An Open Letter to Josh Newman on SB 54, the Sanctuary State bill.

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Dear Sen. Newman,

As a lifelong Californian, I have dealt with my fair share of grief. For me, it’s part and parcel of living in California. I will state up front that I have never been one who has agreed with the Democratic majority of our state. For my entire lifetime, the legislature in Sacramento has been under one-party rule. With very few exceptions, the Democrats have been able to pursue every avenue they wish. This has led to some very serious disenfranchisement on my part, as well as several other like-minded individuals.

Do you know what it’s like to know that your vote doesn’t matter? That no matter what you say or do, your legislators will ignore you in favor of another voice? I can tell you, it’s maddening. I love the state just as much as anyone else. More, even. However, every day of every legislative session I feel like the California I know and love is slipping farther and father away from me. Yesterday was just another in a long line of disappointing days.

On April 4, you, and every other Democrat in the California State Senate, voted in favor of Senate Bill 54. This was a party line vote. Every single Democratic senator voted in favor and every Republican senator voted against. I’m reminded of the hopeful message I read on your campaign webpage all those months ago:

I’m not a party loyalist and I don’t owe any lobby or special interest anything in my bid for public office. What you’ll see with me is what you’ll get: smart, practical, and principled representation from someone who knows exactly why he works for you.

This bill was flawed from the start. Even though it has been amended a few times, it remains a highly flawed piece of legislation. It was written by a man who has no ethical standing what so ever. It was written by a man who openly admitted that half his family was here illegally and had committed some kind of identity theft. He attempted to underplay their severity, but as any victim of identity theft can tell you, these are not victimless crimes. He used emotionally charged language and cherry picking to assert that making California a sanctuary state would be a net benefit to every Californian. I find his claim highly dubious given that sheriffs across the state as well as more than a few mayors are staunchly opposed to his bill. But you voted for it. You and every other Democrat in the state senate. Honestly, I’m not surprised. That doesn’t mean I’m not disappointed.

How does this bill help California? How does prohibiting state and local law enforcement agencies form exercising their own judgment with regard to whether or not they assist federal immigration agencies benefit everyday Californians? When we (stupidly, I might add) passed Proposition 57, we made several previously violent felonies non-violent. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Rape by intoxication
  • Rape of an unconscious person
  • Human Trafficking involving sex act with minors
  • Drive-by shooting
  • Assault with a deadly weapon
  • Hostage taking
  • Attempting to explode a bomb at a hospital or school
  • Domestic violence involving trauma
  • Supplying a firearm to a gang member
  • Hate crime causing physical injury
  • Failing to register as a sex offender
  • Arson
  • Discharging a firearm on school grounds
  • Lewd acts against a child 14 or 15
  • False imprisonment of an elder through violence

Any illegal immigrant convicted of one of these crimes could (and likely will) be released back into our communities with no notification to ICE or Homeland Security. I know you’ll say there are provisions to protect against something like that happening, but given Sacramento’s poor legislative record on public safety, I highly doubt that will actually happen. We have an ever growing list of violent criminal alien felons who have taken the lives and affected the livelihoods of the citizens of California, yet instead of accelerating their removal from our state, we set up legal funds with taxpayer dollars to help them stay. Your vote in favor of this bill shows that you care more about protecting a criminal alien’s right to be in this country and this state than protecting your own constituents’ rights to live a happy and crime-free life. Now, granted, deporting someone doesn’t ensure a crime won’t be visited upon some unfortunate soul. However, it does help ensure a violent criminal alien won’t be the one perpetrating it.

Furthermore, ICE will do its designated duty despite California’s temper tantrum. If you truly care about California’s immigrant (legal and otherwise) population, doesn’t it make more sense to allow ICE to perform those duties largely within the confines of our prison system? If we adopt this Sanctuary State plan, ICE will likely be forced to conduct more general sweeps and covert operations in order to remove those same dangerous and violent criminal aliens from our communities. Criminals that are more likely to prey on their own illegal immigrant community because they know those in that community are less likely to report those crimes. These kinds of operations have a greater possibility of inadvertently apprehending peaceful people who, while violating our immigration laws, are the types of peaceful, contributing members of our society you and your cronies claim to protect.

Since elected, you’ve sponsored partisan resolution after partisan resolution after partisan resolution after partisan resolution. Given your partisan voting history, I can only assume you will vote in favor of Gov. Brown’s proposed constitutional amendment that will raise our fuel taxes and increase our vehicle registration fees to pay for road repairs that should have been made years ago with funding that had already been allocated specifically for that purpose. I understand you have proposed your own amendment (which will likely pass, by the way) to limit the legislature’s ability to siphon off transportation revenue for other projects. That is a move in the right direction, but I fear it is too little, too late. The mentality of Sacramento has to change. You need to be an agent of that change.

I voted for you. I did. I’m registered as no party preference, but I chose to support you because I liked what you had to say. Given the content of this letter, I’m sure you’re probably making assumptions about my stance on a number of issues. Believe it or not, I’m actually more in line with your line of thinking than you probably would assume. At least the you that exists on your campaign site. Please remember that you represent all of District 29. All of us. Don’t be that party guy. Don’t fall victim to Sacramento. Don’t make me regret voting for you.

About Sean Cocca

Born and raised in Orange County, Sean graduated from CSULB with a degree in Journalism -- something he has tried (and failed) to exorcise from his life. He resides in North OC. He's grown far more politically independent over the years and staunchly refuses to join a political party. Follow him on twitter @NPPinCA.