Gilberto Robeldo. The only difference between Alvarez and Robeldo’s campaign was that Robeldo ran a symbolic campaign (no money) to simply state to the City of San Diego that our people were here, and were not going to be politically ignored.

In the last 45 years numerous things have changed for many individuals, but unfortunately not for the masses of our people. If our community is to learn anything from David Alvarez campaign (especially young people), the main reason there was a candidate for mayor was due to demographics. It’s a fact that if one looks back, the one thing that has changed, that no one can deny is, demographics. Few remember that just over 40 years ago, in 1970 (according to the U.S. Census) we numbered but 7 million. By 2014 our population had increased to 53 million, and it is estimated (again by the U.S. Census) that by the year 2050 our numbers will increase to 134 million.

In 2014 and the upcoming years, new generations will have at their command what my generation didn’t …the political numbers to make change, take over and remake this society. But as stated above, that will only happen when we stop believing in the “Illusion of Inclusion,” and begin to read and understand our history.

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