El Grito Desde Tuxtla Gutiérrez

On the first night of our trip to Chiapas, we found ourselves in the central plaza of Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Septemeber 15, 2007.

I didn't see any other tourists that night; I stuck out like a sore thumb. I ate an overpriced carne adobada steak with a plastic fork and butterknife, on a plastic plate, over a plastic tableclothed plastic table. Needless to say, it wasn't easy to eat and I spilled most of my drink from the wobbly cutting.

This was the first real "grito" I've witnessed, besides the televised version of the president in Mexico City. Here, the governer of Chiapas does the honors. Rosario says it was the weakest grito she'd ever seen.

At least there were fireworks…

2:45 a.m. Interview on KPBS

I’ve been working from about 5 p.m. to 3 a.m. the last few nights to keep KPBS.org updated. Our web team, along with the news staff and other volunteers, are taking turns to keep everything up and running 24/7. As I was finishing up early this morning, Doug Myrland (KPBS general manager who was working overnight on-air), asked me a few questions about the Google map to give people a sense of how we’re doing it.

Here’s the conversation:

(It’s not exactly an award-winning performance by yours truly, but I thought it was worth a posting for posterity’s sake.)

Much has progressed since this recording. Google has joined the effort to streamline updates, and those who have been updating the county maps will now be contributing directly to our Google map. In addition, a site from Governor Schwarzenegger, calfires.com, has embedded the map directly. Local CBS is linking to the map. Wired bloggers Michael Calore and Kevin Poulsen reported on KPBS’ use of Twitter and Google maps.

(Special props to Joe Spurr for pushing the use of Twitter and Google maps.)

San Diego Fire Updates

KPBS’ broadcast tower at Mount San Miguel (along with several other towers) has burned in the fire. They’re now broadcasting from FM 94.9, streaming online from both kpbs.org and fm949sd.com, as well as through cable television.

KPBS News is using Twitter to post up-to-the-minute information as it comes in:

Live San Diego Fire Updates on Twitter

Check out this Google map for fire perimeter, evacuation shelters and residential evacuations:

San Diego Fire Perimeter, Evacuation Shelters, Residential Evacuations

My family in Escondido was evacuated but, thankfully, their homes are fine. Here are some of my brother’s pics:

Taken on the evening of 10/21/07. We were forced to evacuate the next morning. Escondido, CA. — Smokey Sunset, originally uploaded by prgibbs.

About 3:30AM looking southeast from Old San Pasqual. This is a very short distance from our house. Escondido, CA. — Fire!, originally uploaded by prgibbs.

An easterly view of our home just prior to our evactuation at approximately 6:30AM on 10/22/07. Escondido, CA. — Evacuation #1, originally uploaded by prgibbs.

About 7:30AM on 10/22/07 looking south on Orange Ave., Escondido, CA. — Orange Ave., originally uploaded by prgibbs.

About 8:30AM on 10/22/07. Looking southeast from my parent’s yard. This is a full color photo, not sepia. Escondido, CA. — Smokey Sky, originally uploaded by prgibbs.

Shortly after 9:00AM, we received another evacation notice. Me posing before we hit the road…again. Escondido, CA. — Evactuation #2, originally uploaded by prgibbs.

U.S. Census Bureau Race Categories

Part of my graduate thesis dealt with the history of race and the complicated nature of categorization. I’ve always been curious about the U.S. American category options and how they’re used. And to my surprise, our address was randomly selected for a U.S. Census Bureau survey. On the second page, we get questions about race and ethnicity:

U.S. Census Bureau Race Categories

Is this person Spanish/Hispanic/Latino? Mark (X) the “No” box if not Spanish/Hispanic/Latino.
[ ] No, not Spanish/Hispanic/Latino
[ ] Yes, Mexican, Mexican Am., Chicano
[ ] Yes, Puerto Rican
[ ] Yes, Cuban
[ ] Yes, other Spanish/Hispanic/Latino — Print group.
________________________________

