Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Can't even walk down the street safely anymore

I've read the stories about hate crimes committed against undocumented residents. The anger is sometimes so overwhelming that I can taste it in my mouth. The vile, rancid taste of hate because you know the people attacked didn't deserve to be victims of ignorance. Those feelings are magnified when you see it happen right on front of your eyes. When you see the act itself being committed and not doing anything about it. The other day I was at a lunch truck eating with my friends around 1:30 a.m. 

As we sat and huddled for warmth after eating, I noticed from the corner of my eye commotion in the street. I see a car with two people in the front and and two other men getting out to assault a man who was just at the wrong place at the wrong time. The men immediately begin to man handle him after taking him by surprise. As one holds his hands behind his back, the other searches him for valuable possessions to steal. My friends begin to notice what's going on and I tell them, "the guy is getting robbed." "We should go help him," said one friend. "Yeah we gotta do something," said my other friend. 

Both of them are women and they wanted to go help while me and my other friend just sat there and kept an eye out to make sure things didn't take a turn for the worse. Before we could decide what to do the guys go back in the car and drive away. Immediately the girls go and ask the man if he was OK ? We follow and begin to talk to the man and ask him what they stole from him, his wallet with his I.D. from work and the Mexican Consulate. One of my other friends flags down a sheriffs officer and the officer tries to give chase to the car, but with no luck. 

He comes back and begins to take a report of what happened, asking us to describe what we saw, the make of the vehicle, what the attackers looked liked etc. The men were Mexican, just like the person they robbed. Part of me hates that very concept. It's hard enough in the world as it is and the people who are suppose to be looking out for us are the ones stabbing us in the back. The lack community unity hurts everyone because divided we fall, but united we stand. I myself grew up with that kind of ignorance around my community for far too long and while I decided to devote my life to stop crimes like the one I saw, at times it feels like I'm chipping away at a glacier with an ice pick. 

Having been a victim of robbery, I knew that I couldn't involve myself in what was going. What if they had guns ? knifes ? what if they decided to go after my friends ? The safety of my friends and the victim are too high for something as petty as money or a wallet. I would much rather give them what they want than to risk becoming another two minute news story on the evening news. 

"A young man was killed late in the evening last night as he tried to fight off his attacker. El Random Hero was 2? years old and was attending ???? college as a journalism major. Police say that during their struggle, the attacker, who was identified as ????, was carrying a hand gun and shot Hero in the chest repeatedly leaving him for dead. No word yet on the location of his attacker."

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Identity Crisis

Pretty much up until a few years ago, after I became self conscious and aware, I was ashamed of being who I am and accepting it. Since I was a kid, my parents reinforced this notion in me and my sisters that we were inferior compared to everyone else because we didn't have "papers." I grew up being ashamed of being Mexican because my parents were ashamed of it themselves. They never took any pride in their culture, heritage or traditions because that wasn't instilled in them when they were young, so naturally they passed it on to me and my sisters.

One positive aspect I can reflect on is that while my parents didn't instill confidence and appreciation for our culture, they didn't forsake it all together either. These notions of inferiority were also reinforced in school because I was never friends with other kids like me who didn't have papers, I had regular friends who did normal "American" things.
I literally learned english as a child by watching t.v. sitcoms and from interaction from neighbors and friends at school. My sense of humor, knowledge of history and pop-culture all came from a variety of shows but the most influential shows that to this day have impacted my life are The Simpsons. Among other cartoons, The Simpsons molded my subconscious with trivial and at times useless information about pop-culture. I look back and watch the same episodes I watched religiously back then and marvel at the smartness of the jokes and the hidden-historical references made in each episode. It's no wonder I have a fascination for Jimmy Hoffa.

Obviously that pushed me in the direction of forgetting about who I am and where I come from and adopting a more American outlook and attitude toward life. I never talked about being undocumented to anyone and always avoid anything relating to it because I knew that was topic that must never be mentioned. I assimilated and by the time I was in the fourth grade I was able to read and write english without any difficulties. In fact, I was never placed in any ESL classes, that I know of, and I even envied the other kids in the ESL classes because they looked like they were having more fun than I was reading and analyzing short stories. The shame continued on into junior high and into high school because I knew that if anyone knew I didn't have "papers," I would be ridiculed and punked by everyone else. I basically didn't want to lose any face with my friends. 

Over the years, the shame just kept developing and growing until I didn't even know who I was anymore or where I belong. This identity crisis lead to me having to face past demons and coming to terms with who I am, where I'm from and who I represent. I still see kids going through the same thing because I see it in them. The inner conflict they struggle with while still trying to please everyone else. It's easy to toss blame at other's but it's never justified. It's just an excuse to deal with the one's own personal demons and to try to make sense of everything. The idea of having to integrate two diverse cultures can lead to many paths and some stray to far and lose themselves. 

