Friday, April 4, 2008

Are they doing all they can do? Daily Sound April 3, 2008


One year after a murder that woke the city up to a festering gang problem, after all of the youth programs, “truces” and picnics in the park, we still have a problem with graffiti, gangs and stabbings. Are our Leaders using every tool in the toolbox? There is one tool it is clear that they are fond of – the tool of “entertaining the youth” at taxpayer expense, through teen centers and youth programs.

A tool that is not being used, however, is the gang injunction tool. Why? Ask the Police Chief.
Because “It’s a tool that’s useful, but we don’t want to use it unless it’s useful” according to Stanley, who has talked to Chief Cam Sanchez about gang injunctions (see “Texas talks gangs” Daily Sound March 29). What? That’s right, it’s useful, but we don’t want to use it unless it’s going to be…useful.

This quote was from a meeting last week (attended by Sanchez) at which three visiting officials from El Paso, TX, shared their successful strategies for addressing youth violence. Were youth entertainment and youth programs a part of their strategies? No. Was a civil gang injunction part of the strategy? Yes, in fact it was the focus of El Paso County Attorney Jose Rodriguez’ presentation. According to the Sound, “City officials in El Paso established a two year safety zone, allowing police to detain known gang members for violations as seemingly innocuous as using a cel phone or profane language. As a result, crime dropped 12 percent.” But we wouldn’t want that for Santa Barbara, it might prove … useful?

At another meeting, Monday March 24 the Chief’s “soft on gangsters” approach was made clear by his expression that “an issue with identifying the right students [those involved in gang activity] is that of privacy”. No, Chief, privacy isn’t an issue. Minor students do not have a right to privacy. Anyone that has had the note they passed to their friend and read aloud by the teacher will tell you that. School attending minors do not and should not have the privacy rights of an adult, especially when the concern is the safety of other students. But apparently the Chief is more concerned with children’s privacy than with children’s safety.

Another tool that is not being used by the Chief is the 287(g) program offered by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Why not? Because he does not feel, (or is afraid to admit) that illegal immigration is a contributor to the gang problem.

If you listened to the Mayor’s Saturday noon talk show on KTMS 990 a few weeks ago, you may have gotten a hint at the City’s perspective. After apparently being fed up with the “all is wonderful in paradise” monologue from the Mayor, a caller wanted to know why we are not taking advantage of the 287(g) program to help combat youth crime. The Mayor demonstrated her ignorance of the program by stating that “we already do that” and cited examples of criminal aliens that have been deported after being caught in a crime. But that is not the same thing. It is a reactive approach, after the crime has already been committed, it is not proactive or preventative, and does not incorporate day to day enforcement by local officers of Immigration Law. For example, little may be done locally about the felony of possessing a forged document or ID, and there is no access to Federal databases. Currently, the only authority our local officers have regarding a removable alien is to transfer them to ICE after a crime has already occurred.

Under 287(g), ICE provides state and local law enforcement with the training and subsequent authorization to identify, process, and when appropriate, detain immigration offenders they encounter during their regular, daily law-enforcement activity in cooperation with Federal authorities, sharing resources. They are deputized to perform the functions of an immigration officer. Short of that, we are effectively a sanctuary city. When pressed, the Mayor admitted by default that we do not have this specific agreement with ICE or participate in this program.

When the caller declared that “The gang problem has its roots in illegal immigration” he was hung up on. What is it about this true statement that makes the Mayor, and others of us, uncomfortable? Does illegal immigration have nothing to do with the gang problem, as the Mayor and Police Chief would have us believe? We believe the statement is true, for the primary reason that illegal immigration has contributed to the disintegration of the Hispanic family. The act of immigration itself is disruptive to a family, because of forced separations. Then, the cultural gap between generations is widened through our tolerance and accommodation of illegal immigration by way of everything bilingual, from education to banking. Through this accommodation, we have taken away incentive and encouragement to assimilate into an English speaking culture. This has created an isolated slave underclass in our country of non-assimilated immigrants, a class that is underpaid and taken advantage of, widening the poverty and culture gap between US born Hispanic children, assimilated Hispanic Americans, and non-assimilated, likely illegal, Mexicans. Then there is a tendency of poor underclasses toward teen pregnancy and single parenting, for whatever reason, coupled with rapid reproduction rates.

The breakdown trend of Hispanic families is shown in the following data from:
http://www.city-journal.org/html/14_3_immigrant_gang.html

In California, # of children of U.S.-born Hispanic parents living in an intact family:
67 percent in 1990, 56 percent in 1999.
The % of Hispanic children living with a single mother in California:
18 percent in 1990, 29 percent in 1999.
Nationally, % of Hispanic households with minor children that are single-parent households:
25 percent in 1980, 34 percent by 2000.
Number of births per 1000 females between age 15 and 19 in 2002:
83.4 Hispanics, 66.6 Blacks,28.5 non-Hispanic whites.
In California, 79 percent of teen births to U.S. born Latinas in 1999 were to unmarried girls.

According to Rodriquez from El Paso, to solve the gang problem, children have to be reached at their own homes by their parents. That solution falls apart when there is no family and there are no parents.

The end result of the tolerance of illegal immigration is a chasm between traditional Hispanic family values and contemporary American ones, a chasm in which second generation Hispanic youths are caught, feeling that they belong to neither side of the gap. They do not feel they are Mexican and they do not feel they are American. In this dangerous area, there is a lack of parenting by single working parents, lack of communication with schools and neighborhood groups, lack of role models, family or protection. The teens find their sense of “belonging” and a feeling of security and safety only in gangs, mentored by older gang members, parolees, drug dealers and other criminals with little parental oversight. The often single parents must neglect their children as they struggle to make a living, parental responsibility becomes an impossibility, and is thus usually forgiven and not enforced legally.

As we are seeing the first wave of effects from our tolerance of illegal immigration in the past, the first thing we need to do to prevent it from getting worse is to do our share to help turn off the spigot at the border. This is where the City throws up its hands, points to the Federal Government and says “not my problem”. Then they move on to other national issues which apparently “are their problem” like climate change and bringing the troops home from Iraq. ICE cannot do it alone, they require assistance from local authorities.

Continue to demand that your leaders consider 287(g) agreements with ICE and gang injunctions. Replace illegal immigration with legal immigration. Throughout the history of our country, immigrants have managed to assimilate and advance economically without the aid of bilingualism. Get rid of bilingualism and encourage assimilation into a culture that everyone can participate in with equal opportunity. By doing this you will help keep families intact, and put an end to the underclass poverty and slavery.

