Leonor Vivanco, San Bernardino County Sun, March 3, 2005
REDLANDS — After car enthusiasts said they were insulted that lowriders were to be excluded from the Redlands Cinco de Mayo Festival and Car Cruise, event fliers originally banning the cars have been reprinted.
The Downtown Redlands Business Association, which is run out of City Hall, is sponsoring the event and had distributed fliers stating “no lowriders’ for the free May 7 event.
That wording has been eliminated. The association and City Manager John Davidson did not return calls for comment.
“To me, it is a black eye to DRBA,’ said Danny Flores, who is organizing the fourth annual car show held during the Cinco de Mayo festivities in Redlands.
“When you disallow a group from participating in something that is partly city sponsored, it is discrimination,’ Flores told the City Council on Tuesday.
Flores’ wife, Angelina, also addressed the council.
“We have all strived to take one step forward at a time to stop discrimination,’ she said, “and the city of Redlands just took two steps back.’
Council members said they would look into the matter and a policy on checking fliers before they are published.
Although Councilman Gary George did not see the fliers before they went out, he apologized for any hurt feelings.
“Everybody’s welcome, as far as I’m concerned, for the cruise, and we would like to support your event the next day so you could raise money for the pageant,’ George said.
Lowriders shouldn’t be thought of as being affiliated with gangs, said Sal Gutierrez, a lowrider owner.
“That’s like saying that anybody who owns a motorcycle is a Hells Angel. It’s not true,’ he said. “We’re all family men. We dumped tons of money into these cars. We like to show them off.’
Many lowrider owners take pride in their cars. Flores owns a 1952 Chevrolet Fleetline he calls Mexican Graffiti and a 1963 Lincoln Continental convertible he calls El Presidente.
“To me my car is a lowrider. I’m a lowrider,’ Flores said. “My car is an extension of myself. My ideas have gone into that car, my money, my feelings.
“When you slander a lowrider, it’s both car and person.’