UPDATE: The LA Times has put up a full version of this story online.
Attaboy Charlie, we didn’t think you had it in you.
In a meeting with LA Times reporters and editors on Wednesday, you are quoted as saying “you would expect the number of hit-and-run accidents to decrease if illegal immigrants were licensed, because illegal immigrant drivers would not have to fear being caught without a license at accidents.”
That is a paraphrase provided by the unnamed person who wrote the story but your quotes give credence to the possibility you actually admitted the obvious: People without a name, without much of anything, without a license, without anything to lose are more dangerous behind the wheel than people who have all those things.
The answer you proposed, wasn’t to take the deadly weapon of a vehicle out of their hands but to allow them to take the state’s written and driving tests to get a license, supplying a birth certificate or other “valid” identification plus a thumb print and a photograph just like everybody else in California — and to face a lot of problems just like everybody else if they don’t have insurance, don’t register their cars, falsify their information or do anything else that is against the laws that are supposed to be applied fairly to all.
In your own words:
“The reality is that all the things that we’ve done – ‘we’ being the state of California – over the last 14, 16 years have not reduced the problem one iota, haven’t reduced undocumented aliens driving without licenses. So we have to look at what we’re doing. When something doesn’t work over and over and over again, my view is that you should reexamine it to see if there is another way that makes more sense.
“Why wouldn’t you want to put people through a rigorous testing process? Why wouldn’t you want to better identify people who are going to be here? It doesn’t make any sense to me. And we could increase safety on the roads. When you make things illegal you cause a lot of other things by chain reaction.”
Truer words you have never spoken.
The answer to the problem isn’t to let unlicensed drivers with phony insurance and faked registration ride away in their cars from the scene of a traffic stop, as you have proposed.
I got news for you Charlie, the pathetic leadership in Sacramento hasn’t let illegal immigrants get state driver licenses yet any more than the pathetic leadership in Washington has developed a workable immigration policy.
So in the great tradition of Chief William Parker why don’t you take the lead and solve this public safety issue now.
Call on the mayor and City Council to adopt a licensing policy for illegal immigrant drivers. If they take the city’s written and driving tests – at their own expense under the mayor’s novel full cost recovery program – and meet the same requirements as every state-licensed motorist, they will be granted an official license by the City of Los Angeles and be treated like everybody else on the road.
A lot of people think all those illegal immigrants should be kicked out of this country. But that ain’t gonna happen. A lot of people think allowing illegal immigrants to get a license is some kind of reward for their misconduct.
Charlie, that isn’t what I believe. I’ve been saying publicly for a long time that it is in everybody’s self-interest to require that everyone who drives a vehicle be licensed, insured and registered and have an identity that can help authorities find them if something bad happens.
It’s also in everybody’s self-interest to get unlicensed drivers off the road and to make sure that anyone behind the wheel has an identity, knows the laws and can avoid a lot of trouble by obeying the same laws as everybody else.
So what is it Charlie: Are you going to do something that “increases the safety on the roads” and reduces the number of hit-and-run accidents or are you going to go forward with a policy – actually you claim it is just a procedural change so it can’t be reviewed by the Police Commission, City Council or mayor – that puts our lives at risk?
You showed you know the difference between right and wrong when you walked next door and talked to the LA Times.
Now prove you are your own man, really the Chief of Police, by daring the mayor and City Council to do what is right in terms of protecting the public from harm.