The Conservative Turtle is not an individual, but a group of like-minded individuals organized by Aaron Shaw. More info may be found and comments may be left at conservativeturtle.blogspot.com or emailed to: feedback@conservativeturtle.com

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Our Silly Council - March 2, 2008

The turtles have been hibernating in the mud over the cold winter months. Although we have been quiet, our eyes and ears have been open, and we have been watching events unfold. Generally, we have been satisfied with our accomplishments from the warmer seasons, but there is more work to be done come springtime.

Our slumber was disturbed greatly however, when we discovered that our Silly Council was back to its tricks, having learned nothing from the “blue line” fiasco. We could hardly believe our eyes when we found that once again, the Council is abusing their local elected offices and misusing City time to make symbolic statements on national issues which are outside of their purview, and for which they have no significant influence, knowledge or experience.

This time it was a “Resolution urging cessation of combat operation in Iraq and the return of US troops” placed on the agenda for the December 18th 2007 Council meeting by Mayor Marty Blum and Das Williams. This was shameful and embarrassing, especially to those of us who did not ask our City Leaders to be representing our viewpoint on such issues, and to those who do not agree with their viewpoint. The shame comes from the very idea that after huge security and stability gains made by the troop surge, that our City suggests on our behalf that we should selfishly, recklessly and irresponsibly abandon the Iraqis as soon as possible. The City has made it their mission to speak for us and demand from the powers that be that we hand Iraq back to the whims of Iran (or worse, the impotent and corrupt United Nations) and allow re-energizing of Al-Queda in Iraq, assuring that all of the progress and cost in money and lives was in vain.

Meanwhile, the more appropriate and urgent local issue of public safety was ignored throughout the meeting. This despite testimony from citizen Wayne Scoles about radio communication inadequacies between Police, Fire and Highway Patrol, and a personal incident in which a knife was pulled on him and the DA’s office dropped the charges because they got the facts wrong. He also brought up the fact that Police Chief Cam Sanchez has told his officers not to book people at county jail, but just cite them and let them go in order to save money. All of this testimony was ignored by the Council.

Fresh from the “blue line” battering, and fully aware of the potential for opposition because of the national nature of the issue, the resolution was framed by Das and the Mayor under the guise that the war is causing a shortfall of City funding, in order to make it sound like it had local relevance. If this were truly a justification for this resolution, why have we seen no resolution from the council about the real cause of financial shortfalls, which is the mandatory spending that is used to fund entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare (see “The Iraq War is not the problem” by Gina Perry February 7 2008 Daily Sound). The problem is compounded by the cost of incarceration, education, health and emergency services and welfare programs such as WIC (Women Infants and Children) which are abused and taken advantage of by illegal immigrants. Why is the Council not addressing illegal immigration as a root of budget deficits, since they have no problem taking on national issues?

A few weeks before the meeting, we watched and listened in amazement as Marty Blum and Das Williams stacked the deck for the vote on their resolution. A reader disclosed to us that Das had his staff assistant Stephanie Mesones send an email memo December 3rd with advance copies of the resolution to key far left groups such as Veterans for Peace, Code Pink, and progressive talk and media hosts, announcing the resolution before the general public was even made aware that it was on the calendar. In the email is the wording, “We would love your support, please attend this city council meeting and call everyone you know that has an interest in this resolution (help us get the word out)”. Marty then made an appearance on the progressive radio station’s Paul Berenson show announcing the meeting to his progressive listeners, but made no mention on her own show on the more conservative radio station. There was no other public announcement made in any local papers (other than this column). The result was a hearing of about twenty invited staged anti-war testimonies all in support of the resolution, with most of the presenters disappointed only that presidential impeachment was not the issue of the day instead. Democracy in action?

On the Paul Berenson show the following Saturday, we laughed along with Marty and Paul, when they acted amazed that there were no speakers against the resolution, and listened to her true reasons for wanting this resolution, which of course were purely ideological and had nothing to do with the cited lack of local financial resources. It seemed to have much more to do with impressing her peers as a member of an activist group from Japan called “Mayors for Peace”. Listen for yourself at http://www.paulberenson.com.

Ironically, the same Council Meeting in which the resolution was passed was opened with a report from UCSB graduate and State Department Diplomat Kevin Crisp, reporting about the successful infrastructure reconstruction progress made by his “provincial reconstruction team” in Iraq. This is someone who has actually been there. His team helps to build water treatment plants, road improvements, and builds classrooms and schools. They are also involved in Capacity Development, which basically means teaching the Iraqis to govern themselves, and about grassroots democracy. Kevin is involved with a group called “One Laptop Per Child” which will be helping him place inexpensive but powerful laptops in the hands of Iraqi schoolchildren. Shamefully, especially for the former schoolteacher that our Mayor loves to refer to herself as, these are the positive efforts that she and the Council would like to see us abandon as quickly as possible, supposedly so that the City can have more funding for its self-involved projects.

Meanwhile in Iraq, there has been a dramatic decline of IED deaths because of increased tips and assistance from concerned local citizen groups (CLC’s), (USA Today Dec 19 2007), there are successful programs in place such as the US ‘micro-loan’ effort to fund small Iraqi businesses (LA Times Feb 22, 2008 Business), along with highly successful reconstruction efforts; violence has fallen 60 percent across Iraq since 30,000 additional U.S. troops became fully deployed in June 2007 (see: http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080217/wl_nm/iraq_dc) attacks in Baghdad have fallen 80 percent, (see: http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080216/ts_nm/iraq_dc). But these facts are not important to a Council that prefers we sacrifice all of our progress and effectively, give up, defeated, and throw the Iraqis to the wolves.

So what of the close to 4000 American deaths represented by crosses at Arlington West? Apparently the City wishes that they shall have died in vain by denying the country a now achievable victory. Councilwoman Helene Schneider suggested “supporting the troops” by bringing them home. Has she asked any of the troops what kind of support they want? What of the troops who want to be there and are proud of what they are doing, enough to re-enlist and willingly be re-deployed so that they can finish a job they are proud of with honor?

The News Press on January 28, 2007 highlighted on its front page a decorated soldier from Goleta, Staff Sgt. Seanessey O’Dowd, who has already served two tours of duty in Iraq and voluntarily re-enlisted for a third. Is this one of the troops our City would like to “support” by pulling the rug out from under their efforts? This local hero is willingly heading back despite being blown up by an IED while serving in Afghanistan in 2002, losing hearing in his right ear, and still having shrapnel in his body. This man tells us that the presence of U.S. troops in Iraq is necessary, again from a man who has actually been there.

