Bill Rancic Defends His Wife Giuliana After Fashion Police Controversy: 'I Tried to Get Them to Release the Footage' 42 years, 2,191 covers and 55,436 stories from PEOPLE magazine's history for you to enjoy
- Solange Knowles Celebrates 30th Birthday with Beyoncé and Pals in New Mexico
- Read the Cover Story: Matthew McConaughey: Love, Family & What I've Learned
- Matchmaking Dad Temporarily Postpones Wife Interviews for His Son but Says: 'I'm on the Right Track'
- Texas Mom Who Killed 2 Daughters Had a 'History of Mental Illness,' Authorities Say
- Pretty in Pink! Inside Lacey Chabert's 'Feminine and Romantic' Nursery
On Newsstands Now
- Matthew McConaughey: In His Own Words
- Jessa Duggar's Wedding Album
- Brittany Maynard's Final Days
Pick up your copy on newsstands
Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine
People Top 5
LAST UPDATE: Tuesday February 10, 2015 01:10PM EST
PEOPLE Top 5 are the most-viewed stories on the site over the past three days, updated every 60 minutes
- April 16, 1979
- Vol. 11
- No. 15
A Bored and Unpromoted Robert E. Lee Takes Affirmative Action: Meet Roberto E. Leon
Leon, who earns $27,857 a year monitoring noise control for the Montgomery County (Md.) Environmental Protection Department, used the name change to apply for the county's affirmative action program—and the pledge of promotions ahead of equally qualified white males. It took Lee about a month and $140 to become Leon, and he did it without a lawyer. "Finding loopholes is my job," he says with a shrug.
Leon is "a little eccentric," says his boss, Eric Mendelsohn, but adds with a laugh: "It's nice to have a Hispanic on our staff." Montgomery County officials are decidedly un-amused, however, and Hispanic leaders are downright furious. "This is an insult to Hispanics," fumes Carlos Anzoategui, head of the governor's commission on Hispanic affairs. "You don't become Hispanic by liking enchiladas and tortillas."
Leon bridles at the charge that he is an "instant Hispanic." He points to a Spanish grandfather and a childhood in San Diego, where, surrounded by Latino playmates, he began speaking Spanish in high school. Leon enlisted in the Navy in 1940. During World War II he attended Annapolis, where one classmate was midshipman Jimmy Carter. Leon did not know the future President, but recalls pointedly that his class standing was 23rd, Carter's 59th.
With such academic credentials, Leon clearly needs less help in employment opportunity than most. Yet he admits to being an "opportunist" who is as interested in Hispanic identity as in the promotions he could get because of it. Twice divorced, Leon now lives alone in Gaithersburg and relaxes by roller-skating with his local chapter of Parents Without Partners. He hopes to retire to Chile.
"Leon's loophole" has spawned a lot of criticism of Montgomery County's affirmative action plan. Whether it will help him in the end seems questionable. Meanwhile the county's newest, most controversial Hispanic is getting accustomed to his new heritage, if not terribly serious about it. "One of my compatriots called me a Spic," he says, "and we had a big laugh over it."
Treat Yourself! 4 Preview Issues
The most buzzed about stars this minute!