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  1. #1
    ladyofshallot's Avatar
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    Tip Leads to Closing of O.C. Laborer Pickup Spot (Updated)

    http://www.latimes.com/business/careers ... ss-careers

    Tip Leads to Closing of O.C. Laborer Pickup Spot
    Caltrans, which learned from a Laguna resident that it owned the land used being by a nonprofit, cites liability issues.
    By Jennifer Delson, Times Staff Writer
    July 1, 2006

    Caltrans ordered a longtime Laguna Beach day labor center to close Friday, saying it was illegally operating on state property, land that the state didn't even know it owned.

    The state Department of Transportation issued the order after a Laguna Beach resident who is a member of the Minuteman Project border patrol group checked property records and brought the information forward as part of a protest against the center.


    "What they were doing on that property is illegal, and it wasn't done to benefit Americans," said Eileen Garcia, the Minuteman member. "If the Girl Scouts of America had set up pup tents there, they would have been run off a long time ago."

    This is the second day labor center in Orange County to close recently. Costa Mesa closed its center last year as its City Council took several measures to limit services to its burgeoning immigrant population.

    The centers and other areas where day laborers gather informally have been targeted for protests by anti-illegal immigrant groups throughout Southern California.

    The Laguna Day Worker Center on Laguna Canyon Road opened nearly seven years ago and received about $25,000 annually from the city.

    State officials said the order to close the center had nothing to do with immigration politics.

    "There's a concern about public safety and liability," said James Pinheiro, Caltrans deputy director of traffic operations and maintenance. "We knew the center was there. We didn't know it was on our property."

    Garcia, who has protested near the worker center with hundreds of others on several occasions in the last year, said she decided earlier this week to check maps at the Irvine Caltrans office.

    Officials who helped her find the materials were surprised when they found a deed showing that the Irvine Co. had given the one-third-acre parcel to the state in 1951.

    Pinheiro said state law does not allow use of the property for anything other than "to facilitate the state highway."

    No permits were issued to put a mobile office or fences on the site, he said. The office is owned by the Cross Cultural Council, a nonprofit organization.

    Irma Ronses, coordinator of the day laborer center, said her group received permission from the city to set up the office but at some point learned the property belonged to the state.

    Laguna Beach City Manager Kenneth C. Frank did not return repeated phone calls. Assistant City Manager John Pietig declined to comment.

    The Caltrans decision angered a majority of the City Council. Mayor Steve Dicterow said the state agency, as well as the Minuteman Project, took action "that will hurt the residents of Laguna Beach."

    Before the workers center opened off the state highway, those looking for temporary jobs went into neighborhoods to search for them. "Now we have to deal with the fact that we don't have the resources to deal with a potentially dangerous situation that will exist whether we like it or not," Dicterow said.

    The City Council will discuss the issue next week and determine if it can buy the property, said Pam Gorniak, Caltrans public information officer.

    Dicterow said city officials hope to persuade Caltrans to allow the center to continue operating at its current location. If that doesn't work, the city will consider another site, he said.

    Resident Dolores Kustin said day laborers who go into neighborhoods, "should be arrested. If these are people who cross the border illegally, they shouldn't be here at all."

    Wayne Ybarra, a Laguna Beach resident, was disappointed with the Caltrans decision: "Things seemed to be working in the sense that there didn't seem to be any neighborhood complaints."

    In the meantime, Minuteman Project supporters are enjoying their victory in the same city where another nonprofit organization denied them the chance to march in a recent parade because the group has a political message.

    "The Minuteman Project stands to bring public awareness to blatant law breaking that is going on in our society, to our lawmakers and bureaucrats who should have been on this years ago," said Minuteman co-founder Jim Gilchrist. "It takes an average Jane Citizen, a Minuteman, to bring attention to this."



















