Regarding “Hispanic district a step closer” (Metro, Sept. 19): The article closes with a statement by Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin Beckner: “We must remove politics from this process.”
Who is he kidding?
The whole concept of a Hispanic district is all politics, and it is politics at its worse. It is the politics of division and segregation; this concept is also known as “Balkanization.” It is the politics of creating a captive community dominated by a few political hacks who otherwise have failed to produce a Hispanic candidate who can sell their ideas to the community at large.
Hillsborough County demographics show that Hispanics, or Latinos as some prefer to call us, are a very diverse lot, and we live throughout the entire county. There are and always have been concentrations in some areas, which is a tradition in the history of this country as new immigrants arrive, such as the current Puerto Rican enclaves in the Brandon and Town ’N Country areas; the Mexican and other Central American communities in Plant City, Riverview and other South County communities; old and new Cubans in West Tampa; and, of course, the cradle of Hispanic heritage in Ybor City.
We are native Floridians, or we may have come from Spain, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Colombian, Peru, Venezuela or any other Latin American county. Some have come looking for political freedom — others, for a better life for their families. But now we are all Americans and proud of it.
To pretend that a small group of so-called Hispanic activists — some of them can hardly speak Spanish — can claim to represent this multiple and highly spread group of individuals is just plain arrogance and should be dismissed as such.
The concept that only a tightly controlled community can elect a Hispanic or Latin individual who represents all of us is false and an insult to our intelligence. If it were true, we would have never had a Bob Martinez from Tampa elected governor, or a Mel Martinez or Marco Rubio elected to the Senate. Throughout the country many Hispanics, from both parties, currently occupy elective office in areas where Hispanics are not a majority.
A Hispanic with the right message can and will be elected by the voting community to represent all of Hillsborough County, not just a few controlled souls in a Hispanic ghetto. That is the true meaning of the democracy we all love and respect. It is what America is all about — freedom of choice and respect for each other’s ideas, not political control by a misguided and power-hungry minority.
If our elected commissioners insist in pursuing this path they should all be voted out for a great disservice to the citizens of Hillsborough County and to the Hispanic community in particular.
Alberto J. Sanchez