Smiling Along With The News and Newport's Protected Views
Well, now, it's been an interesting day here in Cauldronland. The telephone and email have been smokin' with inquiries about the identity of Claudio Gallegos' anonymous Westside Improver - the subject of his post yesterday over at the Orange Juice! blog. If you missed it, you can click here to read it now. I have no clue about the identity of the person - some might say that it's only one of many subjects about which I have no clue. However, I imagine some of us will wait with great anticipation for the next two installments, which Gallegos says will be published the on next two Tuesdays.
As I read today's newspapers a couple articles caught my eye and made me chuckle. One was the report of the difficulty old Jim Gilchrist, Grand Pooba of the Minutemen, is presently having trying to maintain control of that organization. Amid rumors of fiscal improprieties, some members of his board of directors have voted to oust him and take over. My smile just got bigger as I typed those words... sorry, I just can't help it.
The second article was one that reported the most recent of what seems like a jillion reports on the impact of illegal immigrants on our economy. The Associated Press stories, published in both the Los Angeles Times and the Orange County Register, tell us that "the flow of immigrants into California has helped increase wages and job opportunities for native-born workers." According to the report by the Public Policy Institute of California, "Immigrants don't compete directly with native workers for jobs, but tend to bring different skills to the workplace." The report goes on to say, "This allows native workers with the same education level to take more specialized, better paying jobs." "This symbiotic relationship leads to Americans to be able to take more specialized jobs, and to improved output, translating into a 4% real wage increase for American workers in California between 1990 and 2004.", according to the study. This report, of course, flies in the face of all those folks who use, among their arguments against illegal immigration, their "fact" that those workers take jobs away from "real Americans". That has always been a bogus argument. We're in an economy right now that hovers under 5% unemployment - a level at which most economists acknowledge is basically full employment. At that level, most folks who want jobs have them.
I guess our friends who are intent on deporting every single illegal alien from our country - and knocking the underpinning from our economy in doing so, by the way - will just have to find another arrow for their quiver.
So, as we all wait breathlessly for the next installment of "As The Worm Turns", er, "Confessions of a Westside Improver", I'll look for more snippets in the news to bring smiles to our faces.
Before I forget, our good neighbors over in Newport Beach decided last night to proceed with spending several million dollars to create a passive park on that chunk of land immediately above their Main Library, and coincidentally protect minor incursions in the views of a few well-connected folks on the hill above MacArthur at the same time. That property, of course, would be the perfect location for their much-needed new City Hall and esteemed local architect Bill Ficker had provided them with an outstanding rendition of just such a facility that met both the City Hall and Park needs. Instead, there will now be a passive park that will be used by a handful of people each week, surrounded by three very busy streets. I find myself wondering where those few people will park their cars to access the new park. Certainly, few of them will take their lives in their hands by trying to sprint across MacArthur or Avocado to reach it. It's a classic example of the philosophy of some folks in that town which states that no tree will go unhugged. Any other solution for the City Hall will cost upwards of four times as much as the one Ficker designed and will be unbelievably more complicated to manage from a human resources standpoint. Each of the other plans they are considering will involve demolishing another municipal structure and relocation those functions and staff while a new facility is built. I have no dog in that hunt, but it certainly seems to be a poor decision. And, it's a great reminder that, regardless the socio-economic structure of a community, politicians are still politicians - wetting their finger and holding it in the air to see which way the wind's blowing before making a decision.