The Star-News


You've got to stand for something

Sat, Apr 23 2011 12:00 PM Posted By: Carlos R. Davalos

Since I'm still thinking about what they did 48 hours later, it's safe to say I was - and am - impressed by Chula Vista's City Council.

Voting 5-0 Tuesday, the council unanimously approved a draft resolution reaffirming workers' right to collective bargaining.

I like unions. I believe they play an important role in our lives. But the resolution's passage isn't what excited me.

What's impressive is the City Council took a stand on an issue that reaches beyond the city limits.

Earlier this year Councilman Steve Castaneda had wanted to demonstrate his support of Wisconsin workers whose right to collective bargaining was under attack by that state's governor and its Republican legislators.

His draft resolution Tuesday night, along with his colleagues' support, was Chula Vista's way of weighing in on an issue that affects everyone.

The resolution's critics and lukewarm supporters question why Chula Vista should take a position on an issue that doesn't directly affect this city's residents.

The answer is simple: Chula Vista does not exist in a vacuum.

There are events that occur outside of this city's borders that do influence the lives of the people who live here. Generally, these are issues that involve civil rights and equality.

By taking a stand on the collective bargaining issue, the council reveals the character not just of its members but of the people they represent.

Last year I was critical of the council, especially Councilman Rudy Ramirez and Mayor Cheryl Cox, for not taking a stand on Arizona's immigration law.

I've also wondered aloud why this council, which represents a city with a majority Latino population, hasn't ever voiced concern over the city of Escondido's hostility toward Latino immigrants.

The council has also been significantly quiet on the issue of gay rights and marriage, preferring to keep its head down and pretend the world outside doesn't concern them.

In each case I've been disappointed, but not surrpised by the silence.

Sure, in the end, the council took out references to Wisconsin and Gov. Scott Walker. But the message was still the same.

We are taking a stand.

Maybe taking a stand doesn't fix a pothole or build a library. Maybe advocating for workers' rights doesn't take you out of the unemployment line.

But standing up and speaking out for your beliefs, whatever they may be, does reveal your character. And character, even a city's, should count for something, shouldn't it?


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