OPINION| Ken Pittman: We’ve Already Seen Where Montigny Vote Leads
Senator Mark Montigny's decision to vote with the radical left and choose illegal immigrants over the legal citizens of Massachusetts is a stark reminder of how little Democrats like him are concerned with the overall negative impact the undocumented have on the local economy, crime rate and national security.
A great portion of the money earned here does not stay in the local economy, as it would if Americans were earning the money. Billions of dollars are wired south of the border. Western Union is making money hand over fist from little money the millions of undocumented can afford to send home. Try and tax this and Western Union will form a PAC and throw millions of dollars to opponents of any law maker who authors the bill. Ask Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-Colorado).
Most of the illegal immigrants here are perfectly solid citizens. They have great work ethic, they're family oriented, churchgoers in a higher percentage than the average American and lawful, but there are about 10 percent who are unquestionable criminal elements. Even the lawful illegals residing here cause a rise in crime, because they are specifically targeted by predatory thugs who know they are forced to carry cash around, particularly on paydays. They are robbed, often on busy streets and in broad daylight. This has created a desperate situation for them.
A rise in the presence of the Latin Kings in Massachusetts was at the invite of Latino communities who are afraid of going to the police for fear of deportation, so they hire the gang for whatever protections they can pay for. I don't have to tell you of the very negative byproducts of the presence of Latin Kings, but I will play Captain Obvious for you: drugs and violence, prostitution, human trafficking.
Of course, the federal tax burden they bear unto us does not effect Montigny, since he pays a total of $0.00 each year. He votes along with other state legislators for their own raises. He has accumulated over $1.27 million in his campaign war chest to swat away any annoying flies who would challenge him for the seat.
It is tough to imagine these donors don't include employers of illegal immigrants who remind the "Land With No Borders" Senator Montigny that they would like to keep it that way.
The Democratic Party has indeed picked a side folks, and it ain't the side of the Constitution, and it ain't the side of the lawful residents over the illegal ones. It's the reverse.
When the Michael Bianco leather factory was raided in March of 2007, the elected of Massachusetts seemed to be unaware of the work there. I don't buy it. I refuse to believe that a federal contract of $230 million could come to an economically struggling city like New Bedford, with chronic high unemployment, and they wouldn't be excessively aware of this. Some city councillors, even ones in that exact ward, expressed a total shock.
Does anyone in their right mind think Congressman Barney Frank wouldn't have had a media parade over this if the jobs were not a criminal enterprise? He made sure the media knew when he was in New Bedford City Hall to announce that he'd help secure a $20 million fund for New Bedford Rail (a joke for another day). That is less than 10% of the Michael Bianco Defense contract that was happening just over a mile from that same city hall.
"Hey look what I did.", It's what politicians do even if the credit to themselves isn't necessarily all that accurate. If outside money comes to their district, they put on a one-man marching band performance and clamor on the highest mountain.
Nope, not in this one case. This operation was as silent as a Russian submarine 201 miles off the East Coast. So $230 million in federal dollars for the construction of U.S. military tactical vests, and no one needing the work, and who were qualified to do it, knew anything about it.
One has to question why the unions weren't protesting outside of the Bianco plant. They have eyes on every budget, every contract that comes out of Washington. They were most certainly aware and I suspect some in the right positions in those union offices were paid off to turn a blind eye. It's unthinkable to believe they would be aware of all this federal prevailing wage work and not feel entitled to it.
The undocumented workers were exploited. It was a classic sweat shop of physical, emotional, psychological and economic abuses. Owner Francesca Insolia was making money hand over fist, sending it home to his native Italy and bankrolling it. Who else was enjoying this incredible cash windfall, kept from the public? He needed some political cover, so the answer can't be "no one."
More mystery to this is the fact that supposedly federal inspectors frequented the plant and didn't report a thing. Were I auditing this investigation, these inspector's bank accounts would have been subpoenaed. Just to be safe..I'm not accusing yet.
Those who could have stopped it didn't, and allowed it to continue, until a tip came to the federal government.
In fact, Switched On, a recently released book by federal agent and New Bedford native Eric Caron, stated that Mayor Scott Lang, who was told of the imminent raid on the day before at his home, was on Bianco owner Fransesca Insolia's appointment calendar for the following week. Caron wrote, "It seemed that he (Lang) knew perfectly well what was going on at MBI and had adopted an attitude of willful blindness."
Now I have asked Lang about this, and he did not seem to recall a second ICE agent present when the meeting took place at his home. He also took exception to the agent taking liberty with the context of something he said as the meeting ended, which was, "This meeting never took place." Special Agent Caron decidedly felt that this meant that Mayor Lang was concerned about the political fallout from the left.
Mayor Lang agreed that he said something to the effect of the quote, but that he was assuring SAC Bruce Foucart of ICE that he was well aware of his legal obligations to remain silent until after the raid had commenced.
Lang also said that Caron's description of ICE assuring him that the Massachusetts and federal departments of Social Services and DSS were contacted, and were ready to assist in the separation of families issue, was not covered. Lang stated that he left the meeting under the belief that a raid of a much smaller scale, albeit a bigger deal than others in the past, was going to take place. Lang said the bill of goods sold to him in that meeting was that the exploiters of the laborers were going to be the focus of arrests made.
I do not share the belief that Scott Lang likely knew about the deplorable working conditions, or very much at all, about Michael Bianco, Inc.
The TIF (Tax Increment Financing) offered to help Michael Bianco get their contract came under the Fred Kalisz Administration in the area of 2003, prior to Lang being elected. Lang stated that he tried to get a "claw back" of the TIF, and end it as well, since there were no jobs in the guarantee from the recipient of the TIF, the landlord of the site of Michael Bianco. The landlord in 2002-2003, and appears to still be today, is Erika Realty Trust. The Secretary of State's Corporate Database has one listed trustee, David Barnet. Attorney Barnet passed away long ago, and at this point I'm not clear about who the names are that benefit from Erika Realty Trust today. If I did, I would have researched to see who they've given to in campaign contributions.
If Mayor Kalisz found the venture at 89 West Rodney French Boulevard good enough to offer a TIF, but not exciting enough to alert people qualified to apply for this kind of federally contracted work worth a quarter of a billion dollars, an explanation should have been demanded. But not just from him, also from the Democratic leadership representing the region: Rep. Frank, and Senators John Kerry and Ted Kennedy.
"We have met the enemy and they are ours." -- Admiral Oliver Hazard Perry, Oct. 10, 1813
Ken Pittman is the host of The Ken Pittman Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @RadioKenPittman. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.