Juana Beatriz Gutierrez (1932-)

In 198-1 Juana Gutierrez learned that the state of California planned to build a prison near her East Los Angeles home. Gutierrez the mother of nine and Neighborhood Watch organiser—invited her Mexican American neighbors Lo a meeting al her house. There Gutierrez and six other women formed the Mothers of EasL Los Angeles Sanla Isabel (MELA5I).

ME LAS I not only blocked the prison, it won passage of a lav»' declaring that no state prisons could be buill in Los Angeles Counly. In the next few years. Gutierrez and other leaders of IV1E LAS I became environmental experts as Lhey successfully To ugh L off a Loxic wasLe incinerator, a durnps'rte. a chemical treatment plant, an oil pipeline, and more.

Today ME LAS I works to improve East Los Angeles as well as Lo proLecL iL. A few of its many programs include water conservation projects, youth programs, free computer classes, scholarships, and a door-Lo-door campaign by sLudenLs lo end graffiti. When people ask Gutierrez, president of MELASI, what they should do to fight for a cause, she tells them, "SLay uniLed. don't give up. and remember, iL won't he easy."

might lay out a plan for completely reconstructing what it believes will be the city's most heavily traveled streets so that they can carry the increased traffic Jrom anticipated development of new subdivisions.

Planning always requires answering a number of difficult questions. Take a hypothetical case of a small-town company that has developed an important new device For airport security. The company suddenly becomes very busy as demand increases. As it expands, it builds several new buildings. The growing economy attracts other businesses to the town. New residents pour in to work for these companies.

A situation like this raises a number of questions for local government. Will increased traffic overload roads and highways? Should the town build new roads or promote public transportation? What other demands will the growing population put oil the town's infrastructure—its system of roads, bridges, water, and sewers? If the infrastructure needs to be expanded, how will the town pay for the work?

Evaluating Priorities and Rcsourccs Local governments and planning commissions around the country face such questions every year. The answers to these questions about planning usually depend upon two things—priorities and rcsourccs. Priorities are the goals a community considers most important or most urgent. In setting priorities, a community must first decide what it values most. For example, is it more important to have thriving commerce or a peaceful place to live? While deciding about its values, a community must also determine its specific goals and rank them in order of importance. It may decide, for example, that its most important goal is to attract new businesses. Lesser goals may include improving services, preserving open spaces, upgrading the school system, and so on. Once a community has set its priorities, it must determine what resources it has and how to use them. Resources are the money, people, and

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Student Web Activity Visit civ.alenrjijR.earn and click on Student Web Activities— Chapter 14 to learn more about environmental issues.

material;; available to accomplish the community's goals. Suppose, for example, that a community has dccidcd to improve its public transportation system. Is there enough money to build and maintain a new fleet of large buses for busy routes, or would a system of minibuses on short routes fit the budget better?

Creating a Master Plan After setting priorities and calculating resources, a planning commission makes concrctc decisions about the community's future. It usually spells these out in a document called a master plan. This plan states a set of goals and explains how the government will carry them out to meet changing needs over time.

A planning commission normally submits its plan to the government, which then dccidcs whether to adopt it and use it as a guide. If the plan is accepted, it becomes public policy, and the government is then responsible for carrying it out. The city or town council must approve funds for any

Building Roads and Rails As the population of communities grows, changes in infrastructure, like roads, need to be made to accommodate the growth. The new Airtrain shuttle will improve access to Newark International Airport by reducing highway congestion. Do you think road construction would be an example of a short- or long-term plan?

projects outlined in the plan. The mayor's or manager's team writes rules and regulations to enforce the plan.

>■¿1 Explaining Why must government leaders consider community resources before creating a master plan?


Checking far Understanding

1. Key Terms Define Ihe following terms and use them in sentences related to puhlic policy:

infrastructure, priorities, resources, master plan.

Reviewing Main Ideas

2. Identify Where do ideas for public policy come from? What are the most useful public policies?

3. Explain Why have many local government developed planning commissions? What do planning commissions do?

Critical Thinking

4. Making Judgments Which do you think is most important, long term or short term plan ning? Why?

5. Organizing Information In a graphic organizer like the one below, explain the stops leading to a master plan and what a typical master plan includes.

Analyzing Visuals

6. Inferring Reexamine the acLions taking place in the photos on this page. Name some of the pri or ¡lies and resources a planning commission might consider for this to happen.


7. Research Find oul if your community has a master plan. Describe tho major goals ot the plan. If Lhere is no plan, interview a local official about how plans are made in your community.

Chapter 14 Dealing With Community Issues 327

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Critical Thinking r-

Recognizing Bias

Why Learn This Skill?

Journalists, experts, and authorities are frequently the sources of information you depend upon. Sometimes you need to examine that information for bias. Often a writer or speaker will promote a particular point of view or personal prejudice in the account. Biased information is not necessarily bad information, but you should be able to recognize it and decide what it's worth to you.

Learning lhe Skill

To recognize bias, follow these steps:

• Identify the source of information. Ask yourself if the author or speaker is identified with a known cause or organization.

• Determine if your source has the facts straight. Watch for any attempts to distort or exaggerate the facts.

• Look for hidden clues, such as the use of descriptive and colorful language or emotionally charged words.

• Decide how the piece of information influences your own opinion.

Practicing the Skill

On a separate sheet of paper, list the numbers of the following statements that you think are biased. Beside each number, briefly describe the particular bias demonstrated.

O School Board Member: District 907 has added girls' basketball to its roster of varsity sports. Student interest in expanded sports activities has prompted the move. The program is expected to involve about 35 seventh- and eighth-grade girls in each school in the district.

0 A School Coach: Demands on the use of the gymnasium will increase next year. The highly successful boys' sports program

must now compete with a girls' program of questionable value. A much-needed expansion of the boys' program goes on hold.

O A Parent in District 907: Once again District 907 has demonstrated its praiseworthy commitment to physical education. At least another 150 students will have the opportunity to improve their skills and experience the thrill of competition.

O Local Resident: Taxpayers in District 907 can look forward to higher property taxes next spring. The School Board expects to hire at least three new coaches to handle the extra teaching needs of the frivolous girls' basketball teams. The sensible proposal to eliminate all school sports has not been discussed in at least five years.

-Applying the Skill

Read an cdilorial, common lary, or lcLLcr lo the editor in your local newspaper. Write a brief summary of two examples of bias you identify.

Preinlief? key «kills wilh GI«ri«op's Skillbuilder Interactive Workbook CD-ROM. Level 1.

Preinlief? key «kills wilh GI«ri«op's Skillbuilder Interactive Workbook CD-ROM. Level 1.


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