In contrast, it is sickening and disgusting to see what heroes our Mayor and Council think themselves to be, apparently under the delusion that they are presiding over the Continental Congress. They each gave sermons about how horrible our country and military is and patted themselves on the back for voting their desire to cut and run and pull the rug out from under a true hero like Sgt. O’Dowd. Our fearful leaders believe in defeat and retreat, feeling they have the right to speak for our entire City after packing a room full of their liberal friends. They were feeling powerful and giddy when they found no opposition to their resolution, effectively proclaiming to the nation that Santa Barbara thinks losing the war and lack of stability in Iraq is good for America. Their feeling must be that Santa Barbara should not be expected to make any sacrifice or contribution to protect its own freedom. At the same time as we pull the troops, Mayor Blum and Das, let’s be sure to pull those laptops off the laps of Iraqi schoolchildren who for the first time in their lives have hope for their future!

The whole shameful circus act of December 18, 2007 is available for viewing on the City website: http://www.santabarbaraca.gov/Government/Video

Be sure to fast forward past “Inside Santa Barbara” to the 6 PM council reconvention.

The Conservative Turtle is not an individual but a group of like-minded individuals pioneered by Aaron Shaw. Comments may be left at conservativeturtle.blogspot.com or sent to: feedback@conservativeturtle.com.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Now that we have your attention - Daily Sound December 6, 2007


We are honored, a little flattered, somewhat amused, but mostly stunned that the Mayor took the time to respond defensively to our last column of November 20th with a letter published in the November 29th Daily Sound entitled “Get your head out of its shell, Turtle”. (See Below)

From the Mayor’s letter published in the November 29th Daily Sound:

[On the Mayor’s radio talk show] … the Mayor read from a memo by Chief Sanchez and Captain Mannix which says Part I crimes are the lowest in a decade. Those are the serious ones: homicides, assault with a deadly weapon, sexual assaults, arson, burglary, battery.

The tone in which this information was presented on the talk show was one of victory, relief, and self-satisfaction. The seeming intention of her claim was to give the impression that now that we have taken care of this inconvenient crime problem, we can return to the more glamorous non-local issues. We can now focus on things like the “Resolution urging cessation of combat operation in Iraq and the return of US troops” sponsored by the Mayor and Das Williams, scheduled for adoption at 6 P.M. Tuesday December 18th at the City Council meeting.

It should be a bit embarrassing for the mayor, however, that on the page opposing her letter in the November 29th Daily Sound is an article by Ron Soble which seems to contradict her claim, entitled “Gang violence is up dramatically”. The article conveys some facts that came from Deputy Chief Richard Glaus during the November 20th city council meeting. The article in fact states that “Gang crime in Santa Barbara soared 60 percent this past year”, and that “Even Mayor Blum, who said she reviews police reports, was unaware of this ugly figure.” The Mayor is quoted as responding “I knew it was up, I didn’t realize it was that high”. We realized it, and we ask, who has their head in their shell?

Other news from the council meeting tells us that there are over 11 separate gangs and 768 gang members that have been identified in Santa Barbara. The extent of the infestation is shocking, unprecedented in Santa Barbara, and unacceptable in a community of this size and character. This is not the inner city of Los Angeles, and certainly widespread poverty and lack of opportunity and recreational choices are not to blame.

The mayor says: “I don't know who the turtle is talking to, but everyone around me puts public safety as #1 on a list of concerns.” We turtles have no doubt that the Mayor, her staff, Police and Council are concerned. We will even concede that it is their #1 concern. However, being concerned and taking effective action are two entirely different things. We don’t challenge the level of concern. We don’t even challenge that they have gone to extraordinary effort to implement the strategy they have selected. What we are challenging is the narrow choice of strategies selected, and their effectiveness in combating an urgent and immediate problem.

We believe and have said repeatedly that the more immediate and urgent target should be currently active and dangerous gang members, not the “at-risk” youths. Recent crime events and statistics continue to demonstrate that the City’s efforts are ineffective at reducing gang crime. In fact, it is on the increase. They have identified the sole cause as “bored youths who don’t have enough positive opportunities or proper guidance that must be served by the community”. They refuse to identify and acknowledge other contributing causes, such as prison overcrowding and early release, lax monitoring of parolees, association of teens and minors with adult known criminals, illegal immigration, an effective sanctuary city for drug cartels and criminals from other countries, drug enforcement and abuse (including marijuana – medical or otherwise), insufficient street lighting, teen pregnancy, single parenting, and negligent parents not being held legally responsible.

Youth programs have the potential to curb gang growth in the long term. We do not denigrate these efforts, but we question the necessity and effectiveness of adding more when so many are already available. The Mayor notes in her letter that “there are over 40 youth-serving non-profits in this community that are helping young people grow up well”. Most of these have always been available and have not been city sponsored or financed; yet even with this generous offering from the community, the gang problem has increased. That is because availability does not ensure participation. Also, there are other causes. So why does the City feel obligated to “serve the youth” even more and spend the bulk of its efforts and resources increasing available programs while avoiding the exploration of other potential causes and solutions? Most likely, it is because this is the most politically safe means of appearing to be doing something. Who can argue with helping young people? Who has the heart to punish what the city has characterized as misguided youths who have not had enough opportunities?

As we have pointed out before, currently active gang members have not and likely will not choose to take advantage of these programs, and they cannot be forced to. Positive activities are contrary to the culture of their peers, especially the older adult gang members whom they idolize, emulate, and in some cases are controlled and intimidated by. Other gang members may be the only “family” they have. They are unlikely to turn away from gangs unless they are somehow isolated and even protected from their associates first. We are dealing with a culture of disrespect for law and positive activities. A large portion of gang members would rather have knives and drugs than hugs from the community.

More importantly, there is a na├»ve and incorrect presumption made by the city leaders that all of those committing these crimes and those involved in gangs are just “kids” making bad choices, that they are all minors going to school and living with their mostly negligent parents. Yet we see from the turtle compilation of recent gang crimes (November 20th Conservative Turtle) that the active perpetrators range in age from 15 to 26 and are just as likely parolees as they are schoolchildren or those living in the custody of their parents. Many of the currently active gang members are older adult criminals, possibly are involved in powerful prison gangs or drug cartels based in Mexico, are not in school, are beyond the age of parental control, and are freshly out of jail. In other words, after-school programs, as well as the prevention and intervention programs targeted at minor teens, their teachers or their parents, most likely will do nothing to dissuade these older perpetrators from gang and drug activity. Their influence on younger teens that look up to them is made clear by the number of arrests of both older gangsters and minors involved in the same crime. The city is focusing exclusively on the wrong target, and spending a lot of time and money doing it. They are “serving youngsters” instead of targeting older hardened criminals contributing to youth delinquency.