Then there are other's who embrace it and some who are able to find the middle. I would like to think that I've found the middle in that I'm proud of who I am and where I came from, but I'm also proud of my new adoptive home. Now when I stop and think about not having papers, I don't see it as nothing more as a legal technicality that prohibits me from fully living my life.  A technicality that will change in the immediate future. 

Monday, December 08, 2008

Darrell "Dimebag" Lance Abbott

Playing the greatest show in heaven with Randy Rhodes, Jimmy Hendrix and everyone else who was taken too early.....Metal Up Your Ass !!!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Clown for a day

"A man goes to the doctor. Says he's depressed. Says life seems harsh and cruel. Says he feels all alone in a threatening world where what lies ahead is vague and uncertain. Doctor says treatment is simple. Great clown Pagliacci is in town tonight. Go and see him. That should pick you up. Man burst into tears and says , But Doctor...I am Pagliacci."

Full Circle and a rant

Warning: the following is a rant about ideas and realizations I have made over the past year. It will get boring and sappy so be forewarned. 

I have been officially published in a magazine. I was paid for my services as a writer and I couldn't be anymore proud of myself for accomplishing that. It's my first step into the competitive world of journalism. 
But there are a few things on my mind. For one, I don't have my family or anyone else really for that matter to share my accomplishment with. 

I told my friends about it, but they're not as enthusiastic about it as I am or as I hoped for them to be. I realize that I have alienated myself from people at school because of my personality and to a certain extent my behavior. Even though I should be on cloud nine because not only did I land my first paying job, but I'm also contributing to another local publication, the school news paper and three blogs (including my own) all while still trying to keep up with my math and psychology class. 

I'm always behind on something and I'm always busy doing something, yet, I still feel like crap. I'm grateful for the opportunities coming my way and for the friends who have helped me get to this point, but deep down I just feel alone and left out. I don't have anyone to talk to or share my thoughts with because I'm just too abstract and unorthodox with my ideas.  

My behavior maybe to some extent me wanting attention, but obviously it's the wrong kind of attention because others don't take me seriously or respect me anymore. I could careless what someone thinks about me, but those who have those opinions of me are the ones passing me up and leaving me behind because they know how to follow orders and obey the teacher without question. 

Anyway, the thing that bugs me is again this solitude that I either impose on myself or it just happens that way. I don't feel comfortable at my friends house because I have no personal space of my own. For the last year I've been sleeping on the floor, which I don't mind. Its just that when I get to the house from school or work I can't do anything. I can't even sit on the couch because my friend has his stuff on it or watch tv because he's playing video games on it. I know this is all his stuff, but after a year of that on a daily basis, I've had enough. 

I would rather get back to the house late or g walk my dog because I don't want to deal with their trifle idiotic antics. I just want a space of my own to be able to do what I want when I want. Hell, one of the biggest reasons I'm part of the school news paper is because I get to have a computer all to myself with a cubicle. That space becomes my life because I'm just wondering around everywhere. 

I can handle and deal with this instability, but sometimes it's just too much and like all my other problems, I just don't want to deal with them like I should. Of course I could just quit school and work full time, but that's not the answer to anything. I just wish that it wasn't so hard for me to make ends meat and to survive, but then again, I have a much better quality of life than other people in other places. 

But this is where it gets interesting. You see back in March 24, 07, I set out on the current path I'm in right now. In that month I made my choice to leave the nest egg and to try to make it own my own here in L.A. after my parents moved to another state. I can back to make something of myself, to continue my schooling and to take care of my Harley. 

However, I'll never forget what happened on that faithful day. On that day, I did work son. I got word that Cheech Marin was going to have his chicano art collection on display at the Pico House in Olvera St. I also found out about another show happening the same night titled "because i can't be beethoven." The show was a performance art piece in which a frozen piano was going to be destroyed and demolished in one evening. 

Well here's the funny part that trips me out, at the cheech show, two things ended up happening. I was exposed to one of the greatest art movements I have ever seen. What I saw in those paintings, I lived through and it hit home. I was star struck by the imagery. While at the exhibit, a woman came up to me and inquired about my skateboard. She gave me her card and told me she was with the firm that represented Cheech and his collection. I told her I was a journalism student and she even offered to try to get me an interview with Cheech, sadly I never did anything about and forgot about it. 

