July 1st, 2010
08:22 AM ET

Thursday's intriguing people

Barry Wong

The attorney and Republican candidate for the Arizona Corporation Commission says if he’s elected, the commission would require regulated utilities to check the immigration status of customers.

Wong, who was born in Phoenix to Chinese immigrant parents, told CNN on Wednesday, “Illegal immigrants use electricity that puts more demand on the system. If we continue to have the illegal population growing, the rate payers would have to shoulder the burden of the cost."

According to The Arizona Republic, commission members have the constitutional authority to regulate utilities such as the Arizona Public Service Co., Tucson Electric Power Co. and private water companies. Given the national debate over Arizona’s new immigration law, Senate Bill 1070, Wong told CNN he understands that his idea is controversial.

“There will be critics that will say, ‘Barry you’re very close to the immigration system. How can you advocate for this?’ But my parents, they came here under legal cover. They succeeded in America, working long hours in the grocery store and shunned assistance, and we took care of ourselves. Eventually they sent their four kids to college. I’m the last person to attack immigrants as a class in general.”

The Arizona Republic: Arizona's illegal immigrants should have utilities cut, candidate says

CNN video: Obama pushes lawmakers on immigration

Juan Rodriguez

The 20-year-old from Florida was among the labor, faith and immigrant rights leaders who met Monday with President Obama at the White House.

“Everybody in the immigrant community is hurt and angry by the president’s lack of leadership in prioritizing immigration reform on his agenda,” Rodriguez told CNN on Wednesday.

In May, four college students, three of them undocumented, completed a four-month, 1,500-mile walk from Miami, Florida, to Washington, sharing their stories of growing up as undocumented youths in the United States and calling for the president to stop deportations.

The four - Rodriguez, Felipe Matos of Brazil, Gaby Pacheco of Ecuador and Carlos A. Roa of Venezuela - attend colleges in Miami and became known as the "Trail of Dream Walkers" - a reference to the DREAM Act, a bipartisan proposal that would create a pathway to citizenship for thousands of young students who were brought to the United States years ago as children.

Rodriguez, a native of Colombia and the only one of the four walkers who is a permanent U.S. resident, said Obama is not doing enough to move the immigration issue forward.

“I expressed I was there representing this community that has experienced so much pain and such a huge sense of betrayal,” Rodriguez said.

Trail of Dreams website

CNN: Can Obama close divide on immigration?

Henry Louis Gates Jr. and James Crowley

The black Harvard University professor and the white Cambridge, Massachusetts, police sergeant both made mistakes in a confrontation last year that led to an arrest and a national debate on racial profiling, a report released Wednesday said.

After the  July 16, 2009, arrest of Gates by Crowley, Obama held a well-publicized "beer summit" at the White House, meeting with the officer and the academic.

Crowley arrested Gates when the police officer responded to a call of a possible break-in at a Cambridge residence, which turned out to be Gates' house. Gates was charged with disorderly conduct for allegedly yelling at the officer and protesting his actions. Charges against the professor later were dropped.

The report, conducted by the Cambridge Review Committee, said the situation quickly spiraled out of control. But even after the national debate over the arrest, both men told the committee they wouldn't have done much differently.

"Sergeant Crowley and Professor Gates missed opportunities to lower the temperature of their encounter and communicate clearly with each other, and the results were unfortunate for everyone concerned. They share responsibility for the outcome," the report concluded.

CNN: Report: Harvard professor, police sergeant share blame

Alan Lewis

The 29-year-old double amputee is getting ready to compete in the 30th National Veterans Wheelchair Games. Held Sunday through July 9 in Denver, Colorado, by the Department of Veterans Affairs and Paralyzed Veterans of America, the competition is the largest annual wheelchair sports event in the world.

Lewis, from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, has taken part in six games before, winning a bronze medal in handcycling in 2009. He told CNN that he’ll enter in that sport again this year as well as swimming, basketball, table tennis and weightlifting. (He said he can bench-press around 350 pounds.)

