Ed Herrera’s thoughts on Roger Hedgecock’s dismissal from CV Forum

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Regarding last night’s candidate forum ongoings in Chula Vista and the “booting” of emcee Roger Hedgecock, SD Rostra asked Ed Herrera, president and CEO of the Chula Vista Civic Association, if he might consider submitting his take on the evening.  We are pleased that Mr. Herrera was able to respond so quickly with the following, as a SD Rostra guest commentary…

We should not condemn; we should welcome
by Ed Herrera

As reported in The San Diego Union-Tribune today, plans for a Chula Vista candidates forum featuring mayoral and city council candidates, “…unraveled only hours before the function” when MAAC Project head Antonio Pizano threatened to shut down the forum and lock down the MAAC Community Charter School after “…he learned the former San Diego mayor and county supervisor would be moderating.”

And indeed, that is what occurred. Only hours from the start of the forum, Mr. Pizano called me to make these threats which almost assuredly caused the cancellation of the forum of which thousands of residents were invited to, thereby diminishing any hope for a democratic, fair, and educational forum for citizens to hear from and engage their future elected leaders.

Perhaps, the second most disheartening turn of events was the reason for Mr. Pizano’s threat of locking down the school.

It was made very clear that the decision made by the Mr. Pizano to bar Mr. Hedgecock from stepping on stage was purely discriminatorily based on differences in political philosophy.

Anyone who has attended one of many forums moderated by Mr. Hedgecock throughout San Diego County knows him to be a very fair and impartial moderator who is careful never to insert his own views. Mr. Hedgecock is no stranger to Chula Vista as he eloquently moderated a similar candidate forum in 2006 which the local sponsoring newspaper and public hailed as a great success.

Nevertheless, it was with great remorse that I informed Mr. Hedgecock of Mr. Pizano’s intervention at which Mr. Hedgecock very graciously stated that he would rather not have the forum cancelled and it was best that he not be there in order to proceed.

But what was there to fear about Mr. Hedgecock as a moderator? Nothing. Sponsoring organizations, such as the one that I am privileged to lead, went to great lengths to ensure utmost fairness and impartiality. As a matter of fact, it was not Mr. Hedgecock who formulated the questions, it was the local newspaper and two non-partisan, non profit civic organizations. Mr. Hedgecock’s sole role in the forum was to ensure that the train ran on time.

Even so, whether it is the case that one wears their thoughts and beliefs on their sleeves does not necessary make them more partisan than those who do not.

In the end, I am deeply disappointed with the MAAC Project’s Antonio Pizano. I expected more from a taxpayer funded educational institution.

What is more regretful is what our children will learn from Mr. Pizano under his leadership at the MAAC Community Charter School from this experience. Are children being taught to bar the doors and lock different thoughts, beliefs, and people out? Is our next generation being taught to build up walls and divides when it disagrees? Should we not be teaching our children the importance of what our founding fathers and ancestors have fought for, and continue to fight for? A democratic and free America, where there is co-existence, tolerance, and respect for one another’s constitutional rights.

We should not condemn; we should welcome. It is in that condemnation that disdain and lack of understanding are bred.  I believe in an America where we bring all people to the table. I have not lost hope in the next generation. I believe it will be that generation that will break down the walls of superannuated, backwards thinking

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Comments 8

  1. Isn’t this comepletly illegal?? MAAC Project is getting taxpayer kick backs to pay for Pizano’s salary! This is the ACORN of school systems! Thank you Ed Herrera for standing up against this discrimination and against these enemies of democracy!

  2. Although she may not be speaking for Mr. Pizano, I read in the UT that another South Bay activist, Norma Cazares, stated that Hedgecock “engages in race baiting and inciting people against immigrants.” These people just don’t get it! The open-border (with Mexico) crowd just doesn’t grasp that there is a difference between “immigrants” and “illegal immigrants,” and that citizens against “illegal” immigration, whether they live in USA, Mexico, Canada, or anywhere, are not being racist, they are in opposition to an illegal activity that violates the laws and security of their country! Just goes to show who the real bigots are!

  3. Hello folks, saying that Hedgecock is an impartial moderator is like saying foxes don’t like chicken. (burp).

    As Roger’s producer for 15 years i set up hundreds of on the radio debates for primary and general election campaigns. It was always tooth pulling to get a democratic candidate on the show to debate because of Hedgecock’s lack of impartiality. More times than not we ended up with just the GOP (or Hedgecock approved) candidates. Those unfavored by Hedgecock refused to appear. And with good reason. If Hedgecock didn’t savage the unfavored guest during the debate (which would be unusual) he certainly did as soon as the debate was concluded.

