Category: Los Angeles

Immigrants in Los Angeles
Immigration NewsLos Angeles

The Fall of Rosario Marín, California’s Favorite Mexican Republican: News Analysis from FI2W

By Pilar Marrero, La Opinión and FI2W reporter

Rosario Marín - Photo: Los Angeles Times

Rosario Marín. (Photo: Los Angeles Times)

For years, California politician Rosario Marín, a model Latina conservative, was a rising star in the Republican Party.

Last week, though, after she resigned her state cabinet position due to an investigation into her outside income, Marín saw the state’s Republican-led administration quickly distance itself from her.

As California’s Fair Political Practices Commission investigates whether she improperly pocketed tens of thousands of dollars for giving speeches to companies who had business with her agency, Marín optimistically waits, saying she has done nothing wrong.

“I am at peace with myself, thank God,” she told me the day after her resignation. “I can sleep well every night.”

(more…)

Immigration NewsLatinoLos AngelesRadio

A Venezuelan Shakes Up The L.A. Arts Scene: Pilar Marrero on Public Radio’s Studio 360

This weekend, Kurt Andersen’s nationally-syndicated public radio show Studio 360 featured a piece by La Opinión and Feet In 2 Worlds reporter Pilar Marrero on Gustavo Dudamel, the 28-year-old Venezuelan conductor who will take over the Los Angeles Philharmonic this fall.

Marrero, who is also from Venezuela, went to see “the Dude” in action with some L.A. youngsters.

You can see more at Studio 360‘s website or you can listen to the piece here.

[audio:http://audio.wnyc.org/studio/studio022009d.mp3]
Immigration NewsLatinoLos Angeles

In California and Elsewhere, Latinos Disproportionately Affected By Recession

Social worker Lourdes Cienfuegos, at right, talks to an Imperial Valley resident - Photo: La Opinión

Social worker Lourdes Cienfuegos, at right, talks to an Imperial Valley resident. (Photo: La Opinión)

Sara Espinosa chose to sleep on the street rather than leave her 12-year-old son to spend the night alone at a men-only homeless shelter. As a consequence, Sara, her son and her two daughters have been sleeping in her car.

Espinosa is one of hundreds of people in conditions of extreme poverty in Imperial Valley, one of the poorest counties in California and the nation, La Opinión reporter Claudia Nuñez wrote Wednesday.

Here, the unemployment rate has already passed 24 percent, almost four times the national average, and one out of every 18 families has lost their home.

While Imperial Valley is an extreme case, a report released last week by the Pew Hispanic Center shows the economic recession “is having an especially severe impact on employment prospects for immigrant Hispanics,” according to Rakesh Kochhar, the center’s associate director for research.

The unemployment rate for foreign-born Hispanics increased from 5.1 percent to 8 percent, or by 2.9 percentage points, from the fourth quarter of 2007 to the fourth quarter of 2008. During this same time period, the unemployment rate for all persons in the labor market increased from 4.6 percent to 6.6 percent, or by 2 percentage points.

(more…)

Immigration NewsLatinoLos AngelesNew York

From Coast To Coast, Latino Small Business Owners At Risk

By Diego Graglia, FI2W web editor

In New York and Los Angeles, the effects of the economic slowdown are hitting hard in one important sector of immigrant communities: small business owners.

Daily News.

Ramon Murphy in his Red Apple Grocery in Manhattan. (Photo: Daily News)

A fixture of many New York neighborhoods, the bodega, is fast disappearing from many corners. The president of the Bodega Association of the United States claims that “every day, two or three bodegas close in New York.” High rents and leases that force them into rent hikes are their main enemy.

In L.A., vendors at the Grand Central Market — many of them Latino — are facing a similar situation. Business is down, way down, and they can’t meet rent payments.

A vendor at the Grand Central Market in Los Angeles.

A vendor at the Grand Central Market in Los Angeles. (Photo: La Opinión)

A survey done by the USA Latin Chambers of Commerce said rent hikes and increasing operational costs threatens to put 61% of New York City bodegas out of business, according to a recent article in El Diario/La Prensa.

