Latino Town Hall celebrated by Supervisors for 20 years of service
Published:  December 16, 2016

The Ventura County Board of Supervisors recently honored the Santa Paula Latino Town Hall (LTH) for two decades of community advocacy.

3rd District Supervisor Kathy Long presented the proclamation to LTH representatives including President Lorenzo Moraza, Dr. Gabino Aguirre, Founding President Robert “Bob” Borrego, Laura Espinosa and Christine Basua.

Long said LTH recently “Celebrated their 20th anniversary, and I want the board to hear about the great work they’ve done.”

Latino Town Hall, she noted, was created to and has dedicated itself to “enhance, promote, mobilize, cultivate and raise the level of social awareness, interest and concern for issues affecting the Latino community in Santa Paula and Ventura County.”

They continue their quest through community building activities that “impact the social, cultural and economic life of the city.”

Long said the “spirit” of the nonprofit LTH is to “work constructively and efficiently,” toward solving problems that can “disrupt communities” by helping those in the community.

“The organization accomplishes,” positive change “by expanding educational and economic opportunities for underserved populations to assist in reducing and eliminating poverty, crime and discrimination in any form.”

By “building partnerships and coalitions with and between other organizations,” Long said LTH has “created synergy in addressing other issues that affect the Latino community.”

Youth has also been a priority for LTH recognized for its efforts in developing and implementing “a youth empowerment initiative” that Long said builds future leaders.

Latino Town Hall has been “very instrumental in building and engaging community not just in Santa Paula,” but also, noted Long, countywide where they are recognized for “their good work.”

Moraza noted, “On behalf of the past and present members of the organization we thank Kathy Long for her 20 years of service. She’s been a big supporter of our organization and because of your leadership many services have been offered to members of our community.

“I would like to stress that the support this board provides to nonprofit organizations is vital to get our work done,” and, said Moraza, “Santa Paula Latino Town Hall is committed to continuing to serve the community, addressing social justice issues here and in this county.”

Former LTH President and Mayor Aguirre also thanked the board for its recognition.

“We look at Santa Paula as the center of this particular universe and we look at the world from this particular place…there is a reason to celebrate, however we have some concerns as well. 

“As they say, ‘all politics are local’ and what is happening at the national level is of high concern to us. What is happening at Standing Rock is of high concern to us as is the fossil fuel industry. It is very, very powerful and we are concerned,” about the recent supervisorial election.

“The influence of oil company donations, in our opinion,” said Aguirre, “swung the vote.

“So, we are looking to you — just as Standing Rock has water protectors, we are looking to you to be Santa Paula protectors. We do not want that peaker plant in Santa Paula, we do not want a peaker plant in Oxnard.

“So,” concluded Aguirre, “we’re looking for your support.”

Espinosa, also a founding member of LTH, said the organization “has been instrumental in a number of areas. From the very beginning we wanted to engage all our citizens in Santa Paula not only in voting rights, but land use issues,” and arranged planning workshops including SOAR and General Plan Housing Element sessions in Spanish.  

“Santa Paula Latino Town Hall has been a very strong representative, not only in Santa Paula but in this county,” and said Espinosa, “We will continue to work on issues that are important to our community and county.”

“I’ve lived in Santa Paula all my life,” said Borrego who is approaching his 90th birthday. “I’ve seen the good and the bad and I felt very strongly that an organization like Latino Town Hall to look at the issues of importance,” was required to benefit the whole community.

“We have made much progress, provide many services in Santa Paula to different groups and we’re very proud to accept this resolution from Supervisor Long. We would like to thank Kathy for her years of dedicated service to the city of Santa Paula.”

Supervisor John Zaragoza also thanked LTH and said it is an “example of what other cities can do. I thank you for all your good work and for helping Santa Paula and the county.”

Supervisor Linda Parks said LTH is “small and mighty, you definitely speak louder as a group. Thank you for your advocacy for the community.”

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