What Returned Volunteers say about Gaddi Vasquez

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Directors of the Peace Corps: Peace Corps Director Gaddi Vasquez: The Gaddi Vasquez Nomination to Peace Corps Director: SPECIAL REPORT: Bush's Choice to Lead the Peace Corps. Is he the Best Qualified?: What Returned Volunteers say about Gaddi Vasquez

By Admin1 (admin) on Monday, July 30, 2001 - 10:52 pm: Edit Post

The 160,000 Returned Peace Corps Volunteers are
the heart, soul, and conscience of the Peace Corps.

Every time there is a new administration, we get
one chance to make our opinion count about the
direction the Peace Corps will be taking for the next
4 years.

And that chance is now - during the confirmation
hearings for the new Peace Corps Director.

That is why we have this special report - so you can
read about the proposed Director's qualifications
and about the direction he plans to take the Peace

If, after reading this report, you have any questions
about what Mr. Vasquez plans to do as Peace Corps
Director or have any questions about his
qualifications to be Director, this is your one chance
to voice them.

And the way to do that is write or call your Senator
- the man who will be voting up or down on Mr.
Vasquez. Here are the links that will that will take
you to your Senator's Home Page.

There is one Senator that you need to
contact if you want questions asked by
someone who really understands the Peace Corps
and that is Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut -
the only member of the Senate who is a
Returned Peace Corps Volunteer.

Senator Dodd spent two years in the Peace Corps
working in a rural village in the Dominican Republic.
In FY2000, he fought to restore Peace Corps funding and
more recently advocated for RPCVs during
the fight to rename Peace Corps Headquarters.

If you want the Senate to pay attention to what
Volunteers want the Peace Corps to do, please contact
your Senators and tell them what your opinion is -
either for or against this nomination, tell them what
questions you want them to ask the nominee, and
tell them what direction you think the Peace Corps
should be heading in.

This is our one chance.

By joan borsten on Wednesday, August 01, 2001 - 12:12 pm: Edit Post

I am a returned Peace Corps Volunteer who served in Panama from 1970-71. It was, as they say, the toughest job I ever had, but I am proud of what I accomplished and the change I was personally able to affect in a small rural village.

Gaddi Vasquez, President Bush's nominee for Director of the Peace Corps, is an inappropriate choice. I appreciate the fact that he is a Latino leader, but According to the LA Times he is also a former Orange County Supervisor who resigned early in order to technically escape both a recall and a grand jury investigation that led to formal accusations of willful misconduct against two colleagues. He was cited by the 1996 U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission report for misleading and defrauding buyers of more than $2.1 billion in municipal securities.

Rewarding him for being clever enough to avoid responsibility for wrong doing is not right, and will send an inappropriate message from the US to the developing countries of the world. The director of the PC must always be someone of high moral character and integrity. President Bush's nomination of Vasquez demonstrates that the President does not understand what the Peace Corps is about.

Joan Borsten

11325 Sunshine Terrace
Studio City, CA 91604
(818) 506-0550
Fax (818) 752-0387

By Anonymous on Thursday, August 02, 2001 - 1:15 pm: Edit Post

Surely Bush could find a qualified hispanic/latino republican from California who also has experience working and living in various countries. One who has not met these qualifications (living and working abroad) cannot possibly understand the difficulties PCVs face and thus the needs of Peace Corps programs worldwide.

By John N Smart (jnsmart) on Sunday, August 05, 2001 - 7:49 am: Edit Post

It is perfectly clear why Bush has chosen Vasquez, and it has nothing to do with his qualifications or lack of same: his name is Hispanic. The Republicans think that they can woo the Hispanic vote by making these idiotic appointments. I guess that Bush's mangling of the Spanish language isn't working like they though it would!

By Anonymous on Sunday, August 05, 2001 - 8:26 pm: Edit Post

As the mother of a former peace corps volunteer I was very upset to read that former county supervisor Gaddi Vasquez is Bush's choice to be director of the peace corps. My first thought was that he is not even a college graduate, which is a requirement for being a volunteer, but it appears he took an off campus degree after leaving his post as county supervisor. He left to escape a recall and a grand jury investigation.
His only qualifications seem to be that he is Hispanic and a republican. He was in the explorer boy scouts but he did not run the troop or the organization. He was just a member.

By Admin1 (admin) on Monday, July 30, 2001 - 10:37 am: Edit Post

In March 2000, the Committee for a New Peace Corps drafted
their proposals for a "New Peace Corps for a New Century".