If “beefed up law enforcement” is the sole answer for addressing active criminals, is law enforcement beefed up enough? Is it conducted in the most effective manner? Why have stronger measures such as gang injunctions, enforced curfews, GPS locating devices for parolees and known gang offenders, and seeking out and deporting undocumented gang members and their parents not been considered? Or have they?

Finally, the Mayor’s attitude and probably that of the entire council toward all of this shines clearly in one of her concluding statements:

“We deserve better than a turtle telling us what to think, especially about a subject so important to all of us.“


We deduce that she feels they deserve better than any other species telling them what to think as well. The Mayor complains about columnists “insulting electeds at every opportunity”. We are not sure how she translates observations and contrary opinions into insults. Is the Mayor above reproach? Perhaps it is time for a city leadership that is more humble, open-minded and receptive to contrary opinion. Perhaps it is time for a local government that knows its place and is more concerned with your children’s safety than they are about influencing national politics in areas they have no significant business or influence in, such as ending the war and saving the planet. Drafting and pursuing the adoption of meaningless resolutions pertaining to national issues is a misuse of city time and resources, especially during a time when our streets and schools are unsafe because of roaming gangs. No worries, slow and steady wins the race.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Mayor's Response - "Get your head out of its shell turtle" Daily Sound November 29, 2007

In Tuesday, November 20th's commentary by Conservative Turtle, Mr. Head-in-his-shell has decided he knows the answer to the question, "Why did an incumbent lose the election." His one and only answer: "Public safety".

First of all, how insulting to the voters to think they all voted with one mind. I guarantee some voters were concerned with public safety, but others were thinking about big buildings on Chapala. Some did not like the traffic calming in neighborhoods, and others were unhappy the traffic calming has taken so long to be installed. Still others were looking for a new face. The myriad of reasons people vote for or against someone are always interesting, but in no way did the voters only have one thing in mind.

Secondly, C.Turtle says "Nobody in leadership appears to be getting the loud and clear message" about public safety. I don't know who the turtle is talking to, but everyone around me puts public safety as #1 on a list of concerns. Another Santa Barbara daily newspaper says that no one in City Hall has done anything about youth violence since the March homicide. How irresponsible to say such a falsehood! The Turtle is joining a dubious club of editorial writers who make things up, insulting electeds at every opportunity. Maybe Mr. Head-in-his-shell should put his head out and look around.

We have beefed up law enforcement and recreation programs, adding an additional $275,000 to enhance prevention and intervention programs. The City has received a $863,000 Workforce Investment Act grant for jobs for youth with our partners, the School District and Chamber of Commerce among others. We hope to get 200 youth jobs in our community through our neighborhood centers. Their boards have stepped up to the plate, engaging adults on the Eastside, Westside and lower Westside to give the youth support.

Thirdly, C. Turtle says "We prefer to look at the final tally of voting: Incumbents 19,579 and Challengers 20,703", so "there are more voters unhappy with the current Council". But crafty C. Turtle forgets to tell the readers that there were three incumbents and five challengers, and everyone voted three times. His conclusion is too simplistic. Numbers don't lie, but they can be manipulated.

Lastly, Conservative Turtle tuned into KTMS 990 at noon on Saturday to hear the Mayor's show. Hmmm, maybe C. Turtle isn't all bad. Yes, the Mayor read from a memo by Chief Sanchez and Captain Mannix which says Part I crimes are the lowest in a decade. Those are the serious ones: homicides, assault with a deadly weapon, sexual assaults, arson, burglary, battery. In addition Part II crimes have diminished appreciably, a reduction of 18% since 2005. These are drug, alcohol and lesser property crimes. Maybe C. Turtle should have stayed in his shell when he said "How these numbers were manipulated is anyone's guess." No, our police officers report the crimes, they don't manipulate the numbers. Your mayor is as honest as the day is long and doesn't make these numbers up either. What C. Turtle did not report is that the Mayor on her radio show said that violent crimes among juveniles is on the rise, a reason for great concern. Instead he thinks I am downplaying the youth crime as "insignificant". Nothing could be farther from the truth.

As a former teacher I am very aware of the youth in our community and very concerned about them. Yesterday I met with Senator Feinstein's deputy aide who toured this City's afterschool programs. He was pleased with what he saw and encouraged us to apply for a federal grant to serve these youngsters.

Our police officers are actively enforcing the laws against criminal gang activity. To do less would not be serving the City of Santa Barbara. In addition, there is no one solution to the escalating youth violence. I wish there were. Instead we have to work on all fronts to keep kids from gangs, to get them out of gangs, and to give them opportunities. Check out the 40 youth-serving nonprofits in this community that are helping young people grow up well. We are blessed with wonderful people here.

We deserve better than a turtle telling us what to think, especially about a subject so important to all of us.
Have a great Thanksgiving. We have much to be thankful for in this beautiful caring community.

Marty Blum
Mayor

Monday, November 19, 2007

City Council Election Analysis (and partial recent gang activity summary) - DAILY SOUND November 20, 2007

What a week. We have had a small change to the city council and have been left to speculate – why didn’t Brian Barnwell do so well as an incumbent? After reading a week of media analysis and blog opinions, the turtles have decided that nobody gets it. All are scratching their heads, wondering how could this be? According to the Independent, the lesson Das Williams distilled from the election results is that candidates who worked hardest and walked precincts earliest did the best. In other words, Barnwell failed because he did not do this - he ran a “bad campaign”.

Nope, that’s not it. It is somewhat insulting to the voter’s intelligence to make the assertion that we are a group of suckers that vote not on performance, but rather on who has the best funding and who comes to shake our hand. It wasn’t that Barnwell performed so poorly in campaigning, it was that he performed poorly in office, in regard to the number one issue – public safety. Not just Barnwell, but the entire Council, Police Chief and Mayor. Nobody in leadership appears to be getting the loud and clear message we are trying to send that the City has a quickly escalating gang problem and people care about it!

Quite simply, the issue of public safety is becoming number one in the public eye. At least one challenger who made this his number one priority unseated an incumbent, with two other public-safety-oriented challengers not far behind. What really happened is that people are waking up to the ever-increasing threat imposed by decreasing public safety. The threat is not only to our personal welfare as we walk the city streets, but also to the welfare of the city’s economic vitality. The city’s vitality depends on its low crime image as a tourist and shopping destination and nice place to live and work.

