A public community college in California has set up a scholarship fund for immigrant students — including illegal immigrants. The $2,500 scholarship has sparked anger by some, including at least one lawmaker who is threatening to cut off federal funding to the school.
Orange County's Santa Ana College says the controversial new memorial scholarship will be funded by private donations and honors former student Tan Ngoc Tran, a student leader and immigrant-rights activist who transferred to Brown University before she was killed by a drunk driver on May 15.
Students eligible for the new scholarship must have a 3.0 or higher grade point average, demonstrate a financial need and must also be trying to become an American citizen. Those eligible include students holding green cards, students who have permanent residency — and illegal, undocumented immigrants.
The scholarship was announced by the Santa Ana College Foundation at an informal memorial service for Tran held at Santa Ana College on Wednesday, said Laurie Weidner, spokeswoman for the Rancho Santiago Community College District, which governs Santa Ana College.
Weidner repeatedly emphasized to FoxNews.com that no public funds would be used for the scholarship.
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But Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., whose district includes the taxpayer-funded Santa Ana College, says that isn't quite true — because the scholarship diverts resources from Americans in need of education funds.
"The fact that a public employee of a public college is seeking to circumvent immigration laws is problematic," he told FoxNews.com. "The fact that it's being associated with a public institution means there's public funds involved: If you have a fund being operated by public employees, it's public."
He said he could not believe that a college would announce such a scholarship at a time when the majority of Americans has increased concerns about security threats along the U.S.-Mexico border.
The Department of Homeland Security recently sent out an alert regarding a Somali man with reported terror ties who the agency believes is trying to sneak into the U.S. over the Mexican border.
"They totally misread the will of the people," Rohrabacher said of the school. "It's very bizarre."
The GOP lawmaker sent a letter to Santa Ana President Erlinda Martinez and has been in touch with members of the district board.
District board member Philip Yarborough — who is an elected official — says he's gotten a flurry of calls from outraged taxpayers who do not want public schools giving priority funding to illegal immigrants.
He was trying to find out exactly where the money would come from to fund this memorial scholarship.
But Weidner, the district spokeswoman, said critics are overreacting, and said the privately funded scholarship is meant to honor a "wonderful student leader" who continued her education after community college.
Tran, 27, was an undocumented immigrant pursuing a doctorate degree at Brown University at the time of her death. She was a leading member of the Dream Team, an activist group lobbying for the passage of the Dream Act, a bill that would provide certain protections for illegal immigrants living in the country, including giving access to scholarship money.
"We want all of our students to dream big and go to an Ivy league school — if they try hard and keep their focus, they can have the American dream too," said Weidner.
In his letter to the president of Santa Ana College, Rohrabacher called the scholarship "an affront to law abiding citizens whose tax dollars will pay the bill" and "an unconscionable insult to immigrants who took the time and considerable effort to come to this country legally.
"Channeling our scarce resources to illegal immigrants, even if they are students, is unforgivable at a time when so many of our citizens and legal residents are struggling to meet their own education needs," he wrote. "[I]f you feel compelled to misrepresent the interests of the taxpayers and your own students you are putting continued public financing for Santa Ana College in jeopardy."
Sure, why not?? :-/
First a Republican in Kennedy's seat now this. Satan must be in the market for a winter parka. So is the city of Boston going to boycott Massachusetts now?
N.Y. Assembly Looks at Millionaire's Tax
Updated: Wednesday, 26 May 2010, 6:44 PM EDT
Published : Wednesday, 26 May 2010, 1:53 PM EDT
MYFOXNY.COM STAFF REPORT
MYFOXNY.COM - New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is reportedly pitching a plan for an increased "millionaire's tax" aimed at 75-85 thousand New Yorkers making $1 million or more a year.
Political columnist Fred Dicker , who appeared on Wednesday's Good Day New York, says Silver secretly proposed a $1 billion tax hike on the highest income earners to Gov. Paterson.
The plan would jack up a current millionaires tax another 11-percent. The current "millionaire's tax" actually starts affecting people who have incomes over $200,000. High income tax earners would pay more than 13-percent of their salary in local taxes.
The highest one percent of income earners account for about 36 percent of all state taxes.
The state is trying to close a $9.2 billion deficit.
Governor Paterson approved a plan that would furlough 100,000 state workers one day a week for eight weeks, which would save $30 million a week for the state. A judge blocked that temporarily blocked that plan at a union's request. A hearing was scheduled for Wednesday afternoon to review Paterson's plan.
This "Millionaire's Tax" actually goes after anyone who earns more than $200,000 in a year. Unbelievable. This is nothing short of legalized robbery.
PHOENIX – Arizona is ending a groundbreaking and contentious program that put speed cameras along Phoenix-area freeways and in vans deployed across the state.
Opponents have argued the cameras open the door for wider "Big Brother" surveillance and are more about making money than safety. The program has been the target of an initiative measure proposed for the November ballot.
Even Gov. Jan Brewer has said she doesn't like the cameras, and her intention to end the program was first disclosed in her January budget proposal. That was followed by a non-renewal letter sent by the Arizona Department of Public Safety this week to the private company that runs the program.
Scottsdale-based Redflex said Thursday that the 36 fixed cameras will be turned off and the 40 vans taken off highways on July 16, the day after its state contract expires.
The non-renewal letter was first reported by The Arizona Republic.
