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Hacia ‘El otro lado’

La crisis en la frontera –Primera parte

To “The Other Side”

Crisis at the border – part one

Alianza Latina para Reducir Desechos y Proteger Nuestra Salud.

Grupos latinos se unen para reducir residuos de gas natural y dudan del futuro de la Regla BLM

Latino Partnership to Cut Waste, Protect Our Health

Latino groups unite over reducing natural gas waste, concerns for the future of BLM rule


Tragedia y pérdida para el mundo del futbol.

Esta madrugada colisionó el vuelo que se dirigía hacia Medellín Colombia. El equipo de futbol  Chapecoense estaba en su vuelo para lograr hacer su sueño realidad, jugar la final de la Copa Sudamericana.

Tragedy and lost for the soccer world.

This early morning a flight that was in his route to Medellin-Colombia crashed. The soccer team named Chapecoense where flying to make their own dream reality, play the Copa Sudamericana Final.

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Vivienda/Real Estate

Delaware lanza una iniciativa de recursos con licencia abierta

Delaware anunció el lanzamiento de una nueva iniciativa #GoOpen a nivel estatal

Delaware launches open resource initiative

The Delaware  announced the launch of a new statewide #GoOpen initiative


La salud queda protegida por ahora

La Ley de Cuidado de la Salud detenida en la Cámara de Representantes y la cobertura de salud queda protegida por ahora

Health Coverage Gains Protected for Now

House Health Care Bill Halted and Health Coverage Gains Protected for Now



La realidad no deja de asombrarnos, y casi siempre supera con creces la ficción.


Reality never ceases to surprise us, and almost always surpasses fiction.

Featured Stories

El empleo sigue siendo lo mas importante

Governors Office

"Crearemos un ambiente para nueva prosperidad. Apoyaremos el crecimiento económico, demandaremos un menor y mas eficiente gobierno y le daremos una educación a nuestros hijos de priemra calidad mundial, "dijo el Gobernador Markell

 “We will create an environment for new prosperity. We will encourage economic growth, demand a leaner, more efficient government and provide our children a world-class education so they can work in first-class jobs,” Jack Markell.

En su discurso "El estado del estado" el gobernador Markell hablo del empleo y la educacion el jueves 21 de Enero.

Traduccion disponible mas tarde.

Jobs Remain Markell’s Focus in State of the State

 “We will create an environment for new prosperity. We will encourage economic growth, demand a leaner, more efficient government and provide our children a world-class education so they can work in first-class jobs,” Jack Markell.

Dover, DE – Creating more jobs is critical to restoring Delaware’s promise and prosperity, Governor Jack Markell made clear in his State of the State address today January 21 

“Our focus is on creating more and better jobs and building a stronger economy for us all.  To do that, Delaware must be the best state to start or grow a business.  We will create an environment for new prosperity.  We will encourage economic growth, demand a leaner, more efficient government and provide our children a world-class education so they can work in first-class jobs,” Markell said.


In an address that spoke frankly of the problems the State faces, Markell struck an optimistic tone while laying out some of the detailed efforts by the State to create more jobs in Delaware. He made clear the State’s competitive advantages, explained how it is fighting to keep every job that is already here and moving aggressively to expand economic opportunity for everyone. He specifically mentioned:


               Supporting the State’s Small Business LIFT program, which helps businesses gain access to critical lines of credit and has aided 37 small businesses in a year.

               Launching the Jobs Incentive Fund to give business the ability to invest in high-growth jobs and implementing a “Business Finders Fee” for businesses that help bring other companies to Delaware.

               Partnering with the SEU to put people to work while driving down the state’s energy costs.

               Improving our quality of life through efforts like statewide recycling and investing in affordable housing through the Housing Development Fund.

               Improving responsiveness to state permitting applications, specifically that DNREC and DelDOT will offer an answer to most applications within 60 days.

               Recognizing the need to expand manufacturing in Delaware.

               Investing in infrastructure, including the Port of Wilmington, to help Delaware export what it makes to other states and countries.

               Supporting Bond Bill funding for a center for high-tech labs, health sciences and other research at the old Chrysler site.


Markell said: “To restore Delaware’s promise and prosperity, we will reshape the way we, as a State, do business. We want every business to feel the way the founder of a new company that recently located in Seaford felt when he told me: ‘After doing business with Delaware, I don’t see why anybody would do business anyplace else.’”

Government also needs to be smaller and more efficient if it is going to respond quickly to economic opportunities, Markell said in the speech. The Governor, who will present a balanced budget on January 28, explained a few of the ways that the State has cut costs, including slashing the number of state fleet vehicles; eliminating 1,000 positions in state government; renegotiating leases on state buildings and cutting the total square footage of office space; reducing by 100,000 the number of checks the State cuts each year; no longer printing budget books and saving several hundred thousand dollars in cutting other print projects; and better leveraging the State’s information technology across agencies to save significant IT costs.

