Opinion: Newt Gingrich says, ‘'Hola, L.A.’’
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California Republicans and Latino voters have had a rough patch in their relationship for, oh, going on 20 years now –- ever since Proposition 187, the vast anti-illegal immigration ballot measure, parted the political waters and estranged many California Latinos from the Republican party for a generation.
This week, into this complicated history and this Latino-heavy part of California, came Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker and GOP presidential candidate, to raise money and raise some support for his campaign among Latinos.
There were a couple of points during Gingrich’s whirlwind visit that surprised me -- surprised that perhaps Gingrich, a former history professor and now a student of Spanish, hadn’t done all his homework.
The event at a South El Monte restaurant was billed as a ‘Hispanic Leadership Event.’ Maybe that’s the word they use in Eastern time zones -– Georgia, Gingrich’s home state, has a Hispanic Chamber of Commerce -– but in these parts, the term ‘Latino’ is far and away more common and even preferred.
And then, also at the South El Monte event, Gingrich reiterated his pledge to kill the Environmental Protection Agency, as a job-killer ‘with no sense of responsibility.’
South El Monte is at the heart of a major Superfund cleanup site, a place where the groundwater was contaminated over decades with industrial solvents. As recently as last year, several companies that owned or ran operations there have agreed to pay a total of $13 million toward the federal cleanup, with several more such claims pending.
-- Patt Morrison