End up week update: Villaraigosa for Senate?, Joe Baca and Tiger Woods, + More!

December 10th, 2009 · 19 Comments

It has been a busy week, but here are some items that I have been following in the past few days.

This piece from the Huffington Post caught my attention about Villar (as many like to call him) or Mayor V. It speculates that Villar may be holding out to run for the Senate in 2012 to take the seat occupied by Senator Diane Feinstein, who will be nearly 80 years old:

“The key to the mayor’s political future, as is often the case in politics, is being held not by Villaraigosa, but by someone else.

That someone is Senator Dianne Feinstein.

There are those who still think she may just opt to run for governor after all and challenge the perceived, though not officially declared, front runner, Jerry Brown. If so, and if she wins, that would leave a Democratic seat open in the Senate.

But even if Feinstein elects not to seek election to state office, her current term in the Senate concludes in 2012. It is not indelicate to point out, as others already have, that she will be closing in on 80 by that time.

This could prove to be the perfect timing for Villaraigosa to make his move.”

In my view, Villaraigosa may be plotting to do this, but he is going to have to accomplish something noteworthy in Los Angeles to be taken seriously. As the LA Weekly has pointed out, he has been rather mediocre as mayor, and of course, he has proven to be more interested in globe trotting and photo ops than in hands on governing. And skimming through the comments in the Huffington Post piece reveals that many share similar views about Villaraigosa’s limitations, while a substantial portion aren’t entirely thrilled with Senator Feinstein either.

In other news, Congressman Joe Baca will no longer pursue legislation to bestow the Congressional Gold Medal award to golfer Tiger Woods in light of recent developments surrounding Woods’ familial issues. According to the LA Times, Joe Baca has been trying for several years to give Woods this highest civilian honor from Congress.

I should note that Joe Baca is a golf fan and has worked successfully to give the same award to golfer Arnold Palmer. Frankly, with the high foreclosure rate in Baca’s district, I think that he should cease with this honors for wealthy golfers and concentrate on more substantive problems, but like regular citizens, sometimes our politicos are starstruck. I’m glad that Baca has the decency to stop pursuing an award for Woods, and I hope that this dissuades him from trying to honor other celebs like this. Instead, Baca can look for the unsung heroes in his community and try to do something for them. I find Woods appalling to say the least, but count me as one who was never a fan.

Finally, Justice Sotomayor issued her first opinion from the high court and used to term “undocumented immigrant” instead of “illegal immigrant.” As Jennifer McFadyen states, “Although the opinion itself had little to do with immigration, Justice Sotomayor’s choice of terminology is being applauded by immigration advocates and supporters. It may seem like a small thing–using one word instead of another–but with comprehensive immigration reform on the horizon, the deliberate choice of one word over another in the nation’s highest court does not go unnoticed.” I would have to agree — undocumented is more accurate than illegal, even from a grammatical and stylistic point of view. I’m glad that Justice Sotomayor chose to use more humanizing language.

Tags: Antonio Villaraigosa · Congressman Joe Baca · Supreme Court

19 responses so far ↓

  • 1 AmericaNica // Dec 10, 2009 at 10:47 pm

    Very interesting!! 2010 promises to be an interesting year for CA politics. One person that I would love to see retire sooner than later is Congressman Baca, of course, without one of his family members replacing him.

  • 2 stephen // Dec 10, 2009 at 11:40 pm

    hmm.. I would like to use the most accurate term to describe people who are working here illegally. Why is undocumented more accurate?

  • 3 webmaster // Dec 11, 2009 at 12:00 am

    According to the National Association of Hispanic Journalists re: illegal immigrant, “the term criminalizes the person rather than the actual act of illegally entering, residing in the U.S. without documents.” Furthermore, some start to refer to these people as “illegals” which is using this adjective as a noun. Calling someone an “illegal” is not formal:

    Why do you want to dehumanize someone as “illegal” when they may not have always been in violation of the law? Go ahead and refer to these people as “illegals” in one of your journal articles or paper presentations, I am curious as to how the Latino poli sci establishment views that. I don’t think that I ever heard any of the political scientists who write about Latinos use the term “illegals” or “illegal aliens” in their writing lately, but maybe I wasn’t reading in close detail…

    Have you ever read Creel Froman’s theories on language and power?

  • 4 stephen // Dec 11, 2009 at 12:17 am

    I think calling someone “an illegal” is most definitely a pejorative term. I don’t use that term and I don’t know anyone in Latino poli sci who does. Most use undocumented. Though calling someone an illegal is different than saying someone is an illegal immigrant, an immigrant who is working here illegally. I’m just not entirely comfortable with both terms as far as accuracy is concerned.

    I wouldn’t call someone who is speeding an illegal driver. I think that is equivalent to the use of the term illegal immigrant. But I think it may be more accurate than undocumented immigrant.

    “the term criminalizes the person rather than the actual act of illegally entering, residing in the U.S. without documents.”

    But many do have documents, just false ones.

    I have not read Froman,.