“Businesses want to operate in states that prudently manage their fiscal affairs, in good times and bad,” Markell said. “In the end, we want our State government to provide core services and enhance our quality of life in a way that is affordable.  That’s what we are doing.  By making government leaner and more efficient, we make our State a better place to create new and better jobs.”

World-class jobs require that children receive a world-class education. The State of the State made clear that businesses want to locate in areas with strong public schools where employers can send their children and want a workforce ready to meet new challenges. Delaware has proposed bold new changes and achieved significant buy-in across the state for an education agenda that puts kids first. The State’s education agenda rests on improving student readiness by holding them to high standards; effectively using student data to drive classroom results; ensuring teacher quality; and turning around persistently low-performing schools.

“Providing a world-class education is not only our moral obligation -- our State’s economic future depends on it.  Every state is competing for the businesses that seek the best and the brightest of our youth.  So we must build on the foundations of success our hard-working teachers and administrators have already established,” Markell said.

“Government cannot be all things to all people,” Markell continued.  “Our commitment to protect those who cannot protect themselves is unwavering.  Our commitment to educating our children is unshakable.  And our commitment to creating jobs is unmistakable.  But, to be clear, government alone cannot change the world – only people can.”

Investing in new jobs, making government more cost-effective and strengthening our State’s public schools is the best way to ensure that Delaware succeeds in the long-term, Markell said. He ended his State of the State with a call to action:

“We got through a difficult year together.  Because we will keep our commitments to our State and each other, then someday, when we are long past these turbulent times, future generations will look back at the first years of this decade with wonder.  They will say that despite enormous struggles against a record-setting recession and unprecedented budget deficits, we joined together to set the State on a better course. They will know that we restored our State’s prosperity and renewed our promise of more accountable government, world-class industries, responsible economic growth, a sustainable quality of life, a well-educated citizenry, and a society of opportunity for all.  We will meet these challenges together, because we will seize this chance today and do what is best for our children’s tomorrows.  Those future generations will look back and say, this was the beginning of Delaware’s finest hour.”


Full text of the speech available at:

Gobernador Jack Markell, necesitamos trabajar juntos

Gabriel Pilonieta Blanco

Jack Markell

El mismo día en que Presidente Barack Obama nominara a la jueza hispana Sonia Sotomayor para la corte suprema de justicia, El Tiempo Hispano sostuvo una conversación con el Gobernador de Delaware Jack Markell, después de consultar a sus lectores y recibir un número de preguntas de interés a la comunidad hispana de Delaware.

ETH: ¿Como planea invertir los fondos de ARRA, sobre todo en las escuelas y particularmente aquellas que tienen clases de inglés como segunda lengua?

Gobernador: El dinero total de estímulo es cerca de 800 millones y parte de este monto se irá a proyectos de transporte, otra parte se invertirá en mejorar la infraestructura de cloacas, también en las aguas de tormentas, para energía renovable, otra para Medicaid, otra parte para lo que se denomina dinero de estabilización fiscal y también hay una porción para educación.

Todavía estamos analizando en particular el dinero para educación en Delaware, tratando de decidir cuál es el mejor uso para apoyar y mejorar la educación en Delaware. Hay una cantidad de conexiones vinculadas al dinero y estamos tratando de resolver, dentro del contexto del nuestro presupuesto, cómo hacer el mejor uso de él. Compensemos a los profesores que son eficientes y que están en escuelas de alto riesgo, asegurémonos que sean recompensados por un desempeño excepcional.  Número dos, creemos que las decisiones en educación deben ser tomadas por aquellos que están cerca del estudiante y no por los que laboran en un edifico de oficinas en Dover, porque pensamos que los maestros y directores en esas escuelas tienen un mejor sentido de la necesidades de los niños en sus escuelas que cualquiera en Dover. Así que, por ejemplo, tomemos el caso específico de la Escuela Primaria North George: en esa escuela, más de la mitad de los niños vienen de hogares donde el inglés no es la lengua materna. Tenemos que asegurarnos que esos maestros y directores tomen las decisiones de cómo gastar el dinero y que sean lo suficientemente flexibles para invertirlo en programas como el de enseñanza del inglés y, por supuesto, el propósito final en la educación es cambiar y deshacernos realmente del examen estatal de Delaware y remplazarlo por una prueba que tenga sentido, que mida el progreso en cada período.



ETH: ¿En qué situación está el programa SEED? Este programa es crítico, sobre todo para los estudiantes hispanos de primera generación asistiendo a la universidad.

Gobernador: Pienso que el SEED es un importante programa que brinda una gran oportunidad. No recomendaremos recortes para ese programa en nuestro presupuesto. Dicho esto, es difícil saber qué va a pasar con el actual presupuesto. Personalmente pienso que es un programa importante que le da la oportunidad a estudiantes que de otra manera no tendrían acceso a la educación superior; yo conozco varios casos, porque una cosa hablar de estadísticas, pero lo que es mas significativo para mi, es poder hablar de estudiantes que he conocido que realmente creen que gracias al programa SEED,  si sacan notas decentes, se mantienen fuera de problemas, tienen el chance de conseguir fondos para obtener un titulo asociado. Esto es muy poderoso, y me gustaría ver que lo expandimos.


