Immigration Clarification

Why do we have a legal imperative to welcome illegal immigrants to our community? Wasn’t Cesar Chavez against illegal immigration in his quest for higher wages and collective bargaining power for hard-working farm workers?

Does anyone else take issue with the chosen language in Mayor Blum’s recent Proclamation requested by La Casa de la Raza and drafted with Councilman Grant House declaring May 1 – 7 the Week of the Immigrant? It reads in part, "Whereas the City of Santa Barbara recognizes that foreign-born immigrants have a legal and moral imperative to live in our community … "

The United States is a nation of laws, and Western Civilization is based on law and order. This so-called "imperative" – whatever that means in the context of this City Proclamation – is nowhere written into law. Living in the U.S. illegally is currently a misdemeanor and aiding and abetting to remain illegally is a felony. Supposedly this is still a nation of laws and following those laws is what elected officials have sworn to enforce.

Upon inquiry, the Mayor assured me she does not believe in anything illegal. City Councilman House, a long time La Casa Director, also assured me they were "careful of the language we selected. It’s just the way you’re interpreting it." Please, tell me, what am I missing?

In step with the City Proclamation, SB School Board President Annette Cordero asked her School Board colleagues to pass a similar resolution substituting "the City" language in the Proclamation with "Santa Barbara School Districts," and adding students into the equation. A County Office on Education staffer testified that many undocumented families are served by the COE and support is needed for their cause.

After the School Board heard testimony from a UCSB Chicano Studies Faculty Member stating, "the University stands ready to support the Santa Barbara District’s education effort with a bank of faculty ready to facilitate dialogue …", Trustee Nancy Harter asked Superintendent Sarvis to work with the UCSB Chicano Studies Department to assist the SB School District to educate and inform students.

President Cordero’s desired Resolution, and the Board’s plan to use faculty from the UCSB Chicano Studies Department to educate students on the History of U.S. Immigration Law, and on our current immigration policy, plus federal bills under consideration, troubles me as a parent and granddaughter of immigrants.

U.S. Immigration Policy is now being debated vigorously in the U.S. Senate. There are alarming population growth impacts at stake with the U.S, heading for a population of 300 million this year. This is an important topic that is never discussed by members of Chicano Studies Departments with interests in open borders and increasing entitlements.

Let’s take advantage of this opportunity to help everyone become better informed while there’s high level interest. Let’s encourage the District to include current events and demographics in the educational curriculum. The public must demand the teaching of U.S. History by historians of American History, not Chicano History, or Asian History or Black History, which are important subsets, but are not focused on the big picture.

Students need objective instruction from experts. U.S. History classes are now offered only in 8th grade up to the Civil War, and then again in 11th grade starting where they left off in the 8th grade. It’s appalling what the average 8th grader doesn’t know about our country, starting with the fact that the United States has a Constitution. History has been known to repeat itself. That is why genuine knowledge, is a critical component when processing media sound bites that we're all exposed to daily.

Let’s ensure objective, factual presentations to our students. There are many experts in U.S. History, Political Science, U.S. Immigration Law and Demography available to teach critical subject matter, not non-existent "legal and moral imperatives"...

What is imperative is to speak up and to be an active participant in keeping our much sought after democracy viable.

Immigrants made our country and are a vital part of our community. The United States will continue to want and need immigrants. As a nation, we can expect to welcome millions more annually but there must be oversight and accountability.

The minimum number of permanent immigrants that would be allowed over the next 10 years under the three main Senate proposals would be 20 million (Frist’s Bill –S.2454), 25 million (McCain/Kennedy Bill – S.1033), or 30 million (Specter proposal). Join CAPS. Advocate and be an active participant in our sought after democratic country.

