FIRST ON 3: Festival Latino owes county money, may lose site
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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- The annual Festival Latino should kick off in a couple of weeks, but not unless its organizer pays the bills. Money from last year's event is still overdue, and the group needs to pay for this year's festival before it can go on.

"(Festival organizer Lucy) Vasquez has had a long-standing event. This is unusual that she goes this long without a payment," New Hanover County Parks Director Jim McDaniel said.

Festival Latino has been around for more than a decade. The annual event in Wilmington is a fundraiser for the non-profit group Amigos Internacional. But there may not be a festival this year if Vasquez does not pay her bill to New Hanover County.

"There is a little over $1,000 for 2010, and there is $1,255, I believe, for 2011," McDaniel said.

McDaniel says payments to use a county facility are typically required before an event, but for 2010's festival he made an exception and allowed Vasquez to pay for Hugh MacRae park after the event. It's been almost a year, though, and she still has not paid.

"We sent her an invoice in March and July and September for 2010," McDaniel said.

Vasquez says she got the invoices, but she was too preoccupied with this year's festival to pay last year's bill.

"I think I mentioned it in passing when I've spoken to them, like, 'I've gotten your bill. There's something there I need to talk about. We'll work on it,'" Vasquez said.

This year's Festival Latino is scheduled to be at Ogden Park November 12, but if Vasquez doesn't pay up by Friday, it's not going to happen.

"I have another group interested in Ogden for the weekend she plans to hold her festival, and I gave her until Friday to get this all cleared up," McDaniel said.

Vasquez seemed confident that her event will go as planned.

"We had a meeting yesterday, and we discussed everything that had to be done, and we left with an understanding, and I'm confident that everything is going to be wonderful," she said.

Festival Latino typically brings in about 20,000 people from all backgrounds in southeastern North Carolina.

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First of all, to say that illegal immigrants are all free loaders is incorrect. Even if they don't file income taxes, they pay sales and property taxes at least. And they surely don't receive free health care because by being illegal they simply can't.

Secondly, to group all Hispanics/Latinos under the terms illegal and freeloader is incredibly IGNORANT.

Lastly, It is a shame that Wilmington is finding itself in this predicament. One way to measure the greatness of a city is by the cultural events that are offered to the public and this event has always been fantastic. This festival is not just for latinos, IT IS FOR EVERYONE to enjoy. I am not defending the irresponsibility on the part of the organization, but I am not surprised by it as the non-profit world has been hit extremely hard by the recession.

I HOPE THE FESTIVAL GOES ON for the sake of all Wilmingtonians!

I got news for ya folks, there are far more freeloading "americans" than there are Latinos. Most Latinos I know are hard working and doing the jobs we dont want to do or are to lazy to do

the jobs the illegal Latinos do for one simple reason, we won't work for their substandard wages they are getting. The scumbag employers are to blame for this crap as much as the Ponchos on the job. We don't have the luxury of free medical,food stamps and such to help support us. Like one poster said like an invasion of roaches. To answer your question, racist much/ Yes and proud of it !!!!

In America, we may not have a lot of folks that want to pick beans, pull potatoes and chuck apples in a crate, but I GUARENTEE you there are thousands upon thousands of American workers in this COUNTY ALONE that want to do framing, boxing, siding, masonry and concrete work that are forced out due to substandard wages and the profit mongering builders and developers. I've watched 5 houses being built and two water sewer projects implemented without a single American pounding a nail or laying a single section of pipe!

It's much easier for illegal Jose to work for 12 dollars/hour, pay no taxes, get free food stamps, free healthcare, free birthing, free social security, drive around without insurance, live 15 deep in a one bedroom and on and on than it is for Legal Tom to work for 16 dollars/hour, pay health insurance for his entire family, pay income taxes, pay property taxes, pay car insurance, AND pay to feed and cloth his family, like a RESPONSIBLE American! Mexico's LARGEST revenue (aside from the drug trade) is the illegals in THIS country sending money back there!

This isn't at all about race, it's about illegal aliens swarming our country scooping up every free benefit and dollar they can get their nubbs on. It is ruining our country, ruining our economy, ruining our health care system while the only people that benefit are the fat, greedy ones hiring and promoting them all the while our government turns its head. If you've ever had cockroaches to overcome your food storage, you have a basic idea of the concept.

