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It's Time for California to Become a Community

March 09, 2003

We wish to commend State Librarian Kevin Starr for his excellent article, "Time to Rethink the Golden State" (Jan. 12).

He is not exaggerating when he declares that, in the face of our monumental state budget crisis, "one can legitimately say that the state of California is being more than renegotiated. It is being re-founded, if not reborn." We wholeheartedly agree, especially with his references to the creation of California's original constitution -- a bilingual document accomplished within a month.

It is a pity so few Californians know about how we began. It wasn't always so.

Every two years, the state Senate and Assembly Rules committees officially publish an updated, widely used paperback about the U.S. and California constitutions and their history. Two decades ago, all but incidental references to our original state charter were dropped.

We urge it be restored in full in the edition due out soon. After all, if our first constitution could be printed, distributed throughout California and voted on in 30 days 153 years ago, it doesn't seem like much to ask.

Starr also asks: "What kind of people are we Californians? Do we see state government as something worthy of re-foundation? Are we willing to back our elected officials when they are forced to make hard choices?" In other words, who were we and are we? How committed are Californians, stirred by earlier examples, to straighten out our public affairs together?

Los Amigos of Orange County, our informal cross-section of local Latino leadership that has met weekly for 25 years, has been discussing these issues a long time.

We believe everyone must be committed to renewal of the California community. If you care at all, there is no other choice.

Amin David

Chair,

Los Amigos of Orange County

Anaheim

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