Horsing around with Bell's; closing Tulsa's sanctuary

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Zingo's dismantling is almost complete, and Bell's Amusement Park is about to vanish from their long-time location on the Tulsa County Fairgrounds. Bell's paid the most rent of any Fairgrounds tenant, but despite that, the park's lease was not renewed and county officials claimed to have no plans for redeveloping the land.

This week in Urban Tulsa Weekly, I ask whether the U. S. National Arabian and Half-Arabian Championship Horse Show is the real reason that Bell's was given the boot and whether trading a 50 year Tulsa tradition for a lucrative but temporary event was a smart move for taxpayers.

By the way, I used a number in the story of $20 million, which I recalled hearing cited by Expo Square officials as the cost of improvements made to attract and accommodate the Arabian Horse Show. I called Expo Square to confirm that number, and the comptroller went down the list and came up with a number of $15 million. Unfortunately, his response came too late for UTW's deadline.

And here's a link to last week's column on the City Council's vote to authorize Tulsa police officers to verify the immigration status of anyone who is taken into custody on felony or misdemeanor charges.

The intervention by Congressman John Sullivan and Senators Coburn and Inhofe seems to have given the Council the backing they needed to take up this issue. Here you can read a letter from Sullivan to Mayor Kathy Taylor prior to the Council vote, and here is one from after the vote, urging her to implement the resolution.

Some further notes on local law enforcement and illegal immigration

In a letter to the head of ICE, Sullivan repeats his call for expediting the Sheriff's Office application for 287(g) status:

I believe that a 287(g) designation, which would allow for the cross deputization of Tulsa County Sherriff’s deputies and jail personnel, would help to mitigate these problems by ensuring that Oklahoma law enforcement personnel have the authority, training, and tools they need to report and detain criminal aliens in the course of their regular duty. If implemented in Tulsa, the 287(g) program would act as a force multiplier for ICE and help protect our communities from terrible incident like the one mentioned above.

Nashville police recently obtained 287(g) status. This case is one of the reasons they pursued it vigorously:

Garcia was charged with two counts of vehicular homicide while intoxicated and evading arrest. Court officials said he has reached a deal with prosecutors and will plead guilty today, the same day the trial was scheduled to begin. His lawyer, Assistant Metro Public Defender Glenn Dukes, did not return a call seeking comment.

Garcia is being held at the Metro Jail under an immigration hold, which means he'll be turned over to federal authorities after any criminal sentence he might serve.

But Garcia was well known to law enforcement before the fatal accident.

County records show that he had been booked into the Metro Jail on at least 14 different occasions since 1997.

Besides the DUI cases, he had been charged with domestic assault, leaving the scenes of accidents, driving on a revoked or suspended license, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, theft, failing to have insurance and driving with an open container.

On at least one occasion, local authorities said, Garcia was flagged by federal authorities and deported, only to return and resume his streak of arrests.

The other times, Garcia went to court, was jailed for some period and released. Sheriff's officials said they routinely sent notification to federal immigration authorities that they had booked a foreign-born inmate.

Nashville hopes to replicate the success of 287(g) in Charlotte, N.C.:

In the seven-month period following the implementation of its 287(g) immigration enforcement program, Charlotte, N.C. saw significant decreases in the number of Hispanics arrested for Driving Under the Influence (DUI), the total number of DUI-related arrests among Hispanic persons and the amount of Hispanic gang-related crime, law enforcement personnel there said.

In the program’s first nine months, Charlotte’s specially trained sheriffs identified 1,520 arrestees as having entered the country illegally.

All were marked for deportation back to one of the 31 different countries — mostly Central and South American — from which those 1,520 individuals came, Mecklenburg County Sheriff Jim Pendergraph told WFAE (Charlotte) talk radio last month.

And a full 20 percent of the foreign-born persons who were brought into the jail and subsequently identified though 287(g) had been arrested for drunken driving, Pendergraph said.

At the same time, a statistical analysis by the Sheriff’s Office shows that the number of Hispanic-related DUI incidents and arrests fell sharply in the months following the beginning of 287(g).

From 2005 – when sheriff’s deputies had to request an arrestee’s immigration information from a federal database in Vermont, as they still have to do in Nashville – to 2006, the number of Hispanic persons arrested for DUI decreased by 26 percent.

Additionally, the number of overall DUI-related arrests of Hispanic persons decreased by 63 percent – from 1,379 to 508 – during the same period.

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1 Comments

Paul Tay said:

New Rule: Prove citizenship and insurance, when renewing car tags.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on June 6, 2007 8:07 AM.

Non-Christian students thank a Christian school was the previous entry in this blog.

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