Calif. Dems Cancel Work, But Keep Pay

On Monday, May 1, large numbers of people nationwide are expected to protest in support of amnesty for illegal immigrants, with some aiming to “close” American cities. Upwards of 3 million people might protest in Los Angeles alone, according to union organizer Jorge Rodriguez who said, “We want full amnesty, full legalization for anybody who is here (illegally).”

Organizers of the May Day work stoppage and protest expect that America’s big cities will come to a stop on Monday as Latinos walk off their jobs and skip school. Teachers’ unions in urban areas have advocated that children should not be held to account for being truant. Confirming this, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles Unified School District, with three-quarters of a million children, said that school principals have been advised to join the protests to keep order among the children who may walk out.

Perhaps fearing a backlash from Middle America, a few Latino leaders were urging restraint. Some of the larger Spanish radio stations are asking their listeners to go to work and to school, saving the demonstrations for after hours. This echoes the advice given by Los Angeles archdiocese Cardinal Roger Mahony who, while a high-profile advocate for immigrant rights, has opposed a work and school walkout. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, former speaker of the State Assembly, has also asked that children stay in school.

In spite of the pleas by Mayor Villaraigosa and Cardinal Mahony, the Democrat leaders of the California State Assembly have decided to call their own boycott for May 1, canceling legislative session that day in deference to the protests. But, showing that their commitment only goes so far, they declared Monday a “check-in” day so as not to forfeit their $459 tax-free per diem for the weekend and Monday. A true legislative walkout would have led to lawmakers losing per diem pay for Saturday and Sunday, as well as Monday since spending more than three consecutive days away from the Capitol triggers a halt in the highly-prized extra pay.

The legislative protest by the Democrats caught Republican Assemblyman Dennis Mountjoy’s attention. Mountjoy remarked at the close of Thursday’s session that he had spoken to former members of the legislature who where willing to come to work on Monday for half price. The only issue was that they were, “undocumented by the Secretary of State.” Does that mean that “undocumented” lawmakers are willing to do the work that American lawmakers aren’t willing to do?

Republican lawmakers are expected to show up on the Assembly floor on Monday as planned. Of course, Republicans have always been uneasy with typically left-wing May Day celebrations like International Workers’ Day with its massive Cold War-era Soviet military parades.

The California Legislature is known for its fiscally irresponsible giveaways to undocumented immigrants. Over the past five years, the Legislature has approved drivers’ licenses, free in-state tuition benefits, and education and medical services for illegal immigrants. The cost to California of illegal immigration may reach more than $10.5 billion annually.

Given California’s recent legislative history, it might be better that we have a legislative walkout — that way nothing bad will happen for at least one day.