Wednesday, May 25, 2005

The immigration battle

In my post regarding 'Entitlement versus Responsibility' I highlighted the need for my community in Providence to move from 'give me resource' to 'i will create resource'. In subsequent conversations with many, they were angered by these and similar comments I have made. To that I say, then I'm doing my job. You see, I grew up in a home where my father was told at the age of 5 that he should consider janitor or cook as his best vocational prospects. I grew up in a home where my mother had a full scholarship to a highly regarded New England university, but could not go because her parents were unable to afford to send her. I grew up in a community that was small, mostly white, and where I generally was the only black face in the room. What does this have to do with immigration? Everything. You will hear various people fight, argue, and seek to enable undocumented (aka illegal) immigrants various rights within our communities. This is the 'entitlement' mentality I have talked about. When you feel entitled to be in this country and receive benefits derived from citizenship or legal immigration (and are not either) then, in my opinion, you are the type of immigrant this country does not need. That sounds harsh and it should. Consider that if I was in another country illegally I would be deported. Other countries have taken a much more antagonistic stance towards illegal immigration than the US which is probably why we have so many illegal immigrants. And that's the problem. If we continue to allow illegal immigration, then we must continue to be burdened by their inability to obtain legal jobs; instead, relying on under-the-table jobs which usually pay less than minimum-wage. Generally speaking, companies with skilled workers do not want illegal immigrants. It's something sticky called the law, I guess. However, small businesses seeking cheap labor will hire these people. But it doesn't help. It creates non-taxable income, low income, and people who's opportunities are severely limited because they are living in a constant state of criminal activity. Instead, we should support legislation that would help these folks move from illegal to legal status. We also need to deport some people. 'What!? Don, what are you saying?' Yes, I said deport. Why? Because if we do not demonstrate that we're serious about not allowing people to live in this country illegaly then we will have to make examples of some in order to change the perception that it's ok to be illegal in the US. The thing is, no one is above the law. I'm not. You're not. Yet proponents of legislation giving privileges to illegal immigrants are saying that illegal immigrants are above the law. They are saying that they can spit in the face of the American Legal System and receive privileges as a reward. To me, that's not only unfair to legal immigrants/citizens, it creates an unecessary antagonism between citizens and immigrants. I like the President's idea of granting work visas to people who are here currently. I think that's a good first step. But, our goal should not be to make illegal immigration easier and better for those living as illegal immigrants. Our goal must be a way to ensure a balance between open borders and safe, secure, and legal immigration.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Back in the Saddle

I have gone underground the last week or so. However, traffic has continued to remain at a steady pace, thanks to Google. I had planned a restart of sorts, but ya know what, forget it. I will however, leave open the call that if you have a political persuasion and like to chat about it, drop me a line and you may become a contributor on this blog. Hearing myself talk was never the intent of this blog and I don't find it that interesting. Dialogue is what it's all about and we have serious issues facing RI that need discussing. So, it's time for me to get back on the saddle and start up again. Here we go.....

Friday, May 13, 2005

Does RI need more Democrats? Answer: NOOO!

Ask any liberal in the state the following question: Do we need more Democrats in office? Their answer will undoubtedly be a resounding 'yes!'. But, did you know that the General Assembly has been dominated by Democrats for decades. DECADES! Right now in the House, there are 60 Democrats and 15 Republicans. That's a 4 to 1 ratio. You want more money for education? Thought the Dems were the socially progressive party? You want your property tax reduced? Thought the Dems were for 'working families' and 'small businesses'? Rhode Island, we have believed a lie. We have believed that progressives only reside with people that have capital D's next to their names. Sadly take a look at some of the scandals at the State House the last few years, and you'll see how wrong we truly have been. The spin doctors will tell you about our Republican Governer. Yet, last time I checked a united General Assembly had more than the 66% required to overturn a veto. Remember the casino vote last year? The problem is the monopoly Democrats have at the State House. Absolute power corrupts absolutely! As Rhode Islanders, we need to wake up to the fact that our representatives have failed to address our concerns. And we've failed to hold them accountable. It's time for that to change.