  2. #2
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    The Laguna Day Worker Center on Laguna Canyon Road opened nearly seven years ago and received about $25,000 annually from the city.
    Congrats to Laguna Beach!! One victory

    The fact that the counties/towns, states and Federal keep funding &/or giving grants to people who are NOT American to further their UnAmerican activities demands that tax payers ask vital questions!! Tax payers need to put these insane gov't officials on the hot seat once and for all.

    Funding this Day Worker Center is only creating a welcoming feeling for ILLEGALS, the word spreads and more come. How ridiculous is this?
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  3. #3
    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
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    Congratulations Laguna Beach!!! Great pictures.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member lsmith1338's Avatar
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    Great work Laguna citizens. Nice work checking the property records
    Better get to work on that tax money ($25,000) annually or they will set up shop somewhere else in your town. Why are we paying to subsidize a work center for people who are in this country illegally?
    Freedom isn't free... Don't forget the men who died and gave that right to all of us....
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  5. #5
    Senior Member steelerbabe's Avatar
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    Congradulations! Every victory gives hope that our voices are being heard and that we can do something

  6. #6
    Senior Member greyparrot's Avatar
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    Laguna Beach City Manager Kenneth C. Frank did not return repeated phone calls. Assistant City Manager John Pietig declined to comment.
    Hopefully it was because this dumb and dumber team was busy writing their resignation letters.


    The Caltrans decision angered a majority of the City Council. Mayor Steve Dicterow said the state agency, as well as the Minuteman Project, took action "that will hurt the residents of Laguna Beach."
    Oh please, lets get real here. The only ones "hurt" will be the illegal residents..and those that hire them. Period.


    The City Council will discuss the issue next week and determine if it can buy the property, said Pam Gorniak, Caltrans public information officer.
    And where would the money come from to fund such a purchase? Surely City Council doesn't expect Laguna Beach taxpayers to foot the bill...or do they?

    A big ATTA GIRL shout out to MP member Eileen Garcia! Dayum she's good!

  7. #7
    Senior Member Brian503a's Avatar
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    http://www.ocregister.com/ocregister/ho ... 199849.php

    Saturday, July 1, 2006

    State: Labor center violates the law
    Caltrans orders it closed in Laguna after a Minuteman member cites lack of proper permits.


    By MARTIN WISCKOL, ERIKA RITCHIE, AMY TAXIN and PEGGY LOWE
    The Orange County Register

    LAGUNA BEACH – A longstanding day-labor center on Laguna Canyon Road has been ordered closed by Caltrans after an anti-illegal-immigration activist discovered the site was on state land without proper permits.

    The Laguna Beach City Council responded that it will determine its strategy for dealing with the order at its next meeting, according to Caltrans spokeswoman Pam Gorniak. That meeting is July 11.

    Gorniak said research had not yet been done to determine whether a permit could be issued to the center, allowing it to continue.

    Laguna Beach Mayor Steve Dicterow said the city is likely to maintain a single center for day laborers – who are typically Latino immigrants – whether it's on the current site or elsewhere.

    "We're not going back to 15 years ago, where there were multiple locations disrupting our neighborhoods," he said. "This has nothing to do with the city perspective of whether we like it or not. It's taking care of our residents."

    Minuteman member Eileen Garcia did the research determining that the site did not have necessary permits and presented the information to the California Department of Transportation on Wednesday.

    Caltrans gave the city a notice on Thursday to remove the center "as soon as possible." It remains unclear if the center will continue operating until the next council meeting.

    Garcia and others have been protesting the site – and its funding by rent collected from the Festival of the Arts – since last summer. About 150 people gathered at the site last July, some shouting messages decrying illegal immigration and others speaking in favor of immigrants. Police stepped in on several occasions to separate the two groups.

    Last year, the city distributed $175,000 in festival rent to nonprofit groups. The largest payment – $21,000 – went to the South Orange County Cross Cultural Council, which runs the day-labor center.

