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Monday, October 2, 2006

Welcome to the Real OC

The freeing by the District Attorney's Office of two men arrested for hate crimes committed at a Laguna Beach day laborers work center has renewed concerns about the increasing level of violence directed at immigrants and Latinos in what is quickly becoming ground zero in the war over immigration: Orange County California.

But more importantly, it's raised questions about who might really be behind it.

When most people hear the words Laguna Beach, they picture sun-bleached beautiful people, with fabulous lifestyles living in homes tucked into hilltops overlooking an endless ocean. But just underneath the surface of this scenic beachfront community, a raging conflict is taking place. Orange County, of which Laguna Beach is part, has quickly become ground zero in a covert campaign by some of the nation's most extreme groups to push an agenda of racism and hate. On any given weekend, members of the neo-Nazi National Alliance, SOS, CCIR, or the Minutemen will travel from all over the state to converge on Laguna Beach and other OC communities, bringing with them their extreme views on race and immigration.

For some, these people are viewed as interlopers, agent provocateurs who want to use Laguna Beach as a test area to further their cause. Others see them as opportunists, using the town in hopes of launching themselves into the national spotlight. But the intruders may not have been working entirely alone. Many now believe they've been enabled by a small group of residents working behind the scenes to make the affluent beach community into ground zero in the war on immigration.


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Welcome to the real OC



Those within the immigrant's rights and Latino activist community have taken to referring to Orange County California as the region "behind the orange curtain" …and with good reason. It has long been a breeding ground and test area for many of the most strident anti-immigration activist in the nation.


Orange County, a staunchly conservative region with a long history of groundbreaking initiatives designed to drive out Hispanic immigrants. "Orange County is the most Mexican-hating county in the country," says Orange County Weekly syndicated columnist and investigative editor Gustavo Arellano.

The county is home to Minuteman Project co-founder Jim Gilchrist, whose "citizens border patrol" now has chapters nationwide, and to the California Coalition for Immigration Reform (CCIR), a major force behind 1994's Proposition 187, which sought to deprive undocumented immigrants of social services, health care, and public education. CCIR's official ballot argument described Proposition 187 as "the first giant stride in ultimately ending the ILLEGAL ALIEN invasion." The bulk of Proposition 187 was ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge years after it was passed by 59% of California voters, but it has nevertheless served as the model for similar measures in other states, notably Arizona's Proposition 200.
SouthernPoverty Law Center

Like most of Orange County, Laguna Beach has been dragged into the immigration wars. The situation revolves around a controversial day laborer hiring center set up by the city seven years ago to provide a safe and controlled way for laborers and those who want to provide them with work to do business. But the center has proven to be far from a safe haven. Over the years it's been the subject of numerous protests and counter protests, many attracting outside agitators that have brought with them increasing levels of violence.

In the latest incident, two laborers were injured when they were hit by a car driven by two men yelling racial epithets while intentionally racing through the center on Sept. 17, 2006 trying to hit those waiting to find a days work.


Two men - one from Laguna Beach and one from Laguna Niguel - were arrested on suspicion of attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, and a hate crime in connection with the incident, Det. Sgt. Darin Lenyi said

Lenyi said the suspects, Dennis Kaptilniy, 18, of Laguna Beach, and Artem Soloviev, 23, of Laguna Niguel, were held on $500,000 bond.

The incident began at 9:12 a.m. when the two suspects drove into the labor center in a Toyota Corolla, and spoke with one man, apparently seeking to hire him, Lenyi said.

When the laborer declined to be hired at the price offered, a confrontation and a physical fight ensued, in which the laborer was punched in the face, Lenyi alleged. The two suspects then left in their car, police said.

The suspects returned shortly thereafter and allegedly sped through the center, hitting two people and causing minor injuries, knocking down a tree, and damaging a fence and a bench, Lenyi said. The suspects also allegedly shouted racial epithets during the attack.

The suspects drove through the center "a few times, trying to hit people and intentionally trying to run people over," Lenyi alleged.

The Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot


48 hours later Kaptilniy and Soloviev were set free with no charges filed. According to Susan Schroeder of the Orange County District Attorney's Office the case was "sent back for further examination" and they've called on anyone who witnessed the incident to come forward to supply further information despite numerous eye-witnesses to the event and detailed police reports.

Immigrant right groups and local residents viewed the release of the two with disbelief and distain and have called on the DA's office to quickly resolve this matter.

The center has a long history of controversy and confrontation. It was targeted by radical anti-immigration groups in 2005 with numerous protests. At one infamous protest in July of that year, sponsored by the local restrictionist group, Save Our State, the inclusion of Nazi flag waving members of the white supremacist group National Alliance sent shockwaves through the community. For the first time the nexus of the anti-immigration and white supremacists movements was revealed in public.

Minutemen groups taking place in the protest were quick to try to disassociate themselves from their more radical brethren. They have long claimed, despite mounting evidence to the contrary, that they not only have no connections to radical white supremacist, they actively dissuade radicals from joining their ranks.

SOS, a group already facing charges of radicalism after founder Joe Turner was quoted by a fellow anti-immigrants activist as having instructing his followers to "Bring your bats, fellas. If we are lucky, we are gonna need them. PING!", tried their best to distance themselves from the Nazis. They went so far as to scrub their internet message boards of comments and images left by the skinheads and National Alliance members. The comments were lost … but the picture evidence remains in various place on the internet.

