Dick Mountjoy, the driving force behind Proposition 187 over a decade ago,
has filed a new initiative that would limit the rights that could be granted
to illegal aliens and he’s using his Senate campaign against Dianne
Feinstein to promote the idea.
It also might ease the lives of staffers of Sen. Gil Cedillo, D-Los Angeles.
The initiative is named after what it would bar illegal immigrants from
receiving: drivers’ licenses and college expenses.” It would specifically
prevent the Legislature from voting for driver’s licenses for illegal
immigrants, or giving them in-state tuition for public colleges. The
Legislature did both these things when it passed two Cedillo bills, SB 1162
and SB 160, respectively, in the most recent session. Both were vetoed by
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Cedillo also had a driver’s license bill, SB 60, vetoed last year. Senator
Martha Escutia, D-Whittier, and Assemblyman Ron Calderon, D-Montebello, have
carried tuition bills in the past.
“Eventually we have to take the power to make these decisions out of the
hands of the Legislature,” said Mike Spence, the president of the
conservative group the California Republican Assembly, who has partnered
with Mountjoy on the initiative.
“The only thing that is standing between us and the Legislature will be gone
in four years,” he added, referring to Schwarzenegger.
Spence and Mountjoy have until February 20 to get 598,105 certified
signatures. Spence said that they currently were not gathering signatures,
but were waiting for the outcome of the November elections. If Democrats
take over one or both Houses of Congress, he said, it likely would spell
doom for any kind of meaningful immigration reform on the national level.
This would increase both the need for and chance of success of the
initiative, he said.
A former member of both the California Assembly and Senate, Mountjoy has
been plugging the initiative at campaign stops. For instance, Mountjoy spoke
at a September 27 meeting of the California Coalition for Immigration Reform
in Garden Grove, according to group spokeswoman Evelyn Miller.
“‘The son of Prop. 187,’ that’s what we call it,” Miller said. “We call him
the ‘Godfather of 187.'”
Miller said that both the mainstream media and the state Republican Party
have generally ignored not only the initiative, but also several
anti-illegal-immigrant candidates running for the state Legislature. She
pointed to Tony Dolz, the Republican nominee challenging Julia Brownley in
the heavily Democratic 41st Assembly District currently represented by Fran
Pavley, D-Agoura Hills. Dolz bills himself as a “legal Hispanic immigrant”
and one of the founding members of the Minuteman Project.
There is a recipient committee, Save Our License, that is poised to support
the initiative, Spence said. It listed only $17,218.75 in cash, according to
the most recent secretary of state filings, a fraction of the amount needed
to qualify a constitutional initiative.
Mountjoy’s campaign did not return phone calls seeking comment for this
story. Cedillo was traveling and could not be reached.