    "Our charities in Laguna Beach are being screwed, but the day laborer site has received so many freebies you wouldn't believe," she said. "Any legitimate business would have been run off because it's on public land."

    Years of trying to get workers and employers to use the site voluntarily were unsuccessful. The site became the city's sole hiring spot for day laborers in 1993, when a law was passed restricting such hiring to that location.

    Anti-illegal immigration activists, who have also protested the city police's acceptance of Mexican-issued identification cards, were declaring victory at Friday's news.

    "I think it's fabulous," said Barbara Coe, chairwoman of the California Coalition for Immigration Reform. "That means a few of the illegal-alien criminals will go home."

    Garcia said she was particularly gratified by the Caltrans order.

    "I feel relieved somebody believed in me and somebody said, 'O.K., maybe Eileen isn't a racist kook,' " she said.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member Brian503a's Avatar
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    http://www.ocregister.com/ocregister/ho ... 200163.php

    Sunday, July 2, 2006
    Workers still wait at center in Laguna
    Day-labor facility stays busy despite unclear fate after Caltrans tells city to shut it down.


    By VALERIA GODINES
    The Orange County Register

    It was business as usual Saturday at the Laguna Beach day-labor center, in the wake of a state agency's notification that the center must close.

    The California Department of Transportation last week ordered the center closed after a Minuteman activist discovered the site was on state land without proper permits. Opponents of illegal immigration have been protesting the site since last summer.

    Emiliano, an undocumented immigrant, spent Saturday morning at the center in search of work. His goal is to earn enough money to send some back to his family in Guerrero, Mexico.

    "This job is very important to me," said Emiliano, who declined to give his last name because he fears deportation. "I want my children to study, to have clothes. I want them to succeed."

    It's not clear when exactly the site will be closed. The Laguna Beach City Council plans to take the issue up at its next meeting July 11.

    But if it does close, said Ciro Solano, 27, also from Guerrero, the workers will just find another place to congregate.

    Solano said he thought the Minuteman action was "racist."

    "We're just here to work," he said.

    "The majority of people are poor," Emiliano said of the workers. "That's why they come here to work."

    Pat O'Brien of Aliso Viejo, who was at the center to hire workers, agreed. "I think this is crazy. They need jobs. They are here to work," he said before driving off with laborers in his back seat.

    Maria Vasquez, the center's coordinator, said Saturday was especially busy. Forty-seven workers had been hired by 11 a.m. Only a handful of laborers lingered after that.

    She shrugged when asked about the Minuteman activist who sparked the closure.

    "They don't have any better way to spend their time or money," she said.



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    CONTACT US: 714-796-7857 or vgodines@ocregister.com
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  9. #9
    Senior Member Brian503a's Avatar
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    http://www.ocregister.com/ocregister/ne ... 207421.php

    Monday, July 10, 2006

    Meetings focus on day-labor center
    Site's operator, Laguna Beach City Council to look at available options.


    By LAYLAN CONNELLY
    The Orange County Register

    LAGUNA BEACH - The group that runs the day-labor site along Laguna Canyon Road will meet Tuesday night to discuss the possibility of moving to a different location within the city.

    "We don't know exactly what we're going to do," said David Peck, chair of the South County Cross-Cultural Council. "We are investigating other locations. That's all I can say right now because nothing is fixed."

    The California Department of Transportation ordered the city to close the site after Eileen Garcia, a Minuteman member and anti-illegal-immigration activist, dug up records late last month showing that the land is state-owned and not properly permitted for the use.

    Meanwhile, it has been business as usual for the day laborers. The water and bathrooms on the site are still working, and workers still gather and wait for work – although some have reported that the work has slowed down.

    City Manager Ken Frank said the city is not taking any steps to close the site. In a letter earlier this month, the state asked the city to respond within 24 hours, which it did, Frank said.

    Frank said the city is looking at other locations in the city and is also possibly interested in purchasing the land from Caltrans.

