The Columbian: June 3, 2006

Cheers & Jeers: State GOP takes wrong approach to solving immigration problems

Jeers: Any group trying to bill itself as a big-tent bunch ought not embrace exclusionary resolutions. And any group that constantly espouses the sanctity of the Constitution ought to be careful about changing it. Those two theories did not stop the Washington state Republican Party from embarrassing itself last weekend at the state convention in Yakima.

The State GOP wants to revoke the portion of the 14th Amendment that grants automatic citizenship, in cases of U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants. Republican State Attorney General Rob McKenna wisely disagreed: “I believe that Constitution provides otherwise…that if you are born here, you should be a citizen.”

U.S. immigration problems will be solved by tightening border security and enforcing employer penalties, not rewriting sacred documents. Besides, constitutional amendments should define and protect freedoms, not take them away. The only amendment that took away a freedom (prohibition) was later overturned.

Cheers: Ishmael Padilla, 29, and Allen T. Lisk, 65, made a catch in the wee hours of Wednesday morning that would be the envy of Jerry Rice, Willie Mays and every other receiver or center fielder. Standing outside the burning Hampton Hills apartments shortly after 3:30a.m., Padilla and Lisk teamed up to catch a 17-month-old girl who was dropped to them from a second floor window. Kudos to firefighters and police officers who responded to the fir, but we’ll bet that the little girl’s family members would cast their all-star votes for Padilla and Lisk.

Jeers: To tourism promoters in the Old West-style town of Deadwood, S.D. The Deadwood Chamber and Visitors Bureau wanted to liven things up by staging the running of the bison, patterned after the running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain. Several one-ton, 35mph bison bulls would have chased only slightly more intelligent humans through the streets to promote the domestic buffalo industry. Drovers in all-terrain vehicles were to have kept the bison rampaging down the 15-foot-wide swath of Main Street. An Audubon Society official said, “It’s dumb on so many levels that these promoters should be embarrassed to show their faces here. Treating animals cruelly to promote financial self interests is despicable and morally reprehensive.”

Fortunately, the local city council was able to identify the real dumb animals in this saga and trampled the proposal.

Cheers: Take a drive by 400 W. 11th street in Vancouver at the intersection with Daniels Street and marvel at the home built in 1866 by pioneer attorney Alonzo Cook. The second Empire-style home has been remodeled by Portland attorney Jody Stahancyk with help from Portland preservation architect William Hawkins. It includes 12-foot ceilings, an original doorbell, a revolving-wall panel room vent, windows with porcelain knobs and a steep winding staircase.

It’s great to see such valued architecture preserved, in this case for use as law offices. Here great-granddaughters of Vancouver banker Charles E. Brown, who owned the house for 27 years around the turn of the 20th century, recently toured the renovated structure.

Jeers: To connivance store owner Daivd Cardwell of Hauser, Ore. A clerk at Cardwell’s store, despite being shown a driver’s license that proclaimed “Minor until 2007,” sold beer to an underage girl. Cardwell was fined $1,320, but complained that his clerk had been too distracted by the girls scanty attire to correctly read the license. Rather than pay the fine, Cardwell chose the alternative and closed the store for a week, putting two clerks out of work.

Cheers: To officers at the Washington State Patrol scalehouse near Ridgefield for nabbing two intoxicated truckers in a span just seven hours Wednesday morning. It’s good to see WSP being tough on enforcement of such laws. In defense of truckers, though, we report that only 4.3 percent of truck drivers involved in fatal accidents from 1993 to 2003 had used alcohol or drugs, according to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, while the percentage was 37 percent for automobile drivers and 51 percent for motorcycle drivers.

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