One important thing to remember here! You have ONE generation and one only of "productive" illegals. Once Americanized, they will turn into the fattest, laziest entitlement recipients this country has EVER seen!

Now...it would behoove you to do whatever you can to assist returning this country and it's economy back into the hands of Americans instead of spouting off about "news" that you evidently know nothing about!

So you have personally gone around to all these construction sites to check immigration status? I am not saying there are not employers that hire illegals for that very reason, but I also know there are plenty of people born here that do not nothing but sit around, collect welfare, pump out babies, don't pay taxes, etc. Oh and by the way, have you looked at the economy lately, because we have done such a great job with that.

...all you have to do is be a concerned American, keep your eyes and ears open and observe. While you are correct that some Americans abuse the entitlement system, we simply cannot afford the ADDITIONAL exponential increase of the influx of illegals as we currently experience. The criminal aspects of baby (citizen?) farming, drug trade and gang violence by illegals is totally another economic consideration. Remember that those held responsible are the ones that pay...the "responsible AMERICANS" that have ZERO choice.

The citizens of America are paying dearly with loads of taxes and medical insurance increases to compensate for those that do not pay. That time is coming to an end. Entitlements will gain a huge spotlight and a lot of new regs. In short...the gravy train is coming to the end of the track! WE work to pay a lot of money as citizens for those that do not. I feel lucky to keep 25% of my gross earnings after all taxes, fees, donations and...well...more fees and more taxes.

So...with that said. What is that YOU do?

As we send 4 busloads back to Mexico, each day, from Southeastern NC, 6 busloads arrive.

It comes down to hate from a parks and rec director. I think to cover news over a small $2000 bill is so stupid. No reason to have this on the news. There are real problems out there. DONT LIKE HISPANICS IN WILMINGTON GET OVER IT. WERE NOT GOING ANYWHERE!

Hop on one and head south.

We want you to pay your bills!

YOU don't think this story is newsworthy? Well, I think it's VERY newsworthy, because it raises the question of who else is a year behind and getting a free ride?

You got a mouse in your pocket - speak for yourself !

"You People"? Are you referring to white folks? Isn't that a racist comment?

Small $2,000 bill? If it's so small, why can't they pay it?

Are you saying the Parks and Rec guy hates Mexicans just because he wants them to pay prior to renting the park out for an event? AND the county hasn't even been paid for last year's event yet? Do you really know how stupid that makes you sound? Not the brightest crayon in the box now, are you?

Manuel, Don't you know what is planned?
Your future is not going to be in America. At least not if our current President is elected. Latinos future in the USA is in jeopardy, no matter what they tell you.

You are going HOME to Mexico if President Obama gets re-elected.

Insiders know that he is just being nice, offering Latinos some hope for a bright future in the U.S. and offering change in immigration laws. This is just a ploy to use you to vote for him to re-gain his position as President.

He knows that you can vote without showing Any I.D. and he is counting on your vote.
However, as soon as he is re-elected, he is writing an Executive Order to send all illegal immigrants home to their native countries.

So, Don't vote For Obama!!!

Do you know the man? What sin did he commit for you to use such a strong word. If simply performing your job makes you a racist, than most people are too (including you and others close to you). Be careful with that word, you may find yourself on the receiving end one day. Jesus said be your brothers keeper, think about that before you speak.

racist against illegals so what is your point???????

your bills on time like I do, and it want be a news story !

It comes down to the parks department got fooled once by allowing the festival to proceed last year without first paying. They are not wanting to be fooled twice. Pay the bill, no news story. Don't like being held responsible, get over it. We are not backing down.

of this article. Seems to me that it was to explain that there may not be a festival this year, due to lack of payment. It's a shame, we always enjoy going, have alot of fun and eat some good food. Yes, I'm an American, but I've also lived in a foreign country. Hispanics work hard, and yes, I know there are illegals here. I also agree though, come here legally just as we had to do in the other country. But will that ever stop this hatred among people? I only wish.

Maybe we should get Border Patrol on come to the festival! I am sure they will need tons of buses to cart all the illegals away & send them back to where they came from!