Among the issues they addressed were the qualifications
that the next Director should have:

(The President should) appoint an experienced internationalist as
CEO of the Peace Corps. In the past, the White House has reserved
the Peace Corps Directorship for political appointees. The new
President can put the top Peace Corps leadership position--
the CEO function--in the hands of an individual with first-
hand knowledge of the volunteer experience and the world
the Peace Corps serves. The Peace Corps Directorship
should be a professional appointment, not a political one.
The job should be held by an American with a track record
of substantial achievement in international service. Equally
important, the Peace Corps Director needs to possess strong
CEO credentials with a millenial mandate from the
President. This mandate should include retooling the Peace
Corps with the latest benefits of the technological
revolution and staffing the agency at all levels for a spirit of
fresh thinking about a new, high-impact programming

(Read their entire set of proposals here.)

As you read the rest of the articles, think about how
many of these qualifications Mr. Vasquez meets, or if
he meets any of them.

Also think about any additional qualifications for Peace
Corps Director that you think are important and whether
he meets those and make up your mind if this is the man
who should be leading the Peace Corps into the 21st century.

One thing we need to be completely clear on, is that any
questions about Mr. Vasquez's qualifications are not based
on his ethnicity. On the contrary, his Hispanic background
and ability to speak Spanish as a native speaker can only be
seen as a plus. But just as we have no right to question any
man's qualifications based on his race, religion, or ethnicity -
we have an obligation not to avoid asking hard questions
based on a fear of being branded as prejudiced.

Every volunteer will have to make up his own mind on whether
Mr. Vasquez is the right man to lead the Peace Corps -
and just as we were willing to give our best for two years
of international service - we have an obligation to ask
that each administration give the Peace Corps it's best
by chosing the finest and most qualified men to lead the
organization that we know and love.

By Leo Bellantoni on Thursday, August 02, 2001 - 1:36 pm: Edit Post

I think that it is better to fight the intrusion of professional "internationalists", "development specialists", or those with such professional backgrounds in the Peace Corps. Accordingly, I find concerns about Vasquez's not being an ex-Volunteer or having had extensive foreign aid administrative experience to be unwise.

My service was in Tanzania in the 1980's in an urban area where there was substantial foreign aid, and it was quite plain that those expatriot aid workers continued to function entirely as the colonial administrators had.

In particular, the negligible motion towards self sufficiency common to most colonial administrations was evident in this pseudo-colonial foreign aid.

That is not what we are supposed to be doing.

Indeed, at that time there were firm rules about the maximum amount of time Volunteers and various administrators could serve. My recollection is that these rules dated back to the Kennedy administration and were originally promulgated in an attempt to prevent the sort of adminstrative ossification which also characterized many colonial governments.

By Admin1 (admin) on Sunday, August 12, 2001 - 8:40 am: Edit Post

From the Orange County Register:

Former Orange County Supervisor Gaddi Vasquez has been targeted by former Peace Corps volunteers - and a Boston Globe editorial - saying that President George W. Bush should reconsider his choice to head the corps.

Critics complain that Vasquez, who was a supervisor when Orange County declared bankruptcy, has not served in the corps, has not been a CEO, and has no international experience.

Similar complaints have arisen with previous nominees for the post, all of whom have received Senate confirmation. But confirmation has become a more dicey proposition recently. Bush's nominee to head up the Consumer Product Safety Commission, Mary Sheila Gall, was rejected by Senate Democrats earlier this month in a committee vote along party lines.

Read the full story here:

Nomination puts the heat on Vasquez

By John N Smart (jnsmart) on Sunday, August 12, 2001 - 9:15 am: Edit Post

I certainly agree that one can never really tell in advance how a nominee for a government post will turn out in the end...good or bad. Eisenhower always said that his worst mistake was appointing Earl Warren to the Court, because he didn't act like he'd been predicted to act. Eisenhower thought that was bad, I think that he was terrific!
But, all we have to go on to predict how a nominee will turn out in the job is past experience, and by that measure, Gaddi Vasquez is anything but promising.
It seems clear that the people in this administration simply looked at his political credentials, "Big Contributor, and Hispanic!", and then thought, "now where can we stick this guy..."
To treat the Peace Corps this way to to fail to understand the mission, the history, the heart and soul of the organization.
I don't think that any director actually has had too much to do with anything other than the day to day running of the thing, except Sargent Shriver, who had to create it all in the first place. Certainly not Paul Coverdell, for whom the HQ building was recently named. [Does anyone actually think that the world is going to call it "The Coverdell Building"?]
But again, it's the idea of just throwing somebody at the Peace Corps because they need to repay them for campaign donations that grates on one.
And I say no! Please everyone, tell your Senators that this will not fly. Vote no on Gaddi Vasques! Make them find someone qualified.

