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Roger Gitlin: We can make a change

Posted: February 13, 2010 4:38 p.m.
Updated: February 14, 2010 4:55 a.m.
"God grant me the serenity to accept things I cannot change, the courage to change things I can and the wisdom to know the difference." - The Serenity Prayer

Whew! This has been quite a three-week period in Santa Clarita.

The city has been thrust into the limelight over the issue of illegal immigration.

This hot-button topic has been a non-issue in our city, county, state and country. Nobody wants to talk about how illegal immigration has impacted our country - until City Councilman Bob Kellar made his propitious remarks.

At last Tuesday's City Council meeting, members of the Full Rights for Immigration Coalition held a news conference and addressed the City Council, demanding Kellar apologize for his remarks. I ask, apologize for what?

These open-border advocates led by hired gun Robert Gittleson bused their way up from Los Angeles to condemn Kellar and attempt to export its sanctuary city propaganda to Santa Clarita. If the council did not censure or rebuke Kellar, the organization threatened to file a lawsuit against Santa Clarita.

Many of the motley group of 30 took plenty of potshots at the Minutemen, including the organization to which I am a party, the Santa Clarita Valley Independent Minutemen.

Charges of racism and vigilantism were leveled at the Minutemen. Folks, the simple fact is the Minutemen is a multi-ethnic, multinational group that abides by the rule of law and whose members pledge a code of conduct that no participant shall spew or act out any racially derogatory sentiment.

But you don't hear that from the shouters on the left or the mainstream media. You only hear the rants of the radicals in promulgating their unlawful agenda.

They live, breath, eat and sleep comprehensive immigration reform - aka, amnesty.

At the end of the public-comment portion of last week's meeting, Kellar was eloquent and statesmanlike in speaking about the problem of illegal immigration.

Kellar referenced Department of Public Service data that showed the children of illegal immigrants cost Los Angeles County almost $579 million in 2009. Kellar went on to say, "approximately 23 percent of all CalWORKs and food stamp issuances in Los Angeles County are made to parents who reside in the United States illegally and collect benefits for their native-born children."

Another $350 million for public safety, $500 million for health care, and the total cost to county taxpayers far exceeds $1 billion annually. Sobering.

Kellar cautioned that California is on the brink of bankruptcy and no one wants to talk about the problem of illegal immigration, until he delivered his wake-up call remarks three weeks ago.

Support for Kellar is overwhelming. However, there is no shortage of critics who wish to opine. Newhall resident Nathan Imhoff recently commented in a recent column ("Fewer signs, more thoughts are needed," Feb. 6) and delivered so many inaccuracies and misrepresentations I would need another column to address them all.

Imhoff paints a broad stroke when he labels Minutemen as a "scattered, unreasonable group of misfits who believe might makes right," and portrays those in the Minuteman movement as cartoon characters, describing their wardrobe of "cowboy hats and handlebar mustaches." I sport neither.

Imhoff displayed incredibly poor judgment and put the all-important issue of illegal immigration on a personality basis.
And what about the four remaining City Council members?

City Councilman Frank Ferry is the principal at Bishop Alemany High School in Mission Hills and works for illegal-immigrant supporter Cardinal Roger Mahoney.

Ferry spoke at the end of the public-comment portion of the council meeting two weeks ago and meandered his way through a 20-minute harangue.

"I look at the wall in back of me and see ‘In God we trust.' ... God doesn't look at us and say, you're a citizen, you're an illegal immigrant," he said. Ferry lectured the gallery almost to the point of boredom, failing abysmally to differentiate between illegal immigration and legal immigration.

Ferry - up for re-election April 13 - was crowing about what a good Republican he is, not understanding the issue of illegal immigration is not Republican nor Democrat - it is an American issue. It is an issue of the rule of law. Ferry's representation was fraudulent and transparent.

Councilwoman Marsha McLean was not much better. McLean tells us, "There is nothing the city can do about the problem of illegal immigration; it's a federal matter." How wrong you are. All politics is local. Stand up tall, open your mouth and speak out about this outrage of illegal immigration or get off the council.

McLean is up for re-election April 13.

Mayor Laurene Weste, who continues to state "no comment" regarding Kellar's remarks, is also sadly ignorant on what the city can and cannot do to repel illegal immigration.

Case in point, if Los Angeles and 30-plus other cities in the United States can declare: "sanctuary city" status, why can't Santa Clarita make a similar opposition pronouncement?

Santa Clarita is not a sanctuary city. Say it loudly and say it often.

Further, Weste's recent remarks at the 38th District Central committee, when she sought its endorsement, referred not once but twice to the problem of illegal immigration and how it falls upon the INS - a federal agency that ceased its existence in 2003, replaced by the Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Such ignorance of the problem of illegal immigration is telling. Weste - also seeking re-election - received the endorsement of the 38th Central Committee.

On Wednesday the Canyon Country Advisory Committee is hosting a candidates' forum. McLean and David Gauny will speak at the forum. Ferry said he will speak at the March 17 forum.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
Citizens of Santa Clarita, we can effect change.

Roger Gitlin is a teacher and founder of the Santa Clarita Valley Independent Minutemen. He can be reached at His column reflects his own views, not necessarily those of The Signal.


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