Representative Greg Hughes discussed the hazing issue on KSL's Nightside Project last night. In the first hour, he questioned whether or not this is a problem that can be legislated. He also took questions and input from callers to the show.
Listen to the discussion here. (The conversation carries over into the second hour here).
There have been hopes raised at the release of the year-end TC 23 showing that we have a small surplus in all three funds that things are turning up. I hope that is true, but I have learned over the years that all TC-23’s except the last one where they include the entire year end adjustments which is released near the end of August show 95 percent of our cash flow and don’t always give a true picture of the revenues for budgeting purposes. Until we know the remaining five percent of revenues, along with adjustments and expenditures, it is too soon to declare a surplus. It is always better to show a surplus for the state than a negative amount but let's not spend any of this surplus just yet.
First, the transportation fund. We budget based on the money coming in. If it comes in as projected, the projects listed are funded. If it is low, UDOT just cuts back on the projects. If there is a surplus, they move on to other projects that have been listed if that occurs. Sometimes projects come in under budget and that may allow them to go further down the list. $10.0 M additional money will be very helpful and may well stand but will not impact the other budgets where we are grateful are not down.
Second, the general and education funds. Our staff tells us that when the necessary transfers are made out of those funds, and the final corporate tax adjustments are made, this surplus may well be gone. I know the Governor’s staff has been working with agencies to see that they do not spend any balances at the end of the year which are not absolutely necessary to help cover these transfers. Hopefully it will come out even. If there is a small shortfall, we have provided for the Department of Finance to cover those with fund balances set to be used for next year’s budget so we will end up balanced but down a small amount for FY 2010 which we can cover in January. If there is a small surplus, I can assure you that there will be many urgent requests for the money.
Welcome aboard Governor Herbert. This will be another challenging year.
Greg Hughes Utah State Representative, Co-Chair of Education Interim Committee Email: email@example.com
LEGISLATIVE EDUCATION COMMITTEE SEEKS FEEDBACK ON EFFECTIVENESS OF UTAH LAWS PROHIBITING STUDENT HAZING
SALT LAKE CITY – Senator Howard Stephenson and Representative Greg Hughes, the committee chairs of the Legislative Interim Education Committee announced today that the committee will be investigating the problem of hazing within the State of Utah and would like to hear from the public.
“Recently, we have been working with a few isolated, but extreme reports of hazing at the high school and college levels. There is a concern about how widespread hazing may be in Utah schools,” said Stephenson. “We believe most incidents of hazing are taken care of promptly at the local level and that most school districts and colleges are vigilant in preventing it. But if students are suffering hazing and coaches and administrators are condoning or ignoring it, we would like to know, so we can consider further statutory solutions. We are also interested in knowing of instances where schools and coaches are proactive in prevention or prompt correction of hazing,” Senator Stephenson said.
Representative Greg Hughes said, “With practices beginning for the approaching football season, we wish to remind students, coaches, and parents that high school football, along with any high school sport, should be about competition, camaraderie, and discipline, not embarrassment, indignity, and assault. Under any circumstances, the act of hazing is wrong and in fact, illegal.” He said he believes most Utah schools and coaches have been exemplary in ensuring that hazing is prevented through training of leaders and conscientious efforts toward unity, loyalty, teamwork, common respect for team members and opponents, and school spirit.
Senator Stephenson said he has been in communication with national experts on hazing who have expressed concerns about Utah hazing laws and the ineffectiveness of their enforcement. Hank Nuwer, the author of four books on hazing, including two recent scholarly books - The Hazing Reader and Wrongs of Passage, says Utah’s law as currently written is inadequate. Mr. Nuwer said that while there is no federal hazing statute, forty-three states have passed hazing laws which vary widely. Alaska, Montana, South Dakota, Hawaii, New Mexico and Wyoming do not have a hazing law. “Florida has the toughest law in my opinion, and two fraternity men from Florida A & M have received two-year sentences in the beating of a pledge,” Mr. Nuwer said.
“In my opinion as one who follows the national scene daily, the challenge Utah faces with regard to hazing law reform is that defense attorneys mount challenges to the law alleging that hazing laws are too broadly defined and thus are unconstitutional,” Nuwer explained. “Rather than possibly lose a conviction altogether, prosecuting attorneys tend to drop the initial hazing charges and go for easier-to-obtain convictions (serving alcohol to a minor, simple assault). Defense attorneys often agree to let their clients plead guilty to charges that have less of a lifetime stigma attached to them,” he said.