One example is Luis Sánchez, a bodeguero on Amsterdam Avenue in Manhattan who says his rent goes up 7% every year. He started paying $2,940 a month three years ago and now his rent is at $3,400 — he’s even had to fire his own brother recently. (more…)

Immigration NewsLos Angeles

In Hilda Solís’ L.A. District, A Congressional Race Is Already Heating Up

By Pilar Marrero, La Opinión reporter and FI2W contributor

The delay in Congresswoman Hilda Solís’ confirmation as secretary of labor hasn’t kept two ambitious politicians from racing hard to replace Solís as the U.S. representative from California’s 32nd District in Los Angeles.

Gil Cedillo.

Gil Cedillo.

There is no official election date yet –it has to be set by the governor after the seat is vacated–, but there has already been some drama and controversy behind the scenes between State Sen. Gil Cedillo and Board of Equalization Vice Chair Judy Chu.

First, the potential candidacy of another Latina, State Sen. Gloria Romero, spurred talk of a division in the vote that would cause the loss of a seat that a Latino has held for about 25 years.

But Romero decided instead to focus her ambitions on an obscure race for School Superintendent of California that she had planned beforehand.

Some suggested there had been pressure to get Romero not to run for this seat, and that Hilda Solís herself was behind the effort to get her long-time political ally Judy Chu to succeed her. Solís has not officially endorsed anyone, but it’s widely known that Chu and her have been tight and have supported each other’s campaigns for many years.

(more…)

Immigration NewsLos AngelesNew York

More Endorsements for Obama: Spanish-Language Newspapers Announce Support in New York and L.A.

Maybe not unprecedented like the Chicago Tribune‘s nor unexpected like Colin Powell‘s, but there were two other important endorsements for Barack Obama in the last few days.

Los Angeles’ La Opinión and New York’s El Diario/La Prensa, two of the nation’s oldest Spanish-language dailies, made public their endorsements of the Democratic candidate on Friday.

El Diario/La Prensa endorses Obama.

Both newspapers are owned by ImpreMedia which bills itself as, “The No. 1 Hispanic News and Information Company in the U.S. in Online and Print.” [In the interest of full disclosure, Feet in Two Worlds has worked with editors and reporters at both papers.] The two dailies carry considerable weight in the Hispanic communities in Los Angeles and New York, and beyond.

El Diario ran its endorsement on the cover, under the headline: “Necessary Change. A vote for Obama.” [The full text is available in Spanish and English.]

“Our country is perched on the edge of a cliff,” the newspaper said. “We are staring down a growing economic crisis.”

It added the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have “no end in sight,” and in the U.S., families have suffered from “stagnant wages, and the rising costs of everything from gasoline to food to health care.

(more…)

CommentaryImmigration NewsLatinoLos Angeles

The Inside Scoop on La Raza and Latino Outreach by the Presidential Candidates

Despite appearances and poll numbers, neither presidential candidate has a lock on the Latino vote. The National Council of La Raza convention in San Diego, which just ended yesterday (7/15/08), showed that both candidates have to overcome a strong measure of doubt among Latinos – Obama because of his race and the bitter primary battle, and McCain because of his backtracking on immigration reform.

Obama appeared first, on Sunday, and McCain the next day. They were both well received but not with the same fervor: Obama got a bigger crowd, strongest applause, and two times more press.

By the time McCain came around on Monday, the press corps was diminished greatly, many activists didn’t show up for lunch –the overflow room that was full on Sunday was virtually empty on Monday- and the excitement level had noticeably dropped.

It’s completely anecdotal evidence, of course, but it shows that the Latino groups and activist crowd that usually attend the NCLR conferences support what the polls are saying. The latest Gallup Poll of Latinos shows a 30 point difference in support between Obama and McCain. Obama is getting close to 60 percent and McCain has about 29 percent. (more…)