Why Is Luis Gutierrez Even Holding Office?

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Why Is Luis Gutierrez Even Holding Office?
By RAY HANANIA • Friday, May 11, 2012
U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez has made a career out of exploiting and dividing the Mexican American community in his 4th Congressional district to preserve his lock on the district.

He is Puerto Rican, a Latino community with automatic American citizenship. That contrasts sharply with Mexican Americans, many of whom are not yet citizens or have family members and relatives who are seeking citizenship or have issues with our nation’s anti-Hispanic Immigration and Naturalization policies.

Ironically, the 4th Congressional District was drawn up to elect a Mexican American representative. Yet they can’t. Why?

If the ethnicity of an elected official has an impact on representation, then the 4th Congressional district is turned upside down.

The district is 74 percent Hispanic/Latino American. There are about 630,000 residents in the district, which means that there are more than 466,000 Hispanics in the district.

Of those 466,000 Hispanic/Latino residents, more than 75 percent of them, or about 349,000, are Mexican American. Only 10 percent, or 46,600, are Puerto Rican residents. The remainder are a mix of Cubans, South Americans and other Latino ethnics.

Ironically, Puerto Ricans and Mexicans are often at odds on political issues. That’s in part due to the fact that most Puerto Ricans do not have to worry about immigration issues while the fear of the INS haunts many Mexican Americans.

One consequence is that Mexican Americans vote at one of the lowest rations of any ethnic group, while Puerto Ricans have a very high voter turnout.

In the last election for the district, on Nov. 2, 2010, there was a 52 percent voter turnout across the state or more than 719,000 voters went to the polls. In the 4th Congressional, however, only 8,907 people voted. Gutierrez received the majority of the votes, a total of 73 percent, or 6,557, while his nearest opponent, Israel Vasquez received only 19.66 percent, or only 1,751.

Vasquez is a conservative Republican financial planner. Of course, it’s tough to defeat a Democrat in the district that was also drawn to have an overwhelming Democratic electoral base. But in Latino politics, Latino heritage is as important to Latino voters as is political affiliation.

In the Democratic primary race, Gutierrez was unchallenged. He got 3,121 votes.

The most startling statistic is that Gutierrez’s power base is practically non-existent. He lives off a fake reputation of being a champion of Hispanic rights, but he spends all of his time and huge war chest to fuel inter-Mexican rivalries, keeping the Mexican American community so divided that they don’t have the time to focus on taking over the congressional district.

Gutierrez donates thousands of dollars to Mexican American candidates to challenge other Mexican American candidates or to create division in communities that are overwhelmingly Mexican American.

How can that be? Well, Mexican Americans are easily drawn into the divisive internal community battles by Gutierrez.

Yet Gutierrez is so vulnerable, if Mexican Americans and their Anglo allies were to come out in strong numbers to challenge him.

Here is the startling fact about the 4th Congressional District:

The district had a total voter turnout of only 8,907 votes in the November election in 2010.

Compare that to the neighboring district. In the 1st District, where Bobby Rush is congressman, a total of 56,470 people voted in the same election. In the 2nd Congressional District, where Jesse Jackson is the congressman, a total of 111,840 people voted in that election. In the 3rd Congressional District, where Dan Lipinski is congressman, a total of 102,161 people voted.

Gutierrez has no right targeting other communities when he lives in an ethnic glass house.

(Visit http://www.SuburbanChicagoland for more details on the 4th Congressional District. Contact Ray Hanania at http://www.RadioChicagoland.com.) — City & Suburban News-Herald

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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and Columnist who began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He covered Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992 (Mayor Daley to Mayor Daley) and has expanded to writing for newspapers around the world focussed on Middle East and American politics.

Hanania loves to write about American Arabs in politics, and focuses on Arab life in America.

Currently, he writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com. He writes on American politics for the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News newspaper and the Reporter Newspapers. He also writes for the online websites TheArabDailyNews.com and NewsAmericaNetwork.com (Illinois News Network at IllinoisNewsNetwork.com).

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Hanania began in journalism as an activist publishing Chicago’s first English-language American Arab Newspaper “The Middle Eastern Voice” from 1975 through 1977. In 1976, he was hired by the Chicago community newspaper The Southtown Economist (Daily Southtown) and in 1985 was hired by the Chicago Sun-Times and covered Chicago City Hall for both. In 1993, he launched the “The Villager” Newspapers which covered 12 Southwest Chicagoland suburban regions. In 2004, he published “The National Arab American Times” monthly newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East ethnic food stores in 48 American States.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

Hanania’s writings have been published in newspapers around the world. Formerly syndicated by Creators Syndicate, Hanania also has written news, features and Opinion Columns for Al Jazeera English, the Jerusalem Post, YNetNews.com, Arab News, Saudi Gazette, Newsday in New York, the Orlando Sentinel, the Houston Chronicle, The Daily Star, the News of the World, the Daily Yomimuri in Tokyo, Chicago Magazine, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, and Aramco Magazine. His political columns are published in the Southwest News-Herald and Des Plaines Valley News, Regional News and Palos Reporter newspapers in Chicagoland. Hanania is the President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group media and public affairs consulting which has clients in Illinois, Florida, Michigan and Washington D.C.

Hanania is Palestinian Christian from prominent Bethlehem and Jerusalem families. His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.

His Facebook Page is Facebook.com/rghanania

Email him at: RGHanania@gmail.com