After the Cheech show, I made my way to the piano smashing and had a blast just kicking back watching one man take out his frustrations out on a piano with a blow torch. It was a nigh I would never forget not just because of what I experienced, but because it set me up for the future. That initial show and one other show featuring Mike the Poet pt me on the track that I'm in now. I began to attend art gallery openings on a weekly basis, learning new things and expanding my world. 

I've never stopped going to galleries and now I even write about them, the art and the people behind them. But here's the clincher. Going in a full circle, my first published story was made in part with the help of a friend mentioning my name to the magazine publisher. We talked and I agreed to write for his magazine. Turns out that the lady I met at the Cheech show in 07 was the one I had to contact in order to get the contact info for the person I needed to interview.

 Crazy shit huh ? I still can't believe how that happened, why it happened or why me. I'm just thankful that God gave me that opportunity not once, but twice. I still can't believe that I set up my life to be what it is now by just doing what I do best, meeting new people, enjoying some great art and skating around L.A. It's a small world after all. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Remember George ? I met up with him again when I had to go to court and testify against the mocoso who tried to rob me. He spent his 18 birthday in jail. The case is done. It was kinda sad because the District Attorney defending him didn't put up any kind of argument. I described what happened and that was it. To think that this kid getting put away was just another case on another regular day. While we were waiting, George and I discussed everything from how we ended up there to our personal lives. That's when he described my life style as "Bohemian."
I looked it up and this is what I found. It's weird how it REALLY does describe me....

Bohemian is defined in The American College Dictionary as "a person with artistic or intellectual tendencies, who lives and acts with no regard for conventional rules of behavior."
"The term 'Bohemian' has come to be very commonly accepted in our day as the description of a certain kind of literary gypsy, no matter in what language he/she speaks, or what city he/she inhabits .... A Bohemian is simply an artist or littérateur who, consciously or unconsciously, secedes from conventionality in life and in art." (Westminster Review, 1862)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


President elect Barrack Obama has been asking citizens for suggestions..."Start right now. Share your vision for what America can be, where President-Elect Obama should lead this country. Where should we start together?" I myself took the time to write about the importance of Obama signing the Federal Dream Act. I encourage anyone reading my blog to please go to his site and do the same. This maybe one of the biggest and most impactful things that the next President can do.  

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Finding myself in comics

There's this depression I go through every so often when things just keep getting bad no matter how optimistic I maybe. It's really a landslide affect that just gets bigger and more power as it keeps going. Like always, it starts out with one thing and then after a while you become engulfed in a horrible mess. For me it really started when the "Governator" didn't feel like signing SB 1301, institutional financial aide. From there things just started getting worse at every turn. I won't bore you with personal details, but sucks sometimes. Every time a bill goes down in flames I question my efforts. Why should I continue doing what if it's all going to be for nothing right ? WRONG. As much as I want to give up sometimes, I know I can't. I have come to realize, which follows the depression period, that there is a possibility that all of the work me and other people do might not benefit us, but the next generation after us. That possibility doesn't seem so farfetched when I'm thinking about how the world is right now. I also have the habit of enthralling myself in deep and philosophical thoughts making for some interesting conversations and ideas in my head. This is where comic books come in to the fray.
Comic books are an instrumental part of my life, americanization and in some cases the teachers and guides I never had in real life. I love everything about comic books. It's characters, the mythology, the science behind it, the art work, writing EVERYTHING. Comic books will never be fully appreciate for their true value and in someways I'm glad that will never happen because they'll remain a hidden secrete to those who do love reading them and collecting them. Besides, comics are a reflection of the kind of society we live,, kinda in the sense of life imitating art or art imitating life, I'll let you decide. Without going to deeply, wrap your noggin around these ideas and realizations I have made: Superman is an "illegal alien" who was sent to earth because his home planet died. He grew up on a farm and became the embodiment of what the United States stands for, truth justice and the American way, kinda like Captain America but that's a whole different story.  When Stan Lee created the X-Men, he surveyed current events and based the X-Men on the civil rights movements
The X-Men are hated, feared and despised collectively by humanity for no other reason than that they are mutants. So what we have here, intended or not, is a book that is about racism, bigotry and prejudice. ~ Uncanny X-Men writer Chris Claremont, 1981
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure the link between the X-Men and the immigration debate/war currently going on in the U.S. I feel like my life should be a comic book sometimes because of all the drama and shit I go through. Of course anyones life could make a great comic, it's just that not everyone is able to articulate themselves in that fashion or be open about their lives. I relate a lot with these characters and stories on deep personal levels because that's just good damn writing, but out of all of them, Peter Parker A.K.A Spider Man is the one I relate to the most. 
When I stop and compare the duality of our lives and what we go through, Parker and I have a lot of things in common. 
Going to college while juggling a job and saving the world, except for instead of saving the world I devote that part of my life to writing for blogs, my school paper and anyone else that ask me to write for them. The stuff that I relate with him the most is the personal stuff, how he thinks, his sense of humor and his attitude about life. I make bad jokes all the time, I worry about my friends and family, I struggle with the morality of doing the things I do and a bunch of other things that again, I won't go into too much detail. When I need inspiration, I look to comics and God for inspiration. I never really had a mentor or someone to talk to, but like Parker I was lucky to have people in my life influence me. Like him, I denied my responsibilities and indulged in selfish acts, but sooner or later things went back to the way they were. 