Warwick mayor's race adds another face

The Warwick Beacon reports today that City Councilman Joseph J. Solomon (D) may take a run for Warwick mayor in 2006 where there is widespread speculation that current mayor Scott Avedisian (R) will run for statewide office.

“I’m exploring a number of different things at this point,” Solomon said during a break in this week’s City Council meeting, adding he was considering vacancies at both the local and state level or he might just seek re-election to his current post. “I enjoy public service,” said Solomon, who was elected to the council in 2000 and is now in his third term. “I find it very rewarding and fulfilling.” Solomon, if he were to formally announce a run for mayor would be among at least two other Warwick Democrats interested in the job, including Council President Donald Torres (D-Ward 2) and Councilman Steve Merolla (D-Ward 9).
Oh it's so fun to watch people come out the woodwork whenever there is a power vacuum!

Minimum Wage Part III

The RI House has passed a bill that raises minimum wage to $7.25/hour as of Jan. 1, 2006.

“The democratic philosophy has been to help hardworking men and women. If we can give high tax breaks to businesses to keep them in Rhode Island, how can we deny working people a 50-cent raise?” said Representative Lima, a Democrat who represents District 14 in Cranston. “The average pay raise for chief executives at the 500 largest companies in the country was 54 percent last year. Meanwhile, regular working people are struggling and going into debt. This modest raise is a way to give them some help.”
What do you think?

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Right to Vote passes Senate

In a sweet victory, the Right to Vote bills which would return voting rights to former felons living in our communities passed the Senate in overwhelming fashion. These bills now go to the House for consideration. Read the projo article about it.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Right to Vote: RI Senate to vote today

I'll be trekking to the state house today, as the RI Senate votes on the constitutional amendment and the statutory changes that would allow former felons to vote. Hopefully, the Projo will cover this major vote and hopefully with its passage will put some heat on the House to pass their version of the bill as well.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Am I missing something?

As you all know, I have been and continue be an advocate for felon re-enfranchisement. It makes sense; people live in communities they should be able to vote (they are citizens afterall). However, the local push to make it legal for non-legal immigrants to obtain lisences is very, very, odd. Consider that if you are not a legal immigrant you have no status but yet you can still receive some forms of aid (I may be mistaken, but I believe you can receive WIC for you and your child-who may or may not be a legal immigrant as well). You may think I'm a hardline conservative and just don't like immigrants. Well, you'd be making a mistake. This country could be labelled the Immigration States of America. People have flocked to the US from all parts of the world...and many of those displaced some my ancestors, namely Native Americans who welcomed their lighter skinned brothers and sisters only to be....bah! that's for another time. Suffice it to say, the rule of law is critical to the stability of any country. That is why we are able to transfer power from one president to another. It's why we don't need a one to one ration between police officers and average citizens. It's why you and I are willing to cough up $175 for a speeding ticket with very little argument, your honor. And it's also why we must oppose granting lisences to non-legal all costs. Two months ago, I had a conversation with Representative Diaz about legislation she introduced that would grant non-legal immigrants the ability to obtain a lisence. Further, I do believe she introduced a bill that would disallow local police officers from inquiring about the immigration status of people they pull-over, arrest, detain, etc. I had a huge problem with this as I'm sure many of you have. I'm also sure many of you come from immigrants as recent as 2-3 generations ago. Again, this isn't about not wanting immigrants in this country because they might be bad for the country. It's about creating laws that do not subvert other laws. If we make it 'legal' for 'non-legal' immigrants to get a lisence, what are we saying? We are saying come to our country and/or state and do whatever you like. It's cool with us. Be legal, be illegal. It's all the same to us. My friends, that is a recipe for disaster and we cannot allow anyone to tell us otherwise. If they try to, just tell them that it's 'a load of crap!' Work to make it easier for non-legal immigrants to become legal. The immigration laws in the US are as tricky as a WWII minefield. That's where the fight should be taken. Don't fight to circumvent standing law and subvert its enforcement. Instead work to change the mentality of the power establishment on non-legal immigrants. What is that mentality? That they're latino or southeast asian and that all they want are some program to help them NOT work. Legislation such as this drivers license bill and the like perpetuate and support thinking of those who would like us to close our borders-retroactive to 1958 (sorry Cubans in Miami). Don't let them do it by taking cheap shots at immigration. Take a stand, fight the good fight, and work with would-be supporters (like myself) come to a reasonable solution. Anything less, is as I said, 'crap'.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Casino to be decided in Court.....AGAIN!

