On PointVincent Carroll, editor of the editorial pages, writes his On Point column most weekdays. He is also an author and freelance writer. Reach Vincent Carroll at carrollv@RockyMountainNews.com.
Carroll: No villain in sight
‘Blood money: 1. money paid to a hired killer. 2. money paid as compensation to the next of kin of a murdered person. 3. money gotten ruthlessly at the expense of others’ lives or suffering.”
— Webster’s New World Dictionary
“The blood money [from Xcel Energy] is to prevent the expense and delay of the additional procedures, and to get the new line live this summer.”
— Denver Councilwoman Kathleen MacKenzie
Now that’s political hardball.
Here comes Xcel, offering to spend $125,000 for improvements at Ruby Hill Park in order to curry neighborhood support for its proposal to replace transmission towers there with new but slightly taller ones, and the money is denounced as equivalent to gangland booty.
I’d actually thought electricity saved lives and made them more comfortable, not snuffed them out. Have I failed to notice something sinister about selling it?
Xcel isn’t even one of those swashbuckling companies whose aggressive style so horrifies the typical critic of corporate culture; it’s a highly regulated utility whose every major move must be approved by state regulators (in whose laps this case might yet land).
MacKenzie wants the transmission lines buried, as does the Denver Planning Board charged with protecting the city’s view plane ordinances. Xcel opposes burial because it would cost $5 million, as opposed to $600,000 for the alternative, and would be charged to all ratepayers. For that matter, its lines were there two decades before the view ordinance went into effect.
With good arguments on both sides and no villain in sight, why invoke the specter of Murder Inc.? It’s offensive, plain and simple.
Not much of a bargain
One of the arguments for comprehensive immigration reform goes like this: Most liberals will never let a strong enforcement measure get through Congress without an accompanying path to citizenship for illegals already here; meanwhile, most conservatives will never buy into such a path without a bigtime enforcement crackdown.
(I realize some opponents of legal status will never buy into it under any circumstances; I’m talking about the grand bargain as touted by proponents.)
Well, the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007 obviously includes a path to citizenship — no one seems to doubt that. But what about the other half of the deal?
As the Senate voted on amendments Wednesday to the latest rewrite of the bill, I thumbed through the Congressional Budget Office’s analysis of the last version and found this arresting phrase: “CBO estimates that implementing those requirements” — the requirements involving enforcement and verification — “would reduce the net annual flow of illegal immigrants by one-quarter . . . .
So that’s it? A 25 percent reduction in illegal immigration is all that enforcement advocates can expect?
Granted, even if this country erected a wall across the southern border we couldn’t stamp out illegal immigration. There are too many other points of possible entry and the fact that foreigners often overstay their visas.
But you’d think those touting the enforcement provisions would demand a higher standard of success. Is it really outlandish to expect, for example, that the flow of illegals be cut at least in half?
Vincent Carroll is editor of the editorial pages. Reach him at carrollv@RockyMountainNews.com.
When are we going to get immigration reform with real 'teeth'? The only way to put an end most illegal immigration is to go after the ILLEGAL EMPLOYERS - first by making it mandatory to verify status, second by having meaningful fines (let's start at 5% of annual CORPORATE gross - for instance, if IBM hired illegals in Denver, the fine would be based on IBM total revenue, not just Denver revenue), and third by putting the CEO & board in jail starting with the 3rd offense, with escalating time in jail for additional offenses. I understand that there are illegals here who are not members of the work force, but they are in the vast minority - and if a plan to punish those responsible for causing the flood doesn't slow it to a trickle, nothing will.Posted by Mary on June 28, 2007 04:37 AM
You want to get rid of the wolves (illegal immigrants) get rid of the rabbits (jobs.)
While I think any law that crosses state borders will take forever to implement due to dozens of legal challenges that will get to illegal friendly judges and courts, a law fining in absolute amounts based on the number of illegals hired over time by buisnesses and revoking business licenses and state contracts will have teeth and be rapidly implemented. Make the fines cumulative so that an accidental hiring of one illegal will cost an employer but the constant hiring of illegals will create a doubled or worse fine for each illegal discovered working after that. A 5 thousand dollar fine for the first, 10K for the second 20K for the third..etc will do it. There is no need to keep a fine low enough so it can be paid by a company. If the company can't pay the fine maybe they better hire legally instead.
We need to keep strict enforcement on granting of driver's licenses only to legal residents and arresting any lawbreaking illegals. Also we need to make Colorado ID cards available free with the same strict document requirements so that it will be possible to require such ID for voters.
If they can't work, can't get welfare, face jail time for driving unlicensed or in unlicensed vehicles and can't vote they will leave and politicians will have no reason to want them here.
When high level Democrats and high level Republicans conspire to ram an unpopular bill (that most senators haven't even gotten a copy of) through Congress; and when this is done 16 months before a major election, and when major pork projects are added to the bill, and when this bll could cost big business a lot of money, I can only wonder where the payoff money is coming from. I know who it is going to.Posted by Yaakov Watkins on June 28, 2007 06:24 AM
Vince Carroll's view is offensive.
How could this offer by Xcel be seen as anything else but an attempt to placate a neighborhood which so far only has one person from the current Denver City Council to stand up for it, and a lame duck one at that who has shown more courage than anyone on this issue.
Offering $125,000 to put up even higher towers in a modest income neighborhood and block the mountain views more, instead of burying these lines in what could be an outstanding park, is clearly one of the most offensive things I have ever encountered as a longtime Denverite.
Shame on Carroll -- another mouthpiece for Xcel and the horrendous Denver City Council majorityPosted by truedenverdem on June 28, 2007 03:10 PM
Carroll is dead wrong about this. Agree with previous post that his opinion is offensive to the people who live in Ruby Hill. Not accepting this paltry $125,000 bribe is understandable given the milions in neighborhood development potential that could be created by burying the lines in the park, not to mention the preservation of the mountain views and the enhancement of the local quality of life. I wonder if Carroll would support taking a $125,00 bribe for a small enhancement of Washington Park in exchange for allowing Xcel to erect huge towers there. Of course he wouldn't. And do you think there is a class bias in his opinion? It is utterly outrageous that City Council would even consider supporting overturning the decision of the Denver Planning Board just to satisfy Xcel. Does not say much about their character or Carroll's for that matter.Posted by Ted Rudiak on June 28, 2007 09:37 PM