City officials in Los Angeles have been trying to legalize street vending for years — L.A. is one of the few major cities where the practice is still illegal — but their efforts are finally gaining ground with local lawmakers.
The reason for this hasty change of heart? Lawmakers are trying to stick it to President Trump and his immigration policies.
According to NPR, many of the 50,000 street-vending operations in L.A. are currently run by immigrants, some of whom may be in the country illegally. So, in order to prevent U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement officials from having another reason to detain, arrest or deport vendors, the Los Angeles City Council is moving to legalize vendor operations across the city.
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‘Sovereign Citizen’ Zealot Betrays America’s Laws, Gets Arrested
By Stephen Owsinski; OpsLens:
Ever wake up and go on about your day as you please, without complying with laws or having to pay your fair share of taxes? Although a tax-free life is enticing, I firmly adhere to my patriotic duty as an American citizen investing in the United States by paying taxes. However, “sovereign citizens” do not feel that way and opt to make up their own rules which, basically, refrain from playing by the rules whatsoever.
A man in Washington County, Oregon did just that. He ignored our laws and thought he’d be Scot-free of responsibility…until a deputy sheriff got behind his pickup truck and saw his license plate. It read “No driver license or insurance required.” You know how license plates have unique characters identifying the vehicle/owner, like ABC-123? Well this sovereign citizen’s vehicle license was to the point, displaying the special characters “PRIVATE” below which were the words “Not for Commerce Use – Private Mode of Travel.”
Craftily, the license plate also had a logo depicting our shared planet, encircled by the words “Peace on Earth…Good Will Towards Men.” No color scheme was used, only a black-on-white graphic design. Frankly, because it was so well designed, I am led to believe it was mass-produced for other sovereign citizens to tool around in their cars or trucks, doing as they please. Entitlements come in all shapes and forms; just ask any cop about the bizarre culture they encounter on the streets.
For his role, Richard Leroy Garrison, 63, was arrested and charged with failure to carry and present a valid license and interfering with a peace officer. His vehicle bearing a fake license plate was impounded by Washington County cops. Why impounded? Since Garrison’s vehicle was involved in the commission of a crime, law enforcement authorities reserve the right to tow said mode of transportation. Besides, every state’s motor vehicle laws require that only properly registered cars be permitted to drive upon its public thoroughfares.
Invalid license plates equates to an immobilized car, so towing is the remedy. It is customary protocol throughout the United States as it pertains to motor vehicle statutes and compliance with same. Like pay-to-play, only legitimate.
Motor vehicle registration fees, surcharges and taxes fund the actual public roads motorists drive upon. So, a so-called sovereign citizen like Mr. Garrison is traversing roadways we paid for, exempting himself from highway maintenance. In his mind, it’s that simple.
This is not the first time a self-professed sovereign citizen motoring down a tax-payer funder public roadway was stopped by police and arrested for his/her vehicle’s attached license plate. I’m not referring to a state-issued, legally sanctioned license plate with a minor expiration date violation. In most cases, that is a civil infraction resulting in nothing more than a ticket or warning to get it updated. I am referring to an artificial DIY license plate clandestinely manufactured by anti-government groups whose membership believes it does not have to comply with our nation’s laws.
These folks are not only anti-police—although it is law enforcement officers who get to engage their subversive tendencies—they are opposed to all-things-government. Self-proclaimed sovereign citizens go about their lives fully relinquishing the responsibility of social norms practiced and funded by law-abiding citizens. Adhering to all federal, state and local laws is not their cup of tea. Therefore, the Tea Party –whose “mission is to bring awareness to any issue which challenges the security, sovereignty, or domestic tranquility of our beloved nation, the United States of America”– is definitely not in the cards for this bunch.
So what exactly is a sovereign citizen and what are the philosophies, objectives, and membership all about? According to the FBI, sovereign citizens can be violent extremists.
The FBI defines “sovereign citizens” as “domestic terrorism” made of members who are deemed “anti-government extremists who believe that even though they physically reside in this country, they are separate or ‘sovereign’ from the United States. As a result, they believe they don’t have to answer to any government authority, including courts, taxing entities, motor vehicle departments, or law enforcement.”
The perils are palpable. Our nation has experienced instances whereby some proclaiming sovereign citizenship had no pause before going up against and horrifically murdering police officials, exacting full-on gun battles.
The FBI reports that sovereign citizens are a “growing domestic threat to law enforcement,” capable of violence and government subversion. At its core, sovereign citizenship holds jurisdictional indifference and believes the US operates without care or concern for its citizens. Hence, they go it alone, albeit illegally.
Sovereign citizens can poke holes in our national security defenses as well as our country’s stability. Be not fooled by statistics and verbiage claiming sovereign citizens are a loosely-knit group informally conducting their lives without any recognized leadership. In fact, federal intelligence agencies do not bill them as neither an anarchist group nor a militia, “although they sometimes buy and use illegal weapons.” However informal they may be as a demographic, their belief system fuels the dangers they present. Spontaneous outbursts when stopped by police have culminated in volleys of bullets.
FBI reports indicate these folks are engaged in and finance themselves with white collar crimes such as mortgage fraud, counterfeit currency and money orders, credit fraud, identity theft, and false tax filings.
Just as it is often said “Driving is a privilege, not a right” accorded by law, the allowance is never free. And that is the pulse of “sovereign citizen” philosophy, that they do as they please without abiding by government…to include (exclude) paying a fair share otherwise known as taxes.
Given Mr. Garrison’s age, I presume he listened to Frank Sinatra croon “I Did It My Way.” He may also have had the experience of listening to lyrics such as “I Fought the Law and the Law Won.”
I bet getting his vehicle out of police impound will be an interesting feat for Mr. Garrison and others embracing the sovereign citizen belief system. Must be legal to roll on down the road, no ifs, ands or buts. Back to square one: “May I see your registration, please?”