    Why anyone of sound mind would invite Hedgecock to moderate a “legitimate,” debate is beyond me. A matter of ignorance on the part of whomever tendered the invite or a guise on behalf of a Hedgecock favorite.

    As for disappointing “thousands,” hello again. Hedgecock can draw a half dozen folks to such an event, and then only if there is free food involved.

    Instead of Woe is Me, reschedule the debate or forum witih a new moderator. Hell, I’ll volunteer. I am the Mayor of Dehesa Valley and have no special interest in Chula Vista at all.

    I await your invitation, best, jimmyv

  4. As a Sweetwater School Board Member… Here is the email I sent to Roger Hedgecock:

    Roger,

    As full as your plate is, I’m sure you weren’t too upset at the cancellation of last night’s mayoral forum in Chula Vista… but I am.

    As a member of the Sweetwater School Board (the only Republican and the only private sector business owner on the board), we collectively grant the charter to the MAAC Project. They do great work with kids, but in this instance, they failed both our kids and community by barring you as the moderator because of your views.

    Speaking from the private, not public sector viewpoint, it seems that in the marketplace of ideas the liberal persuasion wants an “exclusive” on their speech and ideology and are not very “tolerant” of other points of view.

    Besides, you were there to be a moderator, not a pundit, as you so ably accomplished in 2006 in our community.

    I have lodged a formal complaint with the superintendent of our school district (the largest high school district in the nation), to initiate an investigation into this amazing dereliction of duty in upholding your first amendment rights in a non-profit charter school funded with our tax dollars.

    I know your schedule is incredibly full, but I will be proposing that we open up one of our high schools to reschedule this event in the future.

    Best Regards,

    Jim Cartmill
    Member, Sweetwater School Board

  5. Guys: I really don’t want to beat this already stricken horse but Hedgecock’s schedule is not incredibly full.

    He works three hours a day, hello. He talks for a living…and a staff has put together all of what he talks about. Besides most of his chatter is borrowed from Rush and Hannity.

    Hedgecock has more time on his hands than a clock maker.

    And you reallly do not want an investigation. Trying to make a case for Hedgecock being impartial…poleeeze!! Do not subject your board to that embarrassment.

    But thanks for your support of Charter Schools, best, jimmyv

  6. Jim, I am a board member of the Chula Vista Civic Association. This event had been planned and publicized for a few weeks. It was intentionally sabotaged at the last minute. The candidates were all well aware that Roger was to be the moderator, if anyone had an issue with it, they could have spoken up at any time.
    Alicia McGinnis

  7. Jim its funny to see that you are trying to play the republican card now, if I recall a few years back wasn’t it you who supported Arlie Ricassa the democrat for election?

  8. Bravo Ed Herrera!

    I too was shocked to learn of Antonio Pizano’s narrow-minded refusal to allow Roger Hedgecock to moderate the forum (and I am not even a fan of Roger) however, in this instance Mr. Pizano is on the wrong side of the fence – literally!

    As a proud liberal and staunch defender of our civil liberties, I support Mr. Pizano’s right to his own racially-motivated beliefs, likes and dislikes, but his personal political agenda is just that – personal, and hopefully illegal immigration is not supported by either MAAC Project, or the Sweetwater Union High School District.

    But what else would we expect from Mr. Pizano? This man appears to have a well-documented history of ignoring the rules and protocols for working within the public realm. He resigned from his previous job as Executive Director of the Housing Authority of the County of San Joaquin, after the Grand Jury investigated allegations of improper and seriously poor management practices.

    I say it is time that MAAC Project re-evaluated Mr. Pizano’s role within their organization. Public-service organizations that are funded in-part by our state and federal taxes have no right to espouse support for any illegal activities – immigration or otherwise – and furthermore, I will be sorely disappointed if SUHSD Superintendent Jesus Gandara doesn’t also condemn Mr. Pizano for his gross abuse of authority. My child is a student in a Chula Vista public school, and I would be outraged if I thought the district’s administration shared Mr. Pizano’s views or supported his efforts to censor others who disagreed with him.

    My advice to MAAC Project? Let Mr. Pizano cool his heels in an unemployment line.

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