ETH: Aplaudimos el nombramiento de Vivian Rapposelli, pero, ¿piensa usted nombrar a otros hispanos en posiciones claves en su administración?

Gobernador: Ya hemos nombrado a un par de ellos si mal no recuerdo. Jose Echeverri, a quien nombré para dirigir el plan de inversión en las universidades de Delaware, lo cual es un gran reto, es un plan que básicamente ayudará a las familias a ahorrar para la educación universitaria de sus hijos. Asi que en el espíritu de la educación, y el espíritu de que las familias tengan los recursos que necesitan para planificar un futuro u una educación superior para sus hijos, designé a Jose, a quien conozco desde hace muchos años, como director del programa. Es mas,  yo presidia este plan antes de colocar a Jose allí. En la otra que puedo pensar es en Ileana Smith, directora del campus de Delaware Tech en Georgetown, es cubana, sobresaliente, y sobre todo, ella fue una de las cinco que presidieron el equipo de transición, lo cual es muy significativo porque ella es muy talentosa, y también la nombre para la Comisión de Nominación Judicial. Cuando pensamos sobre la idea de tener más latinos nombrados para los juzgados, la primera parte de la batalla es lograr que más gente lo solicite. Tenemos abogados como Tabatha Castro, Rafael X. Zahralddin-Aravena, quien es una gran persona y creo que hay uno de Chile. Creo que debemos empezar por el principio y preguntarnos “cómo lograr que más personas, estudiantes de secundaria se interesen en ir a la universidad, a la escuela de leyes y cómo hacer para que los ya egresados graduados en leyes se queden en Delaware, y una vez aquí, se involucren en la comunidad legal.”


ETH: Tal como usted dice, debemos ir paso a paso. ¿Cuántas personas de la minoría están trabajando en el gobierno del estado?

Gobernador: Correcto. Estoy orgulloso de  mi gabinete. Tengo trabajar con quienes crea tremendos, tenemos un par de afroamericanos, incluyendo a Jim Sills y Lillian Lowery. Tenemos a Anas Benadi, quien es marroquí y musulmán. Para mi son todos talentosos por si mismos, pero al mismo tiempo nos fortalecemos cuando el gabinete refleja la diversidad general del estado, así que pienso que esto es algo de lo que podemos hablar desde 30.000 pies de altura, pero también es algo de lo que debemos hablar persona por persona, por eso es que pienso que haber colocado a José e Iliana en estos puestos fue muy importante, ambos dos en su manera particular.


ETH: Sabemos de su nombramiento como secretaria del gabinete a Vivian Raposelli. Sin embargo, ella es abogada y algún día volverá a su práctica legal. Esto no es precisamente  lo que llamamos construcción de capacidad. ¿Que posiciones en capacidad de construir ha nombrado?

Gobernador: Es que absolutamente no termina allí. Entre mas cerca estés de la masa crítica, mayor oportunidad de mantenerla funcionando. Así que cuando tenemos a alguien como Vivian que puede ser mentora, porque probablemente conoce gente que esta interesada en seguir sus pasos y a la que ella pueda formar. La razón por la que Vivian logró esta posición es porque demostró, por un periodo de tiempo, sus capacidades. Inicialmente hablamos sobre un trabajo diferente para ella, pero en cuanto la fui conociendo mejor y vis sus capacidades, vi su pasión por los niños; pensé que esta posición, de dirigir el departamento de los niños estaría correcta. Pienso que la capacidad de construcción comienza mas temprano, comienza con los niños, pero entonces cuando las personas entran al mundo profesional más extenso podemos tenerlos trabajando en juntas directivas y comisiones. Al final, personas como Vivian tienen que probarse a sí mismas. Ella estuvo involucrada en un sin número de cosas que la probaron, lo mismo con Jose, con Iliana, y así hay muchas otras personas que tienen la capacidad de probarse a si mismas, de lo que tenemos que asegurarnos es que logren una posición donde tengan la oportunidad de demostrarlo.



ETH: Su jefe de personal ha sido citado diciendo que, él conocía sólo de DOS hispanos que estuviera calificados para trabajar para el estado, ¿qué responde a esto?