Another way I find inspiration and hope is through my fellow Dreamers who know what it's like. Dream Act Texas posted this and I just happen to read it on one of the "bad days." 

1. Be responsible (To yourself, to your family, to your community, to our world)

2. Be respected, be respectful (Respect yourself, Demand that others respect you. Respect others.)

3. Be honest (Leaders don't make excuses, they make improvements)

4. Be loyal (Stand alongside those who have the least)
To discipline your Revolutionary State of Mind:

5. Work (Everyday, everywhere)

6. Study (To study is a revolutionary duty)

7. Character over reputation (Character is who you are when no one else is looking. Reputation is who other people say you are)

8. Believe (Doubters never win, revolutionaries never doubt)
To build a successful revolution:

9. Be self-critical (No revolution is complete without a culture of self-improvement. There is no culture of self-improvement without a culture of self-reflection)

10. Acknowledge the knowledge (Teach and be teachable)

11. Build with allies, Influence the enemy (Execute the 5 phases: identify, analyze, plan, implement, evaluate)

12. Be relentless (Never, ever give up)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Work, work, work...

Been really busy with school. So I figured I'd post something that always cheers me up. Hope it cheers you up too....

Thursday, October 23, 2008

I <3 Harley Quinn

November 26 2006, From my myspace blog ~ Harleys Birthday ~

Yeah Harley Quinn is 2 years old, 24 in dog years. I don't know how I could have gotton through these past to years with out her. She waited for me in the cold and in the rain to come home from school at nigh. She always makes me laugh no matter what. She's always fun to be around with because she's that kinda dog. I have lost 20 lbs just walking and running with her around evergreen cemetery everyday.

She knows what time we walk without looking at a clock. She makes my face and arms ichy everytime I hug her in the morning and before I go in for the night. She was a given to me by a friend who wanted to keep her. Her brothers Brooklin Jr. and Chester passed away. Now it's just her and her sister shadow. People are intimidated by her muttering "look at that big ass dog" and then they move out of her way because they fear her. I look to them and ignore them because I know she hasn't an evil intention in her being. Two years is the longest I can remember having a dog and I plan to be with her until one of us passes away. I can't imaine my life without her for she is at my side always. She may be a dog but to me, she's my best friend. 

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

'Fast for our future'

On October 15th, over 100 people will begin one of the largest hunger strikes in American history to call on Latinos, immigrants, and people of conscience–the Immigrant Rights Movement–to rise out of our fear and vote for change. “The Fast for our Future” will be based in a permanent encampment at La Placita Olvera, the historic heart of Los Angeles, and will continue until at least 1 million people have signed this Pledge. Through our shared sacrifice and commitment we will renew our movement and inspire an historic mobilization of Latino, immigrant, and pro-immigrant rights voters. We must remember the I.C.E. raids, those detained and deported, the families torn apart, the dreams deferred. We must remember the marches, the walkouts, the boycotts, and the promise we made: “Hoy Marchamos, Manana Votamos.” Yesterday we marched for our rights, today we vote.

I am signing the petition because I'm going to support those who sign it and those who are going to fast. I'm also going to try to make a commitment to fast for one, but given my lifestyle and my responsibilities, I don't think I can make a full commitment. I urge anyone reading this post to sign the petition if you support it and to fast if you can, even if it's just for a few hours like me. The immigration problems the U.S. is facing cannot be overshadowed or forgotten, specially with the elections coming up. I can't vote, so I'm urging everyone I know to go and vote. Vote for what you believe in because there are some of us who don't even have that privilege. For further breakdown of the event and details go here....

