Fierce

This 24-Year-Old Chicana Is Running For Coachella Mayor And She Has A Clever Response For Those Saying She’s Too Young

When the COVID-19 pandemic reached Coachella, Calif., in the spring of 2020, its residential community, largely working-class Latinxs, had questions, concerns and needs. But Lesly Figueroa, who’s running for mayor of the small city, says many didn’t know where to voice their worries or obtain critical information and resources.

“There needed to be someone to step up and have better leadership,” the 24-year-old community organizer tells FIERCE by mitú.

Frustrated by the lack of support from local elected officials, Figueroa decided to challenge three-term Coachella Mayor Steven Hernandez for the top leadership office in the city.

Lesly Figueroa

The first-time candidate grew up in Coachella, attending schools in the Coachella Valley Unified School District. Presently, the daughter of Mexican immigrants works as a policy advocate for the community-based environmental justice nonprofit Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability. In her role, she works with marginalized communities to advocate for sound policy, eradicate injustice and secure equal access to opportunity regardless of wealth, race, income and place. Recently, she has been helping residents of the Eastern Coachella Valley’s unincorporated communities and mobile home parks in their struggle for clean drinking water and affordable housing.

With a degree in Urban Studies and Planning from the University of California, San Diego, where she was student body president, she believes she has what it takes to tackle one of the biggest issues the people of her city are facing: development. 

Coachella, which is home to 45,000 people, is transitioning from a small town to a city. With the area vulnerable to real estate investors, Figueroa wants to ensure that the people of Coachella – where 98% of the population identifies as Latinx – are not forgotten, or worse, displaced.

“We know investors see working-class communities as having cheap land and cheap labor, which is very offensive,”  Figueroa says, “I want to bring community members in to play key roles in shaping their neighborhoods.”

If elected mayor, she intends to create planning groups or establish several councils that aim to ensure residents of each district are part of the urban planning process, which could look different for each community.

“They are the ones who live there. They are the ones who go outside in the morning and see a place they want to live in or something that disrupts their life, whether that neighborhood issue be over-policing, bad smells or not feeling seen by your government,” she says.

This bottom-up approach would be executed to tackle various city issues, she says. For instance, by communicating with community members, Figueroa has discovered that many are distrustful of local officials and are disillusioned by politics. To promote accountability and a transparent democratic government, Figueroa proposes an annual assessment of where and how public funds are being used as well as creating a community outreach guide that the council and commissions can follow when applying for funding opportunities.

Figueroa’s platform also mentions more affordable housing options and tenant protections to the city and ensuring a fair and just economic recovery for residents impacted by COVID-19, including creating economic opportunities through union jobs that offer livable wages.

“I want to lead with a bottom-up approach that’s informed by the community and puts the needs of the most vulnerable to the forefront: those who are low-income, undocumented, women, LGBTQ [and] single mothers,” she says.

At 24 years old, Figueroa notes that her age has made some question her mayoral capabilities. However, she points out that Hernandez – who was first elected to city council in 2006 and served as mayor since 2014 – was just 23 years old when he entered public office. 

Additionally, Coachella is a relatively young city. With a median age of 33.5 years old, it has the youngest population of any city in the Coachella Valley. These energized young people, not unlike many of their disillusioned elders, have one thing in common: they want change, according to Figueroa.

“They’ve seen what Coachella has become, how it has changed and that it is better than it was 10 years ago, but they want more progress and new leadership, and they see young people coming to the table to do this,” she says.

Although Figueroa is running as a young Latina woman with an all-volunteer campaign team, she doesn’t see her crusade as revolutionary. Instead, she prefers to focus on how she could help make small, realistic and necessary systemic changes that significantly transform the way people live.

“It would be an honor to be there with my community and lead them to a next-level position,” Figueroa says. “I want this to be a start and something we can do locally to deconstruct the negative things of our society and construct positive things in our community that will advance us and unite us.” 

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An Alleged Rapist Is Running For Governor In Mexico And Still Has The Support Of President AMLO

Things That Matter

An Alleged Rapist Is Running For Governor In Mexico And Still Has The Support Of President AMLO

Guillermo Gutierrez/NurPhoto via Getty Images

For years, Mexicans have been taking to the streets to denounce violence against women and to demand accountability from their leaders. However, much of that messaging doesn’t seem to have reached the very top as President Andres Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) continues to support a candidate for governor facing multiple allegations of sexual assault.