Gobernador: Pienso que lo hemos hecho bastante bien. Esto no me suena como algo de él, particularmente porque he nombrado 3 en este momento. Así que yo no creo que él haya dicho eso. Esto no refleja el punto de vista de la administración, y pienso, de nuevo, que si se mira en las juntas directivas y comisiones donde realmente puedo nombrar gente, pienso que los dos que he mencionado, uno estando en el plan de inversión de universidades, ¿Qué es más central para el sueño americano, que gente teniendo la oportunidad de lograr una educación superior? ¿Qué es más central para la administración de justicia, una de las cosas más importantes que un gobierno hace, que la comisión de nominación judicial? Así que entre esto y la idea de alguien manejando el departamento de los niños, que lo mismo que hablar del futuro, me siento muy complacido con la calidad de personas colocadas en esas posiciones. Por supuesto espero que mas adelante, cuando se abran puestos vacantes, poder hacer mas.


ETH: ¿Que deben esperar los maestros sobre el recorte del 8% del salario que usted propuso?

Gobernador: La porción del estado cerca del 8 %, 10% si se incluye el cuidado de salud, es una cifra grande, el problema es que la economía se ha derrumbado, no tengo la habilidad, a diferencia del gobierno federal, de imprimir dinero, yo no puedo hacer eso, así que de esta manera, he propuesto un incremento significativo de la renta pública, hemos tratado de llegar a unos recortes, que aunque difíciles, han tratado de ser balanceados porque la alternativa es despedir gente.

Cuando me juramenté, fui por todo el estado e hice 60 presentaciones sobre el presupuesto, una y otra vez escuché a la gente diciendo “por favor no haga despidos, todos estamos juntos en esto, preferimos aguantar parte del golpe, antes de que algunas personas reciban el golpe completo”, con lo cual estoy de acuerdo de todo corazón.


ETH: Usted era el tesorero del estado en la pasada administración ¿No vio venir esto?

Gobernador: Nadie vio venir esto. Apenas en junio del 2008, ni siquiera hace un año, las proyecciones hechas sobre los ingresos del estado, realizadas por los mejores pronosticadores del país, proyectaban un exceso de 3.5 billones de dólares para el siguiente año fiscal, y hoy en día es menos de 2.9 billones de dólares. Esta economía se derrumbó básica y completamente el verano pasado y, créame, ninguno de nosotros en particular quería llegar a este punto.


ETH: ¿Cómo pudo pasar, fue culpa de un mago?

Gobernador: La industria de la vivienda se derrumbó, la gente no pudo pagar sus préstamos, sus hipotecas, el crédito se puso mucho más estricto, nadie podía pedir prestado, las empresas despidieron gente, el índice de desempleo se duplicó con respecto al año anterior. Delaware está particularmente expuesta debido a la industria automotriz, y a nuestra exposición a la industria de servicios financieros y compañías de crédito. Todo se fue por un barranco y no se ha terminado. Continúa empeorando. No sabemos todavía dónde esta el fondo con esta renta pública.


ETH: Otra área de preocupación son las empresas minoritarias y propiedad de mujeres y el hecho de que les han cerrado las puertas para competir por los contratos del estado.

Gobernador: Bueno, yo no creo que eso sea cierto, de hecho, anunciamos que la propuesta de estimulo federal de la que hablamos antes, en el caso de DelDot, deja el 9% de su gasto en proyectos de estímulo que será para negocios propiedad de las minorías, lo que es un número grande. En segundo lugar, estamos comprometidos a trabajar con empresas de la minoría, pensamos que es muy importante que se comparta más con esos negocios. Las empresas minoritarias las constituyen, en su mayoría, pequeños negocios, así que hace unas semanas, Alan Levin, quien preside la oficina de desarrollo económico, introdujo el plan LIFT (Inversión Limitada para Viajes Financieros). Éste plan ayuda a los pequeños negocios a acceder al crédito y conseguir préstamos más asequibles, de hecho lo bajará a cero por ciento durante los primeros dos años. Es una gran propuesta, y ya tenemos un par de docenas de negocios solicitando préstamos, y trabajando con sus bancos locales. DEDO acaba de tener el primer foro de negocios de minorías y mujeres en la historia del estado. Hemos llegado a empresas minoritarias y las hemos sumado a la lista de proveedores certificados del estado, de manera que cada vez más y más empresas minoritarias puedan presentar sus licitaciones y propuestas a ofertas de contratos del estado. Esto se hace a través de DEDO. La oficina de empresas de minorías y mujeres trabaja actualmente con la Industria de Albañilería de Construcción, que son los que están haciendo los trabajos en la corte del Condado de Kent, un nuevo edificio en construcción. Ellos están solicitando hacer contratos en carpintería, pintura, plomería y jardinería para la siguiente fase de la construcción, y específicamente, están tratando de llegar a las empresas minoritarias.


ETH: Las relaciones económicas de Delaware con Latinoamérica ha venido creciendo en los últimos años, ¿Planea usted continuar con este crecimiento?