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

When the Hero needs saving

A stupid phone. That's all it takes sometimes for people to resort to violence. I have written before about my encounters with gang bangers and me either looking like one or looking like the type of person that can be easily robbed by one. Friday night I was on my way from Universal Studios with a friend from work. While waiting for the subway, sitting on a bench, a young man tries to snatch my Iphone. I take it back and confront the mocoso because I'm not going to take that kind of crap anymore. As I stare into his blood shot eyes I noticed the brass knuckles in his right hand. Knowing that the he wants to takes this up a notch I reconsider whether throwing fisty cuffs with this kid is worth it. When I refuse again out comes the butterfly knife. Talking in these kind of these situations will only get you in trouble, but I'm not a regular person and I have come to terms with that. Thus despite my futile efforts, I give and hand him my phone. A phone is not worth my life, even if that phone is literally my life line to the world. As sad as it is to say that, all of the emails and phone numbers I would have lost would put a serious hurt on my ability to stay connected with important people and stay informed in what's happening in the world. All of this happened within the span of three minutes with everyone on the plat form watching the drama unfold as it happens. Everyone saw that if this kid is willing to pull out a knife for a phone, they know he's capable of hurting someone if they got in the way. He soon walk to the end of the plat form to wait for the train to come and I stand there breathing trying to chill and to hold myself back from doing something stupid and reckless. That's when the people near me tell me that I made the right decision in giving him the phone. The man behind me is named George. He had his family with him and his baby in his arms while he saw everything happen. He told me that he would have helped me out but didn't want to put his family at risk. I thanked him and agreed that it's not worth it over a stupid phone. Five minutes pass and the train comes to the stop. The people going in that direction, including the mocoso, board and wait for it to leave. Funny thing is it never left. While filling in my friend on what happened after her called the cops, George calls me into the train car and tells me that he used the emergency call button to tell the conductor what happened and to call the jura. He suggest that I get on the train and trail the mocoso so I know where he's at when the cops come. I agree with him and jump in. This is where everything turns around so pay attention. As me and my friend are standing there joking about how the mocoso didn't take a $1,000 SLR camera the other passengers get to talking. A young lady sitting by the door tells me that she knows how I feel and reassures me that I made the right decision. She regales me with a story of one of her friends going through the same ordeal as me. Only difference is that her friend tried fighting the guy and ended up in critical condition from the stab wounds he received. To my other side there were two other younger ladies wanting to go home from a long day. One of them didn't know that I was the person that was robbed, "why doesn't the train driver just go. The guy got robbed and he can't do nothing about it, so why don't we just go ?" she said. "It's because the guy pulled a knife on me and he threaten to stab me," I replied. She was ashamed of what she said and sat back down quietly. As all of this was happening other people just kept staring at me giving me their pity eyes and thanking God that it wasn't them. George and another man talked backed and forth about what was going on and they were ready to go bust some heads, but they knew better. That's why they kept the doors from closing. It was the longest five to 10 minutes ever because the tension was so high and everyone was tired and just wanted to go home. That's when the mocoso took off running up the stairs. He must have figured that the cops were on their way and decided to cut his loses. George and the other man followed suit and in those two seconds I told myself that I would not let anything happen to those two men for something as stupid as a phone. Up the stairs I ran taking two/three steps at a time. By the time I reach the top an MTA sheriff officer has the suspect on the floor pointing a gun at him. All the while another officer dressed in civilian clothing is telling us to turn around and go back. I tell him I'm the "victim" and he tells me to stay put. More officers come as time passes and by the time the suspect is shackled, about 15 officers in total show up. Some get involved and other's keep a look out in the entrance of the station. During the ordeal, the mocosos friends decide to check up on their friend to see what's going on and they get caught up in the mess. Two teens and a young girl are commanded by the officers to lie face down on the floor all the while questioning them and asking them what did they do ? They still argue and the officers start becoming more adamant about lying down on the floor. They're questioned and eventually release, but they got caught up in something they shouldn't have just by checking up on their friend. The suspect is in a cruiser and I'm waiting with my friend and George for an officer to take our statements. I tell the officer my part in the story breaking everything down for him and showing him my I.D. from the Mexican Consulate. George does the same, but is more worried about his wife chewing him out for doing what he did, helping me. He said that a week ago someone stole his laptop from his home. Sympathizing with what happened to me and knowing what it's like to feel violated and powerless made him do what he did. He said that after what happened to him he would never stand idly by and let it happen to anyone else. As he left I thanked him once again for his helped and wished him the best. I asked La Virgen to watch over him and his family for helping out a random stranger like that. George went left and the officer gave me a note with a case number. I asked what's to become of the mocoso, whose 17, and he told me. He's on parole, he got caught with brass knucks, a felony and used a deadly weapon in the robbery. His life is over even if though I didn't want to press charges. I figured he needed a second chance to turn everything around, but he got caught while on his second chance. It's over for him. I'm partly responsible for helping institutionalize another kid into our prison system. I feel bad. He's only 17 and his life is gone. He's going to spend the better part of his life in prison. One of the reasons I am trying to better myself in school is to give back to my community, my people. If this kid had someone to talk to, someone to give him the time of day, to show him that there is more than one path in life no matter how bad a hand you get dealt, then maybe he wouldn't resort to doing what he did. Then again who's to say he didn't deserve what's coming to him ? Whatever the reasoning, it wasn't worth a stupid phone. I have newly revived respect for officers. Despite my past feelings and personal opinions about officers, they came through this time y le doy gracias a dios por eso. Gracias a dios por quidandome.   

