Thursday, June 14, 2007

Funkhouser's Frances Semler under pressure to resign for being Minutemen member

Frances Semler is under siege. This 73 year-old grandmother was recently named by Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Mark Funkhouser as one of five Board of Parks and Recreation Commissioners. Six of the thirteen City Council Members are now calling for her to step down.

Their reason: Gross incompetence? A felonious past? Dereliction of duty? Nope. She's a member of the local MinuteMen chapter. That apparently is reason enough to disqualify this otherwise qualified appointee.

Generally, I avoid local issues, but bear with me as I color the pertinent backdrop to this outcry. Mark Funkhouser is a recently-elected Democrat who was celebrated just three days ago for shaking up the blue-blooded, WASPy Parks and Rec. Commission:
Mayor Mark Funkhouser today took a slap at the parks department for decades of 'elitism and cultural divisiveness' in naming his appointments to the Board of Parks and Recreation Commissioners.

'The commissioners have often been chosen from among the city's wealthiest,' Funkhouser said, pointedly making his announcement in Troost Park in the city's poorest council district. 'In fact, the reason the parks board is separate from the city management structure at City Hall is because the city's elites wanted it to be free from the influence of regular folks. With the appointment of this board, I am signaling a change.'
In place of the white guys he dumped, Funkhouser installed a 'representative' team comprised of women and minorities. One of the other newly-minted commissioners, Ajamu Webster, is a founding member of the National Black United Front's local chapter. The NBU Front's homepage describes it as "a coalition made up of individuals and organizations working together for the benefit of all people of African descent." Among the NBU Front's major causes are support for reparations payments and African-centered schools (in the US!). Semler's critics are (surprise, surprise) smearing her as a racist. Apparently membership in this explicitly racialist group doesn't bother them.

Parenthetically, the MinuteMen are careful to the point of absurdity to avoid any mention of race when promoting and defending their cause, even spelling out in their pledge that "a Minuteman believes that just as ethnicity, race, religion and all such factors are incidental and do not affect our God-given, constitutional equality as American citizens, such factors are also irrelevant in the debate over illegal immigration. There is no tolerance among Minutemen for racism or bigotry - E Pluribus Unum - Out of Many, One." No such verbiage from the NBU Front.

Said Councilwoman Beth Gottstein, referring to the Minutemen:
This is one step from the KKK (Ku Klux Klan). My world is totally rocked by this. We fight this every day. I am grieving for my friends in the Hispanic community.
Nevermind that the Minutemen have not engaged in vigilantism, and have not been found to have engaged in any illegal activity despite being under the watchful eye of ACLU scouts sent out to try and catch one of the thousands of members--who've donated their time and energy, pro bono, to alerting a severly overburdened Border Patrol of invaders from south of the border who've illegally crossed into US territory--doing something untward.

Gottstein, and another Council Member, John Sharp, say they are offended by the group Semler is associated with. Nevermind that the Coalition of Hispanic Organizations (COHO), one of the groups leading the charge against Semler, has teamed up with La Raza ("The Race") in the past to support various legislation and causes. Association with an ethnic separatist group doesn't bother Gottstein or Sharp like a multi-racial group of concerned citizens drawing attention to unenforced federal laws does.

Frances Semler is understandably astonished at the paroxysm of cricism directed at her. It is tough to see how her membership in a grassroots citizen group that is viewed favorably by most Americans has any bearing on her ability to perform her duties as a member of the KCMO Parks and Rec. department, but a potential connection is being asserted nonetheless:
Some worry that Semler will impose her views on the parks, such as attempting to mandate that all materials be in English and banning immigrants from using city parks — fears that Semler said were absurd.
Given that English is the official language of both Kansas and Missouri, and that many illegal immigrants do not pay into federal programs like the National Park Services' Land and Water Preservation Fund, which provides grants for the creation and development of state and local parks, these are things I'd advocate for. But my view is irrelevant--she's given no indication that she will do any such thing.

As if that wasn't enough of a stretch:
In addition, some council members were dismayed that one of the leading anti-abortion advocates, Phyllis Schlafly, praised Semler last fall for her leadership in opposing Kansas City’s plan for an inland trading port with Mexico.
If you weren't already convinced that this unctuous outrage is more of a vendetta against a woman with conservative views serving in a leftist city government than a genuine concern for her ability to perform her duties sufficiently, that should do it. From where does abortion come into play? And what does her opposition to a trading port with a foreign country have to do with her ability to oversee local parks? This is cultural Marxism.

