Sanctuary City Advocate is Last Thing California Needs in State Leadership

Published on October 18th, 2010

The Los Angeles Times recently endorsed San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom for California lieutenant governor, calling him "creative and thoughtful" and "unusually innovative, experimenting with new ways to provide health care, house the homeless and make the city more livable." What the Times failed to mention was that Newsom has presided over a city with a $438 million deficit in the 2009-10 fiscal year and a $483 million deficit in the 2010-11 FY.

This should bring into question his ability to "read the writing on the wall" about the state of the economy – and plan accordingly. He has been San Francisco’s mayor for more than six years now, so he can’t claim he “inherited” the problem. Perhaps creating huge deficits falls under the Times' "unusually innovative" description.

The Times also failed to mention Newsom’s egregious failure to support immigration laws by keeping San Francisco a sanctuary city for illegal aliens. Under Newsom, local law enforcement didn’t work with federal immigration enforcement when suspected juvenile illegal aliens were arrested for crimes. The San Francisco Chronicle reported on several high-profile cases like this, including that of Edwin Ramos.

An illegal alien born in El Salvador, Ramos was twice arrested for felonies (a gang-related assault of a man and an attempted robbery of a pregnant woman) and twice released as a juvenile in San Francisco when he could have been turned over to federal officials for possible deportation. In 2008, no longer a juvenile, the gang member was arrested a third time with a gun in his car that had been used in a double murder, and again released – this even after a database was checked which indicated Ramos was deportable!!!!!

Not long after, Ramos shot to death Tony Bologna, 48, and his sons Michael, 20, and Matthew, 16, as they were driving home from a family outing. Not exactly a picture of a "more livable" city. Passed in 1989, San Francisco’s sanctuary ordinance said no city resources could be used for immigration enforcement, unless required by law, and barred city employees, including police, from asking immigration status or assisting with immigration investigations.

Newsom continued to support this policy once in office, even running an $83,000 public awareness campaign promoting the city as a sanctuary city. It’s also been reported that the protection of illegal alien juveniles in San Francisco – a large number from Honduras – has resulted in a great deal of "gaming" of the system. For instance, adults have claimed to be underage, taking advantage of the fact that police would take them at their word. As well, reportedly some juveniles sent to group homes in cities outside of San Francisco simply walked away from custody.

Not only were San Francisco programs to coddle those here illegally abused, they apparently were costly, a point which wraps back to city deficits. Not surprisingly, also under Newsom, San Francisco opted out of the Secure Communities program, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) initiative started in 2008 that runs fingerprints collected by local police through federal immigration databases. (Recent reports indicate that opting out may not be an option though for local law enforcement.) All this under Newsom, the candidate the Los Angeles Times endorses.

Interestingly – and I realize this may just be "anecdotal evidence" – of 17 comments posted on the Times’ site (as of October 14) in response to the Newsom endorsement, 16 indicated the newspaper’s position was way out of touch. I strongly concur. The rest of California doesn’t need any of the "experimenting" Newsom did in San Francisco. I don’t know who James "Jimi" Castillo (Green Party), C.T. Weber (Peace and Freedom), Jim King (American Independent) or Pamela J. Brown (Libertarian) are, but they’re all on the November 2 ballot for lieutenant governor with Newsom, along with incumbent Abel Maldonado (Republican). So, I will be doing some serious research on lieutenant governor choices before the election and hope other California voters will too.

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