was the October Election Surprise—it left its mark along
the Lake Erie Shores with tremendous beach erosion, blown roof
tops, and dozens of falling and mangled trees. Cisneros, who was
also a former mayor of San Antonio, Texas, was called in by the
Obama campaign to help move Latinos and voters in Ohio; he was
vigorously walking the streets and talking with the local
residents and shop owners.
Ohio has been the venue for both Presidential candidates with
numerous appearances in Northern Ohio. The nation seems to be
looking at Ohio as the “decider” of the November 6, 2012
elections. Everyone is talking about the claim that, “As Ohio
goes….. so does the Nation,” a mantra that the many visits from
high profile candidates and surrogates seem to confirm.
Señor Cisneros first stops were on Pearl Avenue, in the heart of
the Latino Barrio called the South Side. One of Mr. Cisneros
stops was the well-known grocery and deli Rainbow Bakery,
located on the corner of 29th street and Pearl Ave.
Here, Cisneros talked with the many patrons and store owner
Youssef Rizk, a native of the Galilee in Palestine, who
said: “We Christian Catholics were forced to leave our country,
so we came to America to live.”
The Rainbow Bakery is known for the homemade bread they
make but more so for the tasty Puerto Rican fast food that seems
to fly off the shelves. Mr. Rizk and his brother Mauna say they
have invested thousands of dollars in rebuilding the store and
surrounding area hoping to help create a better place for
themselves and the community that they serve. Cisneros
congratulated the brothers for the business they have managed to
create in the mostly Latino neighborhood.
A frequent visitor at Rainbow Bakery, Fred Lozano—former
City of Lorain Councilman—spoke with Cisneros on the
drastic change that has befallen the area work force,
when the then-called US Steel Corp was priced out of the
steel making industry. Lozano stated that: “Back in the
heyday as many as 13,000 residents found
employment at the steel mill; but now there are about
1,200 workers that may still have a job.” Cisneros
asked about the political situation here in Lorain and
the voting patterns of the local residents.
On the way to another local merchant, Cisneros asked to see the
site of the steel mill. Traveling north along 28th
Street, Cisneros was able to witness the decay and the abandoned
blast furnace of the old steel mill that is now called Republic
Steel— it is currently working to build a new arc furnace to
replace the outdated blast furnaces and start making steel in
At Licha’s on the corner of 31st and Clinton,
Mr. Cisneros was greeted by dueño José Bucio with his
wife María Cortez. Cisneros spoke with the patrons and
workers at the popular Mexican grocery/deli.
A young waitress named Arianna Meléndez told Cisneros
that most of her young family members had all decided not to
vote. Concerned, Cisneros questioned the young Latin as to why
she had made such a decision. She informed him: “They don’t
care; they don’t think their vote counts.” Cisneros spoke to the
young worker, who had left school to find work to survive, on
the importance of everyone’s vote.
After more conversations and hand shaking, Cisneros moved on to
his next stop in Lorain: the Obama Headquarters on Broadway Ave.
At the Obama headquarters Cisneros was greeted by Rico Oyola,
the field director in charge of the Obama Campaign in Lorain and
Oyola introduced Cisneros to the many volunteers who were
getting ready to hit the streets and campaign in the different
neighborhoods to remind voters of the importance of their vote.
Also present was State Representative Dan Ramos who is a
local leader in the Latino community. They spoke briefly then
Cisneros complimented the group and encourage them to continue
their work to help re-elect President Obama. Then quickly moving
out the door Cisneros was again on the campaign trail to his
next appointment with religious leaders and an early vote-push
to the Board of Elections.