The Buzz: CalVet relaunches campaign to restore El Soldado memorial

07/21/2014 12:00 AM

07/21/2014 10:12 AM

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.

– Alexei Koseff


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

– Jim Miller


“That’s a silly statement.”

ADAM MENDELSOHN, former communications director for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, after GOP gubernatorial nominee Neel Kashkari said Schwarzenegger “needed to be loved.”

Editor's Choice Videos

Join the Discussion

Merced Sun-Star is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Terms of Service