Now 63 years old, El Soldado is looking a little worse for wear: The barrel of his weapon is broken, the strap of his helmet is missing, and he has cracks and mold on his back.
So after years of unsuccessful efforts to repair the Mexican American Veterans Memorial – the formal name for the statue across from the Capitol honoring Latinos who served in the armed services – the California Department of Veterans Affairs is initiating another push to fund the project.
Friday, the memorial committee accepted a $50,000 donation from Wells Fargo. “This is our first big donation and really kicks off the cycle,” said Mirtha Villarreal, the department’s deputy secretary for minority veterans and head of the memorial committee. “We are working aggressively” to finish the restoration next year.
El Soldado was originally constructed in 1951, after a fundraising drive by a group of Mexican American women that included church raffles and selling homemade tamales. Efforts to repair the statue have been long delayed; last month, the governor signed legislation extending the fundraising deadline by another two years.
California’s political ethics agency has begun posting the names of campaign treasurers who have run afoul of state rules. The action by the Fair Political Practices Commission stems from the case of former campaign treasurer Kinde Durkee, who pleaded guilty in March 2012 to stealing at least $7 million from Democratic candidates and others. Some of her victims complained they had no knowledge of Durkee’s prior run-ins with the commission. The new site is at www.fppc.ca.gov/index.php?id=353
“That’s a silly statement.”