Senator Howard Stephenson represents district 11 which encompasses parts of southern Salt Lake County and northern Utah County.
Representative Greg Hughes represents parts of Draper and Sandy.
Hank Nuwer is the author of four books on hazing, including two recent scholarly books (The Hazing Reader, Wrongs of Passage) for Indiana University Press. He is an associate professor of journalism at Franklin College and teaches computer-assisted reporting with an emphasis on writing about risks. . His role is not to be an activist or lobbyist for hazing legislation, but rather to quantify the number of hazing deaths and serious hazing incidents, as well as to report how a particular state's hazing statutes work or fail to work when tested in court. He maintains a daily list of hazing incidents and deaths at hanknuwer.com/blog
Don't worry. The State of Utah is NOT on that list. NationalJournal.com rated the six most ineffective state governments in the country. Criteria used (according to njonline):
• The quality of leadership -- by the state's legislature, its current governor and, where applicable, its ousted governor. • The whiff of criminality in the state's top political leadership. • The severity of the state's policy challenges. • The intensity of the media circus surrounding state government.
Andrew Hoppin, from the New York Senate and I will be exploring web tools this morning. Specifically, how 2.0 tools can be used to invite participation and encourage transparency.
10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. EST
Senate Site visitors won't be surprised by anything we say, but it's new to some states. If you feel like following along we might live-tweet, assuming the wireless signal is strong enough. Feel free to join the discussion. Hashtag: #NCSL20
Utah will be at NCSL in fewer numbers than usual this year, but with enough people to cover much of the conference and bring back policy insight. By learning what succeeded or failed in other states and exchanging information with experts, legislators and staff can bring home new ideas that should result in significant savings and positive policy impact.
I have watched with some interest the debate through our E-Mail accounts, the issue of SB-81, and who has the correct numbers for whatever position on this issue our personal or constituent position leads us. I see the points of view of Representative Herrod and those of the Sutherland Institute, both of which reach their conclusions in an acceptable manner but may not have the complete picture, although they both have tried, and offer this thought process for all representatives since this is a public issue with high emotion on both sides. Naturally I expect each of you, including the Sutherland Institute, to treat my thoughts the same way.
In 2008, I had asked that the Department of Corrections bring to the Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee what information they may have on the issue of illegal residents in Utah and their numbers in the criminal system. A presentation was made by their analyst, Mr. Cliff Buttars, on June 18, 2008. Unfortunately the numbers, in my opinion, didn’t answer all the questions, they only created more! The reason for much of this is that nobody has an accurate measurement tool. Why? The reason is nobody has until SB-81 been required to determine citizenship at some point in the criminal justice process. SB-81 now requires a county sheriff to make a reasonable effort to determine citizenship of someone confined in their facility, this will help with the over 18 age group. Also, a person begins their confinement history in a county jail so those in the prison system should already be identified as citizen or non-citizen; something the Corrections system didn’t have 100% confidence in for their numbers.
As one who gets asked about crime numbers on a regular basis and one who has thirty five years of experience in this area let me lay a foundation for each of you to draw your own conclusions from.
Utah’s population is roughly 89% Caucasian according to the 2000 census. The other 11% is all the other diversity our state has to offer, many of which are of Hispanic descent. The Hispanic race is the second largest, around 7%, of Utah’s population according to the same census data. Naturally there are combinations of races and so these numbers are merely rough estimates that have changed since 2000. Each Utah community is going to have higher or lower numbers of these basic demographics.
Utah’s crime rate, that which we measure with what we call the Uniform Crime Rate, UCR, is roughly 4-5% state wide for violent crime and 95% for property crime. I send, as an administrator of arrest data, for crimes, to the State of Utah monthly a breakdown of statistics. These statistics include type of crime for arrest, age of the person arrested, gender of the person arrested, race of the person arrested and a number of other statistical data sets. The point is here that there is a lot of statistics gathered each month that could already be used if those interested wanted to agree on a measurement of them over time.
Nobody knows for sure how many illegal residents we have in Utah but let me give basic numbers as they relate to arrests for my community and discuss Mr. Buttar’s numbers from the committee meeting, a portion of which the Sutherland Institute used in their “Just the Facts” piece.