Denice S. Adams

CAPS Director

Montecito

Deporting is Worth It

Presidents Bush's immigration reform proposal is nearly perfect, but I disagree with those who say we can't send illegal immigrants back. Maybe not all at once but complete abdication of enforcing our laws has greatly encouraged lawbreakers to flood across our borders. An actual effort to remove those who are here illegally would go a long way to discourage others from coming and might encourage some to leave on there own. The costs that these lawbreakers burden our benefits system with, from education to healthcare, are not only driving our government to bankruptcy but are consuming resources that could be used for our own citizens and those that are here legally. The costs of removing those who have come to the U.S. illegally will be offset by the savings to our system and by the increased benefits and resources we can devote to our own less fortunate.

History has proven that amnesty just encourages more illegal immigration. That is not an option. I'm not against a guest worker program but this mass of illegal immigrants has driven down wages on the bottom rung of the work ladder so far that many citizens won't do those jobs. Without them, wages would rise to a rate that brings students and poor people back into those jobs. The notion that US citizens won't do those jobs is an insult and a lie; at the right wage anyone will do those jobs. I'm sure you know people who would pick grapes for $300 an hour; I would do it for $30 an hour. The real market wage for legal labor will not have a substantial impact on finished product prices, and the little impact it will have is what we should be paying for those products anyway. Without illegal aliens we wouldn't need a minimum wage.

But to send them back without addressing why they came would truly be an injustice. They come because our standard of living is so much higher than the country they left. Why is that? Education! Their governments have kept masses ignorant and that has crippled any chance for a higher standard of living in their own country.

We need to bring the full weight of our influence to force all countries to educate all their children to the standards of developed countries!

It may take 20 years but their standard of living will likely double, greatly diminishing their citizens’ desire to illegally enter our country.

So, the economic and public costs of returning people who have broken our laws to their home countries will only save us money and make our country stronger in the long run. But the real solution is bring all our power to bear on all underdeveloped countries to educate all their children to developed country standards, starting with Mexico.

Finally, this may seem callous, but whose idea was it to make the children of those that entered this country illegally legal citizens? That is just wrong and should be changed immediately!

Sincerely,

Ed Fuller

Santa Barbara

Coverage was Great, Thank You!

Thank you so much for your cover feature of the May Madness Benefit Sale scheduled for May 6th (MJ #12/9). The members of the Women's Auxiliary of the Music Academy of the West work year-round preparing for those six hours on the first Saturday of May. I wish to remind everyone that the true beneficiaries of this fundraiser are the outstanding students who are selected to attend the full scholarship program during the summer at the Academy. Everyone who supports May Madness – including our community volunteers and our customers – are contributing to this wonderful program that is open for everyone's enjoyment.

When you stop by May Madness, please be sure to pick up ticket information for the summer program. I guarantee that once you attend even a single master class, you will appreciate the efforts of this fundraiser, not just for the "madness" but also for the beautiful music it makes.

Sincerely,

Rachel Bishar

Women's Auxiliary Member

Santa Barbara

Delighted Reader

We were delighted to read your write-up about our journal exhibition ("Journey: Dan Eldon's Images of War & Peace") and our related journaling workshops (“Coming & Going” MJ #12/9). Thank you so very much! I'm glad you enjoyed your visit, and we hope others will plan to come out soon.

I wanted to bring to your attention a particular special event we are hosting next week, on Wednesday, May 8, as it is unusual and will appeal to a great many MJ readers. The curator of Castle Howard, in York, England, is visiting to present a slide lecture on this magnificent 300-year-old 10,000-acre Baroque mansion and property, which is home to a renowned decorative arts collection and was the setting for the hugely popular Granada television production of "Brideshead Revisited" (shown in this country on PBS).

Thanks for your consideration,

Alexandra Halse

Santa Barbara

Congratulations Rodney Gould

I want to congratulate Montecito’s friend and supporter, Rodney Gould, on his new job in Goleta—but I also want to note how much our community will miss him. As the public relations director of the Four Season Biltmore, Rodney went out of his way to enthusiastically participate in Montecito community events. In the past, Biltmore managers have graciously supplied a sumptuous breakfast buffet for Beautification Day, but Rodney went a step further. He worked for months on the Beautification Day Committee, sharing his amazing marketing and staging advice with our volunteer group and his expertise allowed us to have a knockout community event!

