A Reader Writes by Martha E. Martinez: Good reasons for Paul Rodriguez Boulevard

June 10, 2002

The focus of our Paul Rodriguez project is to demonstrate a number of things we believe in. It is to show the children of the Imperial Valley that a person can rise above even though the person comes from humble beginnings; that they can succeed and have the generosity of spirit, as demonstrated by Mr. Rodriguez, to help those around them. Further, they can be proud of their heritage, as throughout Paul's entire career he has been committed to advancing Hispanic on positive terms.

In the contents of his artful humor there is a constant reminder of our contributions to this country we love. We believe in what he stands for. He is a humble man and few people know of his generous and unfaltering dedication to the Hispanic community. Of notable importance are his contributions to the National Hispanic Scholarship Foundation, which attests to his commitment to education. He hosts a major annual benefit golf tournament for this cause. This and other numerous other projects, contributions and volunteer work demonstrate his commitment to the noble work of GIVING BACK.


Not everyone may like the idea of honoring Paul Rodriguez. But so far, we have a vast amount of people including most of the locally owned businesses on Fourth Street who not only like it, are willing to change their letterhead (the post office will honor the old address for a year after the dedication) but agree a change like this is wanted. Some businesses will change numerous licenses for this dedication and have agreed to do so. Any hesitation is gone after it is explained what this dedication means to us.

The contributions Mr. Rodriguez has done in El Centro, which started when he first came here in 1997 and continue quietly to this day, are quite substantial and should not be ignored. He is one of the largest personal and most constant contributors at the El Centro Police Athletic League (which keeps kids off of the streets, out of gangs and into sports). We see him as a shining example of the good things one person can do. We want the world to know El Centro is a city that appreciates not only what someone like this has done for us but for who he is and what he stands for.

We are sorry if Mr. Yniguez is upset because he feels his brother deserves it more. If that's how he feels, then he should go out and get the signatures to support it, do all the hard work that it takes and if the community supports it, then good for him. We may even help him if he can demonstrate why his brother deserves it.

He did not mention what contributions his brother has made to El Centro or to the community. How has this man made a difference? Educate us about his achievements so the word will spread near and far that this is a man dedicated to a noble cause, and we will help you.

There are items from his column we would like to address. We feel there are facts that any good reporter should have uncovered before proceeding to inform the public with damaging untruths.

FACT: We are not just a "handful of people," we include: the El Centro PAL, the Mexican American Political Association, the Hidalgo Society, the majority of merchants down Fourth Street and many other intelligent and educated people, people who have the vision of how this could benefit the community.

Besides, even if it were only one person, realize that most of the laws ever enacted, the things ever invented, most of the greatest things ever done in the history of mankind were brought about by the commitment, dedication and steadfast determination of just one person! That is a fact that can't be lost here. Just one person can bring about major change

FACT: There are not "not enough" Hispanic dedicated streets in the city of El Centro. There are none, not a one, for any Hispanic living or deceased in this city. This is shameful and we are working for change. We, thankfully, feel we have the support of the council on that account. A byproduct of our project is that it brought this to everyone's attention. Prior to this, no one had even noticed, not even us!

The city of Brawley has 14 Hispanic dedicated streets. Calexico has 50 English, 50 Spanish streets and even has a Dr. Martin Luther King Street, which demonstrates that city's commitment as a people-friendly community. Hats off to Calexico! Wouldn't El Centro benefit from taking that stand as well and excluding no one on the basis of their race?

FACT: When a local group tried to have the new school on Main and Lotus dedicated as Cesar Chavez School, the City Council rejected it on the basis the name was too "controversial." His name was, however, used to dedicate the unemployment office! The unemployment office! What the heck is that about? I know there are wonderful people in there doing wonderful work, but what type of message do you think this is putting forward? The message sounds like, "If you are Hispanic then you are unemployed."

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