In 2007 the number of Hispanics in Manatee County, Florida may be upwards of 40,000, with some 80% of them having crossed the U.S. border illegally
James H. Walsh:
On the Gulf Coast of Florida, just south of the metropolitan Tampa Bay area, lies once-sleepy Manatee County, which today is experiencing gang warfare waged on its beaches by illegal aliens.
In the past four years, Coquina Beach, a county park extending along the Gulf of Mexico for roughly three city blocks has become a gathering center for Hispanics. One such gathering turned ugly fast. On Easter Sunday, 2007, as in previous years, music began blaring, and "low-rider" cars and other personalized vehicles began cruising the unpaved parking lots that parallel the beach.
Throngs gathered until they packed the beach area.
Local officials estimated the crowd at 10,000 to 15,000 people. Off and on during the day, law enforcement officials, including officers on horseback, admonished the revelers to tone down the music, which carried for miles across the Bay to residential neighborhoods.
As the temperature rose, so did instances of alcohol and drug abuse. About 4:30 p.m. shots rang out, and even with heavy police presence, gang violence erupted.
Three critically wounded Hispanic gang members from a neighboring county were airlifted to the St. Petersburg Trauma Center. No arrests were made. Law enforcement officials estimated that 15 local Hispanic gangs were present along with more from neighboring counties. Manatee County, established in1855, remained for more than a century an agricultural and commercial fishing area known for its trailer parks – the most and the largest in the state. With a spring training center for a major-league baseball team, it generally attracted blue-collar tourists.
Lacking the social standing of its southern neighbor, Sarasota County, Manatee had neither the size nor the name recognition of its northern neighbors, St. Petersburg and Tampa. Manatee County was a nondescript stoplight or two on the Tamiami Trail connecting Tampa and Miami.
After World War II, Manatee County began to grow as farm production increased and soldiers who had served in Florida retired there. In 1970 the U.S. Census Bureau estimated that 97,115 people resided in Manatee County. By 2000, the population had risen to 264,000 people, and by 2005, the estimate was 306, 779 (a 16.2 percent increase in five years).
Among the newcomers were illegal aliens, whose numbers, uncounted in 1970, were estimated at 36,000 in 2005 — the vast majority being Hispanic workers filling menial labor jobs. Since an accurate count of illegal aliens in the United States has yet to be made, estimates are all we have to go on, but in 2007 the number of Hispanics in Manatee County may be upwards of 40,000, with some 80 percent of them having crossed the U.S. border illegally.
Supporting this estimated number are the numbers of Hispanics in Manatee County's criminal justice system, in the juvenile justice system, in the social services programs, and in the public school system.
Because it is politically incorrect to question the citizenship of those unable to speak, read, or write English, precise numbers and costs to the county for services, such as providing interpreters, remains a "guestimate." In the criminal justice system, however, the five most wanted criminal fugitives in the past five years have been Hispanic; and according to the "Most Wanted" posters, they have all been illegal aliens. To avoid prosecution many fugitives return to their native land or simply use aliases. With no fingerprint record (unless previously arrested), these criminals assume multiple identities.
Such facts remain unreported by the news media demonstrating a definite bias of left-leaning reporters and editors. Elected officials treated the Easter 2007 shootings as an aberration; merely the juvenile acting out of a foreign culture. City and county law enforcement officials, in an effort to be politically correct and in a hope that gang violence will mysteriously go away, choose to deal with gang warfare by means of a program called Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPED).
A multi-phased effort, CPED will cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. Phase I will realign Coquina Beach parking to stop "low-rider" cruising by means of barricades placed every 500 feet or so and the addition of more parking places to relieve gang tensions. Phase I will cost Manatee County $650,000 — tax dollars that could be spent on deporting illegal alien criminals.
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