The current council largely ignored the rapid increase in violent activity until it became too big and ugly to hide anymore. Of the three like-minded incumbents, at least one had to go, as a sacrifice to the public safety gods. Barnwell was the first to suffer because, of the three, he was the most middle-of-the-road (not as well supported by the progressive activists) and had the least hair, youth and campaign funding.

We prefer to look at the final tally this way: Incumbents 19579, Challengers 20703. Add it up yourself. In reality, there are more voters unhappy with the current council than the Williams/Schneider win would at first seem to indicate. For those who can’t figure it out, the shift in the council is a response to dissatisfaction with the City’s response to public safety issues. The current council members concerned about the next election should take note, because as Frank Hotchkiss points out – “In two more years, there are going to be five seats open”. Looking at the complete numbers, the undisputable fact is, this truly was an anti-incumbent election. Williams and Schneider’s success must be viewed in context with the current council’s imminent failure. As turtles we are elated, because we know that slow and steady wins the race.

Meanwhile, the ineffectiveness of the City’s weak response to gang problems continues to rear its ugly head. In the six short months since the “wakeup call” murders of Linares in March and Carachure in July, violence is increasing in frequency, ferocity and boldness. Current events continue to indicate that the target, - which should be currently active gang members – (as opposed to at-risk-youth) is being missed with no improvement in sight. Victims are no longer just rival gang members engaged in a brawl, but now are innocents in the community, taking walks or sitting in cars in their own neighborhoods. Gang member’s weapons of choice have escalated from small knives and baseball bats to machetes, large butcher knives and guns. In our back yard, we have murders by illegal nationals controlled by Mexican drug cartels that endanger our hiking trails. We have street gangs with the potential of being controlled by deadly powerful prison gangs, if they are not already. We have had meth-induced murder-for-hire schemes and murders.

Here is a summary of reported recent events, since the City “took action”:


November 19 (Today) - 23 students suspended for being involved in a gang fight at Dos Pueblos High School.

http://www.keyt.com/news/local/11628156.html

November 16, 2007 – Man assumed to be rival gang member attacked with butcher knife by Francisco Alcaraz 20, Enrique Moran 20, Jason Odale 21 and a 15 year old juvenile at 1:40 PM broad daylight at a USA gas station on Carrillo street.

November 13 – Two teens attacked and robbed while sitting in their car at Franklin Center by three gang members inflicting knife wounds.

November 13 - Five gang members – Emilio Mora 19, Jose Zavala 21, Roberto Amador 19, and two juvenile males breaking car windows with occupants inside and brandishing a large butcher knife.

November 10 – A 15 year old is left with gunshot wounds on the 2400 block of Alexander Street.

November 9 – A gang fight on Milpas after which four gang members are arrested for weapons violations – one for a parole violation.

November 8 – Gang fight at Foodland Market on San Andreas – two gang members arrested – one on a parole violation and one with an outstanding warrant.

October 28 – Three “people” with ski masks armed with machetes and bats victimize 16 year-old “boy”. Victim is struck in the head and suffered laceration to his neck in the 300 block of Ladero Street.

October 28 – A carload of “people” stab a 15 year old in the arm in the 600 block of Eucalyptus.

October 24 – Methamphetamine induced murder for hire scheme gone awry.

October 14 – A 28-year-old non-gang affiliate stabbed three times by gang members Wilfredo Medina 24, and Martin Mendez 24 (parole violator).

September 30 – A 50 year old man taking a walk near his house on Shoreline drive is assaulted and robbed at knifepoint by two gang members.

September 17 – Murder of 23 year old Adan Ruiz tied to a large illegal marijuana grow near Lompoc, which according to Sheriff Bill Brown is likely part of a large drug cartel operating out of Mexico.

Notice - these are only the incidents reported by the Daily Sound in the span of little more than the last two months. An examination of some of the local blogs indicates that many more incidents are occurring than are finding their way into the newspapers.

The good news is that our outstanding police force is right on top of these incidents and making arrests and is to be applauded. The bad news is that with the revolving doors of overcrowded prisons and deportation of criminals to Mexico who quickly return, this will soon be a problem they won’t be able to control without increased resources.

Here’s some alarming news for those of you who think the problem has been or can be contained merely by local youth programs and more focused law enforcement. Broad based prison gangs control most of the Hispanic street gangs and drug trafficking in California. The penalty for leaving the gang is death. More than one of the above listed offenders is a parole violator. It appears that those released from jail early without adequate monitoring, and gang members sworn into the gangs with the condition of leaving the gang being their own certain death, have one thing in common: None of them are being released from jail or exiting the gang and asking “Where can I sign up for one of those youth programs that the City is offering?”

Reason? As we have noted before, gang membership is derived from a culture that cherishes lawlessness, crime, anarchy, violence, drugs, disrespect of authority, does not value life, and is romanticized by media and youth. Gang members gain status with their peers by how “bad” they are. They turn away from the gang toward more positive activities at their own peril.

Mayor Blum on her weekly radio talk show last Saturday made the claim that local crime is on a downward spiral, according to a requested report from Chief Sanchez. How these numbers were manipulated is anyone’s guess. The intended assumption to be derived must be that the almost daily weapon-wielding crimes we have seen in the last few weeks are really not happening, or not a problem. The latest gang incident was ironically reported by the Sound on the same day Marty made this claim. This self-satisfied attitude is dangerous beyond belief in light of the obvious acceleration of gang activity that we all see right before our eyes. For the Mayor, and those that portend that the gang problem has been solved by throwing a previously earmarked Federal grant at it to support youth programs, and adding some bike patrols, the above noted activity in just the last week should prove a contrary view.

A message to Mayor Blum, Chief Sanchez, City Council members: Gang membership is derived from a culture that does not respect authority, law and order, education, recreational opportunities, jobs and the fine arts, and they are not composed of those who have any interest or hope in trying to make a better life for themselves. Gangs are not composed of “youths without enough opportunities or things to do” who must be served by the community; they are comprised of criminals who choose to be criminals, will continue to choose to be criminals because of the culture that has been allowed to evolve around them, and must be dealt with accordingly!

Those leaders who understand that, and take effective action, will remain after the next election. Those who downplay this inconvenient festering crime problem as insignificant or simply an expected result of social injustice, and “kids making bad choices” (Mayor Blum) will be removed from leadership. Those who feel that the higher mission of the city is to spread the gospel of Global Warming, must be removed from the council ASAP. Turtles have had enough of this head-in-the-sand glamour seeking “leadership". One down, more to go next time. Slow and steady wins the race.