Lewis lost both legs in a landmine explosion in July 2003 - while on duty in Baghdad during the early years of the Iraq war.

“It’s an adjustment once you first get into the wheelchair,” Lewis said. “But with the help of other veterans who have been there - and who can give the benefit of their experience - it allows you to maintain the competitive edge that you may have lost due to your injuries.”

Lewis added, “You may physically not be with your military unit anymore, but you become part of another group that understands what you are going through, and there’s the same sense of camaraderie that you once had.”

National Veterans Wheelchair Games website

Jacquelyn Mitchard

The author of the best-selling novel “The Deep End of the Ocean” e-mailed her readers and friends last week that a former Apple Valley, Minnesota, money manager created a Ponzi scheme to bilk her and 1,000 other investors out of nearly $190 million.

She wrote, "We learned we'd lost everything in a crippling theft by a hometown boy posing as an investment counselor."

According to the Pioneer Press in St. Paul, Minnesota, the former investment banker, Trevor Cook, pleaded guilty to federal counts of bank fraud and tax evasion. Cook is scheduled to be sentenced on July 26, the newspaper said.

“People find it hard to believe,” Mitchard told CNN on Wednesday. “No one had heard of Bernie Madoff when we invested with Cook. He had dummy papers, and they were convincing. No one knew what the flashing red lights were.”

A year after her husband died from colon cancer in 1993, Mitchard - a newspaper reporter and speechwriter, began writing fiction - something she had not done since she was a teenager. “Deep End” was published in 1996 and was selected as the first novel featured by Oprah Winfrey’s book club. It sold more than 5 million copies. Michelle Pfeiffer starred in the 1999 film based on the book. But now, Mitchard, 55, says she has nine children, ages 4 to 26, and no money.

“Right at this moment, I could have no house," she said.

So she’s applying for jobs, and she’s just finished her 19th book, called “The Girl Who Had No Face.”

She told CNN, “I’m not going to let my family down. I have no idea how we’re going to make it, except for the strength and mettle my kids have shown.”

Pioneer Press: Ponzi scheme turns author's dream life into a nightmare

soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. ASanchez

    What Wong is saying is just xenophobic talk..To say that illegal immigrants put a burden on utilities because that means more demand on utilities is like saying we should have a limit on how many children legal residents and citizens have b/c the more children we have means MORE DEMAND as well..but wait isn't that what China is doing? mmmm..

    @ Joel..
    yes I do agree with you that illegal immigration is a problem, the only issue with your argument is that you are making the exception be the rule
    1. Many illegal immigrants DO obey traffic laws, even if the are not licensed drivers, WHY? simply because the know that any traffic stop means jail and possible deportation.
    2. Let's be realistic if US citizens don't get free healthcare how do illegal immigrants do? I do agree in the sense there has to be leadership in the Latino community in showing immgrants how to handle minor health issues, like going to a Ungent care center vs. going to the emegency room
    3.MANY are involved in criminal activity...STOP watching FOX NEWS, yes some are but the majority of gang members are US Citizens
    4. Police can detain them and encarcerate them if the don't have proof of Identification, even a passport from their country.
    The country needs to revise the whole LEGAL immigration process, believe me NO ONE wants the illegal immigrants who are criminals, in gangs, driving drunk out of the country more than the other hard working illegal immigrants because the few make us ALL look bad

    July 1, 2010 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Luis

    Carlin You know Jason, now you're the one missing the boat , this post was not ewrttin AT or FOR Louis Gray, it was just ewrttin in response to his analysis and covering the issue. My style of writing is conversational. When I stated, Do you get it yet? it was speaking to the reader. Since you don't get me or understand the way I communicate, I'd prefer you take your misinterpretations and judgments elsewhere on someone else's blog. Thanks!

    April 22, 2012 at 12:38 am | Report abuse |
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