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Latino is owner

Robert Cabrera
Tuesday November 20, 2001


Thank you for featuring the successful signature drive by Citizens for Fair Representation (Nov. 15). Also my thanks to the reporter for printing Mr. Worthington’s revealing comments. 

Mr. Worthington states that among the fifty volunteer signature gatherers present on the steps of City Hall he saw no Latinos and no Asians. However, he must not have looked very hard since there happened to be an Asian volunteer standing next to Mr. Worthington at the conference; and the last time I checked, my last name was still as Spanish as it gets.  

Mr. Worthington goes on to say that he noticed many property owners, “including Robert Cabrera.” What exactly does he mean by that statement? Is it that if you own property you should be prohibited from going out on the streets to fight for your rights? Or is it perhaps that as a property owner you should not have the right to express your views or - God forbid - collect signatures for a referendum? 

He states as well that he only saw one African American and continued to somehow neutralize this fact by remarking that this person was (tainted?) by being a former president of the Black Property Owners Association. 

Mr. Worthington is relying on the divisive tactics of a bygone era meant to foster intolerance and diminish one’s human dignity and self worth; much like he tried to make the vote of every District 8 resident count for only 2/3 of a vote via his redistricting ordinance.  

I would venture to say that he is mad as hell that over one hundred and fifty unpaid volunteers dared to collect nearly twice the number of signatures required to overturn a less than honest redistricting effort - which, as Linda Maio put it at a recent city council meeting, was passed in order to save Mr. Worthington’s seat (from a student challenger).The fact is that as soon as registered voters heard about Mr. Worthington’s ordinance shifting thousands of residents missed by the Census they were livid; many, in fact, asked to take petitions to circulate themselves or sent friends and spouses to add their signatures in protest; hence the overwhelming number of signatures collected in less than four weeks. 

Mr. Worthington resorts to race baiting to demean this grass roots effort; he knows the successful petition drive did double duty: it not only gathered signatures but it educated over eight thousand Berkeley voters as to what really goes on at City Hall by exposing the actions of a council majority which considers that the justice of their own cause places them above all the restraints of decency, honesty and the law. 

Robert Cabrera