Gobernador: Estamos escuchando todas las propuestas para poder continuar desarrollando esos vínculos. Se que los chilenos son socios de negocios importantes en el puerto de Wilmington, particularmente los exportadores de frutas desde Chile. Yo no soy muy creyente de lo que llaman “expediciones de pesca [de negocios].” Me gusta viajar cuando sé que hay oportunidades reales, pero pienso que, dado el ciclo presupuestario en el que estamos, gastar grandes cantidades de dinero en viajes internacionales y sin certeza de los resultados, es algo que no deberíamos hacer. Dicho esto, y a sabiendas de que cualquiera de los lectores de su periódico tiene ideas específicas que considerar y conocen compañías específicas que podrían presentar oportunidades potenciales para Delaware, estamos abiertos a ellos. Creo que yo, que viví en Sur América y Latinoamérica por seis meses y tengo algún dominio del español, siento un afecto especial por estas personas y su cultura es algo que trato de promover y no sé cuántos de los gobernadores actuales hablan español, pero yo siempre lo trato de hablar cuando viajo y trato de venderle la idea a las personas de el gran ambiente empresarial que tenemos en Delaware y la importancia creciente de la comunidad latina de Delaware.


ETK: ¿Si el gobierno federal requiere de un espacio y ubicación en Delaware de los terroristas detenidos en Guantánamo, estaría usted de acuerdo en realizar un referéndum con los residentes de Delaware sobre su postura al respecto?

Gobernador: Es la primera vez que me hacen esa pregunta, mi reacción visceral es que no estoy realmente interesado en traer a esta gente a Delaware, pero no es un tema que haya analizado cuidadosamente.

Governor Jack Markell, we need to work together.

The same day President Barak Obama nominated Hispanic Justice Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court, El Tiempo Hispano spoke with Delaware Governor, Jack Markell, after consulting its readers and receiving a number of questions of interest for the Hispanic community of Delaware

ETH: How exactly the governor plans to invest ARRA funds, particularly those targeting ELLs benefit from ARRA funds.?


The overall stimulus money is about 800,000,000 and some of that is for transportation projects, some of that is for waste water, some of it is for storm water, some of it is for renewable energy, some of it is for Medicaid, some of it is general, for what’s called fiscal stabilization money, and then there’s a pocket for education as well. So the education money specifically we’re still analyzing, trying to decide how best to use that money in support of better education in Delaware, there are all kinds of strings attached to the money and we’re figuring out in the context of our budget how to use it beyond that. There’s also some additional money for education that could potentially come from the federal government, the stimulus package, and that’s in the form of grants, it’s called the race to the top. We have to actually bid, we have to compete for those funds, so we’re actually deciding now, and we’re together our grant application, so it’s premature to say how any of the money is going to be used specifically because those decisions have just not been made, but I can tell you in general my approach to education is as follows, that whether you are of Hispanic background, or not Hispanic background, the one thing we all want is for our children to live out the American dream, and they are able to do so only with the best possible education and so we put forward this year, me, with our lieutenant governor Matt Graham and secretary Lillian Lowry an education agenda which affectively A. says  lets compensate teachers who are effective and who are of the utmost high risk schools, lets make sure they are rewarded for exceptional performance, number two, we believe more decisions about education ought to be made closer to where the student is rather than in an office building in Dover and because we think that the teachers and the principal in those schools have a better sense of the needs of the kids in that school than anybody in Dover. So for an example, take North George Elementary as a specific example, in that school, more than half the kids, come from a home where English is not the primary language, now we need to make sure that as those teachers and those principals are deciding how to spend money, they have the flexibility to spend it on things like the ELL program and of course the final change in education is to change and really get rid of the Delaware student test, and replace it with a  test that actually makes sense, which measures progress over a period of time.


ETH: What is the status of SEED? – It is critical especially for Hispanic students who are predominantly first generation to attend college.


The SEED program, I think is an important program it provides a great opportunity, we did not recommend in our budget that it be cut, so we have recommended that it stay, that being said, in this budget, it’s difficult to know what’s going to happen, I personally think that it’s an important program that provides an opportunity for students who may not otherwise have an opportunity for higher education, and I’ve met enough kids, it’s one thing to talk about statistics, but what’s more meaningful to me is to talk about the students that I’ve met who really believe that because of the SEED program, they have a chance if they get decent grades, and stay out of trouble that they know that their associates degree is going to be paid for, that’s very powerful, and I’d like to see us expand on it.


ETH: Another concern that our community has is building capacity to get to a critical mass of Hispanics in government. Obviously this means appointments that are within the power of the governor. We applaud the appointment of Vivian Rapposelli, do you plan to appoint other Hispanics to key positions within your administration?