Thursday, October 02, 2008

The right kind of immigration raids

"We are trying to get the worst of the worst off the streets," said Steven Lovett, assistant special agent in charge for ICE in Los Angeles. ~ Los Angeles Times If saw the post of me giving me an I.C.E. bus the bird, your probably thinking I'm contradicting myself and I'm full of crap.You would be right but not today. When I.C.E. does its job right and actually deports the people that need to be deported, I have nothing but support for them. I'n this story from the L.A. Times, more than 1,700 known gang members and affiliates were arrested in a four month period. Talk about actually doing your job write.  
"We've inflicted significant damage on various violent street gangs in every part of the country, from Wichita to Sheboygan," said Julie L. Myers, assistant secretary of Homeland Security for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. "And that has made our communities immeasurably safer."

However, there can be no good without anything evil happening somewhere else, it's the law of equivalent exchange. Dream Act Texas posted that in Alabama, a court ruled against undocumented students having the ability to attend a university or college. The Associated Press reported,"The state board of education passed a new policy denying illegal immigrants admission to Alabama's two-year colleges on Thursday despite one board member's calls to delay it for more discussion and four of the nine members being absent. The policy, which takes effect next spring, was passed on a 4-0 vote, with Ethel Hall of Fairfield abstaining."
See when things like that happen, then I start flipping people and buses off. 

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

AB 540 disputed in court ruling

This is a story I wrote about the AB 540 court ruling that went down a few weeks ago. From my college news paper.  

California court decision could change AB 540

Students attending California State Universities and community colleges under Assembly Bill 540 are in danger of losing their eligibility to qualify to pay for in-state tuition. 

A California court of appeals ruled on September 15 that AB 540 conflicts with federal laws stating that eligibility for in-state tuition is based on residency.

Nicholas Espiritu, a staff attorney at the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund says that when AB 540 was first introduced in 1996, it met all of the federal requirements it needed and was specific in its writing so it wouldn’t be questioned in the future. 

Despite the court ruling, AB 540 is still in effect and students need not to panic or worry says Espiritu. 

Kris Kobach, an attorney for the plaintiffs and a law professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City was quoted in the San Francisco Chronicle saying, “It has a huge impact.

“This is going to bring a halt to the law that has been giving in-state tuition to illegal immigrants.”

The current case against the bill was first filed in 2005 and only after years of legal limbo has it finally come to a decision.     

The ruling made is also going to be appealed by the University of California Regents, which will continue prolonging the legal process which could take another three years or longer.  

The UC Regents will fight and defend AB 540 because they know how important this bill is to thousands of students attending universities and community colleges says Espiritu. 

There are nine other states in the United States that have similar laws that allow undocumented students the ability to qualify for in-state tuition; Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and Washington.

Students who attended and graduated from a California high school or continuation school and received a diploma, can qualify to pay in-state tuition rather than out- of-state fees. 

Residents pay $20 a unit, while out-of-state residents pay $173 a unit at East. 

The difference escalates dramatically at the University level.

At the University of California, Los Angeles –one of the most popular schools in California their in-state tuition fees are $7,034 while out-of-state tuition is $26,102. 

AB 540 was drafted to help out California residents who attended and graduated from a California high school, but moved and lived in another state for an extended period of time.

As a result of living out of state for more than one year, those students don’t qualify as in-state residents.

The National Immigration Law Center says that, “about 70 percent of AB 540 students attending the University of California are U.S. citizens who do not meet the state residency requirements for in-state tuition purposes,” in a press release following the court ruling. 

It also means that undocumented students who also meet the requirements could also attend universities and colleges, but without any financial assistance from the government or certain scholarships.   

All they have to do is sign an affidavit with the school they’re attending stating that they are in the process of becoming legal residents, or will apply as soon as they are able to.  

Aurea Gomez is a Chemical Engineering major at the University of Santa Barbara. 

