May 28, 2017

Archives for July 2011

Oceanside Police Officer Shows Professionalism in Dealing with Open Carry Contact

Oceanside California Police Officer Matthew Lyons was recently dispatched to a service call about a man openly carrying a firearm in his city.  YouTube is awash with videos of police officers improperly handling these types of calls.  But Officer Lyons shows himself to be a true professional as he deals with a contact who is clearly out to exercise his rights.

Matthew Lyons

 

In this day in time, one can certainly sympathize with a police officer who receives this type of call.  A responding officer has no idea what to expect.  Many approach the situation expecting the worst and often, if you expect the worst, you will find it.  Watch as Officer Lyons approaches the contact and properly deals with the situation.

Keep in mind that open carry laws vary widely from state to state. Texas does not allow open carry, so if you are open carrying you should expect a completely different reaction from police.  Obviously Officer Lyons is very confident and competent in the laws of California. All states should enact what is called “Constitutional Carry” which allows a firearm to be carried openly or concealed.  Arizona passed just this type of law last year.

Officer Lyons is clearly an experienced officer and is a credit to Oceanside PD and police everywhere.  While researching this story, I discovered Lyons has written a book about his experiences as an Oceanside Police officer.  The book is available for purchase at Arcadia Publishing.  Check it out and show this officer you appreciate his professionalism by purchasing his book.

Perhaps someone who knows Officer Lyons will have him drop me a note and I can send him some Blue Wonder Gun Care Products as a reward for his character and professionalism.  Well Done Officer!

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Principled Texas Lawmakers Save the Texas Economy Millions – No Harsh Anti-Immigrant Laws in Texas

Several states passed Arizona style anti-immigrant laws this year. Texas did not.  Did we sidestep a landmine of unintended consequences? To point, Alabama and Georgia passed laws cracking down on illegal immigrants and employers.  These laws are palliative at best because they don’t address the root cause of our illegal immigration problem, a wide open and unsecured border.  But the worst side of these laws are the unintended consequences, which are currently negatively impacting these two states.

July 1st, Georgia put into law, one of the toughest laws yet to fight illegal immigration. Despite the fact that a federal judge overturned the portion of the law that would require the police to check the immigration status of unidentified suspects (which could be useful in removing the criminal element of the illegal alien population), the portion of the law making it a felony to use false documentation to apply for a job remained in effect.

On the surface that sounds like a great idea, right.  But let’s look at what has happened since then.

Photo by Vino Wong

Immigrant farm worker picking blackberries in Georgia. Photo by Vino Wong

In South Georgia, there is a bumper crop of Blackberries standing by to be picked. However, despite the high level of unemployment in our country, Americans are not showing up to apply for the jobs to pick these berries.  And, because of the new law in Georgia, the immigrant workers who normally line up for these jobs are staying away.

As a result, $200,000 worth of blackberries will rot in one farmer’s field as they remain unpicked.  Extrapolate that out to hundreds of farmers across the state and you will find increases in the price of blackberries at your grocery store.  Yet another unintended consequence.

Former President George W. Bush

I remember screaming at my television when then President George W. Bush said in a State of the Union Address that illegal aliens were doing the jobs that Americans don’t want to do.  But the more I have learned in my years of studying and working on this issue is, he was right in many cases. There are many jobs in this country that go unfilled if illegal aliens do not take them.  Of course, part of the reason they are illegal is because we cancelled programs that used to allow them to come here legally to do these kinds of jobs. This must be fixed.

7200 Homes and Businesses Destroyed by Tornado - Who will rebuild?

Similarly, the situation in Alabama, where 7200 homes and businesses were leveled by a massive tornado in April.  There is a high demand for construction labor to rebuild these homes.  Yet, according to Bloomberg, much of that labor force is disappearing after Alabama’s enactment of tough anti-immigrant laws.

In June, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley signed the 72 page document that became one of the newest and strongest immigration laws in the country.  The unintended consequence here, Hispanic workers are fleeing Tuscaloosa by the thousands.

Hispanic Constructions Workers Disappearing in Alabama

According to the Bloomberg report, “Hispanics, documented and undocumented, dominate anything to do with masonry, concrete, framing, roofing, and landscaping,” said Bob McNelly, a contractor with Nash-McCraw Properties, during an interview at a coffee shop near a destroyed gas station and bank.

“There are very few subcontractors I work with that don’t have a Hispanic workforce.

The city of 90,000 imposed a moratorium on major reconstruction that ends Aug. 8 to enable it to plan its remaking. The rebuilding, McNelly said, will be harder and more expensive without them: “It’s not the pay rate. It’s the fact that they work harder than anyone. It’s the work ethic.

These kinds of stories are being replicated in every state that has enacted strong anti immigration laws. The unintended consequence is always economic damage to the state.  I know this is not going to be a popular article, but it is something we must think about.

Why should we shoot ourselves in the foot when these laws do not address the root cause of the problem – The federal government’s failure to secure the border and enact responsible immigration reform.