Our community has a diversity index higher than most communities in Utah. Our community is represented by a roughly 25% Hispanic population, again some of this number are going to be a combination race and some are going to be here illegally. In terms of monthly arrests our community, over the age of 18 group, has about a 35% rate represented by members in the Hispanic population. In the under 18 age group the arrest rate is about 48% for the Hispanic population. These numbers have been going up, marginally for the over 18 group, for years for all types of crimes. However the under 18 group is another story and they represent over 25% of the reported crime and won’t generally show up in a county jail or prison count because they don’t get to that system. Their numbers, the under 18 group, including violent crime, have been going up. This of course causes a natural question about how much of this crime may be caused by an external factor, a factor of say citizenship and/or gang affiliation or something else.
Mr. Buttars represented to the committee that about 30% of the inmates in the corrections system of 6,000 were there for violent crimes, because of longer sentences. He also represented that 308 of the violent group offenders were illegal, on a specific date, as compared to the same specific date in an earlier year of which there were about 280 and that about 70% of the illegal group came from a Latin American country. What this means is that the violent incarcerated illegal offender numbers increased by 10% over a 4 year period. These are the same numbers the “Just the Facts” piece use with their estimate of a thirty-six percent increase in the illegal population from 70,000 to 110,000 between 2004 to 2008. However there is no way to really measure this population increase as opposed to the hard number of a 10% increase in violent illegal offenders, the population number is an estimate. County jail data, as used by the Sutherland study, has inherent problems since the usual offense in a county jail is a property crime offense and due to a lack of total bed space in the whole system the illegal offender is just as likely to be deported, if possible, rather than incarcerated for a property crime conviction. That coupled with the fact that in Mr. Butter’s testimony there may be as many as 10% of the prison Hispanic population that the prison still doesn’t know the citizenship of!
My point is this; the violent illegal offender prison numbers are going up and I personally can’t rationalize that with the fact that someone estimates the number of illegal residents, regardless of race, in our state is going up even more. The citizens of my community are very sensitive to crimes like Murder, Rape and Robbery, whatever those numbers are when they go up or a legal citizen is a victim. Since 95% of our annual property crime hasn’t really been attributed, where it may partially belong to the illegal group, the crime numbers attributable may be more egregious , but at least with SB-81 we may start getting some accurate numbers to the question of impact by illegal citizens in our criminal justice system.
Having read State Representative Chris Herrod’s email accusing Sutherland Institute of spreading “misinformation” through our recent report titled Just The Facts, we feel a reasoned response is in order. We appreciate Representative Herrod’s diligence and passionate arguments. We also appreciate the general spirit of open dialogue that exists among state legislators. Our intent is not to be contentious but to clarify.
As background, our Just the Facts report was a follow-up to a study we presented to the Immigration Interim Committee in 2008 citing, among other things, current state prison-inmate data. At that time, some supporters of SB 81 countered our findings by arguing that better data on illegal-immigrant inmates would be found in the county jail system. Sutherland took them at their word and investigated the claim.
What we discovered was reported in Just the Facts. Not to their liking, opponents then argued, as Representative Herrod has in his memo, that the better data is actually “arrest data” (i.e., the idea that the court system keeps many undocumented immigrants out of state prison). The Sutherland staff is not new to this game. We have no doubt about the insistence of some proponents of SB 81 that endless and distant data sources would one day “prove” that, indeed, Utah is awash in a sea of brown criminals intent on subverting everything godly and virtuous. Even so, this game only proves boring.
Representative Herrod’s criticism fails to grasp the point of Just the Facts. For this study, Sutherland asked a simple question: does broad data from county jails justify the claim that many, if not most, undocumented immigrants are criminals? Based on the study, the answer is a quantifiable no. Only 3.9% of inmates in Utah’s county jails are known to be undocumented. In other words, Representative Herrod’s point about a jail’s “state contract status” is irrelevant. The simple fact is that only a small portion of criminals sitting in county jails are known to be undocumented.
Hypothetical arguments about unknown numbers of undocumented immigrants in Utah’s county jails are similarly irrelevant and have little informative value in a fact-based dialogue. Representative Herrod’s defense of data on ethnicity and arrests are cases in point.
Ethnicity data cannot reasonably be used to say anything useful about the crimes of undocumented immigrants for one simple fact: the vast majority of Hispanics living in Utah are not undocumented. Using data on Hispanic ethnicity to comment on the crime rate of undocumented immigrants is like using a data-marker of “Caucasian” to represent crimes committed by freckled red-heads. Further, in its most noxious form, it assumes that all Hispanics are undocumented, which is contrary to both fact and common sense.