A candidate for governor faces multiple sexual assault allegations and still enjoys widespread support.

Félix Salgado Macedonio, a federal senator (currently on leave) is accused of sexually assaulting five women and yet is still in the running for governor of Guerrero.

Despite the accusations he faces, 64-year-old Salgado, has maintained the support of President AMLO, who has claimed that the allegations are politically motivated, and other high-ranking party officials including national party president Mario Delgado. He was considered the frontrunner in the election for governor.

AMLO came to the candidates defense, calling on people to stop politicking and avoid “media lynchings” and asserting that people should trust the party process that was used to select Salgado as candidate.

“We have to have confidence in the people, it’s the people who decide. If polls are taken and and the people say ‘I agree with this colleague [being candidate],’ I think that must be respected. Politics is a matter for everyone, not just the elites,” López Obrador said.

The MORENA party has committed to reselecting its candidate for governor but Salgado is still in the running.

Officials from the MORENA party announced that they would conduct a new selection process to find a contender for the June 6 election. The party’s honesty and justice commission said its members had voted unanimously to order a repeat of the selection process.

While the honesty and justice commission has ordered a new candidate selection process, Salgado was not precluded from participating in it. He indicated in a social media post on Friday night that he planned to seek the party’s backing for a second time.

“Cheer up colleagues! There is [still fight in the] bull,” Salgado wrote on Facebook.

Activists continue to fight back against his candidacy and the president’s support for an alleged rapist.

Women have protested in Mexico City and Guerrero state capital Chilpancingo and the hashtag #NingúnVioladorSeráGobernador (No Rapist Will be Governor) has been used countless times on Twitter.

Yolitzin Jaimes, a member of the feminist collective Las Revueltas, said the withdrawal of Salgado’s candidacy is a positive first step but urged the authorities to continue investigating the rape allegations.

“… He has to go to jail, … he mustn’t return to the Senate and he mustn’t be nominated [for governor] by any political party because … it’s very probable that he’s seeking to go to the Labor Party [a Morena ally],” she said.

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A Ted Cruz Piñata Exists And People Want One So Bad

Culture

A Ted Cruz Piñata Exists And People Want One So Bad

abcpartyhq / Instagram

Sen. Ted Cruz has reached peak infamy with a piñata in his honor. People have been turned into piñatas over the years for both good and bad reasons. The Cruz piñata serves as a reminder of the senator’s attempt to flee the brutal Texas winter crisis.

A Texas party store is selling piñatas of Sen. Ted Cruz and people are into it.

Piñatas are always the centerpiece of a fun party and they are even more exciting when they are topical. One party shop in Texas is riding on the wave of local and national news criticizing Sen. Cruz to cash in.

Last week Sen. Cruz was caught boarding a United flight to Cancún, Mexico to escape the winter storm devastating Texas. As millions of Texans survived without water and power, the Cruz family booked a Mexican getaway to warmer weather and reliable electricity.

At first, Sen. Cruz tried to blame his daughters for fleeing Texas as his constituents suffered from the weather. He soon changed his story and claimed that he realized he had made a mistake as soon as he sat down on the plane waiting to depart from Houston.

Finally, after days of speculation, someone came forward and leaked text messages from Sen. Cruz’s wife, Heidi. Turns out, according to the texts, that the Cruz family was actively planning a vacation to avoid the snowstorm. According to the texts, the Cruz family was trying to convince neighbors and friends to join them so they can get out of their freezing house. The criticism amplified when it was reported that the Cruz family left the family dog behind as they fled to Mexico.

People are eager to get their hands on a Sen. Cruz piñata.

Families have been in quarantine for almost a year and they are hitting a wall. Now that the weather is starting to warm up, it is no surprise that people would want to have something to do together outdoors. Seems that a lot of people would like a piñata party to celebrate the bad weather slowly moving out.

There are even some people asking for different people made as piñatas.

You never know unless you ask, right? Never hurts to try to make your own request to better your birthday. It seems that the party store is able to make various different piñatas. The party store made a piñata after Sen. Bernie Sanders’ famous mitten moment at President Biden’s inauguration.

READ: Sen. Ted Cruz Makes Quick U-Turn From Mexico After Outrage He Abandoned His Frozen Texas

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