Rep. John Garza

Texas State Rep. John Garza

This year, the Texas House Republican Hispanic Conference introduced a resolution, HCR88, to call on the federal government to do just that. Secure the border and address immigration laws in a responsible fashion that does not allow for amnesty, but recognizes the economic impact of immigrant workers in this country. Wisely, the leadership of the legislature avoided passing harsh anti-immigrant laws that would have caused negative economic impact in Texas.

Our undefined border policy has left a situation of chaos and lawlessness along our southern border. This chaos has caused drug cartels to flourish and has created a new industry of human trafficking and abuse of decent human beings.  A virtual war has broken out south of our border because we will not address the issue responsibly. States are scrambling across the country trying to figure out how to solve a massive problem that affects them but they have no real authority to address.

We must send a message to Washington that we want our border secured and we want an end to the broken system of unenforced ineffective immigration laws which must be addressed to ultimately resolve this problem.

 

Speaker John Boehner’s Refusal to Cave In to Tax Increases Leaves Obama with Egg on His Face

Obama left with egg on his face

No Debt Ceiling Solution Leaves Obama with Egg on His Face

Crying like an injured bride, President Obama said today that Speaker Boehner “Left me at the altar yet again.” Mr. Speaker, that is exactly what we want you to do when the Spender-in-Chief asks you to raise job killing taxes. It appears in this case, Mr. Obama wanted to raise taxes on all Americans, including homeowners by eliminating the home mortgage tax deduction.

After a noticeably flustered President Obama finished his whining press conference, Speaker Boehner said, “Dealing with the White House is like dealing with a bowl of Jell-O.” I am certain the Speaker meant no disrespect to Jell-O with this comment.

Boehner said, “I have decided to end discussions with the White House and begin conversations with the leaders of the Senate in an effort to find a way forward.”

After the Democrats (Party of NO) said no today to the Cut, Cap and Balance plan passed by the House this week, I don’t know if those discussions will bear fruit either, but I guess he must keep moving forward.

Democrats had four years where they controlled the Congress and the Senate and could have avoided this debt ceiling obstacle we are quickly approaching. Yet, they failed in the past two years to even introduce a budget.  Now they want to say NO to every Republican proposal on the budget and debt ceiling.

Mr. Speaker, I for one, am proud of you for the stand you are taking for America. This is one bride that deserves to be left at the altar. Stick to your guns and solve this problem.  You can then leave it to the Democrats to once again say no… if they dare.

A Conversation with Congressman John Culberson

The Other New Arizona Law…

Is Open Carry Right for Texas

With all the furor over the Arizona Illegal Immigration Enforcement Law recently passed, another new law in Arizona passed without much fanfare.  Effective July 29th of this year, Arizona citizens will be allowed to carry a concealed weapon without a concealed carry permit.

The 2nd Amendment of the US Constitution guarantees the right of American citizens to “keep and bare arms”.  The new Arizona law re-affirms the right of Americans in Arizona to defend themselves with a concealed weapon.  Arizona will continue to issue Concealed Carry Weapons (CCW) licenses to qualified citizens.  One might ask why someone would want a AZ CCW license when they are allowed to concealed carry without a license.  There are two good reasons for this.  First would be for travel purposes.  The Arizona CCW license has reciprocity with 32 other states.  This affords AZ citizens the ability to exercise their 2nd Amendment rights without question in these other states.  Additionally, by having a AZ CCW license, citizens can forgo the NICS background check when purchasing new firearms as their background has already been thoroughly checked.  The training for an AZ CCW is also a good idea to make certain the citizen is familiar with applicable AZ laws regarding the use of deadly force and prohibited places of carry.

Arizona joins Alaska and Vermont in passing “Constitutional Carry” laws which allow its citizens to carry a firearm open carry or concealed, with our without a license.

Should Texas follow the lead of these other states by passing its own “Constitutional Carry” law?  At the Republican Party of Texas Convention in Dallas earlier this month, I asked that question to Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson.  He said he would support this kind of legislation in Texas.  While serving as a Texas State Senator, Jerry Patterson sponsored the legislation that brought Concealed Carry rights to Texans.  Patterson also supports open carry in Texas asking “is an openly carried gun more dangerous than a concealed one? I don’t think so.”

The upcoming legislature of Texas will face many new challenges.  Many people will be asking Texas to follow the lead of Arizona in regards to immigration enforcement.  I hope Texas will follow the lead of Arizona on this issue as well.

What say you?

Congress Prosecutes Baseball Player for Lying – Justice Department does it all the time!

Baseball Legend Roger Clemens

Federal Judge Reggie Walton declared a mistrial today in the trial of baseball legend Roger Clemens. A hearing will be held later to determine if the Justice Department can bring this case to trial again or not. Clemens was charged with lying to Congress about his alleged use of steroids and other performance enhancing drugs.

But wait, when did lying to Congress become a crime? The US Departments of Justice and Homeland Security have been lying to Congress about Operation Gunrunner for months. So much so that you might think lying to Congress was the new “national pastime”.

 

Since the murder of US Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, members of Homeland Security’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE or ATF) have been lying and covering up their involvement in supplying the guns used to kill Agent Terry.