This approach also undermines the usefulness of arrest data, which only identifies ethnicity. Put simply, we cannot in good conscience use arrest data to make claims about the crime rate among undocumented immigrants unless we first divorce ourselves from the facts. For these reasons, county-jail and state-prison data are the best available measures we have of undocumented-immigrant crime.
Representative Herrod questions our methodology. So how did we obtain data for several county jails, particularly Salt Lake and Utah Counties? Simple: we asked them. We contacted the county jails and they responded with the figures we reported. Several counties, such as Salt Lake, provided documentation by fax or email. Others, such as Utah County, reported them over the phone. In other words, we did not “arrive” at our figures, we simply reported them.
It is interesting that county jails are putting out monthly reports that supposedly contradict the figures in Just the Facts. However, since Representative Herrod failed to say what reports these are or how to obtain them, we can do little to respond to his sources. In any case, this particular criticism would be more constructively directed at county jails for supposedly producing contradictory information rather than at Sutherland for simply reporting what we were told officially.
Lastly, on a more sensitive point, Representative Herrod writes, “When will the elites realize that most Utahns are tired of being called racist, uncompassionate, or unchristian simply because they want the law enforced…?” All we can say is what we’ve already said. The easiest and most effective way to neutralize such attacks is to quit objectifying undocumented immigrants as “criminals” and start seeing them as you would see yourself. Quit generalizing and stereotyping them. Quit turning the equivalent of a traffic ticket into a felony. And, relevant to Representative Herrod’s memo, quit wresting facts and figures – exposing anyone who will listen to a sea of minutia and quasi-conspiracy theories – to fit a myopic and cynical view of the problem at hand.
After Sutherland released Just the Facts, the head of the Utah Minutemen called Sutherland a “liberal-biased” organization and went on to construct the conspiracy that we’ve taken our stand to serve the interests of big business and that all we want is a steady source of “cheap labor.” Seriously?
While we certainly respect Representative Herrod’s right to his own viewpoint, his criticisms of our work are without basis and merit. In Sutherland’s view, perpetuating such unreasonable arguments only encourages Utahns to turn to the emotion-driven, knee-jerk arguments which have negatively influenced public dialogue surrounding SB 81. We do not question Representative Herrod’s motives and believe, firmly, that one day he will see undocumented immigrants as he sees himself. On that day, especially because of Representative Herrod’s solid sense of integrity, Utah will begin to find real solutions – to make the best of a bad situation foist upon us by an inept federal government.
I appreciate the Mayor Becker's offer to meet. After two and half months, I look forward to finally having all my questions answered.
My hope is that we will discuss the real issues. The issue is not whether “Hispanic residents are a valuable part of our Salt Lake City family.” I believe that they are. The vast majority of the Hispanics are good people as I believe is the case with all peoples and cultures around the world. The real issue, however, is what are the true costs of tolerating illegal immigration? Crime is certainly one since there are consequences of not screening individuals as happens during the legal immigration process. The issue is whether or not illegal aliens are better for the community than legal immigrants would be if given the opportunity? Why are we so willing to discriminate against those who choose to follow the law? Why are the opinions of legal Hispanics that are against illegal immigration not equally validated by Salt Lake City?
My issue with Salt Lake City is not whether SLCPD has the right to refuse to cross-deputize. Under SB 81, cross-deputization is clearly optional. The issue is whether or not it is appropriate for a Police Chief to influence public debate on SB 81 by saying that SLCPD keeps records and they have proven something “time and time again” when these records do not exist. The issue is whether it appropriate for the Salt Lake Police Chief to use taxpayer money to continually speak against legislation that the majority of state legislators believed was necessary and with which the vast majority of Utahns agree. The issue is why I was given information that at the very least was misleading. Who made the decision to include “Unknown” in the “Non-Hispanic” category when under traffic citations “Unknown” was clearly listed separately?
The issue is where is the concern for the civil rights of working class individuals who bear the brunt of illegal immigration? Those with less than a high school education are now facing 15.5% unemployment. Is tolerating illegal immigration fair to Utah’s laborers or new legal immigrants?
The issue is that the law was not followed when I requested information. Salt Lake Police are aware of the five day requirement (see Salt Tribune’s July 11 page 4 quoting a SLCPD officer.) My concern is that the police chief can question the integrity of legislators for months, yet city officials are disappointed when a legislator dares call into question the integrity of being given misleading information in an untimely manner.
