Bustamante Fields Question About His '70's Role In MEChA (Chicano College Group) & Recall Strategy
(Sept. 1, 2003) -- Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante attended a Labor Day rally in Wilmington's Banning Park.
Among those assisting the Lieutenant Governor was 6th district LB Councilwoman Laura Richardson.
Councilwoman Richardson sported a blue T-shirt reading:
"Team Bustamante for a Better California." [emphasis in original]
Lt. Gov. Bustamante -- the major Democrat on the ballot if Gov. Davis is recalled -- was surrounded by supporters seeking handshakes and autographs and reporters chasing quotes and soundbites.
Bustamante focused on handing out hotdogs, signing autographs and visiting booths of pro-labor organizations.
Bustamante campaign strategist Richie Ross (left foreground), one of Sacramento's most experienced political consultants, ensured Lt. Gov. Bustamante responded to questions from the Los Angeles Times and New York Times. Other reporters gathered around, scribbled and recorded Bustamante's responses...which ended up on the evening news (and here, below).
The NY Times reporter asked Lt. Gov. Bustamante about his participation in MEChA (translates as "Chicano Student Movement of Aztlan" from Spanish "Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan") while at Fresno State University in the mid-1970s:
NY Times reporter: New York Times. You've addressed the MEChA issue already but we weren't quite clear on where you stood on the whole issue of the group's at least former separatist type...
Bustamante [interrupting]: I'm not for racial separation.
NY Times reporter: No [indicates understands Bustamante's position] and weren't then.
NY Times reporter: Presumably.
Bustamante: No. When I got there in the '70s, we were running for student Council.
NY Times reporter: Right, right (chuckling)
Bustamante: (Also chuckling) C'mon.
NY Times reporter: Right.
Bustamante: I mean a lot of students did a whole lot of stuff in the '60s. But by the time I got to college in the 70s, especially the mid 70s, you know we were trying to have cultural events, we were trying to demonstrate that we were, we were trying to be relevant both in the student politics and in the community, and we were trying to figure out how to graduate from college. And most of my friends have graduated from college and are raising families. [sounds like] About as mainstream, you know, I think probably as my hairline receded and my waistline grew, my politics probably did too. (mutual chuckles)
NY Times reporter: Alright. Thanks a lot.
[To hear a sound clip in MP3 format, click hyperlinked text above. For broadcast clearance, contact us here.]
An LA Times reporter asked Lt. Gov. Bustamante about his "No on recall, Yes on Bustamante" position, eliciting the following response:
Bustamante:: We're here to represent the working people of California, and I think that it's being seen now as a very positive effort [applause building from surrounding crowd] to make sure we're doing just that. [stronger applause] I'm not in opposition to Gray Davis. I'm in opposition to Arnold [Schwarzenegger], Tom [McClintock] and Peter [Ueberroth] because I believe the values I bring to California are better values, are working family values.
Councilwoman Richardson, who was alongside Lt. Gov. Bustamante for much of today's event, wound up in video telecast by CBS2 (and we presume sister station KCAL9) as well as other outlets.
Lt. Gov. Bustamante did not formally address the rally. After roughly an hour, he departed for another engagement.