I’ve appointed a couple that I can think of off the top of my head, Jose Echeverri, I appointed to head up the Delaware college investment plan, which is a big deal, and that’s the plan that is basically is the plan that helps families save for college education, so in the spirit of education, and in the spirit of families getting the resources that they need to plan for a future, and a higher education for their children, I’ve put in Jose, who I’ve known for many years, as the chair, in fact, I was the chair of that plan until I put Jose as the chair. The other that I can think of is Iliana Smith, she is the campus director of Delaware Tech in Georgetown, she’s from Cuba, and she’s outstanding, so first of all, she was one of the 5 chairs of my transition team which is very significant because she’s very talented, but then I’ve also put her on the Judicial nominating commission, so when you think about the announcement from president Obama today, they don’t have a judicial nominating commission at the federal level, effectively, the president and the white house just pick who they want to pick. What we have is a great institution in Delaware, called the judicial nominating commission, this is how it works, when there is a vacant judgeship, there is a letter that is sent out to the legal community and people who want to apply to be a judge apply, and then this judicial nominating commission reviews all the applications, they interview all of the candidates and then they make a recommendation to the governor, they usually send three names for potential employment, and Iliana, again, with that commission, is made up of lawyers and non lawyers and I just think that Iliana is really smart, she’s very connected particularly in Sussex county and my view that the value of the commission is really two fold, one, they review the applications that come in and they apply their best judgment before deciding who to send to the governor, but the other thing is that they can be helpful in encouraging people to apply and when we think about the idea of having more Latinos appointed to Judgeships, the first part of the battle is getting more people to apply. That’s actually the second part of the battle. The first part of the battle is getting more Latino lawyers and in a position of leadership within a legal community where they’re recognized for their excellence and we have several. we have Tabatha Castro, Rafael X. Zahralddin-Aravena, who is a great guy, and there may be one from Chile as well, but anyway, I think that you have to start at the beginning and say how do you get more people, middle schoolers interested in thinking about going to college, how do you get more high school students thinking about attending law school, and then how do you get more graduates to stay in Delaware, and once they’re here, get them involved in the legal community. I spoke a few weeks ago; in fact, Rafael had asked me a few weeks back to speak at the annual conference of the Multicultural Section of the Delaware Bar Association. And these are the things we talked about, because we can’t all of a sudden on day 1 say have more Latino Judges if we don’t have Latino lawyers who have been working for a period of time, and so I think we really need to work from the beginning and say “how do we get more people in a position” and I think Eliana in her position on the judicial nominating commission will be helpful, but obviously we are always looking for talent.


ETH: As you say, we need to go step by step. How many minority people do you have working in the state government?


Exactly right. see we want people who are at the level below division director and you look to them and the next time a vacancy appears and you’d like to make them a division director, and I’m proud of my cabinet, I have to have who I think is terrific, we have a couple African Americans, including Jim Sills and Lillian Lowery. We have Anas Benadi who is Moroccan, and Islamic, and to me, they’re all talented on their own, but at the same time we are all strengthened when the cabinet reflects the diversity of the state overall, so I think this is something we can talk about at 30,000 feet, but it’s also something we have to talk about one person at a time, which is why I thought that getting Jose and Eliana into their positions was very important, both of them in their own way.


ETH: We know that you appointed a Hispanic cabinet secretary. However, she is an attorney and will one day go back to her practice. This isn’t what we mean when we say capacity building. What capacity building appointments have he made and will make in the future?


No, absolutely it doesn’t end. The closer you get to critical mass, the better the opportunity to keep it going. So when you have somebody like Vivian who can be a mentor, because she probably knows people who are interested in following in her footsteps, and people that she can cultivate. The reason Vivian got that position is because Vivian demonstrated, over a period of time, her capabilities. I didn’t just pick her out of thin air. We originally talked about a different job for her, but as I got to know her better and I saw her capabilities I saw her passion for children, I thought that this position, heading up the kids department would be just right. So I think that the capacity building starts much earlier, it starts with kids, but then as people get into the professional world to the extent that we can get them to serve on boards and commissions. I got to know Jose because he and I served together in the financial literacy world and the Delaware money school. The reason he got his position as the head of the college investment plan is because I knew him and I trusted him and I understood that he had financial savvy and I got to know Eliana because every year she would invite me to a conference she put together at Delaware Tech, its’ called the Today and tomorrow conference, and it’s about the Future of Sussex county. We got to know each other, I thought very highly of the quality of work that she did. So I think that the more people who can get exposed to me and my administration, we’re always on the lookout for good talent, that’s how you build capacity, its one person at a time, but it’s also working with, for example, I mentioned the Multicultural Section, and when you get folks like that partnered with you and to reach out into the community and find people like Tabitha Castro, I didn’t know her before she was named by mayor baker to head up the Hope Commission, so that was not my doing, that was mayor Baker’s doing, but which was good. There are a lot of people out in the community like that and I think the more opportunities that we give them, to me, is the main thing. In the end, people like Vivian had to prove themselves, she was involved in a number of things and proved herself, same thing with Jose, with Eliana, and so there are lots of people who have the capability of proving themselves, what we need to make sure of is that they get into a position where they have the opportunity to do so.