We already face radical changes in our society with crushing debt that will lead to the loss of freedoms for our children. Is it not important to ask how are we going to pay for illegal immigration? As a society, we have forgotten that true compassion never comes forcibly at someone else’s expense and illegal immigration is not a victimless crime.
Jason Perry, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and the newly named transition director for incoming Governor Gary Herbert noted, “Utah has worked tirelessly to be a business friendly state. Our productive workforce, favorable tax climate and overall business friendly environment has been successful in growing and recruiting some of America’s leading businesses. This report recognizes that success and our ongoing commitment to keep the Utah economic engine humming.”
The Pollina Corporate Top Ten Pro-Business States for 2009 are:
The study evaluates and ranks states based on 33 factors including taxes, human resources, right-to-work legislation, energy costs, infrastructure spending, workers compensation laws, economic incentive programs and state economic development efforts.
The Hispanic residents in our community are a valuable part of our Salt Lake City family. Their rich culture and strong sense of community help, in part, to make Salt Lake City a diverse and dynamic place to call home. I have stated many times my belief and commitment that every member of our community be treated with respect and dignity. Because of that commitment, I reaffirm my position to refuse cross deputization of our police officers, as allowed for by Senate Bill 81, along with the majority of Utah cities.
I am disappointed in Representative Herrod's remarks that question the integrity of our police chief. Chief Burbank has my full support and trust. He along with the entire Salt Lake City Police Department plays a valuable role in protecting and serving our City. It is not an easy job and they perform it with integrity and honor.
Chief Burbank is appropriately focused on keeping our community safe. Both Chief Burbank and I agree that cross deputizing, which is optional but not required under Senate Bill 81, greatly hinders our police department’s ability to prevent criminal activity in our City.
I have invited Representative Herrod to meet with me to resolve his misunderstanding of the data provided and to clarify the misperceptions he has of Hispanics in Salt Lake City.
>>> Chris Herrod 7/10/2009 11:28 AM >>> July 9, 2009 – Information from Representative Christopher N. Herrod
Dear Representatives and Senators,
Over the past few months, a tremendous amount of misinformation about illegal immigration in Utah and SB 81 has been given. Salt Lake City’s Police Chief and others have propagated faulty information to the public. SLCPD gave me misleading and false information when I requested information to back up the Police Chief’s comments made on KSL radio. The most recent misinformation is the Sutherland Institute’s “Just the Facts” and a Deseret News’ Editorial which recited Sutherland’s “facts”. In order to save embarrassment for anyone who may be referencing Sutherland’s essay or the Deseret News Editorial, let me state that the Sutherland Institute clearly does not understand Utah’s correctional system especially “State Contract” inmates.
Sutherland claims to have obtained “county jail population.” According to their table, they claim that Beaver County has 370 county inmates (considering Beaver County has a population of only 6200 people, I would worry for Representative Noel’s and Senator Stowell’s safety when visiting Beaver County if something was not obviously wrong with statistics.) Sutherland does not understand that 361 of the 370 inmates are actually “State Contract” inmates and belong to the state. These inmates cannot be used as a sampling for county inmates and crime. Sutherland lists 80 inmates for Daggett County yet 68 of these are state inmates. Box Elder is listed as 125 but 36 are state inmates. Kane County is listed as 26 yet 10 are state inmates. Carbon is listed as 72 yet 6 are state inmates. All of these counties had “zero” immigration holds according to Sutherland’s data so removing them changes the percentage.
For Salt Lake County Jail, Sutherland lists only 29 inmates on federal hold. Yet, monthly reports by the Salt Lake County Jail from January to May of 2009 show no month with less than 85 inmates detained for an immigration hold. The average is 106.2 inmates. The average bookings per month were higher than Sutherland listed with an average of 3,086.4 inmates per months. This equates to an average of 3.44% of inmates on federal hold. This is significantly higher than the 1% Sutherland reported.
Correct for just the errors in Beaver, Box Elder, Carbon, Daggett, and Kane Counties as well as using an average of 3.44 % of inmates on federal hold for Salt Lake County, and the “undocumented” portion in county jails jumps to 5.2%. But there are still other factors which lead to an underrepresentation in county jails. Sutherland assumes that everyone who is illegal has been identified. If the county jail does not have a cross-deputized officer, many illegal aliens are never identified. This is precisely what part of SB 81 is trying to address. ICE has limited resources and cannot always make it to a county jail. Sutherland did not account for recidivism rates. Obviously, if illegal aliens are deported even after their entire sentence is served, they will be less likely to be around for the cumulative effect of repeat offenders. Higher rates of outstanding warrants are also not factored by Sutherland. For example, of the 40 murders in the state of Utah in 2008, five cases have no suspects. Three have suspects/person of interests who have not been apprehended. All three are suspected illegal immigrants.
