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Battle rages in Florida over private detention center

Posted on: February 29th, 2012 by Nicolas Mendoza 5 Comments

Protesters demonstrating against the Corrections Corporation of America/Southwest Ranches proposal (Pic by Marcos Restrepo)

Residents opposed to a federally-funded, privately-managed immigration detention center in South Florida issued a statement Wednesday calling on President Obama to step in and halt the project.

A press release issued by No Prison in Southwest Ranches states: “Will the President step in and protect the people in this area from a project that has been kept silent by Corrections Corporation of America, LLC through invite only ‘advisory meetings’ policy of a ‘cone of silence’ by the Town of Southwest Ranches identified through public records requests and implemented by request of [Department of Homeland Security/Immigration and Customs Enforcement] and [Corrections Corporation of America]?”

Bill Di Scipio, a resident of Southwest Ranches and an opponent of the detention center, tells The Florida Independent that he and other residents have created a political action committee, Residents Against Inappropriate Development Inc., that “provides us with the legal means to raise money to defeat the hundreds of thousands of dollars that [Corrections Corporation of America] is now spending to make sure this happens.”

He adds that Corrections Corporation of America (also known as CCA) has recently sent out four different mailers and made two robocalls to residents’ homes.

DiScipio tells the Independent that, come time for the August and November 2012 elections, “we will end up supporting candidates in Southwest Ranches and perhaps on our congressional and senatorial level as well,” adding that the primary goal is to defeat the detention center.

The Florida Independent has reported extensively on the opposition to the immigration detention center set to be built in South Florida since Immigration and Customs Enforcement first announced it had chosen the Southwest Ranches/Corrections Corporation of America proposal in June 2011.

The land where the detention center is set to be built is owned by the Corrections Corporation of America, but surrounded by unincorporated Broward county land and the city of Pembroke Pines.

Pembroke Pines officials sent a letter to President Obama earlier this month asking him to intervene, along with a copy of a resolution opposing the detention center.

A CCA detention center facts website details the benefits that residents of Southwest Ranches and Pembroke Pines would receive from the project  - including tax revenue and jobs. According to the site, “Independent studies have shown no correlation between property values and proximity to a detention or corrections facility.”

But Di Scipio says that claim is a lie, citing an FIU/FAU study which “shows a direct correlation of a drop in housing values in the Goodyear, Arizona community situated next to a prison.”

The Florida Carpenters Regional Council recently told the Independent that it is working with CCA to secure the proposed detention center. According to Regional Council spokesman Miguel Fuentes, the project would create hundreds of jobs for local workers. Fuentes told us that he has participated in the robocalls.

The Broward Group of the Sierra Club expressed its opposition to the detention center earlier this month, arguing that it would impact the environment and further degrade what remains of Broward County’s natural areas.

Supporters of the proposal to build the detention center in Southwest Ranches include Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, D-Fl., and Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fl.

Chicago Fed President to his colleagues: Obey the law

Posted on: November 15th, 2011 by Nicolas Mendoza 1 Comment

The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago has unveiled a new webpage that explains the Federal Reserve System’s dual mandate of achieving maximum employment while keeping prices stable, and shows key indicators of whether the Fed is actually fulfilling that mandate. (more…)

State and local governments hired fewer people in September, while total hires and job openings increased

Posted on: November 8th, 2011 by Nicolas Mendoza No Comments

Total job openings in the U.S. economy rose in September, increasing by 225,000 to 3.35 million, and total hires during the month increased by 185,000 to 4.25 million, according to new estimates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But while the number of people getting hired in the U.S. economy increased, government hired fewer people than before. (more…)

Government job growth estimates often inaccurate, with consequences seen at the policy level

Posted on: November 7th, 2011 by Nicolas Mendoza No Comments

On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released their monthly jobs report, which estimated that 80,000 new non-farm jobs were created during October, and that the unemployment rate decreased very slightly to 9.0 percent. (more…)

California vying with New Mexico for patent office

Posted on: November 6th, 2011 by Nicolas Mendoza No Comments

The California congressional delegation has asked the Obama administration to choose their state as the location of a new United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). McClatchy Newspapers reports:


Los Alamos has highest concentration of millionaires in the country

Posted on: November 3rd, 2011 by Nicolas Mendoza No Comments

Los Alamos has the highest proportion of millionaires in the United States, according to a new report by Phoenix Marketing International. The metropolitan area has 885 millionaire households out of a population of 17,950, making 11.7 percent of the Los Alamos population members of a millionaire household. (more…)

Despite research debunking previous claims, razor found in Santa Fe candy

Posted on: November 2nd, 2011 by Nicolas Mendoza No Comments

Last week, a number of publications reported on research about “Halloween sadism”, the deliberate poisoning or tampering of candy in order to harm children. The research claims that the phenomenon appears to be non-existent, with most outlets calling it an urban myth.

But an incident in Santa Fe may have just proven that the myth is not totally bunk. A razor blade was actually found in the Reese’s peanut butter cup of a 15-year-old trick-or-treater.

KRQE reports:

“There’s a high probability this is not the only tainted chocolate,” said Lt. Louis Carlos with the Santa Fe Police Department.

But police aren’t sure which house the teen got the tainted candy from. They are warning kids who trick or treated within two miles of Ragle Park to be extra vigilant and make sure to check their candy.

The police also told KRQE that they don’t believe the razor was a prank, but was deliberately placed in the candy by whoever gave it to the teenager.

University of Delaware sociologist Joel Best has said “Halloween sadism” is exceedingly rare and mostly an urban legend. Best investigated various reports of razor blades, poison or other hazardous material in Halloween candy resulting in the death of a trick-or-treater, and found no evidence that it has ever occurred. He also found that many reports of poisoned candy were actually pranks by the trick-or-treaters themselves.

UNM grants new permit to 99 percenters in Albuquerque after ACLU intervenes

Posted on: November 1st, 2011 by Nicolas Mendoza No Comments

University of New Mexico administrators have issued a new permit for members of the “99 percent” movement to protest at Yale Park, which is on UNM’s campus. (more…)