ETH: After all the promises that were made to Hispanics during your campaign (specifically during your debate in Dover) assuring us that Hispanics would be included in the administration; consequently that has not happened. Having one Hispanic at the cabinet level is marginally acceptable but taking into account the many directorships and deputy directorships that are available and NOT ONE Hispanic has been asked to participate for consideration, is not acceptable. Your chief of staff has been quoted as saying that he was aware of only TWO Hispanics that were qualified to work for the state, how do you respond to this?


I think we’ve done pretty well. It’s a start. First of all, I’d be very surprised if he actually said that, I don’t know where he was quoted saying that. It doesn’t sound anything like him, particularly because I just named 3 right here. So I don’t believe he said it. It does not reflect the view of the administration, and I think, again, if you look at the boards and commissions where I can actually name people, I think that the two that I mentioned one being the College Investment Plan, what’s more central to the American dream than people having the chance to achieve higher education? What’s more central to the administration of justice, which is one of the most important things that a government does, than the Judicial Nominating comission? So between that and the idea of somebody running the kids department, which is all about the future, I’m very pleased with the quality of the people we’ve put in those positions. Of course, I’d love to do more and I look forward over a period of time, as vacancies pop up, to do more.


ETH: What the teachers can expect about the 8% cut in their salaries you had proposed?


It’s about 8 percent, 10 percent if you include the health care on top of it, it’s a big number, the problem is that this economy has fallen apart, and I don’t have the ability, unlike the federal government, who can print money, I can’t do that, so as it is, I have proposed a very significant increase in revenues, and we’ve tried to come up with an approach on cuts which, while difficult, has tried to be balanced because the alternative is laying people off and when I was sworn in I went around the state and did 60 presentations about the budget, and over and over again I heard from people “please don’t do layoffs, we’re all in this together, we’d all rather take some hit, rather than some people take a total hit” which I thought made sense because in this environment where we have an unemployment rating at about 7.5 percent, it’s very difficult for people to go out and get a different job, and I didn’t like making the 8 percent proposal any more than any state employee wanted to hear it, but we have a very simple mathematical problem. Our revenues have declined since last June by more than $600 million, which is huge, absolutely enormous. I wish I could snap my fingers and create money, but I can’t.


ETH: in the last administration you was the treasure of the state, how did you saw this coming?


Nobody saw this coming, as recently as June of 2008, not even a year ago, DFAC the group that projects revenues for the state, who are the best in the country, projected revenues in excess of 3.5 billion for this next fiscal year, as of today it’s less than 2.9 billion. This economy absolutely fell apart basically last summer and fall and so believe me, none of us particularly want to be here.


ETH: How this happened, was a magician act fault?


The housing industry fell apart, people unable to pay back their loans, their mortgages, credit got tightened up, nobody could borrow, businesses laid people off, and the unemployment rate has doubled in the last year. Delaware is particularly exposed because of our exposure to the car industry and because of our exposure to the financial services industry, the credit card companies. It fell off a cliff, and we’re not done. It has continued to get worse. We don’t yet know where the bottom is going to be on these revenues.


ETH: Another area of great concern is minority and women owned business enterprises and their being shut out of the competition for state contracts.


Well, I don’t believe it’s true, in fact, just today, we announced that on the federal stimulus bill that we talked about earlier, in the case of DelDot it leaves 9 percent of it’s spending on the stimulus projects will be with minority owned businesses, which is a big number. Secondly, we are committed to working minority owned businesses we think it’s important that more of that business gets shared. Minority owned businesses are largely small businesses, and so a few weeks ago, Allen Levin, who is the head of economic development office, introduced our LIFT program which stands for Limited Investment for Financial Travel. It’s helping small businesses access credit, borrow more affordably, in fact it will buy down to zero percent the interest that they pay for up to two years. It’s a very big deal, we’ve already had a couple businesses who have taken us up on that, and they work through their local bank. We just held the first Minority and women and business forum in the history of the state. We’ve reached out to minority owned businesses to add them to the list of certified state vendors and we’ve developed something called strategies for success which explains how to become a certified vendor so that more minorities owned businesses can bid on state contracts. Something that was done through DEDO. The office of minority and women business enterprise is right now working with Mason Construction Company, who are the ones working on the Kent county courthouse, which is a new building going up now. They’re now soliciting contractors for carpentry, painting, plumbing, landscaping for the next phase of that construction project, and they’re specifically reaching out to minority owned businesses. Beyond that, the office management budget is developing a pilot process will require at least one estimate to be solicited from a minority or woman owned business for projects that are under $50,000. Those are some very specific things that are going to work, beyond that, what we’ve got to do to deal with this effectively, we’ve got to say “why is it that minority businesses are sometimes unsuccessful in doing more business and there are a number of answers. First of all, some of them don’t even know about the opportunity, so we’ve got to do a better job of letting them know about that, which sounds like a business forum, secondly, sometimes they are too small, so what we have to do in that case, basically, is cut down into smaller chunks, the pieces of business that are being put out to bid. Because if it’s too big as one maybe if it’s put out to bid as smaller pieces then these business may be able to qualify or apply successfully. In some cases the “good ol’ boy” network has worked against them which is why this idea, which I just learned about working with the mason construction company, is a very good one, and I think that these are very good, tangible steps that are being taken. It’s not something that’s going to all of a sudden be successful, we’re going to have to be committed, and we’re going to have to keep working on it.