Sutherland fails to understand that illegal aliens can be deported by the courts rather than serve a full sentence. For example, Michele Ramirez was “sentenced to 78 days in county jail and deportation for her role in the shooting” of Diego Mendoza (see http://www.deseretnews.com/article/print/705309408/Police-briefs.html). Was 78 days a full sentence for a role in murder had deportation not been an option? If not, then she is underreported in the county jail system. If the sentence would have been more than year, Michele Ramirez is completely unaccounted for in the state system as an illegal alien. These numerous flaws call into question Sutherland’s entire methodology.
Sutherland takes a snapshot rather than data for the year. They report Utah County as having only 10.1% Hispanics when bookings for all of 2008 show 23.33% Hispanic with 15.3% of all prisoners have some sort of immigration hold. Moreover, it is uncertain how Sutherland ever got 10.1%. A snapshot from January 1, 2009 has the jail at 21.1% Hispanic and another snapshot on July 1, 2009 has the rate at 22.2%.
Unfortunately, until better data is available, ethnicity must be used since race and ethnicity are often the only information available. According to the PEW Hispanic Center, 76% of illegal aliens are Hispanic (in the Utah prison system it is 85.5%) According to the PEW Hispanic Center, between38%-48% of Hispanics in Utah are illegal aliens. Until all police departments cross-deputize at least one officer, we will have to extrapolate illegal aliens from the Hispanic statistics. The only options are that illegal Hispanics are causing crime at a greater rate than the general population, legal Hispanics are committing more crime, or both categories are equally committing crime at a higher rate. It must be one of these three. I believe it is the first.
Ironically, Sutherland’s own data shows that Hispanics commit crime at roughly 50% higher than the general population. If Sutherland’s research is correct and illegal aliens do not commit crimes at a higher rate than the general population, then Sutherland is asserting that Legal Hispanics have a higher crime rate than illegal Hispanics. Does Sutherland really believe this? I certainly do not. This is precisely why so many legal Hispanics are against illegal immigration. Legal immigrants have gone through a screening process. Foreign students have as well. It only makes sense that legal immigrants have lower crime rate otherwise the U.S. is wasting a lot of money at embassies throughout the world.
Unfortunately this questionable methodology is a continuation of Sutherland’s faulty research last year of trying to use illegal alien population state prison population as proof that illegal aliens do not commit crime at a higher rate than the general population. Sutherland did not take into account lagging statistics (someone does not commit crime or get caught immediately - before an illegal alien gets sent to state prison, one may receive a lighter sentence for the first few offenses or deported during the criminal justice process). Federal prisons have now reached 40% Hispanic but this is only after years of increase in the Hispanic population in general (http://www.deseretnews.com/article/1,5143,705293233,00.html).
Although Sutherland has been told about their erroneous interpretations regarding state prison population demographics, they have not yet addressed them. A much better indicator of crime would be arrest rates which show a dramatically higher rate of crime for Hispanics. Admittedly, these statistics may be uncomfortable for some, but it is our responsibility to deal with the “facts” and have an honest conservation about the problems this state faces. Political correctness is destroying this nation. I have attached information received from BCI about the arrest rates for Utah as a whole, Salt Lake City, West Valley City and Provo City.
The Deseret News Editorial
The recent Deseret New Editorial shows the lack of willingness on the part of the media to properly research and is in danger of losing all credibility as an unbiased informational source. They mentioned litigation of the Oklahoma bill, but failed to mention that only a small portion of the bill is being litigated. The Ninth Circuit, arguably the most liberal court in the nation, has already upheld as constitutional the entire Arizona Law which included the provisions challenged in Oklahoma. The Eighth Circuit has upheld a Missouri Law with similar provisions.
The Deseret News has failed to headline that Utah now has the fastest growing illegal immigrant population in the United States according to the Pew Hispanic Center. What they do not print shows just as much bias as what they do. According to Utah Department of Corrections, in 2008, 9.1% of those processed for murder in the state correctional system were illegal aliens. Illegal immigrants have nearly twice the number of children than the general population. How are we going to pay for this? With a $700 million state deficit looming for 2011, which programs are we going to cut or which taxes are we going to raise?
