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Vivian Viloria Fisher

August 25, 2006 @ 12:00 am EDT


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Today our speaker was Vivian Viloria-Fisher. Vivian is a Suffolk County legislator. The conversation was focused on an important emotional issue involving illegal immigrant labor.

There is bill that requires that all Suffolk County contracts use legal labor. Viloria-Fisher was very good at presenting the issue and the various slants on the issue. Her presentation was a fair exposition of the motivations for voting on this issue, whether you are for it or against it. Here are some of the implications

This bill is presented as having no cost. No cost? How then do you enforce a law that does not estimate the cost of enforcement, which is required? The contractors that do business with the county who are operating on the up and up, often expose the “cheaters” as they refer to them. Thereby rendering the law redundant. The law appears to supersede the federal immigration laws, which is prohibited, and lends this law to endless challenge and expense defending it. On the other side.

There is a perceived or real problem that deprives legitimate businesses of the opportunity to deal with the county on a level playing field. There have only been a few complaints against the county for engaging contractors who were hiring these illegal, and therefore an expensive exercise in solving a problem that really doesn’t exist. Labor is divided on this issue and many of them think this legislation has the aura of racism associated with it.

At the end of the discussion Vivian gave us her feelings, and she believed it was inappropriate for the county to adopt this legislation, and was against it. The votes at the moment are 14 for, and four against. It looks like a go.

Another piece of legislation that was discussed was a proposal to regulate scrap recyclers in a the same way as pawn brokers. The idea behind this legislation is to create a chain of custody of every bucket of brass, every junked refrigerator, every bucket of electricians scrap copper, in order to track stolen metals. I read this piece of legislation, and it is onerous. For example, and this is one of many unmanageable requirements of this legislation, a laborer who scrambles to pick up recyclable metals at a construction site would be considered a scrap dealer and would have to register as a scrap dealer. He would have to be bonded and licensed in order to be able to sell the scrap metal he picks up. Yeah! That aint happening. Moreover there have only been a handful of complaints. Another case of overkill? I think so!.

Pictured: Vivian Viloria Fisher, Sufolk Legislator and Kevin Gershowitz from Gershow Recycling