So, the city next door to me has a half-assed thing going on where they want their police department to enforce immigration law. This is a terrible idea. It means more work for the cops, more risk to them from freaked-out illegals, and near total loss of any leads they might otherwise get from people with bad immigration status and good information. Plus, any illegal pulled over for a minor traffic violation is going to floor it and run now. And so on. This is right on the heels of the city closing the job center for day labor, as though by removing the official and clean and regulated place for workers to find work they can make the “problem” go away. Have they been to the parking lot of the Home Depot lately? Now, as they voted in the new rule for local policing, they had a demonstration and disruption at the council meeting.
Costa Mesa is a divided city. The east side is wealthy and mostly white, and the west side is poorer and mostly brown. It’s not as poor as Santa Ana, but it’s not an episode of “The O.C.” either. To put it in street terms, you can buy pot and coke in Costa Mesa but you need to go to Santa Ana for heroin. White Costa Mesa mostly dislikes the Hispanic immigrants on racial grounds and tries to hold them down and away. Brown Costa Mesa mostly just tries to hold down a job and get the kids through school.
The po’folks I know from West Costa Mesa are mostly upwardly mobile, hard-working, conservative family people. They’re in Costa Mesa because it’s the best ghetto in the county and their kids go to better schools and have less risk than in Santa Ana or points north. The only reason they’re shat on by the city government is race. In every other way they’re what that city has always been: lower middle class workers, small businesses, and middle-of-the-road Babbitt conservatism.
I noticed that the protester who was arrested calls himself “Coyoti Tezcatlipoca”. Nice. One problem I’ve noticed with the hardcore Mexican-American protest crowd is their in-your-face Mexican patriotism. When there were demonstrations near my job in L.A. about the Belmont school issue, for example, the marchers had a huge Mexican flag and waved little ones, and the Mexican national colors were everywhere. One small problem: the neighborhood was almost entirely Salvadoran, Honduran, and Guatemalan. The locals didn’t appreciate the Mexican invasion, and there were some minor dustups and a few ripped-up flags. It’s strange to see the activists making the same mistake that those in power do and equating “spanish-speaking immigrant” with “Mexican”. The best part was the (local) Salvadoran activist council walking carrying the huge Mexican flag banner. A coworker of mine at the time who was a Mexican citizen told me that story and spat in the wastebasket next to her each time she said “Salvadoran”. No love lost there.
We can’t all get along. Sorry, Rodney.