Like other AB 540 students, she has to struggle to pay for her education and maintain a home, “I cannot consider buying books,” says Gomez. 

“I have to borrow from class mates, use the library and sometimes ask for help from every single professor. 

“I need to work every quarter, which is a burden on my studies, especially in a major where students only focus on classes and do little or no work. 

“There are tons of little things that have to do with everyday life that are put on hold, but I do it because I believe in my education. 

“I believe in the right to access it,” says Gomez. 

“Being a first generation student, it’s hard to inspire my six younger siblings to acquire their four-year degree, but one of my sisters has told me repeatedly about her dream and determination to become a doctor. 

“As an AB 540 student finally making it through to my last year, I have been inspiring her to continue, but if AB 540 is made invalid, the cost doubles and her will and drive will not be enough,” says Gomez.

SB 1301 vetoed again by the governor

Tuesday was the last day Schwarzenegger had to sign or veto SB 1301, Institutional Financial aid. The didn't sign it and here is the letter he sent to out as to why he didn't sign it... 

To the Members of the California State Senate:

I am returning Senate Bill 1301 without my signature.

I share the author’s goal of making affordable education available to all California

students, but given the precarious fiscal condition the state faces at this time, it would not

be prudent to place additional demands on our limited financial aid resources as specified

in this bill.

For this reason, I am unable to sign this bill.


Arnold Schwarzenegger

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Green Card Marriage

Of course the idea of me getting married just for a green card has crossed my mind once or twice and why not ? Not only would I get a green card but I would have a loving wife as well. However, like everything else in life, it's not that simple. I'm 24 and I'm no where near ready to be married yet. Not just because I like my freedom, but because I haven't found the right "one." I am not one to just get married for a green card. Marriage is something huge and to just do it all casual like that isn't in me because that is one of the biggest disrespects to my heritage, people, family and community. My barber says that he did it to help out someone back in the '80s and he was compensated for it. He didn't sleep with her or fall in love. He just said they were married for a few years until she got her green card and got divorced after it was all said and done. To him it was just like doing a favor for a friend. That being said the marriage thing has popped up every now and then between friends in a casual fashion of course. Most of the time we joke around about it and don't go beyond there. They joke about who would want to marry an ass hole like or say that I'm just not handsome enough to even get someone to marry me. It's all for shit and giggles or course. They all get a good laugh when I tell them my parents tried to buy me a wife so I could get my papers. When I asked my parents about it they said they were willing to put down some serious cash for a girl that would hook-up with me for papers. I asked them why didn't they go through with and they said that I would be too much of a punk and I wouldn't agree to it or something like. They basically said I wasn't ma enough to do it. Even if I were to find someone and have the money to do it, with the way things are now, we would have to prove our marriage pretty extensively and keep it alive for several years before even considering a divorce. Can you imagine I take a girl to my house and my wife is there. I introduce them and get dumped because the other girl gets the wrong idea. Sigh.... Besides I don't get much luck with the ladies either. Not having papers makes me not really go out and try to meet girls because I know that if anything is to happen I would eventually have  to fill them in to my situation. I know I wrote a past post similar to this one, but that was when my last girlfriend left me and I needed to vent. While marriage is a great option and a simple one, if it's not for love then it's not even an option.  

Monday, September 22, 2008

Immigration and Customs Enforcement

We all have our own personal feelings about ICE and all the raids taking place all over the United States, so when I saw their bus parked outside a federal building I just couldn't help myself. I had to stop by and say "Fuck You." Course these are just MY OWN PERSONAL FEELINGS. But I'm sure there are other people out there who might feel the say way I do. 

Monday, September 15, 2008

Ask A Mexican - My Dad the Illegal immigrant

Gustavo Arrellano of ask a Mexican fame wrote a great opinion piece Sunday in the L.A. Times. Nothing ground breaking or important, just a good read. Check it out. I'm sure a lot of people share the same sentiments and experiences that he writes about. 
I'm glad that my father entered this country illegally. If he had come "the right way," our family's success would've been chalked up as just another example of immigrant can-do. But as an illegal, his accomplishments (as well as mine and my siblings') contradict the conventional wisdom regarding undocumented Mexicans that's been prevalent for this decade. My father's repeated breaking of immigration law is further proof that this country can and does rehabilitate all of her huddled masses, whether legal or not. Personally, his stories motivate me. If my father could leave his life back in therancho and risk everything at age 18, I have no excuse to whine about anything. And his stories reward me with the pleasure of watching anti-immigrant loons stumble for words when I ask them to explain how my father and my family could've excelled considering that we come from alien stock.  Dad isn't perfect by any means -- indeed, he's suffered through most of the pathologies that many people attribute to illegal immigrants: Alcoholism. Fecundity. Lack of education. Failure to fully assimilate. It doesn't matter. The life he's crafted for himself is no different from your typical white, middle-class Valley resident who rails about the Mexican invasion. 

