Hazleton on trial, day three

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Mayor Lou Barletta testified today.

More here.

Despite the increase in population, he said, the city's income tax revenues have remained flat, leading him to conclude that a significant percentage are "either not working or working and not reporting income."

The mayor became indignant when ACLU lawyer Witold "Vic" Walczak pointed out that illegal immigrants eat in restaurants, buy groceries and gas, purchase houses, and engage in other consumer spending that benefits city businesses and city government through sales taxes.

"So do other people who commit crimes," Barletta replied. "Do I condone illegal behavior because they buy gas or eat in someone's restaurant? I'm not one who believes that's OK."

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zimzo said:

No data on immigrants, mayor admits

Hazleton's Lou Barletta testifies on city's ordinance on illegals.

"Barletta admitted he had no idea how many illegal immigrants live in his city of about 32,000 and that he didn't rely on any data to conclude they are the root of its problems."
"Barletta admitted he did not contact the school district to ask about alleged overcrowding, call the hospital for statistics on the treatment of illegal immigrants or seek any data to back up any of the claims. Instead, Barletta said he assumed schools were overcrowded because classes were being held in trailers, and he read in the local newspaper that test scores had fallen....He had no data on any other city services, from sanitation to fire calls, that could prove his contention that illegal immigrants were draining city services and the budget, Barletta said."


zimzo said:

Sorry, I left out this part for those too lazy to click over to the article:

"Not discussed (by Barletta) were crime statistics supplied by the Hazleton Police Department that were sought by the plaintiffs and obtained under a court order Monday.

Barletta said he had not seen the statistics, which covered five years beginning in 2001, and U.S. District Judge James Munley barred Walczak from questioning Barletta about them until Friday, when Barletta will return to the witness stand.

Outside court, Walczak said the statistics revealed that crime in Hazleton has not increased out of proportion to the rise in population, and that illegal immigrants were not committing a lot of crimes. Walczak said the city identified only 20 to 30 serious crimes that involved illegal immigrants out of more than 8,000 crimes."


"Earlier in court, Barletta and Walczak went over Hazleton's economic troubles and drop in population from 38,000 after World War II to 22,000 in 2000. By the end of the 1990s, the city was nearly $1 million in debt. Part of its resurgence, Walczak argued, had to do with the arrival of thousands of Hispanics after 2000.

The new arrivals propelled Hazleton's population and ushered in a renaissance, as Hispanics bought and rehabilitated shuttered buildings and opened roughly 60 businesses. Assessed property values rose three years in a row."


Wow, astounding! The ACLU attorney contradicts the mayor! Boy, once you put "plaintiffs" and "defendants" together, fireworks are sure to ensue! Thanks so much for the very helpful lesson, Zimzo.

In other news, "outside court, Joe Budzinski said statistics revealed that Ann Coulter is viewed favorably by 93% of higher beings - mainly angels and such."

zimzo said:

As usual, Joe, you never let the facts get in the way of your political views. Not unlike the mayor of Hazleton, who revealed on the stand that he does about as much research and data gathering as you do before he takes a position. Unlike you, however, his actions actually affected the lives of thousands of people. Imagine if we had a President like that, how terrible that would be.

You should send all your data and research to the town of Hazleton. I'm sure they would appreciate it.

Jack said:

The WHY is irrelevant to the case anyway. The question is whether the city CAN do it, not whether they SHOULD do it.

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