The event organizer, minuteman member Eileen Garcia, who calls herself one of "Gilchrist's Angels," after minuteman founder Jim Gilchrist, is believed to be behind the effort to squash the news of white supremacists ties to the rally.

Posting on the Save Our State message board, a member known as "OCAngel", believed to be Garcia, quickly requested those administrating the site lock any further comments from being posted the night after the rally until they could remove any damning comments and images.

A year later, Garcia was once again at the center of controversy when she just happened to be rummaging around the California Department of Transportation in Irvine one day and stumbled upon an old map that showed that the land on which the day worker center was build in fact belonged to Caltrans, a state agency. This made it illegal for the center to continue to operate under California law. With the help of lawyers from the ultra right-wing group, Judicial Watch, Garcia and her fellow minutemen were able to shut the center down temporarily until the city and state reached an agreement.

How Garcia, who portrays herself as just a simple housewife concerned about the effects of illegal immigration, managed such incredible detective work was nothing short of miraculous. In fact it made her an instantaneous celebrity in anti-immigrant and white supremacist circles. Her praises were sung not only by the likes of her hero Jim Gilchrist, but from the National Alliance and the Aryan Nation website Stormfront.

Others, not associated with the anti-immigrant movement, questioned this strange coincidence and allegations of possible assistance from local or state officials were raised.

Ties between local officials and the anti-immigrant movement have long been speculated by residents. Some City Council members are believed to have close ties to the minutemen and it's been speculated that they have been active on the state and possibly federal level to have the center closed. According to a source with close ties to city government, there is one member in particular who, along with her husband, "have been deeply involved in the Minutemen activities." The source believes "that decisions about the center are made behind closed doors so nobody outside the select people knows what she's really up to."

This Tuesday, Laguna Beach will once again be at the center of controversy. Eileen Garcia is bringing Judicial Watch to town once again to announce a new lawsuit aimed at closing down the work center. Not surprisingly her announcement has been timed to coincide with rallies planned by immigrant's rights groups to protest the District Attorney's failure to prosecute the case of two men who allegedly drove through the work center last week injuring workers.

Just another day in the OC, I guess.



Photo top right: Neo-Nazis at July 2005 rally at Laguna Beach day workers center

Photo bottom left: SOS leader Joe Turner at rally with Nazi flags in foreground

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

All lies and inuendo.
How difficult is it to understand the word "illegal?" It refers to unlawful entry into the sovereign United States of America, when used as an adjective in conjunction with the noun, "alien."

This website and all it represents is a racially motivated, radical extremists' sham.

Duke1676 said...

This website and all it represents is a racially motivated, radical extremists' sham.

Hello pot.... meet kettle

The fact that you veiw this site in terms of racial idenity only exposses you for what you are.

But thank you for visiting anyway

sappho said...

I once lived in Laguna Beach for years. Underneath the beautiful beach scenery is in fact a hidden world. When I lived there, I remember countless occassions when myself & friends came to the rescue of one minority or another, being beat at the hands of white supremicsts. They even had the balls to march with a Nazi flag up & down the boardwalk on 4th of July.
Keep exposing the MinuteKlan/S.O.S. for the racists they really are!
In solidarity,
Sappho

Duke1676 said...

Sappho,

Please e-mail me at: MigraMatters@yahoo.com

I've got an idea I'd like to run past you.

thanks
Duke

angry america said...

This site is obviously a platform for the hispanic community, and any attempt to deny that would be pointless. Whether in laguna beach or des moines, White America needs to do a better job of having semi-intelligent platforms available for it's empowerment." Well, how hard is it?", you ask. Any time a view is expressed in the interest of preserving or promoting White culture or pride, it is construed and condemned as being racist. If any other race or culture does the same , it is noble and applaudable. If the average ignorant f*#@$ could differentiate between Nazi mentality and simple pride and self-preservation of the White race, a lot of these narrow-minded generalizations could be avoided. Do i like mexicans? Not as a whole, but I have met and befriended more than one in my day.Do i think anyone, regardless of their culture, race or nationality should be able to come to my country illegaly and do as they please? HELL NO! The fact of the matter is that millions(yes, it makes me ill to even think about) of people live here with no legal status, and leech off of the system, and in doing so weaken America as a nation.Wellfare and education are in a shambles thanks to the strain these burden-beings have placed on us.By the time i am old enough to retire(if i make it that long )social security will be completely defunct. Right now the money i pay into it is being used to birth more burden-beings, and educate them how to further take advantage of my hard work. At the same time my daughter has no health insurance because i am not low-income enough.i.e. i actually have to report my income under federal law(and believe me if i didn't the penalties would be worse for me than an alien). Her education in the public school system is little more than baby-sitting, preparing her for a life of subjugation under minority rule.
Well, i could go on and on, but i doubt bleeding-heart america really cares what a true citizen has to say, so I'll sign off with a big, hearty WHITE PRIDE WORLDWIDE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Mr. duke1676... you, my grease-laden "friend", need to learn how to spell! Oh, and WHITE PRIDE WORLDWIDE