The Conservative Turtle is not an individual but a group of like-minded individuals and a forum on local issues from the conservative point of view. Here you will find previous columns, additional info, and you can leave feedback, input, questions, answers, ideas, hate mail and support. Support is most needed and appreciated to continue our quest. Comments may be added below each post or email to the link in the blog profile.

Candidates Talk Gang Violence - DAILY SOUND - November 1, 2007

What could be more timely and unfortunate than two separate stabbing incidents Sunday night to support what we have been saying? The offering of City programs to youth that the City feels satisfied with is doing little to stop what should be the most urgent and primary target – currently active gang members, as opposed to at-risk youth. Word on the street has it that this time the victims are not gang affiliates but innocents, and that at least one of the perpetrators was recently released from jail. Remember our previous column on prison overcrowding as a contributor to this problem?

Last week we promised a look at the City Council challenger’s feelings about what we feel is another contributor - the “hot potato” issue of illegal immigration and how it might contribute to public safety as well as many of the city’s other problems. We noted the avoidance of the issue by some of the current politicians, and how really, nothing is being done about it. We mentioned a little about what Das Williams previously had to say about it, and we noted the silence of the other incumbents up for re-election. An update from the recent candidate forum suggests that Das feels it is “morally unacceptable” to eliminate gangs by telling them to “get out of the gang or get out of Santa Barbara”, sending the alternate message that it is not their fault, but rather the fault of the community for not “reaching out” enough to them. Apparently it has become immoral to enforce the law or hold criminals accountable. We reported the results of an email challenge to the current council that a citizen had submitted to us, regarding the priorities of Global Warming and impeaching Bush vs. Gang Violence and Illegal immigration and their effect on the City.

Much to his credit, Brian Barnwell after reading our article, emailed us with his take on the issue, having missed the previous challenge about it. The email is posted on our website – conservativeturtle.blogspot.com – along with some of the key points summarized here:

  • Global warming is an important issue because of what it portends – reduced resources. Things are going to cost a lot more and there will be less of it. We need to act accordingly.
  • Bush is a jerk (sic). Do I want to impeach him. NO. Too divisive; too expensive, too diverting of the attention of the nation and congress.
  • Illegal immigration. I don't like it. I want it stopped. You tell me how to do it and I'm probably right with you.
  • Gang violence. Huge. Of the four questions, for us locally, it is the biggest.

Still not a word from Helene Schneider, though to be fair, she may have missed the original email challenge as well as our columns. This can be interpreted in many ways – you decide.

We emailed a questionnaire to the challengers this week, specifically about the hot potato issue of illegal immigration – probably the best test of whether the candidates will avoid or address a politically unpopular issue head on, and respond to challenges by the public.

The full text of the questionnaire and responses are posted at:

conservativeturtle.blogspot.com

The following are notable excerpts:

Michelle Giddens

Illegal immigration is the biggest problem to hit the US since World War II. The issue, despite its complexity, demands immediate and top priority. I don't care whether a person is white or brown or any other color; if they live or pass through Santa Barbara I want them to obey the laws and respect the safety and beauty and special qualities of our City. Frankly, we appreciate it when they spend money as they are passing through. If they work here, we appreciate the work they do. And if they can afford to live here, we welcome them as neighbors.

I don't want us to give them all the benefits of citizenship, but I do want them to be treated humanely.

Frank Hotchkiss

Illegal immigration is the elephant in the corner of the room that no one wants to talk about. Police Chief Cam Sanchez has said that illegals are worried about deportation. They therefore do their best to avoid contact with the authorities, including the police. In other words, they avoid criminal activity. He doesn't see illegals as a problem in Santa Barbara, therefore. However, a significant number of prisoners in our state system are illegals, which contradicts the chief's view, although he is presumably correct at the local level. Insofar as gangs are concerned, the police (officers on the street) told me recently that there is a new gang starting up in Santa Barbara that doesn't speak English, and therefore is clearly comprised of illegals, perhaps from South America.

Dan Litten

I agree that public safety and law enforcement are the most important functions of government. However, I think that's so obvious as to be a fairly uninteresting statement. Regarding local health care, our county's healthcare facilities and systems are straining at the seams, and I've seen illegal immigrants receive medical care while uninsured or poor U.S. citizens have certainly at times gone without. Outside our area, a UCLA nephrologist noted that one-third of his dialysis patients had just arrived from outside the country after being told they needed help available in the United States. Illegal immigration obviously contributes to crime. I myself was a victim of a hit-and-run by a probable illegal immigrant drunk driver last week, later taken into custody by our police department. Less anecdotally, the Civil Grand Jury estimated that illegal immigrants make up 10-20% of County Jail inmates. Regarding development, housing and the environment, illegal immigration makes up a significant part of our county population. Excluding all immigration - legal and otherwise - California's population is actually declining. Any topic of such wide-ranging impact deserves City attention.

Dale Francisco

Public safety is my first priority. Illegal immigration imposes costs on society. Though most of the responsibility for enforcing immigration law lies with the federal government, the city certainly should cooperate with federal immigration authorities in an effort to reduce those costs. The city has an obligation to cooperate with any federal law enforcement agency. My understanding is that the police are legally prohibited from enquiring about immigration status unless someone is being booked for a crime. There are legitimate concerns about civil liberties that must be weighed in the balance. We need more police.

We were most impressed when Michelle Giddens took the time to respond at length to our last week’s column “Playing Political Hot Potato” about her feelings regarding illegal immigration. This was completely unsolicited, prior to her receipt of our questionnaire. We have to say we are impressed with her lack of fear to address this issue head on, (before we even asked) and her overall enthusiasm and energy. Frank Hotchkiss responded very promptly, which of course is a good indication of his responsiveness and lack of fear to address politically “hot” issues. We admire his fearlessness against political correctness as demonstrated by his strong position against gangs and his English only stance for City Hall. This demonstrates strong leadership qualities. Judging by his comments at the recent candidates forum, we appreciate that he understands that the inspiration for graffiti is not “artistic expression” but rather, tagging and claiming of gang turf. Das Williams thinks the grafitti problem can be solved by providing a “graffiti wall” so “youths” canexpreeesss” themselves (as if lack of artistic outlet was the reason they are inclined to claim turf and stab people that cross the line). This indicates a dangerous fundamental misunderstanding and downplaying of gang culture. Dan Litten also responded quickly. We are very satisfied with his knowledge and concern about gang violence, especially his understanding that it is a cultural issue, rather than a general matter of young people without enough to do. In NP Voices The Gang Problem October 14, 2007 he calls it a “culture that cherishes disrespect”. That is the best understanding of the problem we have heard. But we worry that public safety might not be his primary concern or motivation for running. He also clarified the comments in our last article, that may have unintentionally implied leaf blowers were his sole environmental concern. Other concerns include pesticide use, bicycle/pedestrian traffic and energy use. We did hear that as well, and thanks for reminding us, Dan. We apologize if we gave anyone the impression that his environmental concerns were that narrow.