Rodney’s biggest contribution, however, came when he stepped up to become President of the Coast Village Road Business Association after David Wurst’s untimely death. Rodney worked tirelessly and with enthusiasm to build that merchant organization into a valuable community resource and strong advocacy group. During my time as president of the Montecito Association, Rodney and I developed a coalition between the two Montecito groups and, by uniting merchant and neighbor, we established a powerful and unparalleled voice for Montecito. I wish him all the best in he new endeavors and, in my book, he will always be an honorary citizen of Montecito!

Sincerely,

J’Amy Brown

Montecito

(Publisher’s note: For more info on Gould’s departure, read “Local News” on page 30 – TLB)

Median on Channel Drive

(The following letter was published by the Montecito Association in response to a letter sent to residents living in and around Channel Drive by the Ty Warner Group proposing to improve crosswalks, add Bulb-Outs, replace the cement sidewalks with brick, and create a median on Channel Drive.)

Dear Greg Rice,

Your April 7, 2006 letter to the Biltmore neighbors and members of the Coral Casino makes certain statements about the Montecito Association Land Use Committee position and the public process by which the Montecito Fire District expressed serious concerns with your proposed Channel Drive plan.

In an effort to correct any misunderstanding, the Association Board wishes the following misperceptions corrected: you write “The County Roads Division gave our plan their stamp of approval, and on January 3rd our plan received nearly unanimous approval (8-0 with one abstention) by the Montecito Land Use Committee.”

What actually happened on January 3rd was that, yes, Ty Warner representatives presented plans for your Channel Drive project to the Land Use Committee, but the LUC was given the impression that County and MBAR had approved both the plan and the required encroachment permit, and the Montecito Association would not be in a position to comment officially. When we learned differently (the plan had not been approved, the encroachment permit not issued, and our input was indeed requested), the LUC reconsidered its recommendation to the Association Board and scheduled the site visit to better understand the project’s features.

You write “Unfortunately, a handful of Bonnymede residents have raised some concerns with the Montecito Fire Officials, causing the Fire Board to revisit the plan.”

This is not what happened – Approximately 40 concerned neighbors (including a former Montecito Planning Commissioner) Montecito Association Board representatives and LUC members met with representatives from Ty Warner Hotels & Resorts. County Public Works and the Montecito Fire District. Neither County Public Works nor the Montecito Fire District had ever officially signed off on the project and it was during the comprehensive nearly ninety-minute visit that safety concerns were raised about some of the proposed Bulb-Outs and the traffic median by neighbors, Jim Langhorne from the Fire District, and Brett Stewart from the County Roads Department.

Greg, as you know, Public Works always defers to the Fire District on encroachment issues in a public right-of-way. This policy is affirmed by our 1st District Supervisor. Accordingly, the Montecito Association scheduled a meeting with representatives of Public Works and the Montecito Fire District after Montecito Fire Chief Ron McClain had personally reviewed the Channel Drive plan. The MA’s view was simple: whatever the Fire District found safe, we would endorse. In this meeting, the Fire District made a studied and clear argument for removal of the median and several Bulb-Outs. Chief McClain concluded that these encroachments into the Channel Drive public right-of-way would impede access and potentially increase the all-important emergency response time of public safety agencies in the Channel Drive areas. For this reason the Montecito Association endorses Chief McClain’s decision.

The Association has a long history of being very concerned with actual and/or personal encroachment into dedicated public right-of-way. Such rights-of-way have been put in the public trust for purposes of conveyances, safety, common utilities, public access and many other uses. Though appreciative of Warner Hotels and Resorts’ wish “to make the street more visually pleasing,” we feel that Channel Drive must remain a fully accessible public right-of-way, and, therefore, the responsible authority for determining public safety issues is, and must always be, the Montecito Fire District.

We sincerely hope you agree.

Best,

Robert Collector

President, Montecito Association