By Raymond R. Beltran
This Wednesday night, I met Alberto Lara and his buddy Luis Aguirre. The latter seemed like a late-thirties, hard working, well-mannered individual. Blue jeans scuffed at the knees, long sleeve shirt with a construction name displayed like a billboard across his back and powdered in white dry wall dust. Plasterer probably, my dad is one.
Aguirre told me he works to support his wife and two little girls, five and seven. He spoke English. Diction, good; accent, heavy; very understandable. It was our language of choice because ‘mi espanol es muy malo.’ He’s been living in Escondido for nine years, and came from Honduras. I had the nerve to ask him how; he had the brains to not tell me.
We laughed, but after the Escondido City Council meeting we both attended Wednesday (Oct 4) evening, I learned something about Aguirre I should have known before I started to respect him. According to Councilwoman Marie Waldron, I was fraternizing with a terrorist. Yeah, amazing.
Turns out he wrestled his way passed three borders, four countries, one of which, Mexico, takes up the lower third of North America and then survived a feat that over three thousand people have died attempting: he crossed the deadly triathlon that is the U.S.-Mexico border.
Now, I thought he may have done this for the opportunity to work hard for the whopping minimum wage bennies he’d earn for his family, but I was wrong. At this City Council meeting I learned he was planning on working nine years of construction, and various other labor jobs, in Escondido so that he could ultimately learn how to fly a plane, hi-jack it in mid-air and ultimately crash it into another government building, like on Sept 11. Aguirre is one slick character.
Had Waldron not have made this absolutely clear in her speech, advocating Ordinance 2006-38 (Penalties For the Harboring of Illegal Aliens in the City of Escondido) Wednesday night, I would have perceived Aguirre as a fellow human being trying to make a buck in this world.
But how could she be wrong? Apparently she’s not alone. Councilman Sam Abed (who owns the Mobile Gas Station on East Valley Parkway and Midway in Escondido) feels the same way. His speech laid out Aguirre and his buddy Alberto’s plot to lead the city in child molestation offenses and engage street gangs in mass violent attacks on legal residents. And that’s not all, they will take up all the city’s parking spaces while doing it. Sure, I guess they did look like the riff raff who had a whole lot of time for that type of mischief.
And if you’re still not convinced, then the third times a charm, because Councilman Ed Gallo evoked the spirit of God in the Book of Matthew 22:21 during Wednesday night’s meeting. “Give unto Caesar’s what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” Hence, Gallo wants the Bible thumping opposition to keep the ‘in the name of God’ pleas in the church because Escondido belongs to Caesar. How’s that for separation between church and state?
After three hours and a whopping eighty-plus residents, property owners, and activists having their say in the matter, Waldron made the motion to accept the ordinance at 10 p.m. on the dot. Abed seconded the motion. Votes were in. Gallo, Abed, and Waldron yea, and Mayor Lori Pfeiler and Councilman Ron Newman nay. Apparently, Pfeiler and Newman didn’t see how putting landlords “between a rock and a hard place” (I’m using their words) would keep Honduran Al-Qaeda from molesting children, parking everywhere, and starting street gangs. Apparently, neither did a majority of the opposition who attended the meeting, maybe the reason why this issue didn’t go up for a public vote.
The proposal still has its second reading Oct 18, where Waldron’s gang can still come to their senses. If not, it goes into affect Nov 17.
The ordinance is complaint-based, where tenants have to report undocumented immigrants to their landlord who then will submit the complaint to federal officials. By the way, it can’t be the typical Minutemen “there’s a bunch of Mexicans over there” harangue, or the ACLU and Fair Housing will have a field day in court. Can you define terms like ‘racism’, or ‘protected classes’, or how about ‘disparate impact’? If you can’t, good luck on this endeavor guys.
If landlords are found renting to undocumented residents they could be fined for every day it takes them to evict those pesky Canadians who so easily fit in. They may also have their business license revoked.
As for Aguirre, I didn’t mean to put your pay wage out their so bluntly. I was only trying to make a point. Making it all the way up here for $6.75 isn’t so bad I guess.
Residents of Escondido can contact the Fair Housing Department of San Diego at 619-699-5888 to find out about their rights.