August 20, 2001 - LA Times: Gaddi not the One for the Peace Corps

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Headlines: Peace Corps Headlines - 2001: 08 August 2001 Peace Corps Headlines: August 20, 2001 - LA Times: Gaddi not the One for the Peace Corps

By Admin1 (admin) on Monday, August 20, 2001 - 10:25 am: Edit Post

Read the editorial that appeared in the Los
Angeles Times on August 20 at:

Not the One for Peace Corps

Not the One for Peace Corps

Conceived in a shining moment of American idealism, the Peace Corps ought to project the best and boldest of the nation to the world. The Bush administration, in nominating onetime Orange County Supervisor Gaddi H. Vasquez as its director, has demeaned the high purpose of an agency that requires vision, diplomatic skill and even bravery at the helm.

During the Ronald Reagan era, Vasquez was for a time a promising young Latino face on the national stage, winning a coveted assignment to speak before the 1988 Republican National Convention. But the potential of leadership was never fully realized. Vasquez proved to be a timid public official, the antithesis of what a Peace Corps director should be.

After serving as a county supervisor without much distinction beginning in 1987, disaster struck for Vasquez in late 1994. Then-county Treasurer Robert L. Citron's astrology-guided county investment pool collapsed, and Orange County went bust. In a tough 1996 report from the Securities and Exchange Commission, Vasquez was among the supervisors cited as misleading investors. Vasquez had resigned the previous year with more than a year remaining in his term and had gone into the private sector. Two supervisors who had remained in office were charged withmisconduct by a grand jury but were let off when an appeals court concluded that ineptitude was not the same as deliberate misconduct.

Although Vasquez was not accused of anything by the grand jury, the bankruptcy occurred on his watch, and he, along with his colleagues, had been asleep at the switch. That doesn't inspire much confidence today in his ability to lead in the international arena or run a large bureaucracy.

A more plausible explanation for this appointment is Vasquez's substantial monetary contribution to the Republican National Committee and his service on the California steering committee for the Bush presidential campaign.

This makes two from the ranks of Orange County's Republican contributors with major international appointments that now must be punctuated with question marks. The apartment management company of businessman George Argyros, nominated earlier in the year to be ambassador to Spain, has been under renters out of security and cleaning deposits. At least in the case of Vasquez, the White House should find another name to send to the Senate.

Add a Message

This is a public posting area. Enter your username and password if you have an account. Otherwise, enter your full name as your username and leave the password blank. Your e-mail address is optional.