Unfortunately, we could not locate an email address for Bob Hansen. We are not sure if he has one. That tells us he is probably the smartest candidate right there. Bob, if you are reading this, we can still post your response on our website.

We have our opinions about the responses, and we know who we would endorse, but we promised no partiality. Who would listen to a turtle anyway? As many of you know – public safety and the elimination of gangs is what inspired our column. If this is the most important issue to you as well, there should be enough here to go on. The questionnaire and offered responses may be viewed on our site, along with all of the communication we received on the subject. We inform, you vote. Ok, we may offer a few of our opinions as well, but not here. Don’t be surprised if we have a little analysis on our blog. Depends on if it’s a good week for rock sliding in the pond or not….

May the best leaders - those that put local public safety far above saving the planet for the survivors of the gangs, released prisoners, and criminals and terrorists that walk across the border … WIN!

The Conservative Turtle is not an individual but a group of like-minded individuals and a forum on local issues from the conservative point of view. Here you will find previous columns, additional info, and you can leave feedback, input, questions, answers, ideas, hate mail and support. Support is most needed and appreciated to continue our quest. Comments may be added below each post or email to the link in the blog profile.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

City Council Challengers Respond to Illegal Immigration Questionnaire




1) What is your highest priority issue for the City? Second priority?

Frank Hotchkiss - Eliminating gangs and planning properly for ample parking and limited growth, density and building height.

Dan Litten - First, some semantics over the word "priority:" I agree that public safety and law enforcement are the most important functions of government. However, I think that's so obvious as to be a fairly uninteresting statement. My priorities listed below are the areas where I think the city should act differently and where a change could most easily, quickly and effectively make this city a better place to live.
Priorities:
1. Protecting our environment - especially where it intersects with human health - by improving our dangerously poor air quality and getting toxic chemicals off public lands, and discouraging their use on private lands.
2. Promoting energy efficiency via transportation (promoting safe bicycle/pedestrian traffic) and via property management (e.g., improve new building efficiency; stop air conditioning City buildings).

Dale Francisco - Public safety is my first priority. Second is neighborhood preservation and representation.

Michelle Giddens -
Public safety including youth violence, vagrancy, emergency preparedness and traffic safety.
Protecting our local environment including cleaning our oceans, beaches, creeks, and streets as well as maintaining healthy wildlife and botanical diversity. Preventing unnecessary growth impacts, requiring use of renewable energy and increased education focused on recycling, conservation (water, electricity, chemicals, packaging, composting etc) and product choices available to replace chemical cleaners, gardening products, beauty products, building materials etc.




2) Do you feel that the accommodation and tolerance of illegal immigration contributes significantly to any of the City’s problems such as public safety, gang culture, graffiti and vandalism, prison overcrowding, court costs, hospital crowding and quality , health, general services (emergency, police, fire), housing, environment, over-development, entitlement costs, revenue drain and is it a matter that the City should pay any attention to at all?

Frank Hotchkiss - Illegal immigration is the elephant in the corner of the room that no one wants to talk about. Its effects on Santa Barbara are indeterminate, but since some 35,000-50,000 illegals are believed to be in Santa Barbara County, those effects will be significant.
Police Chief Cam Sanchez has said that illegals are worried about deportation. They therefore do their best to avoid contact with the authorities, including the police. In other words, they avoid criminal activity. He doesn't see illegals as a problem in Santa Barbara, therefore.
However, a significant number of prisoners in our state system are illegals, which contradicts the chief's view, although he is presumably correct at the local level.Mayor Blum has told me she thinks illegals are a considerable drain on our health systems. I have no way of verifying, but suspect she is correct. Insofar as gangs are concerned, the police (officers on the street) told me recently that there is a new gang starting up in Santa Barbara that doesn't speak English, and therefore is clearly comprised of illegals, perhaps from South America.
In any case, gangs are gangs, whatever their source, and need to be dealt with decisively. Santa Barbara should be a gang-free town.

Dan Litten - Yes to all of the above. Regarding local health care, our county's healthcare facilities and systems are straining at the seams, and I've seen illegal immigrants receive medical care while uninsured or poor U.S. citizens have certainly at times gone without. (Outside our area, a UCLA nephrologist noted that one-third of his dialysis patients had just arrived from outside the country after being told they needed help available in the United States.) Illegal immigration obviously contributes to crime. I myself was a victim of a hit-and-run by a probable illegal immigrant drunk driver last week, later taken into custody by our police department. Less anecdotally, the Civil Grand Jury estimated that illegal immigrants make up 10-20% of County Jail inmates. Regarding development, housing and the environment, illegal immigration makes up a significant part of our county population. Excluding all immigration - legal and otherwise - California's population is actually declining. Any topic of such wide-ranging impact deserves City attention.

Dale Francisco - Illegal immigration imposes costs on society. Though most of the responsibility for enforcing immigration law lies with the federal government, the city certainly should cooperate with federal immigration authorities in an effort to reduce those costs.


Michelle Giddens -
Yes, to a degree. For more info please refer to my web site: www.sbforgiddens.com
Illegal immigration is the MOST IMPORTANT National issue we face. It is a lesser problem in Santa Barbara, although it is estimated that 1 in 5 in CA are illegal immigrants. We can't afford to take care of their health care and education cost but at the same time we can't afford to mistreat them. California's (and Santa Barbara's) economy is dependent on illegal workers and there is a symbiotic nature to the current situation. One thing I don't want is for businesses to have to take on the responsibility for screening their workers.
I do want the illegal people to get state ID cards of some sort. We have to document them and include them in the tax base. We have to know how many there are and where they are. It is the first step and it needs to be done. I don't want us to give them all the benefits of citizenship, but I do want them to be treated humanely. So, I'm straddling the fence. I don't want a person to be given citizenship by some new act of Congress. I think they should have to be registered for at least 5 years and show a record of paying taxes and obeying the laws during that time. It's the best I can come up with.
Although I don't have any statistics, and you may prove me wrong.....it has been my experience (having lived my entire life in California and Texas) that the vast majority of illegal's are here because they wanted to make a better life for themselves and they are hard working, loyal, trustworthy and grateful. Immigration status not with standing, I see them as law abiding people who have an exceptional work ethic. These are the ones who don't want to risk the chance of achieving the American dream by breaking our laws. I have hired hundreds of Hispanics in my lifetime and that has been my experience.