The Salt Lake Police Department – False and Misleading Information
Of greatest concern, however, is my recent experience of my GRAMA request with the Salt Lake City Police Department. I was given false and misleading information which should concern everyone. We may disagree on solutions for illegal immigration but we should at least agree that we as legislators should be given correct information and that police departments should not be misleading the public. Public perception about the integrity of all of Utah law enforcement departments depends on this.
On April 21st, I requested information to substantiate Chief Burbank’s comments on KSL radio where he was asked by Doug Wright about whether or not most of the crime was committed by “these folks.” Chief Burbank responded,
That is absolutely not based in fact. We arrest by far, more Caucasian males than any other population. In fact, one of the things we have done since the early 90’s is document our racial profiling concerns and so every single traffic stop, every single arrest, every report, every interaction our police officers have, we document. We are not dealing with, especially the undocumented but Hispanic individuals, at a higher rate than anyone else and the population in general. And we have proven that time and time again.
So we are talking per capita here.
Yes, per capita. Yes. This is not the case.
Since Chief Burbank was actively campaigning against SB 81, I asked that pursuant to Utah Code 63G-2-204(3)(a) SLCPD respond to my GRAMA request within five business days. After seven days, I called to express concern and was told that the city attorney would be in the next day and that I would have to talk to her. I was surprised about the seemingly little concern about breaking the law. I asked legal council to call who was given a similar run-a-around, but after expressing concern about violations of the law, was told that the information would be forthcoming the next day. The next day, I received nothing.
On May 1st, I received a response which included the statement that “Chief Burbank’s statements were given as his opinion or belief and were not a recitation of statistical records.” (see attached GRAMA documents) Additionally, I received a document that stated that in 2008 Adult Arrests by SLCPD were 24.53% Hispanic and 75.47% Non-Hispanic.
Not satisfied with the answer, I requested all information used to produce the statistics and the percentage separated by category of crime. On June 2nd, the Salt Police Department also finally admitted that “The SLCPD does not keep race or ethnicity data on general police contacts that do not result in arrest” despite what Chief Burbank had said on the radio.
What was most troubling, however, is what the new data showed. It showed that SLCPD had included “Unknown” in the “Non-Hispanic” column the month before thus greatly skewing the data. “Unknown” are not “Non-Hispanic.” While 24.53% Hispanic is higher than the general population (despite the Chief’s claim) it is not so dramatic. But divide ”Hispanic” by “Hispanic” plus “Non-Hispanic” as any reasonable person would and the results become startling. The SLCPD’s own data shows that in 2008 44.25% of the crime in Salt Lake City was committed by Hispanics. To verify this, I contacted BCI which had the total crime in Salt Lake City as 46.78% with 81.82% of the murders and 75% of rapes being committed by Hispanics (see attached spreadsheet).
In other words, the information I received on May 2 was a lie (Webster’s Dictionary defines a lie as “anything that gives or is meant to give a false impression.”) This misinformation was given to an elected official trying to counter the arguments made by the police chief affecting legislation that the Utah Legislature deemed in the best interest of Utah and most Utahns agreed with (77% according to a Salt Lake Tribune poll). Giving misinformation is corruption which should concern everyone and unfortunately casts a shadow on all law enforcement agencies.
Had “white males” been any other group and such false information given about them, there would have been outrage. It is frightening when the rule of law does not seem to matter with those responsible for enforcing the law. I believe that such actions are against P.O.S.T. Code of Conduct in Utah which requires officers to keep “public faith.” Giving misinformation does not keep public trust. No police chief should see themselves above the law. The police chief’s job is to follow the law and maintain a civil society.
Chief Burbank also called SB 81 inhumane which shows complete ignorance of the world in which we live. Inhumane, is being forced to squat, having a stick stuck between your arms and legs, hung upside down, having your feet beaten to a bloody pulp and then being forced to walk a mile on a gravel road. It is watching your brother shot in front of you, having to chant “red terror” while watching teenagers shot to create fear, or having to adopt your niece and nephew because your brother and sister-in-law were assassinated on their front door step. Inhumane is having your cousin die in Kenya a year ago as a refugee while waiting five years to come this country legally because the United States currently has so many illegal aliens. These experiences all happened to my business partner. With all due respect, SB 81 does not compare.