Yet another Councilwoman, Jan Marcason, is worried that the attention devoted to this newly-created controversy will divert too much of Semler's attention--but if it weren't for people like Marcason making a big fuss over a non-issue, there'd be no 'controversy' in the first place.

Others have criticized Semler for wanting to halt not only illegal immigration but legal immigration as well, to allow the record number of foreign-born US residents currently living in the states have ample time to assimilate into the American mainstream. She wants an immigration timeout, similar to what took place from 1924 to 1965. The public overwhelmingly shares her sentiment--a detailed, comprehensive Zogby poll found that 66% of Americans believe current immigration levels are too high, while only 2% believe they are too low.

Interestingly, the Jewish Community Relations Bureau is joining other special interest groups in calling for Semler's resignation. Perhaps the Bureau should focus more on the immigrants coming into the US from Latin America, who are by far the most anti-Semitic major demographic group in the US:
One of the most important findings of ADL's 2002 Survey of Anti-Semitism in America concerns Hispanic Americans, one of the most significant and fastest growing segments of the American population, in which the poll found an extraordinary gap between those born in the United States and those born abroad. The survey revealed that while 44% of foreign-born Hispanics hold hardcore anti-Semitic beliefs, 20% of Hispanic Americans born in the U.S. fall into the same category.
While only 12% of white Americans hold what the ADL considers to be "hard-core anti-Semitic beliefs", 35% of Hispanics in the US do. So ubiquitous is the antagonism towards Jews in Latin America that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has accused them of murdering Jesus and taking "all the world's wealth for themselves."

The KCMO Morning Show's Chris Stigall has listed contact information for the six Council Members demanding Semler's head on the station's blog, and I humbly borrow from him below:

Deb Hermann (1st Distirict) 816-513-1624
Jan Marcanson (4th District) 816-513-1617
Terry Riley (5th District) 816-513-1629
Ed Ford (2nd Distirct) 816-513-1601
Beth Gottstein (4th District) 816-513-1616
John Sharp (6th District) 816-513-1615

City Council Main Number 816-513-1368

Email their assistants...

Deb Hermann - terri_mailto:terri_wolfe@kcmo.org
Beth Gottstein - kristin_mailto:kristin_gore@kcmo.org
Ed Ford - lisa_mailto:lisa_minardi@kcmo.org
John Sharp - daron_mailto:daron_mcgee@kcmo.org
Jan Marcason - susan_mailto:susan_borge@kcmo.org
Terry Riley - schylon_mailto:schylon_clayton@kcmo.org

Thus far, Funkhouser has been reticent in the face of the special interests lined up against Semler. I will be contacting the council members listed above to suggest they reconsider their perplexing positions, and urge concerned readers to do the same.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

My world is totally rocked by this. We fight this every day.

This is the kind of histrionic bullshit the media loves. Too funny. Someone should've asked her what "this" is, and what, exactly. did she do yesterday to 'fight it'.

..and urge concerned readers to do the same.

With some it might do some good -- who knows. Still I'd prefer to tell them to go fuck themselves. Or eat shit. Maybe both.

Michael Travis said...

About the ADL......those shmucks accused Israelis, who warned of Islamic terrorism prior to 9-11, of being "Hate groups", and "Intolerant" of Islam.

The ADL represents no one other than their bank accounts.,..and other vile extreme leftists.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Beth Gottstein also believes in open borders for Israel and opposes Israel having an immigration policy and enforcing it?

Why do so many Jewish people in government here in the United States have a double-standard when it comes to immigration in the United States?

the wily marmot said...

It would be nice if Gottstein turned out not to be Jewish-I hate this continual confirmation of stereotypes.

Jews who support the Bush-Kennedy program for the absorption of the US into Latin America would be well advised to read this:
http://www.codoh.com/index.shtml

Anonymous said...

Why do we allow groups like LaRaza and COHO to even exist? The hypocrisy and outright blatant racial agenda of these anti-American groups is more then I can stand. Grow a backbone America!

Audacious Epigone said...

Second anon,

That's a question I struggle with regularly. Part of it is nostalgia, part of it has to do with how nationalism has historically, in general, been bad for Jews. But white Evangelicals are the backbone of American support for Israel, and first generation Latin American immigrants are far more anti-Semitic than any other major group in the US.

Thomas said...

It would be nice if Gottstein turned out not to be Jewish-I hate this continual confirmation of stereotypes.

It just goes to show that stereotypes exist for a reason - because they are true!

Audacious Epigone said...

Thomas,

I think Marmot was being facetious.

This microcosm is typical in so many ways--Hispanic race-hustling, complete overlooking of black nationalism, leftist Jewish interests supporting the groups most hostile to them, lots of slandering, etc.

