Yes on Measures A and B – It’s time for Latino Leadership

Police_Attention_croppedBy Andrew Ysiano 

Stockton voters are already casting ballots on Measures A and B. Measure A will increase the sales tax by three-quarters of a cent to fund more police on the streets, increase accountability and oversight, and help the City of Stockton emerge from bankruptcy quicker. Measure B gives the city guidance on how the revenues should be spent.

As publisher of the Latino Times, this newspaper supports the passage of Measures A and B. I support the measures because I want to live and work in a safe community. I want families and businesses to be safe. I want to see Stockton recover from bankruptcy and have this city flourish once again.

The Latino community clearly understands the importance of a safe community. That’s why I was surprised by a recent survey which found that Latino voters are not yet engaged on Measures A and B. I thought, there must be some mistake. This could not right!

Passing Measures A and B are critically important to the future of this city. As a community, we do care about ensuring Stockton is a safe place to live.

Unfortunately, caring isn’t enough. It’s time for action and it’s time for leadership. It’s time for the Latino community to stand up and be counted. This election really is that important. Many of us can be quite vocal about immigration reform and creating a path to citizenship. Yet, there is no greater sign, there is no greater responsibility of citizenship than exercising the right to vote.

Voting is not only a right, but a demonstration of personal leadership. It’s time for each of us to step up and demonstrate personal leadership within our own circle of influence. We must take a moment and encourage friends and family members to vote.

You don’t have to be an expert on all the issues. In fact, this election is straightforward and simple. We either support the idea that Stockton’s streets should be safe, or we don’t.

Measure A will allow Stockton to add another 120 police officers.  That means when you or your loved one calls in an emergency, law enforcement responds quickly. If an intruder is attempting to break into your home or your business, you want to know help is on the way.

Former United States Marshal Antonio ‘Tony’ Amador said recently that crime is bad for business.

“All of us can be victims of crime, there are no exemptions,” Amador said to a recent Stockton audience. “In every city, if crime flourishes, business flee the area. Business practices are compromised when auto thefts increase, gangs proliferate, and drug-use goes up. These are qualities that are not attractive to businesses. The entire community suffers economically.”

Urging Stockton voters to pass Measures A and B, Amador said a community must not nickel and dime the personal safety of its citizens. “Crime puts individuals and property at risk. Measures A and B will protect the community,” he said.

“The people need to have the confidence to know when they call 911, they will get an immediate response,” Amador said.

The business community also understands the importance of passing Measures A and B. Both the Business Council of San Joaquin and the Greater Stockton Chamber of Commerce have endorsed Measures A and B.

Douglass W.  Wilhoit, Jr., the chamber’s CEO, is also a former police officer in Stockton. He agreed with Amador that passing Measures A and B is critical to Stockton’s future and the safety of its residents.

“The most important tool in crime prevention is the presence of ‘black and whites’ on the street,” Wilhoit said. “Placing police officers on the street provides visibility, support and the ability to react to an issue or crime immediately.”

In addition to being a former Stockton police officer, Wilhoit is a member of the Marshall Plan committee.

“A strong presence of police officers is the best crime prevention tool,” Wilhoit said. “As a member of the Marshall Plan committee, I can assure you the main thrust of the three-quarter cent sales tax increase will fund law enforcement. That’s why the business community supports Measures A and B.”

While Wilhoit and Amador have taken a more public role in this campaign, their leadership should be an inspiration to each of us. And leaders within our community have stepped up and provided leadership. The San Joaquin County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, led by its president, James Jimenez, has endorsed the measures. Jimenez and other Latino leaders including Jose Rodriguez, Executive Director, El Concilio and San Joaquin County Supervisor Carlos Villapudua, also serve on the Marshall Plan Committee.

Each of us needs to our part, however big or small, to ensure that these measures succeed. Please join me as we say Yes on Measures A and B and help make Stockton a safer and more financially stable place to live.

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