Many refugees are also members of our community. These and other legal immigrants will be hampered in their efforts to bring their families and relatives by the continuing tolerance of illegal immigration. These groups should fear the police chief’s lack of actions. The chief’s actions will lead to more racial division rather than less, but instead, Chief Burbank continues to propagate that those in favor of SB 81 are against immigration. This is simply not true.
Chief Burbank fails to understand what it takes to keep a civil society. Respect for the rule of law is tantamount to this. Individuals obey laws that they may not like because they know that others will obey laws that others may not like. Otherwise, anarchy occurs where as one former Utah Supreme Court Chief Justice said, “everyone has a thousand oppressors.”
Chief Burbank and others have failed to paint the full picture about the extent of crime and now we have a major problem on our hands. Had he and the media not seen illegal immigration as victimless crime earlier, we would not be in the position that we are today.
Chief Burbank recently compared enforcement of SB 81 to Nazi Germany (Salt Lake Tribune – July 3, 2009). This is hyperbole at its greatest, but if comparisons to Nazi Germany must be made then it is important to remember that Nazism began as a police state. A police state begins when the police decide what is right or wrong rather than the duly elected leaders because an ideology or power becomes more important than the truth. This is exactly what Chief Burbank is doing. My wife, a legal immigrant said “he is putting his philosophy over the facts.”
We may not agree on everything or on how to solve the problem and prevent the problem from growing, but we should be able to agree that a police chief should provide accurate information and not let personal agendas get in way of the truth. The only way we can solve the situation is by having an honest, open conversation about the consequences of illegal immigration. We should acknowledge that increased crime is one of them.
One might ask why a part time legislator with no personal staff should have to check out the facts and GRAMA SLCPD rather than the press, but that is a question for another day.
As most of you know by now, increased crime is not my main reason for opposing illegal immigration (although it is a core constitutional responsibility of ours). Tolerating illegal immigration is wrong because it harms many legal immigrants and punishes those desperately trying to come here legally. In 2002, 13 million people applied for the 55,000 U.S. Green Card lottery slots. Where is the “compassion” for the 99.6% that did not receive a green card? Last year, 6.5 million potential immigrants applied. This is the greatest country in the world. We should not decide citizenship based on the willingness to rob others or break the law. This cheapens citizenship.
The media and other elites are in danger of losing all credibility with the public. According to poll in the Salt Lake Tribune, 78% of the citizens in Utah want SB 81 enforced. When will the elites realize that most Utahns are tired of being called racist, uncompassionate, or unchristian simply because they want the law enforced and believe that it is wrong to discriminate against the millions of people trying to come to this country legally?
I have attached the information I received from SLCPD as well as the statistics I received from BCI. The information should concern everyone. (I added the column on % of Hispanics using Hispanics and Non-Hispanics as the denominator – not including “Unknown Ethnicity”). I have also included information which shows how dramatically different U.S. immigration trends are today. This greatly concerns many legal immigrants as well as many potential legal immigrants.
I took my turn with the irrigation last Wednesday, which is only the second time we have irrigated the garden this year. The new potatoes are great but the growth of strawberries has ended. I can’t believe how fast things grow once the weather gets warm and the crops are irrigated on a regular basis. I see blooms on the zucchini and the beans are running up the poles. The corn has begun to tassel so there should be lots to eat and freeze for later in the next few weeks. The apple crop looks really loaded. Now if I could only stop the weeds from growing by some other method than taught to me by my father. Why does a good plant die when hit by some sort of error while a weed will grow back several times when hit firmly and directly? That is a great puzzle of life.
We're well into the dog days of summer, when Utahns are vacationing and not paying much attention to politics, especially in this period between the two July holidays.
The only major event this week is the continued filing period for municipal candidates. Anyone interested in seeking municipal office has until July 15 to file a declaration of candidacy with their city government.
I was recently at a NCSL summit, along with legislators from 11 other states, regarding ways to help the poor survive the budget woes of the states. During my conversations with a Senator from another state, I was shocked when I asked her about how they were handling their budget shortfalls. She said that they are not concerned because they are sure there will be another bailout for the states next year. No need to worry. However, I was sick at her statement. If legislators harbor that attitude and continue to borrow rather than facing the reality of the financial situation, I am deeply concerned for the future of this country. She could not believe that Utah could be so harsh as to cut government-funded programs. She did not believe me when I told her that with our cuts, we have actually found many programs that needed to be trimmed and made more efficient. We are better able to serve the truly needy with the scaled back programs that remain.
Some may not understand it, but I am hoping we don’t have another bailout next year.