    City officials met Wednesday during a closed-door City Council meeting to discuss the issue.

    Councilwoman Toni Iseman said she could not talk specifically about the dialogue, but said she would like to see the city purchase the land.

    Peck said the site has worked well since the city made it the sole hiring spot for day laborers. In 1993, the city passed a law restricting hiring to that location.

    He said it's not the group's job to try to solve immigration debates – but to run a safe environment to help people find work.

    "We don't go around asking people for their legal status, or their sexual orientation. … We don't ask them if they are our religion, or of similar political stance," he said.

    Irma Ronses, who works the desk at the day-labor site, encourages people to continue showing up there.

    "If somebody needs help, they can come here. My guys, they need to work," Ronses said.

    Garcia and other activists have been protesting the site since last summer.

    If the land is up for purchase, it should be an open process and everyone should be able to bid on it, she said.

    "They can't claim the property is worthless. I'm sure somebody would love to buy that piece of property," Garcia said, adding that she'd like to see a coffee shop there.

    Though the issue is not on the council agenda, Garcia will speak at the meeting , scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday.

    "I've been going to the City Council meetings, and I've been standing up there alone," she said. "I've asked people to come, just to give me moral support."
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  10. #10
    Senior Member Brian503a's Avatar
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    I can't say that I'm not surprised.

    http://www.ocregister.com/ocregister/ho ... 209155.php

    Wednesday, July 12, 2006
    Day-labor site gets one-year reprieve
    Laguna Beach reveals a lease agreement with Caltrans at a contentious meeting Tuesday night.


    By LAYLAN CONNELLY and AMY TAXIN
    The Orange County Register

    LAGUNA BEACH - A day-labor site along Laguna Canyon Road will remain in operation for at least another year after the city reached a lease agreement with the California Department of Transportation.

    City Manager Ken Frank revealed the news Tuesday night to 100 people packed inside the City Council chambers and was met with applause and boos.

    Caltrans had ordered the city to close the site after Eileen Garcia, a member of the Minuteman Project, found records last month showing that the land is state-owned and not properly permitted for the use.

    The agreement came Monday. Under terms of the lease, the city will be responsible for any legal liability.

    Opponents of illegal immigration waved American flags in front of City Hall before the meeting and held signs reading, "Secure the border." Several passing cars honked in support.

    The decision is "an immediate and practical solution to address public safety concerns of the city as well as Caltrans," Pam Gorniak, a Caltrans spokeswoman, said in a prepared statement.

    She said the state is evaluating whether it can "declare this excess and put it up for purchase."

    Frank said the city is looking into the details of purchasing the land, which is about 20,000 square feet.

    Garcia said she was disappointed by the council's action but not surprised.

    She said she plans to seek an injunction stopping any sale of the land.

    The agreement was met with a mixed reaction. The issue was not on the council's agenda but speakers were allowed two minutes each to express their views

    Eduardo Gonzalez, 35, said he has come to Laguna Beach for the past seven years looking for day work.

    "We're very happy because all the people in Laguna Beach need us, and we need them," said Gonzalez, a Laguna Hills resident who said he came to the United States illegally.

    Dottie Dalton, 67, of Murrieta said the city is in "total denial."

    "They're criminals," she said of illegal immigrants. "(The city) is more concerned with the illegals than they are with Americans, and that really angers me."

    The group that runs the site – the South County Cross-Cultural Council – said having one location helps organize hiring.

    "Now we're legal and people can keep protesting, but there won't be this smokescreen about the Caltrans property (and) that we're squatting on it," said David Peck, chairman of the group.

    Tim Ronses, 42, said he would not be where he is today had the day-labor site not been a place for him to find work.

    He entered the country illegally but earned U.S. citizenship and owns a business, he said.

    "If it weren't for the opportunity I had here, I'd be out on the street," he told the council. "I really appreciate what you guys are doing.

    "God bless you guys, God bless America. I'm really proud to be here."
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