LULAC (the League of United Latin American Citizens) dumped its state director, Bob Trevino, an employee of Gov. Mike Huckabee, at the group's state convention Saturday in North Little Rock. Some members believed that LULAC, supposedly nonpartisan, was becoming a partisan organization under Trevino, a Republican who is also co-chair of the Bush-Cheney campaign in Arkansas.
On Friday, Trevino and Ruben Barrales, a member of President Bush's staff, hosted a "Hispanics for Bush" gathering in North Little Rock. Barrales also spoke at the LULAC convention at the Wyndham Hotel. The keynote speaker at the convention, invited by Trevino, was state Rep. Marvin Parks of Greenbrier, the Republican candidate for U.S. representative in the Second Congressional District. Parks is running against U.S. Rep. Vic Snyder of Little Rock, a Democrat.
Partisanship was not the only complaint about Trevino, and to some LULAC members not even the most important. "Trevino was an autocrat," one member said. A document written by a Trevino opponent and headed "Ask Yourself This About Arkansas LULAC'S Leader" circulated among members. Some excerpts:
"Bob Trevino asked the National Board to disapprove the formation of a council in Pine Bluff. Ask yourself, why does Bob claim leadership in forming councils when he expends so much effort preventing them?"
"Bob Trevino has failed to draft and present for review a set of by-laws for the state board as directed by a resolution of the members. Ask yourself, what reason would Bob have for not wanting rules and regulations for the performance of the state board?"
"Bob Trevino has had 12 months to create and launch a web site that allows members to network. Ask yourself, why did Bob think this was a low priority when it was directed of him by a resolution of the state assembly?"
Trevino was seeking re-election as state director. Rey Hernandez of Rogers was an announced opponent, but at the convention Hernandez was disqualified on a technicality. The members then nominated Shawn McGrew of Rogers from the floor and elected him over Trevino. McGrew works in the corporate headquarters of Wal-Mart. Originally from Laredo, Texas, he's the son of a Hispanic mother and an Anglo father.
Trevino told the Arkansas Times that LULAC had been nonpartisan under his leadership, despite his place of employment. "I think the folks who made that comment see Hispanics as being monolithic, part of one party." He said that Snyder had been invited to address the convention but his schedule didn't permit.
"I think people wanted a change," Trevino said. "My successor is a good guy. I picked him to be a district director last year because I saw the potential in him. He'll do well."
LULAC has about 300 members in Arkansas. Over 100 people attended the convention, although only a little over 50 were voting delegates.