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By Eric Lee- Atwater, CA

In 2009, Atwater made national news when Gary Frago thought it was cute to send racist emails around City Hall to his buddies there.

We all remember the circus that followed, and how he was supported in his bid to NOT resign by the Riveros and others.  The stain it left is still fresh, and anyone looking it up will find stories still being written in periodicals across the country.


Well, what did we learn? Even after over a 100K was spent on sensitivity training, and annual procedural reviews, how much did we really learn?  Not much.  In 2018, Atwater had an opportunity to hire a well qualified city manager who possessed the degrees, the experience, and the willingness to help this city move forward. He was passed over not once, not twice, but three times, even after an agreement was made to hire him if the first choice did not take the offer from the city.


The candidate in question was the best qualified, and he was not hired, even after that first guy left, and even after the second guy (who was not even interviewed) left under a cloud. Who was hired? A grant writer and executive secretary with NO experience and an AA degree.

The candidate in question is black, the three people who were offered the job are all white.


When Paul Creighton ran for mayor and left his seat open when he won, this council once again had the opportunity to appoint another person to fill that seat. There were five candidates, including one who had extensive experience since he has served on city commissions for years, and another who has been an Atwater resident most of his life and knows this city well.


Who did they pick? A buddy of Paul Creighton.

Both candidates that were all but ignored are black.

Now we move to the next top position, Police Chief. The interim police chief, the one who publicly bullied a local reporter, and also did so in emails, is leaving, and we need to fill his position with a full-time chief. We had five candidates. After the review process, the city manager decided on a friend of the outgoing chief. He is the current police chief in Coalinga and has a background in the State mandated legalized marijuana industry, he is also white.


We again passed over another black man who is highly qualified and from our area.

I am not declaring racism here, but, Atwater has NEVER had a black man or woman in its top positions in this city, NEVER, and they had an opportunity to do just that, not by just filling a seat, but by putting in GOOD candidates who deserved the nod.  I am embarrassed for this city.


Young People of Color Ready to Vote, Motivated by Racial Justice

Staying Connected with Social Media

Civil Rights and Racial Equity Groups Unveil New Research on Youth of Color Perspectives

Going into Midterm Election

October 31, 2018


WASHINGTON, DC – The Racial Equity Anchor Collaborative of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, a coalition of national racial justice and civil rights organizations, will release two national polls, one on the perspectives of young voters of color and one of the first polls with statistically significant polling on the perspectives of Asian and Pacific Islander (AAPI), Native Hawaiian and Native American voters. The research has shaped the organizations’ “#WeVoteWeCount and #TogetherWeVote campaigns. Explaining the findings and how the new data has impacted outreach and advocacy are leaders from Advancement Project’s national office, Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF), Demos, Faith in Action, NAACP, National Congress of American Indians, National Urban League, Race Forward, and UnidosUS.


The research findings clearly indicate that the top issue for young Black, Latinx, Asian American, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, and Native American voters is racism and racial justice. Racism, used as a tool to divide and harm all of us, and recognizing cross-racial solidarity, were key issues for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander and Native American voters. This groundbreaking research is shaping the outreach efforts of national racial justice organizations and local grassroots groups as they continue their civic participation campaigns urging young voters to vote and support the positive change they want to see in their communities.

UnidosUS: SCOTUS Decision to Expedite Hearing on Citizenship Census Question Important Step; Court Should Move to Barr Question that Would Negatively Impact Millions of Latinos


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February 15, 2019


WASHINGTON, DC—This afternoon, the Supreme Court of the United States has agreed to expedite a hearing on whether to allow a citizenship question in the upcoming U.S. Census, bypassing the lower courts. For the first time in almost 70 years, the Trump administration had announced it would insert a question in the U.S. Census which asked the citizenship status of each person in the household. A federal judge in New York had initially barred the question but the Trump administration filed an appeal and had been awaiting a decision.


The move to include the question on citizenship has been decried by many advocate groups, including UnidosUS, as being politically motivated. Research shows that Hispanics have been undercounted for decades, with challenges such as language and poverty barriers making the community a “hard-to-count” population. Estimates in fact, show that roughly one in three Latinos currently live in hard-to-count census tracts; in 2010, the undercount for Latino children was twice that of White children.


“Adding a citizenship question to the Census is not only unnecessary, untested and costly, there is clear evidence it creates fears around confidentiality and data access. This would significantly lower the Latino response rate leading to a drastic undercount,” said Dr. Patricia Foxen, Deputy Director of Research, UnidosUS.


UnidosUS had written a declaration for one of the several legal suits challenging the Census Bureau, signed onto several amicus briefs, submitted a public comment to Secretary Ross detailing the perils of a citizenship question, and encouraged its network of nearly 300 Affiliate groups around the country to join in the efforts.


“An inaccurate Census count has large implications for Latinos, particularly in the areas of political representation, voting rights and the vital programs and services that strengthen our communities. We are encouraged the court will take this manner up in an expeditious manner and hope that they will rule against the inclusion of the citizenship question,” concluded Dr. Foxen.



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 A Minority Publication

Central Valley Voice

A Unifying Factor  In The Valley’s Community