The Hispanic Cultural Center
Yesterday city council made it official; the city’s cultural center is officially an Hispanic Cultural Center. As you might remember, there has been some controversy on whether the 2012 Quality of Life cultural center was the Hispanic cultural center or the Heritage cultural center. The controversy arose because the ballot labelled the cultural center as the “heritage” while the ordinance called it the “Hispanic” cultural center.
During yesterday’s city council meeting, the controversy was put to rest. In a unanimous vote, city council voted on how the sub-committee would be formed, set a time line for action by the committee and accepted that the ordinance made it clear that the cultural center would be about Hispanics, instead of being a heritage cultural center. Emma Acosta did not vote because she was out ill.
When the original ordinance was adopted by city council, it made the chair of the Bond Overview Advisory Committee (BOAC); Bernie Sargent the chair of the cultural center subcommittee. The action taken be city council yesterday changed the original ordinance to allow the membership of the sub-committee to elect their own chair.
Additionally, the city directed that the BOAC should elect a member from their membership to sit on the cultural center sub-committee. According to the commentary, during the discussion of the sub-committee changes, city council agreed that the cultural center sub-committee does not need to go through the BOAC in order to address city council. Instead, it was understood that it would be a courtesy to inform the BOAC in advance but the committee could directly address council as needed.
In regards to the name, Ann Morgan Lilly stated that she did not want to force her appointees to accept that the voters voted for an Hispanic cultural center instead of a heritage center. Claudia Ordaz asked the city attorney to clarify the name issue because of the confusion in the community.
Sylvia Borunda Firth opined that the city ordinance and that the language used throughout the discussions always intended the cultural center to be about Hispanics. Although yesterday’s city council action did not set an official name for the cultural center, preferring to leave that to the committee, city council agreed that the cultural center was about Hispanics, rather than being the heritage cultural center.
The subcommittee was given eight tasks to address, ranging from budgets, to locations to the content of the proposed cultural center. The sub-committee was asked to return to city council by April 28, 2015 with updates about their progress. The sub-committee is scheduled to “sunset,” or end in December 2015, unless extended by city council.
Lily Limon’s motion to make the changes was seconded by Cortney Niland. It was Niland that wanted the committee to bring an update to city council as quickly as possible.
The original ordinance creating the sub-committee directed that the sub-committee meet on city facilities so that the meetings can be streamed publicly. The subcommittee meetings are also subject to the 72 hour public meeting notice requirements.
Although a sub-committee of the BOAC, the cultural center has autonomy to present their findings directly to city council. With a BOAC member sitting in the sub-committee meetings, it is expected that the BOAC will be updated on the cultural center plans.