Activists Find Governor's Comments Offensive
Oct. 5 - KGO (KGO) -- More questionable remarks from Governor Schwarzennegger today about Latinos, saying Mexican immigrants do not always assimilate quickly into American culture. The governor made the comments just as pressure to release more private recordings of other controversial Latino comments ramps up from his Democratic opponent.
For the second time in as many months, Governor Schwarzenegger finds himself in hot water with Latinos, saying today that Mexicans have not tried hard enough to assimilate.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, (R) California: "They are so close to their country here, so they try to stay Mexican, but try to be in America. So there is this back and forth."
The controversial comment comes just when a new poll out last week showed the governor gaining support from that community, with one-third likely to vote for him. But Latino activists say he'll lose ground again because today's remark was also offensive.
Luis Arteaga, Latino Issues Forum: "I'm offended because once again, this governor is making these blanket generalizations about the Mexican community that comes in so many different shapes, sizes and beliefs. And yet he wants to couch us all as un-American."
Last month, aides to Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides somehow accessed a server in the governor's office that houses private tapes. They released six minutes in which the governor referred to a Puerto Rican lawmaker as having a fiery temperament.
Private Tape: "They're all very hot. They have black blood in them and the Latino blood in them."
The Angelides campaign has threatened to release more of the private tapes. They too say the governor made offensive remarks.
The governor may have been trying to head off their anticipated release, but might have made things worse.
Prof. Melissa Michelson, Ph.D., California State University East Bay: "I think he put his foot, his ankle and his entire lower leg in his mouth. He really seems to have a misunderstanding about how Mexican immigrants see themselves and their place in this country."
The Angelides campaign didn't return our calls today. Professor Michelson expects Angelides to bring up the Latino comments on Saturday night's one and only gubernatorial debate to help bolster his struggling campaign.
The lawmaker the governor was talking about in the private tape recording is Assemblywoman Bonnie Garcia. She has said she was not offended and considers the governor a friend. Meanwhile, the CHP is investigating how the Angelides campaign got those internal recordings, and if any law was broken.
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