They are nothing but free loaders!

Ladies and Gentlemen ,

Just because one individual is unable to pay her bills on time does not mean that you should judge the whole Latino community. I agree with every single one of you that if if you want to use something of our community, bills must be paid right away. I know many Latinos that are very resposible, hard working, honest individuals who pay their taxes as well and on time! Please do not judge and stereotype my community/race because of one individual's actions. As for the festival, if she does not pay, then she should not be allowed to have the Festival. She should only be blamed for it and not the whole hispanic community!

Well said and Amen!

They all come to America want everything for free! Look at our stores the signs are in English & Spanish? Hello we are in America we speak English! You come to our country you learn our language! We got to your country we have to know Spanish!

They never should have been able to have the event with all the money up front, that is the parks fault? But now they are trying to book another event and then they get mad because they are now allowed to have it due to unpaid bills. Pay your bills just like everyone else does!

99% of Hispanics out there are nothing but free loaders, expect to work for alot of money, pay no taxes, live on food stamp and free medical! Basically live off our hard working tax dollars!!!!!

Hopefully the county will cancel this event all together! Show them how we run America, if you don't like it then leave, we wont miss you at all!

This is the United States of America; this country alone does NOT make America. There is North, South, and Central America. And yes, everyone should speak more than one language. That "they are all the same" you got that wrong. These people cannot benefit from food stamps, Medicaid, or any other services like we can. And they still have to report their income to the IRS, just like everyone else.

That they should pay the money to the county, of course they have to. Making a big deal about it and insulting someone else's background and race, should not. Ignorant with no perspective whatsoever...

Are you sure all Hispanic wants everything for free? When we make blanket statements like this, we sure do sound ignorant and uninformed!!

The festival *IS* an event specifically designed for the Latino Community.

Does the entire latino Community bear legal responsibility for this debt? Of course not. Does the entire Latino Community bear a MORAL OBLIGATION to insure this debt is paid?

Well, there were thousands of you out there enjoying it, standing in solidarity, claiming "We are all one." So I'd say that you DO bear a moral obligation to reimburse the county. She booked it, but it was YOUR fiesta!

Time to pass the sombrero for "el festival pay-uppo"...

...and time for local media to find out why the county gave her a free ride for a year.

So, basically what you are saying is that if you went to an event at say, Walnut Creek, and the promoters didn't pay for it that you have a "moral obligation" to help pay for it. After all, there were thousands of you out there enjoying it. It is not specifically for Latinos. I have been and had a wonderful time. You should go. I'm sure you would love it!

No one at Walnut Creek is going to be stupid enough to allow an event without payment up front. It takes an incompetent governmnet bureaucrat to do that.

Would you prefer "it's in your best interests" rather than "moral obligation?" Because it definitely IS in the interest of the Latino Community to make sure this is paid. Look at some of the idiotic posts on here, about them being lazy, expecting free handouts, about everyone being here illegally, and such nonsense.

Those type of posts are fueled by random, unrelated negative events - constantly. One guy gets a DUI and every Mexican is suddenly a drunk trying to kill our kids. A story runs about illegals in LA crowding an ER and suddenly, every immigrant family is trying to get a free ride on our dime.

The people planning on attending and participating in this year's event should be demanding that she pay the money, or coming up with it themselves. It's just as I used to tell my Marines; "When you go out in town and act like an idiot, every Marine gets labeled an idiot by the locals." The same holds true here. You want to stop these idiotic, racist comments, then every culture needs to take responsibility for their actions.

However, my only concern is that this bill be paid and that a past due bill never be allowed to languish like this again. P&Rs budget is not so fat that they can give out free loans.

My attending the Latino Festival would serve no purpose whatsoever. They'd be wondering who the old gringo was, I'd be having flashnacks to "The Alamo."

All mexicans are not dumb and lazy. They should not be responsible for this bill you are ignorant!! I'm not saying or blaming you for the marine who got busted with the child porn am I??? He is a marine he did it himself are you responsible for that?? I hope not!! C-ya at Odgen Park for the Latino Fest!

I agree completely with your last 5 paragraphs.

of all the ones you know how many are illegal? If they are illegal than they are not honest. They are criminals.