The annual pilgrimage of municipalities and counties to Washington, D.C. might be very different this year. Depending, of course, on who your representative actually is.
By Don Greene / djgreene.net
Every year, many of the countries municipalities and counties make a pilgrimage to Washington, D.C. to meet with various federal departments and their elected Representatives and Senators to acquire funding for programs and projects.
The process, aptly nicknamed “Tin Cup Week”, begins months earlier with the paid lobbyist arranging meetings and appointments during the last week in February. When cities or counties identify projects which could potentially qualify for federal dollars, they make a presentation to the appropriate department to ask for direct funding or for grant opportunities.
Often times, the city and elected officials will also meet with the elected representatives on Capitol Hill to solicit their support for the funding. The prospects for North County San Diego are going to look very odd this year. Depending on which side of Rancho Santa Fe you live, you might be in or out of luck.
Coastal cities, especially those in the 49th Congressional District, might find a more receptive environment than in years past from Representative Darrell Issa. Issa, who narrowly survived an election challenge from Col. Doug Applegate, has to be looking for ways to win back the San Diego portion of his district. He lost in San Diego County by 6 percent points and needs to remind his constituents he cares.
Inland cities will find a much harder row to hoe with Duncan Hunter, Jr. In an article dated February 9th, the Los Angeles Times reports Hunter, Jr. won’t look favorably upon states, cities, or colleges with policies which do not comply with enforcement of federal immigration laws.
These so-called “sanctuary” policies have recently come into public light as states like California consider passing legislation which would make the state a “sanctuary state.” This designation would mean California law enforcement agencies would not comply with reporting procedures of suspected undocumented aliens to federal immigration agencies.
Many cities in California already identify as sanctuary cities – namely San Francisco and Los Angeles. None of the cities in San Diego or Riverside Counties have officially declared themselves to be sanctuary cities, but this is not deterring Hunter from coming down hard on them.
In a statement released by his office, Hunter says, “The submission of a federal funding request for sanctuaries is irresponsible and rewards disregard for the law – and I can’t support that.” This statement is in line with his “No Funding for Sanctuary Campuses” bill which he introduced earlier this year. In it, the federal government would restrict or deny funding of Title IX funds to college campuses which identify as sanctuary campuses.
Proponents of the harsh immigration laws which the Trump administration has put into place argue neglecting federal immigration laws increases the danger to U.S. citizens and takes jobs away from American workers. Studies from the National Immigration Law Center (www.nilc.org) actually show a different story.
According to the study, in sanctuary counties, there are 35.5 fewer crimes committed per 10,000 people, median household incomes are $4300 higher, poverty rate is 2.3 percent lower, and unemployment is 1.1 percent lower. While these results remain true across most sanctuary counties, it is true those counties with smaller populations see an increase in these statistics.
Hunter and his cohorts in Congress do not want you to understand this information. For too long they have been unable to address concerns about their poor job performance. Currently, the Congressional job approval rating sits at 20.3 percent. Instead of addressing why they aren’t working, representatives like Hunter would rather have you believe it’s the “illegal immigrants” who are making Americans not work; scapegoating is apparently a new American tradition.
Good luck to all north San Diego County cities making the trek to Washington, D.C. this year. If you’re on the coast, you should be OK. If you’re inland, you might have a harder time of things.
Don Greene is the former North Area Vice Chair for the San Diego County Democratic Party and remains on the party’s Central Committee. He is currently the Aide to the Deputy Mayor of Oceanside and has consulted on a number of local campaigns. All opinions expressed by Don are his own and not necessarily those of his employer or his clients.