When I started this blog I said that from time to time I
would comment on current issues that affected the history of Duval County. One
such issue, the Pan De Campo
, is currently being heatedly debated on Facebook.
Via Facebook my dear friend and classmate José Lauriano Hinojosa
asked for my opinion on the subject–as a former mayor of San Diego, which
prompted Delia Ibáñez
to add her desire to hear from the man who made “Telling It Like It Is” a
popular column in the Duval County Picture
. To which Carmelinda García
added the Duval
would be all over this story.
My initial inclination was to stay out of the fray. As the
old saying goes, I don’t have a dog in this hunt or as our ancestors may have
said, “no tengo vela en
.” But, alas, I will venture a few comments in deference to
my friends’ request. But I will do it my way–which is to say not on Facebook,
which I do not believe is the best venue for serious public policy discussions.
Instead I will use this blog to share my views.
First, let me say I will not address any of the current
controversy. While many may have thought in the past that “Telling It Like It
Is” was a column of pure personal opinion, it was not. My opinions were not
based merely on what I thought; they were firmly based on what I thought of the facts
that I had uncovered first
. I have no first hand knowledge of what has been transpiring regarding the
Pan de Campo Fiesta
What I do know first-hand is that the Pan de Campo
founded and funded by Duval County specifically to benefit the community. It
was never a private enterprise; it was always a community event. When the San
Diego Chamber of Commerce took it over, it remained a community event as it did
when the Rotary Club took it over. Secondly, the Pan de Campo
is not only a
community asset, that community is San Diego. In other words it belongs to the
people of San Diego and no one else and it should be held in San Diego and
None of this is to criticize the current organizers, merely
to acknowledge the facts. Indeed, the current organizers should be applauded
for trying to keep the fiesta
alive. Whether these efforts were carried out
appropriately or not, I have no first hand knowledge.
I would also venture a suggestion to the mayor and city
council, moving forward. One idea that I did not have time to implement during
my two terms as mayor–because of the tremendous number of pressing problems we
were addressing at the time–was the of creation of a “Fiestas Patrias
oversee, implement and regulate citywide festivals, parades and celebratory
events. These would include the Pan De Campo
, Fourth of July activities, homecoming parades, etc.
The city should provide a modest budget for the commission’s
operations but most of their operating revenues should come from the events
themselves. The commission should be composed of a cross section of citizens
committed to the well being of the community. It would be a magnanimous gesture
to include the current Pan de Campo
promoter as a member of the commission.
should approach this issue and others like it as a community for the community
and not to bolster personal egos or to advance political agendas.
I can tell you from personal experience that those who serve in public office usually
do in a selfless manner. There is no financial gain to serve on the city
council. It involves long–and often thankless–hours. Let us remember that these
folks came forward and offered themselves to serve, they allowed the community
to pass judgment on whether they were worthy and the community said yes.
If these individuals have not lived up to their promise of
service, the opportunity to make a change is at the next election. Meanwhile I would suggest that those involved in this debate agree to disagree; that they disagree agreeably.
I pray that everyone agrees to move
forward as a community, as family.