Monday, September 22, 2008

C. de Baca Sticks To His Story, and Refuses To Resign

Fernando C. de Baca
Embattled Republican County Chairman Fernando C. de Baca says he isn't resigning his leadership position in Bernalillo County.

He says the controversial remarks attributed to him by BBC Reporter Jon Kelly, and published on Friday (September 19, 2008), were taken out of context.

After several days of deliberating with family, friends, and other republicans he's now preparing to discuss the matter with the county party's executive board during private meeting at an undisclosed location at 8:30am on Tuesday morning.

I received a document titled "Friends of the Chairman" that included C. de Baca's response to Weh's request that he resign as Chairman of the Bernalillo County Republican Party:
With all due respect, Mr. Weh does not have the authority under our Party Rules to remove me as Chairman of the County Party. That power rests with the Bernalillo County Republican Party’s County Central Committee. Tomorrow, we are having an Executive Committee meeting to discuss this matter with our senior County Party leaders.
We've learned at least one republican state representative was sending a letter to members of the board urging members to retain C. de Baca.

On Monday night Baca issued the following statement:
It has come to my attention that an inaccurate account of a press interview given by me to a person who claimed to be a BBC blogger has made it to the airwaves. This inaccurate rendition, in fact, has led Allen Weh, the Chairman of the State Republican Party to request my resignation as Chairman of the Bernalillo County Republican Party. I met with a reporter of the BBC at the State Republican Party’s request. The reporter from the BBC requested that I give an overview of the attitude of the Spanish American population toward the candidacy of an African- American for the Presidency of the United States.

I answered that I would answer his questions as an Hispanic, not as Chairman of the Bernalillo County Republican Party and that, further, my answer was limited strictly to my perspective of the Hispanics in the State of New Mexico.
I gave the reporter an overview of what I believe to be the attitudes of Hispanics toward the candidacy of an African-American. I suggested that one first needs to divide the Hispanic community in New Mexico into two different groups -- those who came of age before the civil rights movement of the 1960’s and those who came of age after the civil rights movement. I said that as to older Hispanics, very few here would vote for an African-American.

As to younger Hispanics however, many would vote for an African American. In discussing the attitudes of older Hispanics in the State, I said that many have survived years of discrimination knowing the fact that their ancestors came here as Conquistadores. I gave an example from my own experience as to the pride of my own grandfather.

As a young school boy many years ago, I came home from school beat-up and distraught after being in an altercation at school with other boys who were ridiculing me and making fun of name and the color of my skin. My grandfather chastised me saying “You straighten up and remember that your ancestors came here as Conquistadores.
After repeated requests to speak with BBC Reporter Jon Kelly about his story we received this statment from Patricia Lodge, an Internal Communications Manager for BBC Global News:
Jon Kelly accurately reported what Fernando C. de Baca said to him about Hispanic perceptions towards African Americans. The BBC has not received any complaints about the report from Mr de Baca or the Republican Party.
Allen Weh
Republican State Party Chairman Allen Weh has requested C. de Baca quit, and state leaders, community activities and candidates from both parties began issuing demands for C. de Baca's ouster as early as Friday night.

During an earlier interview, C. de Baca said he was prepared to step aside to keep the campaign moving forward and centered on the issues.

Earlier in the day retiring U.S. Senator Pete Domenici said he didn't know if the statements had been taken out of context, but said if they were it was time for C. de Baca to go.

In his statement C. de Baca points out that his perspective as to the attitude of many older Hispanics in New Mexico is shared by others.
For instance, Mary Jane Garcia who is a long serving Democrat State Senator from Dona Ana County recently said, “I don’t know one single Hispanic over 50 who will cast a vote for Obama.” I think she likely overstated the point, but, nonetheless, she and I both attempted to discuss an attitudinal issue related to older Hispanics here in New Mexico. Denying that the issue exists would simply be an attempt to obfuscate the truth and that would do no one any good.
Earlier in the day, our Sunday interview with KOAT's Mike Garofalo, was re-broadcast on CNN. Click here to view the video.

Photo Credits: MG Bralley

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