  • 5 stephen // Dec 11, 2009 at 12:28 am

    btw, which paper is “illegals” used? I go back and forth between illegal immigration and undocumented. I lean towards illegal immigration.

  • 6 stephen // Dec 11, 2009 at 12:31 am

    I just reread your post. Ignore what I just wrote. I thought you were saying that I did write illegals in a an article or presentation.

  • 7 webmaster // Dec 11, 2009 at 12:38 am

    “btw, which paper is “illegals” used?”

    I haven’t seen a paper that used the term “illegals,” but I haven’t been ready scholarly works in reference to this population lately.

    Personally, I’m not as offended by someone using the term “illegal immigrant” as some others are. I tend to use undocumented more often. I’m more offended by the demonization and outright hatred directed toward this population, and if a choice of words makes a difference in the humanizing factor, then I am going to try to use undocumented.

    True that documents can be fake or invalid, which would still render the person undocumented officially, right?

    Here is an interesting take on it:

  • 8 stephen // Dec 11, 2009 at 12:52 am

    I guess an immigrant with false documents makes him/her a falsely documented immigrant worker, not undocumented immigrant.

    “I’m more offended by the demonization and outright hatred directed toward this population, and if a choice of words makes a difference in the humanizing factor, then I am going to try to use undocumented.”

    I am with you here. Just wondering about the original poster’s claim about accuracy. It depends on context, but I tend to use illegal immigrant. I guess I do this because I get a sense that if I use undocumented, the room shuts the rest of what I am saying out (especially if I am talking to a room full of republicans) and I want them to hear what I have to say. And as you say, I am not entirely offended by the term anyways.

  • 9 stephen // Dec 11, 2009 at 1:14 am

    this is an interesting discussion.. I got this from the above link

  • 10 Cockroach People // Dec 11, 2009 at 6:46 am

    Et tu, LP? I have been trying to avoid news about Tiger Woods ;)

  • 11 BettyM // Dec 11, 2009 at 10:03 am

    Good end of the week comments (I like your comment about Baca concentrating on issues of importance.

  • 12 Xavier Cardenas // Dec 11, 2009 at 10:49 am

    Mayor V for Senator? Are you people crazy? Why Because his last name sounds like ours? Are latinos willing to commit suicide to make a statement that only ineffective, selfish do-nothings can represent us because they are brown. How are our lives better because of the Nunez/Villar/Baca and Romero’s of this state? I fear that all we want as latino’s is people who look like us rather than results.

    Illegal vs. undocumented
    Shell shock vs. PTSD
    Indian style vs. criss-cross

    What is the difference? NOTHING! PC feel good talk that doesn’t change the meaning it just makes you feel good. I am so disgusted with what we put up with and are comforted by.

  • 13 Cockroach People // Dec 11, 2009 at 2:32 pm

    Wetback v. Mexican.
    N-Word v. African-American
    Broad v. Woman

    Yeah, what’s the difference?

  • 14 stephen // Dec 11, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    “words mean things” happens to be one of Rush Limbaugh’s favorite sayings. Though I guess they don’t mean anything when offending minorities.

  • 15 Ana // Dec 11, 2009 at 7:41 pm

    Re: ‘Mayor V for Senator? Are you people crazy? Why Because his last name sounds like ours? Are latinos willing to commit suicide to make a statement…”

    Oh brother. He’s an INDIVIDUAL and like other INDIVIDUALS he has the right to run for whatever he wants. It has nothing to do with all Latinos.

  • 16 WhatThe.. // Dec 11, 2009 at 7:44 pm

    You have to remember, what would the Villar’s and Baca’s of the world do without politics. There narcism will not allow them to be succesful in the private sector. But getting back to the terms “illegal immigrant”, to move across a national border without proper documentation. As oppose to “legal immigrant”, to move across a national border with proper documentation. “Ilegal alien”, is any person who resides in country without proper documentation. Websters describes “alien” as a resident born in or belonging to another country who has not acquired citizenship by naturalization, therefore illegally (distinguished from citizen). If you are here in this country with false documentation or someone else’s documentation, thats criminal, called i.d. theft. This all sounds like we are trying to logically rationalize a way to create a derrogatory to straight forward terms. But we can soften it up a bit, by creating a new term such as “citizen challenged”. Which could represent all the above termonalogy. If your “citizen challenged”, you don’t have legal documentation; and without legal documentation your therefore illegally residing in that country. Hope this helps.

  • 17 Xavier Cardenas // Dec 11, 2009 at 10:22 pm

    Wetback v. Mexican.
    N-Word v. African-American
    Broad v. Woman

    Yeah, what’s the difference?

    You completely missed the point.

  • 18 Xavier Cardenas // Dec 11, 2009 at 11:20 pm

    I also find it interesting that you felt comfortable spelling out Wetback and Broad but not Nigger.

    What is wrong with W-word, B-word and N-word?

  • 19 Cockroach People // Dec 12, 2009 at 4:26 pm

    No Xavier, you missed the point. Glad you showed your true colors though; I’m sure you were dying to spell out the N-word.

    If you think all words are equal, then there’s no point it arguing semantics with you.

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