The LA Chamber Of Capitulation, The Alien Bar Association, And A Democrat Dirty Deal
I`ve had the most
fascinating week! My journey started out
innocently (for a VDARE.COM columnist, that is)
when I wondered how our beleaguered California
Governor Gray Davis would treat S.B. 60—the
Gil Cedillo bill to allow illegal aliens to
get driver`s licenses.
But an unexpected fork in the road
took me not to Sacramento but instead to the
Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce and to the Los
Angeles law offices of
Manatt, Phelps and Phillips where the LA Chamber`s
George Kieffer is a partner. Finally, by week`s end,
I found myself on the doorstep of Los Angeles
Mayor James (“Los Angeles is a Mexican city“) Hahn.
Along the way, to make my week even
more interesting, I detoured to the Chicago headquarters
American Bar Association and to its
Commission on Immigration Policy, Practice and Pro Bono
in Washington DC.
Early in my research on S.B. 60, I
discovered that the LA Chamber has thrown its
considerable weight behind Cedillo`s bill. And right up
front leading the parade is Chairman Kieffer. (“Driver
License bill gathering support,” by Rick Orlov
and Hector Gonzales, Whittier Daily News, May 30,
Two things immediately struck me:
- Is it ethical (or legal for that matter)
for Kieffer – who, as a lawyer, is “an officer of the
court” – to be shamelessly shilling for state legislation
that subverts federal law? (Illegal aliens are, after
- What does the LA Chamber care about
driver`s licenses for illegal aliens anyway? Social
issues are not its bag.
On the first question, I enlisted
the help of my friends and VDARE.COM colleagues
Howard Sutherland and
Juan Mann. Sutherland and Mann, both lawyers, took a
dim view of Kieffer`s promotion of S.B. 60. They agreed
that such behavior violated the spirit of the law, if not
the letter of the law.
We all concluded that any discussion
about undermining federal immigration law had to begin
and end with U.S. President George W. Bush.
My curiosity aroused, I wondered if
the ABA had any thoughts on the subject of members who
promote specific state legislation that erodes federal
law. I called the ABA headquarters in Chicago to speak
with Beth Akins [email
her] who is
listed as the contact for state and local government
But Akins is not a lawyer. She told
me she would have someone from the ABA`s Commission on
Immigration Policy answer my inquiry.
And shortly thereafter, a spokesman
(who asked that her name not be used) did call to advise
me that the Commission`s director (who does not give
press interviews and also did not want her name used)
recommends that those seeking information regarding S.B.
60 contact – wait for it! – the
National Immigration Law Center or Michele Waslin at
National Council of La Raza!
Somehow, I suspected that
conversations with the National Immigration Law Center or
La Raza about Kiefer`s ethical conflict would not be
So I turned my attention to my
second question: Why does the LA Chamber give a hoot
about S.B. 60 anyway?
Furthermore, Ritter Simon told me
that the Chamber`s LA Business Climate Committee and its
Public Safety Committee support S.B. 60. Among the
reasons given: if illegal aliens obtain driver`s
licenses, they will be able to get insurance.
Hmm. Two problems:
- If the
LAACC enthusiastically backs SB 60, why isn`t it listed
on its website along with the other legislation it
endorses? Look in vain for SB 60 under “Chamber
Issues on State Legislation.”
- If illegal aliens would buy automobile insurance
when licensed, why aren`t California insurance
companies touting S.B. 60?
because the aliens may not buy insurance anyway.
California State Automobile Association spokesman
Jennifer Mack told me that no insurance company has come
out in support of S.B. 60. Apart from anything else, even
the premiums available through the
California Low Cost Automobile Insurance Program are
beyond the reach of low-income drivers. (Another
detriment: the low cost program is available in Los
Angeles and San Francisco only.)
Still seeking a sensible answer
about why the LA Chamber backs S.B. 60, I attempted to
contact Chairman Kieffer directly. But none of my
numerous phone calls and e-mails (to
firstname.lastname@example.org) were returned.
Nor did I get any response from LA
Chamber staffer Brendan Huffman, who is responsible for
the Business Policy and the Public Safety Committees.
Since none of the major players
cooperated, I was left to sort it out for myself. That
task proved a breeze.
The reality is that the LA Chamber`s
grass-roots membership is not tossing and turning at
night about driver`s licenses for illegal aliens.
But pushing SB 60 through would be a
feather in LA Mayor Hahn`s cap. His relationship with
Cedillo would be aces.
And Hahn, you can be sure, wants
badly to stand tall among Latinos. A young, ambitious
deep roots in California politics, Hahn can look
ahead to see three juicy political plums
ripe for picking: the
always-vulnerable Barbara Boxer`s U.S. Senate seat in
2004; Dianne Feinstein`s Senate seat in 2006 (she`ll be
70); California`s governorship (Gray Davis will be
out—mercifully – because of term limits) in 2006.
Now if Hahn helps Cedillo, isn`t
turnabout fair play?
Should Hahn have the Latino Caucus`
full support and blessing in a forthcoming Senate or
gubernatorial race, he`ll be half way home.
And who better to help Hahn deliver
SB 60 on a silver platter than George Kieffer – Hahn`s
former campaign political advisor?
After crafting Hahn`s mayoral
victory, Kieffer continued to play a role in his
administration. Kieffer chaired, at Hahn`s request, the
Los Angeles Economic Impact Task Force [PDF
What—if anything—is in this for
But Kieffer appears to be
prostituting the 115-year old Los Angeles Area Chamber of
it] for his own political purposes.
He`s made it the Los Angeles Chamber
patriotic view of the driver`s license controversy, see
Coalition for a Secure Driver`s License.]
Joe Guzzardi [email
him], an instructor in English at the Lodi
Adult School, has been writing a weekly newspaper column
since 1988. This column is exclusive to VDARE.COM.