Rep. Williamson has gotten the Casino bill its day in court (again). Last night, the House passed the resolution we talked about last week (no Senate vote is required) so these questions will be posed to the court [paraphrased]:

(1) Would the proposed act comply with Article VI, Section 15, of the RI Constitution which says 'all lotteries permitted in Rhode Island be operated by the state'? (2) Would the proposed act, comply with the provisions of Article VI, Section 22, of the RI Constitution requiring a statewide and municipal referendum to become effective? (3) Would the proposed act, violate the equal protection clause of Article I, Section 2 of the RI Constitution, in: (a) granting to the Narragansett Indian Tribe and its chosen partner the right to enter into an exclusive contract as casino service provider; or (b) in providing that the state retain a share of net casino gaming income that is different from the share of net income that the state retains from other gambling facilities in the state? (4) Would the proposed act, be violative of the equal protection clause of Amendment XIV, Section 1 of the US Constitution, in: (a) granting to the Narragansett Indian Tribe and its chosen partner the right to enter into an exclusive contract as casino service provider; or (b) in providing that the state receive a share of net casino gaming income that is different from the share of net income that the state receives from other gambling facilities in the state
I guess we'll have to wait see what the Supreme Court says. This procedure does raise an interesting precedent. Generally, the judicial branch allows the legislative branch to legislate reviewing statues after they have been passed. In this situation, the Judiciary is being asked to render a decision prior to the passage of legislation. One representative (Rep. Gorham, D-Conventry) made the comment last night
You know all the questions . . . we could have asked the Supreme Court. Is it OK to protect the environment? Is it OK to be tougher on crime? . . . Is it OK to protect religion? We've even had the gay marriage issue up here, but what are we sending to the Supreme Court: is it OK for Harrah's to have a casino?
Good point. Though the situation here is slightly different in that the Supreme Court struck down a referendum that was passed by the General Assembly last year. It's not that the legislature is asking the court to give an opinion on every piece of legislation. Instead, they've been at this thing a long time, were rebuffed last year, and want to get it right. Let's wait and see what the justices have to say about it and if we will have summer of 2004 redux or not.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Emmett Till's body to be exhumed

Emmett Till, a young man who was brutaly murdered because he allegedly whistled at a white woman, will be exhumed so that federal authorities can determine who murdered him. His autopsy will come 50 years after his death, too-late to sentence his admitted killers (who have died), and 2 years too late for his mother to see justice. A letter to the editor by one Mr. William Bates, said "...If this case is not reopened and the guilty punished, I shall laugh at the word "justice."" Well Mr. Bates, you can finally stop laughing (though hopefully you haven't coughed up your lungs in the last 50 years.) Interestingly, the killers allegedly only planned to rough up Till. But Till allegedly kept saying he was their equal and that is what caused them to kill him. I've often said, that had I lived in those times, I would have been killed. Why? Because that time was a time of pure discrimination and it's not likely I would have shut my mouth for the sake of acquiescence. However, I bring up this story because it has always fascinated me and justice 50 years later is still justice. Take a look at the links I provided-they're an interesting read.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Mini Hiatus

I'm breaking until tomorrow evening. Have two very important 'meetings' between now and then that I MUST...repeat MUST...prepare for. Hopefully, Mike or Darlene will pick up the slack. *hint* *hint* don