Re "After Lopez Recall, Challenges Await," Feb. 16:
The media exposed many ugly truths about what's really going on in Santa Ana. Yes, there is NIMBYism in the north end of the city. Many residents did not want a new school built in that area because students from other neighborhoods would be attending the school.
Audrey Y. Noji forgets to mention that the board dropped the ball on the Measure C issue: The board did not follow up with the contractors to see if the school project deadlines were being met. The lack of business sense by the board has seen the district's new school projects costs skyrocket to more than $269 million, money the district does not have. The board members and Supt. Al Mijares did nothing.
The school board should have been kept up to date so that the school building projects were completed on time and as budgeted. Maybe it's time for a community oversight committee to be formed in part by concerned citizens so that these mistakes never repeat themselves.
Noji goes on about how the city and school board should work collaboratively. How can they when you have such lack of harmony between City Hall and the school board?
The teachers are in the classrooms doing all they can to enhance the learning of the district's 61,000 students. Meeting on Saturdays and after school as Noji suggests is not the solution. This requires funds for the teachers that the district does not have since a $17-million budget cut. "Parents need to be fully involved," Noji states. Tell that to the parents of families who have both parents working.
Al De Rosas
Re "Latinos Lost Big in Santa Ana," Feb. 23:
As active participants in the recall of Lopez, it is frustrating to read articles like the one by Victor Rodriguez. He expressed the opinion that this recall was hijacked by the Republican Party and Latinos would now suffer a setback where they had enjoyed great strides. It is obvious which ousted board member Rodriguez is getting his propaganda from. Once again, Rodriguez has proved that the race card is Lopez's weapon of choice, to deflect honest criticism or discussion.
Residents from the entire political, ethnic and economic spectrum accomplished this recall to regain control of a school board that was fraught with corruption, ethics violations and mismanagement. This school board still has a Latino majority. Because of the successful recall, they can now return to their most important task -- educating the children of Santa Ana, regardless of the color of the board or the color of the children they represent.
I have been a Santa Ana resident for 26 years and I can tell you that this city does not exclude political voices, we just do not encourage invasion and takeover. Lopez has had every opportunity to clear his actions and his name but evidently didn't find it necessary. Thus his recall.
Rodriguez refers to the "political elite" who rule. Why are those who work hard and get elected considered elite or rulers? Sounds like he is confusing his countries. We vote for those who will work for us, not rule us. This is how progress for our cities, states and the country is accomplished. It's not a setback, it's called a democracy.
Why blame the schools for dropouts? When does individual responsibility for learning become important? Will Latino parents participate in their child's education only if it is bilingual? Or if they have a Latino teacher? I think not. For those who are really interested in education and upward mobility, they will eagerly learn to speak English and speak it well.
Rodriguez talks about upward mobility for Latinos. Why not think about upward mobility for all students?
If Howard Kieffer's letter ("Lopez Recall: Some Cheer, Some Question") and Victor Rodriguez's column ("Latinos Lost Big in Santa Ana") were intended to exonerate Lopez from blame in the education scandals, I suggest that they read the multitude of factual investigative reports and columns published over the last several years by The Times and the Orange County Register, which detail outrageous mismanagement by Lopez and Hermandad Mexicana Nacional of Santa Ana. They should also take a look at the federal court investigations and recent penalty decisions regarding Lopez and Hermandad involving misuse of federal funding for the adult education program to teach English and citizenship classes.
It was not just the Republican Party and Ron Unz who, in the Lopez recall, "beat back the Latino surge by using power and wealth." It was also the common sense of the moms of the Latino community who were sick and tired of the divisive activism of Lopez and his sordid reputation.
Rodriguez's analysis of the Lopez recall is interesting, but the real problem with the recall election was not merely that it had been hijacked by the Republican Party. The problem was Lopez himself: He failed to persuade moderates and even liberals that they should support him. As a registered Democrat and Santa Ana resident, I was not convinced that Lopez put the children of Santa Ana schools above his political agenda. In fact, my sense of Lopez's tenure is that politics (and campaign financing) came first. And let's not forget that race-baiting occurred on both sides. Lopez called his opponents racists if they were white and sell-outs if they were Latino, as if reasonable, intelligent people cannot disagree.