Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Orange Coast Voice - Costly Legal Action and Day Laborer Harassment

As we all begin to breathe a little easier - both literally and figuratively - because most of the horrendous fires here in southern California are either contained or look to be contained within the next couple days, our attention turns to more mundane things - like the Benito Acosta fiasco.

Over at the Orange Coast Voice, published by activists Duane Roberts and John Earl, the current issue presents some interesting statistics about the trials involving Benito Acosta. The current issue may be found at this link. According to that publication, the City of Costa Mesa has already spent more than $130,000 on the two trials involving Acosta, with no end in sight.

Please take the time to read this fascinating account and to review the PDF files linked within the story reflecting the bills from the two law firms involved. It looks to me as though the meter continues to spin, racking up significant charges in both the criminal trial - presently dismissed, but perhaps to be appealed - and the pending civil rights law suit filed on behalf of Acosta by the ACLU.

In the same issue there's an interesting article entitled "Chilling Effect", which addresses the current condition of day laborers in Costa Mesa and their relationship with the Costa Mesa Police. I'm not going to attempt to interpret Earl's words - please read them for yourselves. I will say, though, that the closure of the Job Center has exacerbated tensions between the police and day laborers. This has been compounded by the anti-immigrant attitude of our current City Council majority and their band of "improver" buddies. When you read Earl's account of this situation you will come to realize that relationships between the city government and the Latino community will continue to be strained until there is a change in attitude at the top in our city government. Right now, that seems highly unlikely.

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