Five Political Stories That We Forgot to Cover This Week But Felt We Needed to Comment About

The last two weeks have been crazy. With two conventions that kept us busy all throughout our social networks, as well as the day-to-day work we are doing to try and find a online TV home for our page (yeah, kind of cool), we admittedly overlooked a few political stories that we felt we still needed to cover and comment about. Here they are:

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and His Momentary Brain Fart at the DNC

We know that political conventions are not the best examples of democracy, but do political parties think that American voters are idiots? Maybe so, but in the age of YouTube and social media, maybe the parties have to start thinking a little bit differently. The biggest charade of the Democratic National Convention was the whole "vote" to restore the words "God" and "Jerusalem" back into the Democrats' platform. So instead of making this story go away, the whole world can see Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa look like an imbécil on YouTube:

Anyone with a brain would question the mayor's words. But when the actual decision was already on a teleprompter, why even have the vote? On Friday Villaraigosa responded to reporters. This is what The Los Angeles Times published:

“It was a lot of ado about nothing,” the mayor said Friday. Villaraigosa said that when reporters told him after the vote that they did not clearly hear two-thirds support, he responded, “That’s nice to know. I was the chairman and I did, and that was the prerogative of the chair.”

Villaraigosa noted that any delegate who objected to the process could have made a formal challenge within 10 minutes of the vote.

“Not one person objected. It’s more a media concern than a delegate concern. I can tell you this — the president of the United States said, ‘Wow.’ The president said, ‘You showed why you were speaker of the California Assembly,’” Villaraigosa said. “The president, the vice president, Mrs. Obama, all of them acknowledged the decisive way I handled that.” 

Republicans had pounced on the omissions from the platform. They said the failure to mention God showed that Democrats were out of step with the American people, and the omission of Jerusalem raised questions about the administration’s commitment to Israel.

Villaraigosa, in his remarks Friday, added that Obama wanted a platform that reflected his views on God and Israel’s capital, while Republicans adopted a platform that contains a notable provision — forbidding abortion in cases of rape and incest — that their nominee, Mitt Romney, does not believe in.

"The president of the United States and the leader of my party asked me to do this, and so I’m proud I have a president who believes God and Jerusalem should be in the platform, and so do I,” Villaraigosa said.

Really? Did the mayor not see the video? Or the teleprompter? Just tell the truth and move on. Now it becomes a dumb distraction.

Benita Veliz Becomes First Undocumented Immigrant to Speak at a Convention

Yes, the story of Benita Veliz is inspiring, a DREAMer who spoke at the DNC. According to outlets, Veliz was the first undocumented immigrant to ever speak at a convention. Here is what she said:

Sure, Veliz's story is an inspiring one and to see a DREAMer on the national stage is a big deal. But to us, this felt just like window dressing, since earlier in the week, ten undocumented people from the UndocuBus were arrested in front of the DNC and then released. While someone like Veliz is eligible for deferred action, many undocumented people over 30 people still run the risk of deportation, and the fact that NO SPEAKER who had a chance to call for GREATER IMMIGRATION REFORM in the context of record deportations under the Obama administration is a sad statement to our political process. It is an issue that the Obama administration literally does not want to acknowledge at this time of the campaign. When we emailed Obama 2012 about the arrests within the context of why the protesters were speaking out in the first place, we got no response. Not even a no comment. Just no response. As if we don't exist.

Cristina Salagueri Speaks at DNC

Talk show maven Cristina Salagueri also spoke at the DNC. It was her first political speech, and it had its moments. Of course, the optics of a progressive Cuban American not spewing the typical anti-Castro diatribe was surely refreshing for the Democrats. And yes, the mingling of Spanish reminded us of the speeches we might have heard in Latin America growing up. Yes, Salagueri made some points in reflecting Romney's positions on immigration, and she also proved to us that as she praised President Obama for valuing "DREAMers," she too did not have the courage to call out some of the president's less popular acts on immigration. What about all those "DREAMers" who are over 30? over 40? over 60? over 80? Nonetheless, Cristina did close her speech with a line that resonated:

Many of come from countries where votes are no counted properly, in fact they're not counted at all. Here, we Latinos have a very powerful voice, but only if we use it.

Of course, Cristina was only referring to just one part of the overall US Latino community, but the line was still effective.

The RNC Still Doesn't Get It

Now we have no problem when political parties run ads about people who like an opposing candidate. That has happened before and it will happen again. However, we do have a problem when these political parties aren't transparent about the people in those ads. Such is the case of "The Breakup," which features a woman who is "breaking up" with President Obama. Problem is, that woman is Bettina Inclán, director of Hispanic Outreach for the Republican National Committee. Here is the video:

The poorly produced amateurish video has still gotten over 188,000 views on YouTube, but maybe for the wrong reasons. The spot lacked transparency and all the RNC had to do is identify Inclán. Still, besides that detail, the "woe is me" woman breaking up with her man is lame as well. But if you wanted to actually run the  spot, why not hire an actor to do it? Was the budget that low? Here is what the RNC said about the ad:

It’s a lighthearted ad to show how millions of Americans feel about President Obama — he’s not the person we thought he was and it’s time to break up with him. But let’s be clear, it is an ad.