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Sign the Dream Act Petition

I found a link to an online petition to have the Governor sign the California Dream Act SB 1301. This is the version of the Dream Act which would help AB 540 college students qualify for financial aid. The bill passed on August 31 and has been waiting for him to sign it or deny it. In what has become an annual rite, the Assembly also passed a measure by Sen. Gil Cedillo (D-Los Angeles), SB 1301, to allow illegal immigrant students to receive financial aid at state universities. Schwarzenegger has twice vetoed similar legislation, saying it would siphon financial aid from students whose parents obeyed immigration laws. The wording for the bill has been changed because in previous times the Governor said that the bill would take away much needed money from the state. Those issues have been addresses and the Governor should have no reason to not pass it anymore. I also got an email about the bill and some numbers people can call to urge legislators to support and help pass the bill. Go and sign it. Or don't. It's up to you.  

“MESSAGE:  Please vote for the California Dream Act SB 1301 which may be heard on the Assembly Floor today.  California needs all the educated workforce it can produce.  We should be educating all of California’s high school graduates regardless of immigration status. “


•           (916) 319-2001 Patty Berg, Eureka

•           (916) 319-2006 Jared Huffman, San Rafael

•           (916) 319-2007 Noreen Evans, Santa Rosa

•           (916) 319-2008 Lois Wolk, Davis

•           (916) 319-2009 Dave Jones, Sacramento

•           (916) 319-2011 Mark DeSaulnier, Martinez

•           (916) 319-2012 Fiona Ma, San Francisco

•           (916) 319-2013 Mark Leno, San Francisco

•           (916) 319-2014 Loni Hancock, Berkeley

•           (916) 319-2016 Sandré Swanson, Oakland

•           (916) 319-2017 Cathleen Galgiani, Tracy

•           (916) 319-2018 Mary Hayashi, Hayward

•           (916) 319-2019 Gene Mullin, South San Francisco

•           (916) 319-2020 Alberto Torrico, Fremont

•           (916) 319-2021 Ira Ruskin, Redwood City

•           (916) 319-2022 Sally Lieber, Mountain View

•           (916) 319-2023 Joe Coto, San Jose

•           (916) 319-2024 Jim Beall, San Jose

•           (916) 319-2027 John Laird, Santa Cruz

•           (916) 319-2028 Anna Caballero, Salinas

•           (916) 319-2030 Nicole Parra, Hanford

•           (916) 319-2031 Juan Arambula, Fresno

•           (916) 319-2035 Pedro Nava, Santa Barbara

•           (916) 319-2039 Felipe Fuentes, Sylmar

•           (916) 319-2040 Lloyd Levine, Van Nuys

•           (916) 319-2041 Julia Brownley, Santa Monica

•           (916) 319-2042 Mike Feuer, Los Angeles

•           (916) 319-2043 Paul Krekorian, Burbank

•           (916) 319-2044 Anthony Portantino, Pasadena

•           (916) 319-2045 Kevin de León, Los Angeles

•           (916) 319-2046 Fabian Núñez, Los Angeles

•           (916) 319-2047 Karen Bass, Los Angeles

•           (916) 319-2048 Mike Davis, Los Angeles

•           (916) 319-2049 Mike Eng, Monterey Park

•           (916) 319-2050 Hector De La Torre, South Gate

•           (916) 319-2051 Curren Price, Jr., Inglewood

•           (916) 319-2052 Mervyn Dymally, Los Angeles

•           (916) 319-2053 Ted Lieu, Torrance

•           (916) 319-2054 Betty Karnette, Long Beach

•           (916) 319-2055 Warren Furutani, Gardena

•           (916) 319-2056 Tony Mendoza, Artesia

•           (916) 319-2057 Ed Hernandez, Baldwin Park

•           (916) 319-2058 Charles Calderon, Whittier

•           (916) 319-2061 Nell Soto, Ponoma

•           (916) 319-2062 Wilmer Carter, Rialto

•           (916) 319-2069 Jose Solorio, Anaheim

•           (916) 319-2076 Lori Saldaña, San Diego

•           (916) 319-2079 Mary Salas, Chula Vista



Denise Marie Lopez, Field Representative 
Office of State Senator Gilbert Cedillo, 22nd District 
617 S. Olive Street, Suite 710
Los AngelesCA 90014
P 213-612-9566

F 213-612-9591