Congressman Ted Poe

In February, I reported that Assistant U.S. Attorney General Ronald Weichdenied the ATF’s involvement in supplying assault weapons in a letter to Senator Charles Grassley in reponse to his inquiries about this subject. (Letter from Weich at DOJ to Sen. Grassley – PAGE 1PAGE 2.)  Why is he not being charged with lying to Congress?

In my May interview with Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX), he said, “The whole idea is nonsense“, Congressman Poe said about Operation Gun Runner. “A thousand or more of those weapons have gone to Mexico.” Poe indicated this is an issue that Congressman Lamar Smith, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee should be interested in looking into.

Congressman Lamar Smith

So far, that has not happened, but Chairman Smith did release a statement this week denouncing the Obama Administration’s plans to require additional reporting on gun purchased in Texas and three other border states. Smith stated, “It is the height of hypocrisy for the Obama administration to restrict the gun rights of border state citizens, when the administration itself knowingly and intentionally allowed guns to be trafficked into Mexico.

What is the height of hypocrisy is that our government thinks that a baseball player allegedly lying about whether or not he used steroids rises to the level of a prosecutable offense when members of our government are allowd to repeatedly lie to Congress with impunity.

Somehow our national priorities are just a little messed up. I say it is time that Congress take action against high level government officials lying to them. What do you say?

Employee Misclassification on Mansfield ISD Construction Project – Rampant across Texas Construction Sites

Mansfield ISD - Fair Employment Practices?

Employee misclassification raises its ugly head once again. This time in a Dallas area school district that is building a new Center for the Performing Arts using contractors who are not properly classifying their employees. This report comes fromWFAA TV 8 in the Dallas area. Their story amplifies what we have been previously reporting at TexasGOPVoteabout the costs to Texas because of misclassified workers.

Previously I discussed the missed opportunity to address this issue in this last legislative session. Republican leadership needs to get a handle on this issue and the WFAA story helps illustrate why.  Let’s take a look.

Mansfield, Texas is located southeast of Fort Worth. It is a growing community with a rapidly growing school district. For some reason, in this season of budget cuts and reduced school budgets, Mansfield Independent School District (ISD) has decided to build a $39 Million Center for the Performing Arts! Let’s take a look at what is happening on this construction site…

Video | News | Weather | Sports2011-07-12 15:29:27.0

Texas misses out on an estimated $175 million each year to unpaid state payroll taxes.view full article

Yes, you heard that right. With unemployment numbers still rising, Texas is missing out on an estimated $175 million dollars a year, just in unemployment taxes. This does not take into account the federal taxes, workman’s compensation insurance and child support dollars that are also lost because of unethical companies cheating the system.

The other element in the room is these jobs are magnets for the illegal immigration problem. Because contractors are not reporting these workers, many hire illegal aliens to do the work and often times cheat them out of their wages. Wage theft is not limited to the illegal aliens, however. As you will see in the following interview I did with a construction foreman, Bobby Herndon, on a job in Houston at a new Wal-Mart store, these unscrupulous employers will cheat anyone they choose. Herndon was working for Carole Johnson Builders, LLC.

Following is a check received from Carole Johnson Builders, LLC for some of the work he did. As of the interview I did with him, he has been unable to cash his check. Many other of the workers he supervised are in the same situation of having been cheated out of hours worked and being issued checks that would not clear according to a story on Construction Citizen, a website that promotes ethical hiring and employment practices in the construction industry.

Bobby Henderson Victim of Wage Theft from Worthless Contractor Check

As indicated in the WFAA story, an estimated 1 in 3 workers on these types of construction sites are misclassified. Why, because it gives the company an unfair advantage over ethical companies who try to follow the law like Linden Steel referenced in the story above.  Linden Steel owner Andy Anderson told WFAA he can never be as cheap as AB Rebar (the company who won the bid and admitted not paying payroll taxes).  He said, “There’s just no way a bona fide contractor is going to compete with these guys.”

There is a way, but it is going to take work from all of us. In this legislative session bills were introduced to put some teeth into the misclassification and wage theft laws of Texas.  The bills received bipartisan support in the committee that first heard the bills but died in Calendars Committee after the AAB and Perry Homes allegedly put pressure on the Calendars Committee to kill the bill.  Sound familiar?

Employee Misclassification is cheating us out of revenue that should be helping Texas make up its budget shortfall. It is also cheating good companies from the opportunity to win business ethically and provide good paying jobs for Americans who are wanting to work. Finally, it continues to attract the illegal alien migration train. We need to either enforce the laws or get rid of the laws governing employee misclassification. The chaos that goes on now is not good for business. It is not good for Texas and it is not good for all of us.

PS.  Shame on Mansfield ISD for wasting taxpayer money building this center. I wonder how many teachers they are threatening to lay off due to budget cuts?

This is what the $39 million facility will look like when it is finished. Built with the money equivalent of blood diamonds, the taxpayers of Mansfield ISD should be proud of this building built by some allegedly unethical contractors.