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The Guadalupe Center in Crisis: The Board is breaking its own Bylaws

The Rule of Law.  You hear about it alot these days.  It's funny
to me - how we Latinos want the President Bush to follow it, and
yet we can't seem to follow it in our own country of the Guadalupe.
It begins at home, and we're not perfect, but we have to try. And
that's what this examination below is about - following the rule of law.
Bear in mind that the Guadalupe's Board Chairman is an attorney, and he
knows the law. I believe that if we can make the Guadalupe a democratic
institution, then we are qualifed to lead this country. I say this as
a brown woman who has seen plenty of inequality in my life. And I've
learned that siempre, always, it begins at home.

If it's not bad enough for the Guadalupe Center's new Presidente to
call staff and the community rasquache, here are the particular board
violations that are of great concern - and I've sat on six different
boards - never have I seen a board violate so many and so flagrantly:

From the By-Laws of the Guadalupe Cultural
Arts Center (Approved 6/28/94)

Article lll - Board of Directors
Section 2. Number, Tenure and Qualifications

"Membership on the GCAC Board of Directors shall consist of not more
than (24) twenty-four and not less than (9) members. Members must be at
least 21 years of age. One slot on the GCAC Board of Directors must be
filled at
all times by a person who resides in the GCAC neighborhood. ...
One slot on
the Board of Directors must be filled at all times by an artist...."

There is no artist on the Board. Artist and highly respected
community activist Terry Ybanez submitted her resume last November, and
no action has been taken.

ARTICLE ll - Members
Section 2. Members Requirements and Termination

"...sole discretion to terminate the membership of any person or
entity for default in payment of any pledge to the organization after
the default shall remain incurred for 30 days after written notice of the
default to the member."

Have all board members paid membership dues?

ARTICLE Ill - Board of Directors
Section 1. Commitment

"Members of the Board of Directors... responsibility to further the
development and achievement of Chicano arts on a local, regional and
national level. ...advocates of Chicano arts,...develop public
relations,and to be the official voice of the GCAC."

Anglos have been hired to fill Public Relations, Arts Education, and
are under contract for the Conjunto Festival

Section 2. Numbers, Tenure and Qualifications

" Members of the Guadalupe Board of Directors must maintain a
membership in the Guadalupe."

Have all board members paid Center's dues as of November '05 ?
Annual elections take place every November.
Bret Ruiz is a voting member of the board -are his
yearly dues paid?

"Board shall consist of not more than 24 and not less than 9

Until very recently, Ruiz' presence on the GCAC Board made 9 members.
And no artists.

"One Board member slot " MUST be filled at all times by a person who
resides in the Guadalupe neighborhood." (approximate boundaries zip code

And who is that?

One Board member slot "MUST be filled at all times by an artist."
with a Bachelors or Masters of Fine Arts Degree with an exhibition
record of atleast 3 years.

There are no artists on the Board. Ruiz's curatorial record, as listed on
his resume, isn't true, based on my research.

"The annual elections shall take place in November."
Was this done or have you changed this Bylaw - If you have change
the annual election what are your new procedures?

Again, why wasn't Terry Ybanez elected to the Board?

Section 4. Individual Responsibilities

"Each Director is required to serve as a member of at least one
standing committee."

Which committee is Bret Ruiz on, for example?
Isn't this a conflict of interest?

"...Directors shall act in good faith and take actions they reasonably
believe to be in the best interests of the GCAC and that are not
unlawful. In all other instances, the Board of Directors shall not take
any action that they should reasonably believe would be opposed to the GCAC's
best interests or would be unlawful."

With the recent sexual and racist compliants alleged against Bret
Ruiz would it not be in the best interests to remove him without pay
until an investigation is completed?

Section 5. Meetings
"The fourth absence shall give the board of directors the option to
remove or retain the board member."

"PUBLIC ATTENDANCE is invited by the Board of Directors in order to
comply with the law."

Harriet Romo, wife of UTSA President Ricardo Romo, did not attend
a GCAC boardmeeting for three years, admitting this to a staffmember,
and yet she was listed in February of this year as a GCAC
boardmember. She did not return my phone calls.

Article lV - OFFICERS
A. Chair

"The Chair shall preside at all meetings of the Board of Directors and
of the Executive Committee of the Board. ...Chair shall appoint annually
the Chairs of all standing and special committees"

Has Chairman Aguilera done this and can he give us the names of the committees
and members appointed to each committee?

When I attended the Boardmeetings in February and March, no Board
agendas or financial reports were distributed to the audience or
to journalists.

D. Treasurer
"...on a quarterly basis file and make available for inspection, a
report...that the Executive Director (now the President) has withheld the
lawful income tax for all such paid employees as are employed be the GCAC."

According to Mary Jessie Garza, former GCAC Interim Director,
the employees' income tax was not paid on time.

F. Immediate Past Chair /Advisor to the Chair
"The immediate Past Chair/Advisor to the Chair shall serve for one
year as special advisor to the Chair."

Why isn't this position filled? Noah Garcia resigned
in January' 06

And there's more, but these are the most critical to me. Thanks to Mary
Jessie Garza for examining the GCAC bylaws and asking the right questions.


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