All Eyes on San Bernardino

Not just the undocumented will suffer the negative affects of a xenophobic measure

By Virtual Chicano
Published on LatinoLA: June 23, 2006

All Eyes on San Bernardino

A civil court judge is expected to rule today on the legality of the formula used to determine the amount of signatures needed to take the anti-immigrant measure, "SB Initiative", to the voters of San Bernardino, CA

According to the city charter, a proponent of an initiative must collect signatures equal to 30 percent of the votes cast in the most recent election in which a mayor was elected, which was in February of this year. 16,000 votes were cast which means 4,771 signatures would be required before the most anti-immigrant measure in the history of California could be put to the voters. Only 2,217 signatures were collected, however.

Representing Florentino Garza, a San Bernardino resident and lawyer, the measure was challenged by Dana W. Reed, an election law attorney based in Los Angeles, CA.

National Alliance for Human rights director and UC Riverside professor, Dr. Armando Navarro, has vowed to defeat this measure. MALDEF and the ACLU have pledged to bury the measure in court if the voters pass it.

San Bernardino, CA has about 200,000 residents and approximately 100,000 are Latino.

Among other anti-migrant deeds, the measure would slap a $1,000.00 fine on apartment landlords ÔÇô Latino or not ÔÇô for renting to the undocumented.

Among the expected results: landlords would be forced to evict families that were once long term renters. A black market for false documents would naturally be created. Honest landlords would suffer at the expense of dishonest landlords who might charge excessive rents (further exploiting migrants) in order to overlook the legal status of renters. Vacancies would rise causing rents to fall leaving landlords with less money to maintain their properties. The housing market in general will suffer as Latinos question whether or not they want to buy a home and lay down roots in such a hostile community.

Clearly, not just the undocumented will suffer the negative affects of this xenophobic measure. Businesses, big and small, landlords, the city tax coffers and real estate values will be among the victims as well.

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