Hal Netkin, Lawatchdog.com, POB 3465, Van Nuys, CA 91407
TEL 818-989-2201, FAX 818-989-1905, Email: [email protected]

April 25, 2004

Open Letter to:
Council Member Janice Hahn
200 N. Spring Street, Rm 435
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Dear Ms. Hahn:

Quotes of statements you made as read in the L.A. Times and other major newspapers around the U.S., has added a new level of meaning to the cliche, "passing the buck."

Here's a couple of your quotes:

‘The growing evidence of smuggling networks around Los Angeles is bringing calls for a greater federal response to the problem. City Council member Janice Hahn, who represents Watts, said that federal officials are "abdicating their responsibility" and must do more to stop smuggling gangs.'

"I'm extremely concerned that we have an immigration policy that doesn't work," Hahn said. "What it has set up is a system that turns these people into indentured servants. If someone does not pay their way out, they are held against their will in deplorable conditions."

So it's all the feds' fault, is it?

That house in Watts was a "safe house" where the "coyotes" (human smugglers) kept and abused the "pollos" (chickens, as the coyotes refer to their human cargos) until the ransom is paid. While we're at it, I want to tell you about another kind of safe house.

On June 17, 2000 (pre-9/11), I wrote the attached letter to my then councilwoman, Cindy Miscikowski. As you can see, I was reporting to Miscikowski that there existed in L.A., "safe houses" where illegal aliens were being held as indentured servants and forced to work off their smuggling debt.

Miscikowski and all the others to whom the letter was copied including then LAPD Chief Parks and the entire city council, never so much as acknowledged the letter. I guess all you leaders felt that the indentured servants were better off peddling chicharon in Los Angeles than they were living in poverty in Mexico -- reminiscent of how the Southern slave owners justified slavery by saying that their slaves were better off on their plantation than they were in Africa.

On June 14, 2001, I went on a ride-along with the LAPD in an sweep to bust illegal vending operations in Van Nuys. As you know, the council has passed the buck of enforcing illegal vending to the Dept of Building and Safety -- the LAPD goes along on the sweeps to protect the DBS officers. I was told by DBS officer Tom Pruett that the reason for their roll in these busts is because they don't need a search warrant to investigate zoning violations. The health department also gets involved -- they provide a sanitation truck into which the push carts and their food are thrown and crushed.

We made two busts of safe houses that day. The conditions of both houses mirrored each other, but I will describe what I saw in one of them (and  video taped): In a small three bedroom house on Saticoy Street between Van Nuys Bl and Sepulveda, there were wall to wall pushcarts inside the house and pushcarts in the back yard (about 15 or 20 altogether). In the back yard, there were piles of uncooked corns-on-the-cob laying on the dirt ground with flies hovering above. There were large jars of unrefrigerated mayonnaise, some with their lids off. There were about 15 non English speaking occupants present who could not be mistaken as legal alien residents, and there were probably more that weren't home. When I asked Pruett if he was going to have any of the people arrested, he told me no, but gave one of them (who claimed the house was rented to him) a ticket as if the violation was a mere infraction. The man had no identification, so Pruett had to take his word for it. When I asked Pruett how many of the violators showed up in court, he said he didn't know because the DBS doesn't keep such records.

With all the electrical cords dangling and foul smell coming from the kitchen, I asked Pruett if he was going to cite the house owner for code violations. He said "no," because that day was devoted only to busting illegal vendors. When a woman holding an infant child emerged from one of the bedrooms, I asked Pruett if he was going to report the inhabitable conditions to the Department of Children's Services, he said again that that day was devoted only to busting illegal vendors (I later reported the conditions to the DCS).

One does not need a degree in police science to know that those house occupants were the small fries working for the big fries who run those houses. Yet, there was no effort to do an investigation by any of the six LAPD officers present, to nail the real culprits. The day was a big facade of pretending to enforce the law.

Do you honestly believe that that Watts' house could have housed a two year turnover of pollos without the LAPD looking the other way? Do you honestly believe that all those illegal alien vendors with the pushcarts selling uninspected food are self made entrepreneurs who could quit their business any time they wanted?

Getting back to the Watts house: You should have told all those reporters how you and your colleagues have made Los Angeles criminal friendly and attractive to human smugglers.

You should have told them that you support Special Order 40 because you don't want the LAPD to lose the trust of those smugglers.

You should have told them that in June of 2002, City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo announced that should the Bush administration ask local government to help enforce federal immigration law, L.A. would not cooperate.

You should have told them that in spite of testimony before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration in June, Steve McCraw, assistant director of the FBI's Office of Intelligence, said that the Bureau and the Justice Department have concluded that the (matricula) card is not a reliable means of identification and warned that the "ability of foreign nationals to use the matricula consular to create a well-documented, but fictitious identity provides an opportunity for terrorists to move freely in the United States without triggering name-based watch lists that are disseminated to local police officers and allows them to board planes without revealing their true identity," you and your colleagues have decided to poo-poo the FBI's warning by ingratiating with the Mexican government in making  your own policy to officially recognize the sham Matricula Consular ID so that you would know "who they are" -- just like you know who the 88 illegal aliens that boarded a Continental Airliner at LAX on April 8, using their newly purchased Matriculas as their picture IDs.

You should have told them about the LAPD's de facto "no ID and walk" policy for illegal aliens.

You should have told them as reported in the L.A. Daily News story, that the city council, at the request of Ex-cop Dennis Zine, recently voted 13-0 for him to go to Washington to lobby against HR2671, the Clear Law Enforcement for Criminal Alien Removal Act. (See attached)

You should have told them about how the council stood with Chief Bratton when he backed ex-Governor Davis' signing of a driver's license bill for illegal aliens who would not have to have gone through any background check whatsoever.

You should have told them about how the council recently created a tax payer funded Office of Immigrant Affairs that does not preclude illegal alien criminals from advice on how to receive community services.

Instead of kissing up to the Mexican government, the council should be demanding the extradition of the 360 murderers who fled L.A. County to find sanctuary in Mexico

If you and the rest of L.A.'s leaders were sincerely interested in having ICE (Immigration and Customs  Enforcement) enforce its laws in Los Angeles, you would be knocking their door down to get their attention. You would be sending a city delegation to Washington, not to lobby against the Criminal Alien Removal Act, but for it.

Yeah, right. It's the fed's fault -- give me a break!


Hal Netkin

CC: All Council Members, Chief Bratton, Mayor Hahn, Tom Pruett, other unnamed recipients, and posted on www.LAwatchdog.com.