Brawl in the family

LULAC's show of support for Dr. Yvonne Gonzalez hides a bitter feud within the ranks

The state attorney general's office is reviewing allegations that Houston-based Texas Hispanic Magazine misused the name and tax-exempt status of the Arlington Hispanic Advisory Council (AHAC) in order to raise money for scholarships, according to a July Arlington Morning News article. Vaquera helped found AHAC in 1993 and is named in the complaint as the magazine's representative. Vaquera was a member of the Arlington LULAC council before he affiliated himself with Council 100.

Vaquera has been the director of LULAC District III since May of this year, yet still has no idea how much money the district has in the bank. In fact, Vaquera doesn't even know the name of the bank the district uses, he admitted at a District III meeting in September.

Perry Vecchio, the current district treasurer, says that when he got appointed three years ago, he was told the district had no account and that he should open up a new one. It sounded strange, Vecchio says, but he went ahead and opened up an account with American Bank. The treasurer before Vecchio was Jim Salinas, the registered agent for the Hispanic Institute for Progress.

"I'm sure there are some records somewhere," Vecchio says, but it's anyone's guess where they are. Vecchio says he's never heard of Council 100 giving out scholarships to anyone but their own kids. "It's funny that they would give themselves scholarships--that's improper," Vecchio says.

The ongoing controversy surrounding DISD's Gonzalez appears to have provided a ready-made stage for Councils 100 and 4496 to put their differences aside and deal with an issue that directly affects the Latino population of Dallas. Have they?

No, Carrizales says. Things are as they have always been: fractured.
"It's like they're trying to lead cattle to slaughter," Carrizales says, referring to Council 100's domination of LULAC District III. "It's just not going to work anymore. They don't speak for us anymore."

The good news is that other normally apathetic Latinos are seeing the Gonzalez issue as something to rally around. Carrizales is right there in the middle.

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