[UPDATE: More Stupidity from Supes, and Silliness from Local Press] What Does the Orange County Board of Supervisors Have Against Spanish and Latinos?
|Nelson: Still dumb when it comes to Mexis...|
Also? This current board (save the grinning fool to the right) previously entered into an agreement with LHA to provide countywide service--and they didn't bitch about semantics then.
On the media front, the Voice of OC and the Liberal OC are also covering the story, but have added nothing nor cited us for breaking it--and the Liberal OC is citing the Voice of OC as breaking the story. HILARIOUS...
Original post, June 8, 2: 20 p.m.: It's always hilarious to see local politicians veer into the realm of bigotry when dealing with Latinos--and here in la naranja, it happens as often as SanTana Mayor-for-Life Don Papi Pulido uttering a lie. That's exactly what happened at this week's Board of Supervisors meeting. After a good hour or so of droning report after droning report, the supes came upon Agenda Item 31, a seemingly straightforward $1.5 million contract with nationally known nonprofit Latino Health Access (LHA) to train people and organizations across OC to combat the early signs of mental illness. Specifically, LHA proposed to teach other their promotora program, which is nothing more than training community members how to be leaders in their respective neighborhoods with regards to health issues as to not burden the health system with preventable illnesses. It's a system that has worked wonders in SanTana, and has earned praise across the country.
Empowering people to not rely on government--sounds like red meat for the all-Republican Board, no? But from their reactions to the agenda item, you'd figure LHA was proposing to force everyone in the county to wear sombreros.
|Moorlach: No le gusta Spanish|
"I have a question about the name," he intoned in his sotto baritone, face barely concealing his glee. "Does it have to be called 'promotora program?' And why?"
The deputy agency director of the Health Care Agency went to the podium to answer Moorlach's question. He explained that promotora was a Spanish word for "community health worker," which is exactly what LHA does, and that the HCA would change the name of the program "if the board desires."
What a wimp! What's wrong if a group with a contract with the county, which calls itself by an English name, decides to call one of its programs in a different language? Only in Orange County...but then it got better.
Moorlach said he'd prefer that without giving explanation; Nguyen--who represents SanTana, where LHA has its offices--agreed. Then Shawn Nelson asked if LHA's work for the county would only target Latinos or everyone in the county; the HCA guy said there was an explicit clause in the contract to train all people regardless of race or ethnicity, since the contract dealt with mental health. "
"Semantics are just that," Nelson said, face contorted, "but I think if a bidder on county services for a countywide contract that was not specific for an ethnic community came forward and was the Anglo Catholic Health Care Provider System...we wouldn't stand for that."
STOP RIGHT THERE! Last year, Nelson and the board did exactly that when they unanimously approved renewing a contract with, among other NGOs, The Cambodian Family and Catholic Charities, to help refugees in Orange County. The refugees weren't all Cambodian and weren't all Catholic, yet Nelson didn't have a cow about that issue. Wonder why?
Anyhoo, Nelson continued being a pendejo. "I think it's ridiculous that we've got an agency that's going to name itself the Latino Health Access, yet they are going to provide countywide benefits to members of every community...I think it's extraordinary that we would even allow that to happen. By its very name, it's suggestive that people aren't even eligible.
"Unless this agency wants to rename itself," Nelson continued, "I have absolutely no interest in supporting this sort of approach to countywide delivery of anything. This suggests that we believe in and encourage segmenting out our market...I will not support this agency on that alone."
This, of course, isn't the first time Nelson has had a problem with an Orange County Latino landmark. Back when he was councilmember in Fullerton, Nelson proposed whitewashing historic Chicano murals, a move that was met with immediate ridicule.
|Nguyen: Should know better, never does|
The board then was ready to decide, by a 4-1 vote, to approve the contract with LHA only if they changed the name of their Promotora Program to the English "community health worker." Then Patricia Bates--who had stayed quiet during the entire preceding conversation--jumped in. She asked if they could continue the motion for a week because she didn't think her constituents in the "canyons" would take kindly to something called the "Latino Access Group" servicing them. She wasn't opposed to the contract, per se, just the use of Spanish--this, coming from a woman who represents an area whose street names and cities are nearly all en español.
The vote was moved to the next board meeting. Then, irony of ironies, the following agenda item dealt with a contract with a group that had "Vietnamese" in it that also proposed to do services for all groups, not just Vietnamese. Instead of railing on and on about how discriminatory and bad giving a countywide contract to a group with an ethnic group in its name, the board stayed quiet. Double standards against Mexis? You know it! Ah, Orange County...