Pete's Prep: Monday, April 17, 2018

14 arrested in immigration sweep in Asheville... outrage ensues

According to the local immigration group CIMA, federal immigration agents arrested 14 people over the weekend, as part of a targeted enforcement campaign in the Asheville area.

CIMA has raised more than $15,000 via a Facebook fundraiser:

Our community has been under attack this weekend. There is still a heavy ICE presence in Asheville and surrounding areas. We have at least 14 confirmed arrests of our community members. Over the coming days and weeks, the persons arrested will need legal support and financial assistance for bonds. The family members of those who were arrested will also be requiring financial assistance due to the loss of the main financial contributors to their homes.

The Citizen-Times had this report on the big protest that was held downtown:

Immigrant advocate group Compañeros Inmigrantes de las Montañas en Acción, known as CIMA, led the hour-long rally, during which family members of detained immigrants and prominent city and county leaders spoke. The unifying message of the rally — which was planned and organized in a matter of hours — was that the behavior of ICE is unacceptable and will no longer be tolerated.

"These are unjust moves from a rogue agency," said CIMA coordinator Bruno Hinojosa, describing what he referred to as ICE attacks on the Latino community of Buncombe and Henderson counties. "ICE has been given the power to do anything, and they're terrorizing our community."

A spokesman for ICE told the paper that the operation targeted "criminal offenders, gang members and other dangerous people."

One Buncombe County Commissioner (Jasmine Beach-Ferrara) and three Asheville City Council members (Brian Haynes, Vijay Kapoor, Sheneika Smith) spoke against the arrests at the demonstration.

It's unclear what other laws these three elected government officials do not want to see enforced.

Come hang out at Starbucks, but not for too long or we'll have you arrested

A viral video of two men being arrested for sitting in a Starbucks without ordering swept social media this weekend. Prompting an apology from the CEO of the coffee giant:

The CEO of Starbucks Co., Kevin Johnson, called the arrests a "reprehensible outcome" and said he wants to personally apologize to the men, saying the company "stands firmly against discrimination or racial profiling." But that didn't stop protesters from gathering Sunday outside the store in downtown Philadelphia where the arrests occurred.

Apparently, the two men - who are black - didn't order anything while they were waiting on a friend to arrive. They were told they could not use the restroom unless they were paying customers. Then the police were called.

Johnson said the company's practices and training led to a "bad outcome," and the reason for the call that brought police into the shop was incorrect.

"Our store manager never intended for these men to be arrested and this should never have escalated as it did," said his statement. Johnson said videos of the arrest were "very hard to watch," and the company was investigating.

Johnson said the company would further train workers on when to call police and host a company-wide meeting to "underscore our long-standing commitment to treating one another with respect and dignity."

Police haven't released the names of the men who were arrested. A spokesman for the district attorney's office said the two were released "because of lack of evidence" that a crime had been committed, but declined further comment, citing a police investigation.

Drive your car to support city buses

To help fund new and existing bus service, the Asheville City Council is looking at hiking parking fees around town.

From the Citizen-Times:

She and other public bus supporters are backing the implementation of a transit master plan a year from now that will add major transit improvements, such as increased frequency and a larger coverage area. The higher garage fees would help supply a continuous revenue stream for that.

To implement the plan, the city will need to hire a transit planner, estimated to cost $86,000 annually, transit supporters say.

The garage fee increases would mean eliminating the first-hour-free policy, raising the daily maximum charge from $10 to $12 and increasing monthly rates by $10. That would offset the need to transfer more money from the general fund, which is made up mostly of property taxes.

By the way, this is in addition to the changes the Council already approved last week - which will expand the hours lots can charge fees. It was part of a raft of changes to various City fees - including increases on development applications and approvals.

About half of the transit budget comes from the general fund - which is supported mainly by property taxes.


And some other things...

Was striking Syria the right thing to do? Link

NC Democrats are upset because Lt. Gov. Dan Forest (R) said expanding government is "the religion of the left." Link

Pete Kaliner

Pete Kaliner

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