By Sam Dallas on Sunday, August 12, 2001 - 9:22 am: Edit Post

Gaddi Vasquez resigned and hid like a coward when Orange County entered bankruptcy while under his leadership. He has shown no leadership skills as one of five supervisors in our county, how can he possibly be the CEO of an international organization?

We know, we live with him here in the county. Gaddi is a pompous, selfserving lightweight - even his close friends describe his as a lightweight and unqualified for the job.

By Admin1 (admin) on Wednesday, August 08, 2001 - 4:55 pm: Edit Post

Here's what the Orange County Weekly says about Gaddi Vasquez:

Former Orange County supervisor Guadalupe "Gaddi" Vasquez says he isn’t
granting interviews until Congress approves his July 25 presidential
nomination to serve as director of the Peace Corps.

That’s probably a wise strategy. Vasquez, you may recall, led the county into
the $1.7 billion bankruptcy in 1994 and then refused to accept any responsibility
for the largest municipal calamity in modern financial history. Though a
self-described fiscal conservative, Vasquez hired (at public expense) a
$285-per-hour public-relations guru from Los Angeles to spin favorable
post-bankruptcy news stories for himself and the other four supervisors. That
plan failed, too, and 10 months after the bankruptcy, Vasquez fled office,
claiming he wanted to spend time with his family. He made no mention of the
fact that he faced a recall election, a grand jury investigation and an 11 percent
approval rating.

Read the full story here:

Gaddi Vasquez led the county into the 1994 bankruptcy. Now he’s poised to run the Bush-era Peace Corps

Here's another excert:

The man was disgraced—except among the corporate crowd he had served so
single-mindedly in office. They helped Vasquez land a cushy, six-figure job in
the public-relations department at Southern California Edison—a publicly
subsidized company with close ties to the Republican Party. (In addition to
Vasquez, company PR employees have included Bob Dornan’s top
congressional aide, Brian Bennett; the Irvine Co.’s Mike Stockstill; and Orange
County GOP co-chairperson Jo Ellen Allen.) Within four months of his exit from
public life, there were two fancy parties ("business attire only") for Vasquez.
The people who paid for them—corporate lobbyists and Newport Beach
real-estate developers—said they wanted to thank the ex-supe for his "public

Local taxpayers will be thanking Vasquez for at least another 27 years. That is
how long it will take to pay off a bankruptcy debt he was instrumental in
creating. Last year alone, residents shelled out an extra $45 million just for
county interest payments on bankruptcy debt. In the not-so-distant future, we
will pay more than $80 million per year. None of the money will ever go to
improve roads, schools, public safety or health care.

By Anonymous on Sunday, August 12, 2001 - 1:40 pm: Edit Post

It is clear from the OC Weekly story that Vasquez is NOT even qualified for a middle level Peace Corps job.

By Ron Seibel (ron) on Wednesday, August 15, 2001 - 9:05 pm: Edit Post

He is not qualified to be a VOLUNTEER.

By Roni Love on Sunday, September 02, 2001 - 7:02 pm: Edit Post

I am a returned Peace Corps volunteer from Malaysia and live on the Los Angeles-Orange County border. Gaddi Vasquez is not the type of person esteemed by folks in this area who are the "recipients" of his inability to lead; make wise, thoughtful, and long ranged decisions; and who lacks integrity. That he has no experience in international relations and politics makes his nomination doubly objectionable.

Certainly President Bush could have named a former Peace Corps volunteer with the experience noted above and the integrity necessary to represent both the Peace Corps and the people of this country. Why should we be satisfied with less?

It is my hope the Senate will recognize that the nomination of Gaddi Vasquez is very insulting to those of us who have served this country, as it should be to all Americans, and that it votes against this nomination.

By ogembo ( on Thursday, February 26, 2004 - 8:26 am: Edit Post

please can you send me your email.

By Rowland Scherman (pool-141-149-189-69.bos.east.verizon.net - on Monday, May 30, 2005 - 11:39 pm: Edit Post

Bush has a tendency to appoint inappropriate types.

Why do you think that is?

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