Again, no one is questioning the "Breakup with Obama" concept, but to get an RNC staffer to do the piece? Come on.

Romney Still Thinks More Latinos Will Vote for Him

Why even spend money on this? Sure, the President hasn't delivered on everything, but Cristina is right. Most US Latinos still get "freaked out" by how Romney still likes to hang with the likes of Kris Kobach, but then thinks a few ads in Spanish will get him the magical 38% of the US Latino vote many are saying is the number he needs to even have a chance of winning. We are still convinced that if Romney disassociated himself with the Kobachs and the Arpaios of the world, his numbers with US Latinos would go up. But why change your team with two minutes left in the fourth quarter?

LA Mayor Villaraigosa Told To “Go Back To Mexico” At California State Capitol

Another day, another Latino getting hated on, this time it is Los Angeles Mayor and chairman of the Democratic National Convention Antonio Villaraigosa, who, according to a profile in the Sacramento Bee, felt the sting of bigotry on a visit to California's state Capitol.

This is an excerpt of what the Bee's Dan Morain wrote during his time with the mayor:

Villaraigosa understands that gay rights issues split society. He also knows the divide is wide over questions of race, racism and immigration. That all came into focus, jarringly, as he and I were leaving the Capitol, and a middle-aged man wearing jeans and a T-shirt was entering.

"Go back to Mexico," the man said as he walked past Villaraigosa.

What? Yes, we all heard the same thing.

Here is the twice-elected mayor of the nation's second largest city, a former Assembly speaker, and a man who will stand on a national stage this September in North Carolina.

And a guy who had never met nor spoken with Villaraigosa told him to go back to Mexico, as if this proud graduate of Roosevelt High School in Los Angeles and UCLA ever lived south of the border.

Villaraigosa flashed his Hollywood smile, laughed it off, and kept on walking. I went back into the Capitol to find the guy, who, as it turned out, was heading to the same Revenue and Taxation hearing that Villaraigosa was leaving.

Do you say that mayors to all the time? I asked.

"Eh, he is a pissant," the man said, proceeding to spew about how an "illegal alien" killed the son of a friend down in L.A., and how it was Villaraigosa's fault. "He is a Mexican. That is what he claims. He is always defending illegal Mexicans and Mexico. … I have no qualms about saying anything to him."

The fellow's name is Davi Rodrigues. From where? "Right here in Sac," he said. "I'm an American. Period."


Democratic National Convention Committee Announces Mayor Villaraigosa Convention Chair

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Contact: Kristie Greco, 704-338-7049

CHARLOTTE – The Democratic National Convention Committee (DNCC) today announced that Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz will nominate Los Angeles Mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa Permanent Chair of the 2012 Democratic National Convention.  DNC Chair Wasserman Schultz’s nomination of Mayor Villaraigosa will be presented to the Convention Rules Committee and then voted on by the delegates to the 2012 Convention at the opening session.
“Mayor Villaraigosa has dedicated his career to civic engagement and empowering people at the grassroots,” said DNC Chair Wasserman Schultz.  “And that’s exactly what we need to be successful at this convention—input and engagement from Americans across the country.”
The Permanent Chair presides over the convention proceedings, ensuring order, decorum and efficiency as the party nominates its presidential and vice presidential candidates, adopts the national platform and conducts other important business.  The Permanent Chair also acts as another national spokesperson for the convention.
“It’s an honor to be nominated as Permanent Chair of the convention,” said Mayor Villaraigosa. “The president began his journey five years ago with a conversation—friends reaching out to neighbors and families talking around the dinner table.  At this convention we want to engage Americans in a conversation about how we can strengthen the country in a way that creates more opportunity for all.”
The DNCC will also release a web video today with Mayor Villaraigosa calling on people to raise their voice and let convention planners know what they can do to make the 2012 Democratic National Convention more open and accessible.  People can share ideas and watch the web video here.
The DNCC announced in late January changes in format and venue that will allow tens of thousands more people to be engaged in the convention.  Convention week will open with a family-friendly Labor Day event at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Monday, September 3, that will be open to people from across the region and around the country.  Delegates will vote on Mayor Villaraigosa’s nomination at the convention’s opening session and he will preside over convention proceedings at Time Warner Cable Arena, on Tuesday, September 4, and Wednesday, September 5.  And on Thursday September 6, the President will accept the nomination at Bank of America Stadium, where once again, the public will be invited to attend.
As a high school student, Villaraigosa volunteered with the farm workers movement and led student walkouts. Before he was elected to public office he worked as a union organizer.  Villariagosa is currently serving in his second term as Mayor of Los Angeles, and also serves as President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.