ETH: Delaware economics relations with Latin-America have been growing in latest years, what your plans to continue this grow?


We’re very much all ears to learning how we can continue to develop those ties; I know that the Chileans are an important business partner in the port of Wilmington, particularly some of the fruit, exporters from Chile. I’m not a big believer in doing what I call “fishing expeditions” I’m willing to travel when I know that there’s real opportunity but I think that given the budget cycle we’re in, spending a lot of money on international travel with an uncertain result is probably not where we ought to be. That being said, to the extent that any of your readers have specific ideas to consider and know about specific companies that are potential opportunity for Delaware, we’ll be all over them. I think myself lived in south America and Latin America for 6 months, I’m somewhat proficient in Spanish, I have an affection for the people, the culture it’s something that I intend to promote and I don’t know how many governors actually speak Spanish, but I’m more than willing to give it a shot when I travel to try to sell people, including the growing importance of the Latino community in Delaware and the great business environment we have here.


ETH: If the federal government requires space and location for those terrorist who are detained at Guantanamo, would you be in agreement to consult trough a referendum to Delaware residents about their position about this issue?


That’s the first time I’ve been asked that question, my gut instinct is that I’m not really interested in bringing those folks to Delaware, but it’s not something that I’ve studied carefully.


ETH: Who is Jack Markell as Governor?


I’m the same person and I continue to be interested in ideas from your readers and from members of the Latino community. We’re all about continuing to do better, so whether it’s with respect to more people who are interested in serving in some capacity on our boards or commissions whether it’s with respect to some specific issues that we talked about. I look forward to being a partner with the Latino community, whether it’s through GACHA whether it’s through other venues. It’s clear to me that the Latino community is growing not only in size, but also in importance, and that I recognize that we really all want the same thing, which is the chance to live out the “el sueño Americano”

We all want the same thing. We want to be better and we have a much better chance of being better if we’re all engaged together. For this, I’ve looked forward to an ongoing partnership.


I also believe the Hispanic community is going to be an important part of making that better future happen. It’s not going to be sufficient to sit back. I think in the end, a better economy, as we are focused on the economic future and creating more jobs, and once that’s accomplished, that will take care of many of the other issues, and we want to make sure that the Latino community and all of our communities have people with the right skills to do those jobs, so we’re going to work hand in hand with members of the Latino community as we do frankly, with all Delawareans.


I am honored to have the opportunity, it’s an incredible job but it’s also, at this point in time, a very challenging job, because the economic situation in which we find ourselves, is more daunting than anybody in this state perhaps has ever seen in 60 years since the great depression and so we have considerable work to do, a lot of progress still to make, but we will do it. Delawareans are a resilient people and we’ll get through it, but it will require a lot of working together.




La Junta de Christina aprueba la política de protección de estudiantes indocumentados

En su reunión regular del 11 de abril la Junta Directiva del Distrito Escolar Christina aprobó la nueva política llamada “Protección del derecho de los estudiantes inmigrantes a la educación pública” por una votación de 4 a 2.

Christina Board Approves Policy on Protections for Undocumented Students

At its April 11 regular board meeting, the Christina School District Board of Education approved a new policy entitled “Protection of Undocumented Students’ Right to a Public Education” by a vote of 4-2.

Christina como "santuario" para niños indocumentados

El 14 de febrero, día de los enamorados, la junta del Distrito Escolar Cristina discutió y rechazó una propuesta para convertir el distrito en santuario para los niños indocumentados.

Christina as 'sanctuary' for undocumented kids

On February 14, the Cristina School District board discussed and rejected a proposal to turn the district into a sanctuary for undocumented children.


Tienes que creer en tí mismo

Wilson Mercado fue uno de los jóvenes que hace 37 años recibió el premio “Tomorrow’s Latino Leaders Today”

You have to believe in yourself

Wilson Mercado was one of the young people who 37 years ago received the "Tomorrow's Latino Leaders Today" award


"La risa, buena para el cuerpo"

Cuando éramos niños, mi hermano OZ y yo siempre nos metíamos en problemas por nuestra risa.

“Laughter, It Does The Body Good”

Growing up, me and my brother Oz would always get in trouble because of our laughter.


PBS retransmitirá LATIN MUSIC USA

Una celebración de la música Latina y su influencia en la música y cultura  estadounidense


A Celebration of the Latino Contribution to the American Songbook

La Cultura Hispana en Delaware/Hispanic Culture in Delaware

Una para los libros

Hoy es un día sin precedentes en la historia de los Estados Unidos.

One for the record books

Today marks an unprecedented day in American history.