In the 1930s, San Bernardino was a prime winter vacation destination for Hollywood movie stars seeking to get away from what they considered to be chilly Los Angeles weather. Just as winter ended, two major league baseball franchises, the Pittsburgh Pirates and the St. Louis Browns held their spring training camps in Berdo, as its many admirers lovingly called the Inland Empire city.
Everything was great—palm trees, pools, sun, golf, baseball and maybe an occasional glimpse at Bob Hope.
Those days are long gone. Earlier this month San Bernardino became the second largest U.S. city to file for protection under the U.S. Bankruptcy code, Chapter 9. Stockton, San Bernardino’s neighbor to the north, and Mammoth Lakes, a tiny resort town, filed earlier in July.
The three filings have triggered speculation that this is merely the iceberg’s tip and that more major California cities may soon take the same route. Joe Nation, a Stanford University economist, thinks that bankruptcy may be “inevitable” for many municipalities unless they can win major concessions from public employees on salaries and pensions. [Rising Costs Push California Cities to the Brink, by Phil Willon, Los Angeles Times, July 12, 2012]
During the last three decades, Stockton and San Bernardino, like most major California cities, have experienced huge population growth and an influx of service-dependent illegal immigrants, mostly Hispanic. According to the 2010 Census, the three bankrupt cities are heavily Hispanic; San Bernardino is 60 percent, Mammoth Lakes, 33.7 percent and Stockton, 40.3 percent.
Given that California with its $16.7 billion deficit can barely keep its head above water and given further that its cities are cutting day-to day services in an all out effort to stave off bankruptcy, it’s the height of lunacy for California to continue to invite more immigration. Yet here’s a small handful of legislation that has either been signed or is pending in Sacramento: the California Dream Act, work permits for aliens and the anti-Arizona act that blocks local police from referring a detainee to immigration officials for deportation unless that person has been convicted of a violent or serious felony. Essentially, California will become a sanctuary state.
At the same time, California’s politically correct legislature refused to sue the federal government for $92 million that represents its costs pursuant to the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP) for aliens’ incarceration.
In 2008, after years of reading the handwriting on the wall, I packed up and moved from Lodi, once a thriving agricultural hub in the San Joaquin Valley. Although Lodi is solvent, it too has experienced the same kind of immigration-driven growth as its neighboring cities. Lodi’s Hispanic population is 36.4 percent.
When I left, I took my tax dollars with me which means higher taxes for those who stay behind. If history is a guide, Sacramento will spend its tax revenue foolishly on, among other wasteful things, alien entitlements.
Inviting more immigrants with few employable skills to a bankrupt state fits my definition of insanity.