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Charity and Lies

Here comes another big statistical lie from the humanitarian crisis's Charitable Industrial Complex, from one of its very top local names, someone who makes $419,000 a year.

"First, L.A. has the largest concentration of undocumented immigrants, Salvadorians, Guatemalans, and Hondurans. Regardless of whether these kids crossed the border in Texas, if they have any family [in the U.S.], it’s probable that the relations are in L.A. County." That wasn't said by some immigrants rights advocate, that was said by the head of the California Community Foundation — a figure with tremendous fiduciary responsibility, and who should know better than to tilt statistics any particular way.

The first key word here is "undocumented" and the second is "likely."  When you're talking undocumented citizens, you can generally get away with pulling such figures out of a hat. But the public should also ask the people who make such statements to show their work.

In fact, among documented residents, LA County has less than 20% of the nation's Salvadorans, Guatemalans, and Hondurans.  Far from a majority, which would mean far from "likely." And among these specific populations, the City of Los Angeles itself has well under 15% of the national population of all three countries; in fact, LA only has a scant 6% of the nation's Honduran population.

Pew's figures, 2004.
LA's immigrants rights groups, like homeless housing advocates, have a self-invested interest in padding LA's numbers.  But the work done by less-politicized agencies rarely comes close to jibing with the figures immigrants rights groups present.

There are valid statistical methods for gauging how many undocumented immigrants are in America, and where they are. The subject of counting undocumented immigrants is a subject that demands a lot of math and a lot of scrutiny.

I believe the best statistical method is to hard count undocumented immigrants from these three countries in census tracts, where there are also accurate numbers for documented immigrants, and extrapolate undocumented as a function of documented.

This hasn't been done, likely because the close-to-real numbers we have on hand suggest that the kinds of numbers LA's immigrants rights groups try to sell the public would fare far more poorly than the numbers they try to present.  However, statistical rigor has indeed been applied, by an unaffiliated organization, towards computing that slightly under a quarter of the nation's entire undocumented population lives in all of California (above right).

Beyond Ms. Hernandez's salary, CCF has ten other officers over $100,000. It also has enormous financial obligations as a kind of trust of trusts, so to me, excepting Ms. Hernandez's salary, their salaries are not unusual. But the organization should also be able to translate some of the skills it brings to its vast fiduciary responsibilities towards presenting a statistically accurate picture of what is indeed happening in this crisis.

The border of his sanctuary

LA dashboard, Guadalupe, phony rose, dried palms, scattered prayer cards, Spanish Bible open to salmos 78 and 79, Griffith Park Boulevard, 7.23.14.

The Alarcón Verdict

I am saddened that this ignorant jury could not find it in themselves to step outside of our equally ignorant civic laws and administer real justice to a man standing a purely political trial at the hands of a politically craven District Attorney.

The Alarcón Trial

Richard Alarcón once said to me (and Debbie Cortez Lopez) that "housing is a civil right." He was conflating some of his earlier work in the City of Los Angeles with some more recent ambitions of his to get Latinos into houses in his Council district.


Now that I am done listening to Mahler, back to this moving crisis. This immigration crisis is getting muddier politically as it wears on. You would be justified to be exhausted by it. But everyone who lives in politics knows that it's your exhaustion that is counted on. As I was telling a local Latino educator here earlier, I believed Obama yesterday but believe him less to-day. One thing I believe from what the Republicans are saying is that most of the children and most of the parents won't show up for immigration hearings anyway. (I much doubt they're really showing up for the Dream Act guarantees, the other thing Republicans are saying).  Therefore, why do we need to spend so much money? Three point seven billion pencils out to over $70,000 a child. Children are already being bussed to churches for relocation "until their hearings" that most of them won't attend. I don't want the money Americans are thinking goes to children really going to lawyers. Let the children slip into America via the back door — that's what their parents were content with anyway — but let's not spend more on them than we are spending on the June Iraq advisors supplemental.

Courage to Change

This is more in step with the demands of reality: Mayor Eric Garcetti has appointed a brand developer and entrepreneur, Courtney Reum, to the Los Angeles Convention Center Authority commission. Reum was an investment banker at Goldman Sachs and his own company is notable.  He has a BA from Columbia and is an alum of Harvard Business School.

Compare that to the kind of appointments Garcetti was making this time last year.


Noted: degree to which Federal Promise Zone (inset), designated six months ago, overlaps high concentrations of Central Americans in LA, to which immigrants clearing detention are likely to head. Also noting that lead agency in Promise Zone area is youth-oriented: Youth Policy Institute.

LA to Absorb 5,000-10,000 Central Americans

This is the flip side of taking all that Federal money: Eric Garcetti has to do what the Feds want him to do.