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Soldado.jpegCalifornia lawmakers last week approved a bill aimed at rehabilitating and expanding a crumbling monument that honors Latinos who served in the armed services.

Both houses voted to send Gov. Jerry Brown Senate Bill 722 by Sen. Lou Correa, D-Anaheim, to extend for two years the amount of time state officials have to raise private funds for the project. The monument, known as El Soldado, was first dedicated after World War II in 1951 and moved to its present location, at 10th Street and Capitol Mall across from the west steps of the Capitol, in 1975.

Previous legislation created a committee to solicit designs and private donations for the project. The monument is in disrepair and rehabilitation efforts have yet to succeed. Current law requires all the money in the account - about $300,000, to revert to the general fund on July 1 if the project is not done. SB 722 would delay that date for two years.

The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates the project's cost at about $1 million.

PHOTO: El Soldado monument across from the Capitol. The Sacramento Bee/Dan Smith.



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