The camera program was instituted by Brewer's predecessor, Janet Napolitano, now the Homeland Security secretary. Cameras were introduced in September 2008 and were added until all 76 were up and running by January 2009.
Lawmakers considered repeal proposals within months, but set the issue aside and appealed for calmer debate when a passing motorist fatally shot a camera-van operator doing paperwork in his marked vehicle in April 2009.
The mobile and fixed cameras snap the photos of speeders going 11 mph or over the speed limit, and violators get tickets in the mail. Supporters said the cameras slow down drivers, reduce accidents, and free up law-enforcement officers for serious criminals.
Napolitano estimated that the program would bring in $90 million revenue in its first year, but actual revenue fell far short as many motorists ignored notices received in the mail.
While hundreds of jurisdictions across the country use speed cameras and some states have limited programs using cameras in certain areas, Arizona's statewide deployment remained the widest state use of the technology.
The state's decision is a setback for supporters of speed-enforcement cameras, said Jonathan Adkins, a spokesman for the Washington-based Governors Highway Safety Association.
"We need to look and see what happened in Arizona why didn't it work," he said.
Shawn Dow, a leader of the initiative campaign, welcomed the decision to end the program but said the drive's organizers still plan to file petition signatures on the July 1 deadline to qualify it for the November ballot.
The end of the state program does not affect local governments' use of cameras for speed enforcement, but the proposed ballot measure would prohibit state and local governments from using cameras for both speed violations and red-light running.
Redflex, a unit of Australia-based Redflex Holdings Ltd., said in a disclosure to the Australian Securities Exchange that it could write off $5 million of assets because of the program's end. Under the state's contract, Redflex supplies cameras, vans and other equipment.
Department of Public Safety officials declined to comment on the contract or to immediately release the letter. Redflex quoted the letter as saying the non-renewal reflected "a change in the agency's focus."
The end of the program will be a disappointment, Redflex spokeswoman Shoba Vaitheeswaran said. She said it comes as the program continued to mature, with improvements being made in court processing procedures and other areas.
Arizona lawmakers approved legislation this year that imposes new signage requirements and other changes for the program.
Joanna Peters, a Phoenix traffic-safety activist, called the Brewer administration's decision irresponsible.
"They're ignoring a silent majority of folks who actually support the program," Peters said. "This is something we could fix, not just throw out the baby."
On the Net:
Photo-enforcement program: http://www.azdps.gov/Services/Photo_Enforcement/
I'm really excited to hear this statewide test didn't go well. Between the new immigration law and the elimination of speed cameras, I think I may be hanging out Arizona a lot more in the future! I love Arizona!!
"I think that when people, states, localities make decisions this monumental, they should know the full consequence of that decision," Rep. José E. Serrano, D-N.Y., said. "I think Major League Baseball, with 40 percent Latino ballplayers at all levels, should make a statement that it will not hold its All-Star Game in a state that discriminates against 40 percent of their people."
You are either discriminatory toward a race or you are not discriminatory toward a race. The bill discriminates against illegal aliens, not Mexicans. You can't discriminate against 40% of a race.
This statement by Serrano shows just how incompetent this guy is. Progressives are so good at pulling the race card, but it's to the point where they just sound like they don't know what they're talking about.
Want to get rich? Work for feds
April 29, 2010
Data shows the pay gap between state and local government and private sector workers. (Chris Edwards/Cato Institute)
For decades, public sector unions have peddled the fantasy that government employees were paid less than their counterparts in the private sector. In fact, the pay disparity is the other way around. Government workers, especially at the federal level, make salaries that are scandalously higher than those paid to private sector workers. And let's not forget private sector workers not only have to be sufficiently productive to earn their paychecks, they also must pay the taxes that support the more generous jobs in the public sector.
Data compiled by the Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis reveals the extent of the pay gap between federal and private workers. As of 2008, the average federal salary was $119,982, compared with $59,909 for the average private sector employee. In other words, the average federal bureaucrat makes twice as much as the average working taxpayer. Add the value of benefits like health care and pensions, and the gap grows even bigger. The average federal employee's benefits add $40,785 to his annual total compensation, whereas the average working taxpayer's benefits increase his total compensation by only $9,881. In other words, federal workers are paid on average salaries that are twice as generous as those in the private sector, and they receive benefits that are four times greater.
The situation is the same when state and local government compensation data is compared with that of the private sector. As the Cato Institute's Chris Edwards notes in the current issue of the Cato Journal, "The public sector pay advantage is most pronounced in benefits. Bureau of Economic Analysis data show that average compensation in the private sector was $59,909 in 2008, including $50,028 in wages and $9,881 in benefits. Average compensation in the public sector was $67,812, including $52,051 in wages and $15,761 in benefits." Those figures likely underestimate the true gap on the benefits side because the typical government employee gets a guaranteed defined benefit pension under very generous terms, while the private sector norm is a 401(K) defined contribution plan that is subject to the ups and downs of the economy.
With the federal deficit and national debt heading into the stratosphere, taxpayers can no longer afford to support such lucrative government compensation. Public sector pay and benefits at all levels should be reduced to make it comparable to the wages and benefits earned by the average working taxpayer. The first politician to propose a five-year plan for this purpose is likely to be cheered mightily by taxpayers.
This is why people in government work hard to keep their job rather than work hard at the job they were hired for.