3) Should graffiti abatement be at the City's expense, or should it be paid for by the affected property's owner or community volunteers as is currently the case?

Frank Hotchkiss - On public property, erasing graffiti should be a city responsibility. On private property, it should be the property owner's.

Dan Litten - It ultimately should be a City responsibility - especially as the great bulk of graffiti is on City property - but there's also room to seek out volunteers as well. I remove graffiti in my neighborhood and find many passers-by who seem to think it's a great idea. With more publicity, I think the City could find more volunteers.

Dale Francisco - We're all in this together. Unfortunately, the direct cost of graffiti removal, like the cost of repairing any other act of vandalism, falls on the property owner, whether the property owner is the city, a private individual, or a business. The best thing the city can do is to help reduce the level of gang activity, which is the major source of graffiti
vandalism.

Michelle Giddens -
The City should encourage and support the volunteer system as much as possible. I think we can even get businesses to participate through a barter system so that volunteers can actually earn discounted services based on the number of hours they contribute. A volunteer could shop at any number of stores and receive a "Community Volunteer Discount." All transactions could be traced through a magnetic "CVD" card. There would be fair limits etc. I think we could apply this system to a number of other programs and services. It may be a way to help public servants and/or a way to encourage owners of rental properties to maintain reasonably priced rental units.
Honestly, I am not familiar with the current system, but I am ready to learn. I am 100% confident that we can achieve a win/win solution to this particular issue...and many others!





4) Should Santa Barbara remain an undeclared “Sanctuary City” with a “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy regarding immigration status?

Frank Hotchkiss - Illegal immigrants are immigrants who entered the country illegally, or who overstayed their visas. We should not encourage illegal activity in Santa Barbara, and the city should not have the reputation of being a de facto "sanctuary city".

Dan Litten - I don't know if it's fair to call it a "Sanctuary City," but I don't support the concept of being a "Sanctuary City" and think the City should support observance and enforcement of immigration laws.

Dale Francisco - My understanding is that the police are legally prohibited from enquiring about immigration status unless someone is being booked for a crime. There are legitimate concerns about civil liberties that must be weighed in the balance.

Michelle Giddens - Yes, please see answer below and www.sbforgiddens.com



5) Should immigration enforcement be proactive, reactive, or non-existent? Should we wait until a crime is committed such as a rape, child molestation, murder, kidnapping, drunk driving accident, identity theft, drug manufacture and distribution, prior to investigating a person’s immigration status? If an illegal alien is caught in a crime, what should be done? Should we take other preventative steps such as workplace investigation?

Frank Hotchkiss - Ultimately, the U.S. must deal with illegal immigration on a federal basis. Cities that have chosen to take a stand, because of the federal government's lack of action to date, have seen their illegal populations depart voluntarily, presumably for other places in the U.S. even when these cities' new local laws have been challenged by private groups in court. The jury, literally, is still out on these cases.
If Santa Barbara chooses to make it clear that illegal immigrants are not welcome, it must be prepared for the effects of that decision: less traffic, less pollution, fewer students in public and private schools, higher construction and other non-skilled labor-related costs, less pressure on the rental market (and probably therefore reduced rental prices), perhaps fewer entry-level condo/home buyers, and a lack of unskilled labor which may or may not be satisfied by student employment.
If someone who is arrested proves to be illegal, they should be tried for the crime for which they are arrested, and then deported regardless of outcome due to the fact that they broke the law previously by illegally entering the U.S.

Dan Litten - I tentatively support the idea of proactive enforcement, including of workplace investigation. This would need careful implementation to remain targeted enough to be reasonably cost-effective. There are problems with this approach, however. First, practically, I don't think the City has the staffing or training for such an effort. Second, Jim Anderson raised the issue of immigration enforcement during his sheriff's campaign last year and many law enforcement officials proclaimed it a dangerous idea for local police. I'd certainly listen to their views before starting any new program. If an illegal alien is caught, ICE needs to be notified.

Dale Francisco - The most proactive step is border enforcement--a federal responsibility. Illegal aliens convicted of serious crimes should serve their sentences and then be deported.

MIchelle Giddens - City immigration enforcement should be non-existent at this time. We don't have the resources to enforce it, our economy relies on their labor, and we don't want to create an exodus or upheaval or fear/anger driven retaliation or law suits.
However, if an illegal commits a crime they should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law and our Justice system must make those rulings and I support deportation.



6) Do you feel the City has any obligation to cooperate with and/or assist Federal agencies such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)?

Frank Hotchkiss - Yes.

Dan Litten - Yes. We should all be on the same team.
(Although ICE has not always appeared eager for cooperation or assistance -
see http://article.nationalreview.com
/?q=YjRiYzRlYTM4ZjlhOThjYmRlNDUzNjQ3NjRmY2RlZGY=

or see 2007 Santa Barbara County Civil Grand Jury report "Illegal Immigration and the Detention System")

Dale Francisco - The city has an obligation to cooperate with any federal law enforcement agency.

Michelle Giddens - We should cooperate if the request is reasonable.



7) Should we adopt an immigration policy similar to the Illegal Immigration Relief Act passed by Hazleton, PA (see link below)? If not, why not?
http://www.smalltowndefenders.com/public/node/6

Frank Hotchkiss - See #5 above.

Dan Litten - The specifics of the Hazleton law have landed it in expensive lawsuits, and the outcome of all this should be understood before jumping onboard. In particular, I don't know that it will ever be practical to ask landlords to understand immigration status. However, I support the idea of the City working to improve immigration compliance. It certainly seems that we could, at a minimum, expect City contractors to follow immigration law, especially as the "Living Wage" was passed to pay these workers above-market rates. The "No Match" federal rule (also currently tied up in court) may partially facilitate a similar result.

Dale Francisco - I'm skeptical of immigration laws that push the burdens of enforcement primarily onto landlords and small businesses.

Michelle Giddens - Absolutely not. This has created more problems and hurt local businesses and property owners. The most significant source of income our City has comes from tourism. We need to appreciate that although there are extreme costs associated with illegal immigration, including population increases, education and health care. There are also significant benefits. We need a way to provide ID's to illegal's, collect taxes on their income and begin to assimilate them into the community.




Optional bonus question:
Any other ideas, solutions to the public safety issue that have not already been incorporated by the City?

Dan Litten - I don't accept the idea of focusing only on violent crime. If we don't have enough police to take care of serious crime and also manage of traffic enforcement, noise complaints, litter, graffiti, etc., then we need more police. We shouldn't need to write off "quality of life" policing.

Dale Francisco - We need more police.