What is this person’s race? Mark (X) one or more races to indicate what this person considers himself/herself to be.
[ ] White
[ ] Black or African American
[ ] American Indian or Alaskan Native — Print name of enrolled or principal tribe.
_________________________________
[ ] Asian Indian
[ ] Chinese
[ ] Filipino
[ ] Japanese
[ ] Korean
[ ] Vietnamese
[ ] Other Asian — Print race.
_________________________________
[ ] Native Hawaiian
[ ] Guamanian or Chamorro
[ ] Samoan
[ ] Other Pacific Islander — Print race below.
_________________________________

When I was in high school, I remember being confused while filling out race information on standardized tests. The options have changed quite a bit since then, with more specific Asian options. The Latino category has become an ethnicity in addition to a race.

Question: In what race category would you put Rosario? Not white, black or a specific American Indian tribe. I’m stumped.

Mi Dama

Minutemen Videos: Vandalism, Harrassment, Pepper Spray

Vandalism

In Videos, Minutemen Shown Damaging Migrant Camp: “San Diego Minutemen can be seen pulling down migrant workers’ huts and rummaging through migrants’ possessions in a collection of video clips shot by a former member of the group.”

Harrassment

Minutemen Unvarnished: “The Minutemen and related groups are targeting day labor sites–and the laborers themselves–around the country in what they claim is a campaign to secure our borders.”
Minutemen Unvarnished

Pepper Spray

Clandestined Insurgent Rebel Clown Army: “We are clowns because what else can one be in such a stupid world. Because inside everyone is a lawless clown trying to escape. Because nothing undermines authority like holding it up to ridicule. Because since the beginning of time tricksters have embraced life’s contradictions, creating coherence through confusion. Because fools are both fearsome and innocent, wise and stupid, entertainers and dissenters, healers and laughing stocks, scapegoats and subversives. Because buffoons always succeed in failing, always say yes, always hope and always feel things deeply. Because a clown can survive everything and get away with anything.”

Tijuana, Baja California Election 2007

We pulled into the parking space and hopped out. I slung the camera from my neck, twisting the branded strap so the words “Canon EOS Digital” didn’t show.

Polling Location

I’m fascinated by Mexican elections. It’s so simple and straightforward. Just paper ballots and a black crayon.

Recibiendo las Boletas
Poll workers check voters’ national ID card to confirm registration records before giving ballots.

I watched the 2006 presidential election count in my mother-in-law’s neighborhood. She was serving as a poll worker. Representatives from each party were present, collectively counting and sorting each ballot. The public oversight, caution and security I saw that day inspired much more faith in the final count than the electronic voting machine I would use months later.

"El Voto Es Libre Y Secreto"
A man slips his votes into the ballot box slots after marking his votes in the white booth.

This time, I had my camera. I wasn’t quite sure if I was allowed to be wandering around photographing everything. As I tried to join Rosario in the makeshift voting booth to photograph the ballots, a poll worker asked me to move away. As I framed up a nearby shot, he told me I wasn’t allowed to take photographs.

Ballot Boxes

I heard a woman mumbling a few feet away, “Ustedes viniendo acá, cochinando la elección. You people come here making it a dirty election.” I turned and asked what she was referring to. She seemed startled that I was challenging her passive-aggressive muttering. “Qué estoy haciendo mal con mi cámara? Quienes son ‘ustedes’? What am I doing wrong with my camera? Who are ‘you people’?” She didn’t catch the quotation marks in my inflection, and responded by saying “Soy ciudadana como tú. I’m a citizen same as you.” She walked away with her daughter before I could say any more.

As we got in the car to leave, I noticed a teenager in a group of poll workers with a video camera. My first thought was that the poll workers acted hypocritically, letting her shoot video but not letting me take photos. But when I realized she was shooting the license plate of our car, it all made sense. The woman had been referring to our California plates, showing contempt for us as “outsiders.”

"Yo Voté"
Purple ink marks voters’ thumbs after leaving their prints in the registry.