TK Arnold: Tale Of Two Protests

by Thomas K. Arnold on September 29, 2010

Crw 6276Two protests took place in North County last week, with wildly different views on what constitutes a proper use of taxpayer dollars.

On one end of the spectrum were Cal State San Marcos students, who demonstrated on behalf of a bill that would give illegal immigrant students a chance to legalize their status.

On the other was dark horse Carlsbad mayoral candidate Glenn Bernard, quietly picketing The Crossings at Carlsbad golf course with a sign that read, “Please patronize private courses only.”

Talk about a study in contrasts. In San Marcos, you had a mob of students whose educations are mostly subsidized by taxpayers demanding legal status for illegal immigrants who were brought into this country as children, provided they either attend college (on the public’s dime) or join the military (which, again, is funded by taxpayers). The protest died when word spread that the U.S. Senate would not move forward on the bill that would do precisely that, the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (or “DREAM”) Act.

I marvel at the audacity of the students, marching on a taxpayer-funded campus in support of what really amounts to rewarding criminal behavior. The DREAM Act is a bad idea, and would only encourage more illegal immigration into this country. It would also cost taxpayers nearly $20 billion to subsidize the tuition of the approximately 1.23 million illegal immigrants who would benefit from the DREAM Act over its first two years, according to some reports.

Meanwhile, in Carlsbad, you had a man many consider an eccentric protesting the fact that Carlsbad spent more than $70 million in public funds on a golf course that only a small percentage of citizens will ever use—and which has been bleeding red ink ever since its opening more than three years ago.

In retrospect, approving the golf course was a bad decision. And Bernard, who as a self-described “frugal Marine” isn’t accepting campaign donations or producing signs and other campaign materials, is spot-on with his sentiments. So what if any conversation with Bernard invariably leads to his hatred of trees that block views, and his distaste for “vanity plates,” bronze plaques with council member names that are installed on public works such as the Carlsbad Boulevard sea wall? The thinking behind his golf course protest is pure common sense: We have several private golf courses in Carlsbad, and particularly given the troubled state of the economy our city leaders should be helping these private golf course operators drum up business instead of competing against them.

The students, who have been raised in a society that encourages feeding from the public till, want to spread the wealth —taxpayers be damned. Glenn Bernard, God love him, wants to protect it.

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