SAlinagrrrl69 said...

NOW-NOW-NOW Adult children of KC! Nanny Gottstein and her experts know what is best for us & KC. We are simple and just can't make our own decisions of our personal behavior. And in regards to The Minute Men and immigration policy, we need her to 'correct' politically our outlook on what IS lawful and what is not! We need social *enlightened* Nannies as Nanny Gottstein to do this thinking for us. And too to protect those poor huddled masses that need protecting from national law on immigration that would enforce evil. Trust-OBEY Nanny Gottstein.

Dee said...

Sorry. You are wrong. The minutemen are violent criminals and vigilantes operating under as PC as possible.

Take Simcox
Welcome to the peculiar world of Chris Simcox, vigilante leader, right-wing dilettante and, according to one new report, a man rapidly skidding towards extremist delusion. In "Minuteman Leader Has Troubled Past," the Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Center portrays a confused and dangerous demagogue whose rapacity for conspiracy theories exploded as the Twin Towers imploded.

In Southern Arizona, he's known as co-founder of the Minuteman Project and former owner of the Tombstone Tumbleweed newspaper. But according to the report, Simcox arrived here with a little baggage from his tumultuous Los Angeles past--one rich with wild-eyed rants, violent outbursts and an alleged molestation attempt.

Dee said...

Take Schwilk, another MM leader

Violent Criminal Minutemen Caught on Tape

So much for your PHONY ASSERTIONS that the Minutemen are not violent. These were tapes by a former minutemom.

They are CRIMINALS! They pretend to be PC. Criminals!! Shame on them and all those who pretend they are not racist.

Dee said...

The odd thing is how all the KC PC racists are misrepresenting the role of the NCLR. The NCLR (who they misname La Raza) is a Humanitarian Group supporting citizens. Their stance on Immigration is for Comprehensive Immigration Reform, all within the law. They are similar to these other advocacy groups:
1. NAACP
2. National Urban League
3. Asian American Culture Center
4. Organization of Chinese Americans
5. 100 Black Men of America
6. Asian Pacific American Legal Fund
7. National Black Justice Coalition
8. Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders
9. National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR)
10. Amerian Civil Liberties Union
11. Asian Pacific American Gay/Lesbian Organizations
12. Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation
13. Multicultural Student Services
14. Bureau of Indian Affairs
15. Native Studies Programs

Dee said...

AE, I do like your blog otherwise though. I visited here previously. My blog is:
Immigration Talk with a Mexican American

Come visit me and we can chat if you´d like.

Audacious Epigone said...

Dee,

Were those structures on private property with the consent of the owner, or on public land? If I make a treehouse in a park, and someone tears it down, I'm going to have a tough job trying to bring charges against the person of vandalism.

Of course, to the extent that this band of Minutemen are guilty of causing $600 in damage, does that also mean all Democrats are corrupt because of William Jefferson's freezer money or that all Republicans are predators because of Tom Foley's conversations with pages?

The MinuteMen do not espouse violence of any kind. Despite hunting wildly for it, open borders advocates haven't been able to come up with anything conclusive, and their allegations have gone way, way beyond any evidence.

Valenciano accused them of perpetrating 'rapes and murders'. That is slanderous.

Regarding the National Council of... just like saying 'Republican' instead of 'a member of the Republican party'. I do it to save space.

Anonymous said...

I'm ready to change my opinion about the minutemen if someone could give me five good reasons why they exist. When the numbers are crunched illegal immigrants do a lot more good than harm to this country. As for a seventy something grandmother running the park's department, wouldn't you want some fresh blood and ideas. You can be a racist and I'll be an ageist.

Audacious Epigone said...

Anon,

No, illegal immigrants depress scholastic test scores, increase the poverty rate, accentuate the wealth gap, strain public infrastructure, increase political ineptitude, and bring atavistic diseases back into a nation that hasn't seem them for decades.

The Minutemen have made the issue more salient. And why should the onus be on a group to prove why it should--must!--exist? Have a problem with citizens organizing a largescale neighborhood watch group with the aim of securing their collective national sovereignty?

If this migrating Hispanic underclass is so valuable, why must we allow it to leave Southern and especially Central America? How greedy of us, indeed! Of course, Mexico loves the idea of exporting its social problems north of the border in return for $25 billion injection into its economy each year.

Anonymous said...

I think you might want to consult a dictionary regrading the proper usage of the word atavistic. Unless you are implying that illegal immigrants are going to pollute our gene pool, which does have a nice
Dr. Mengele feel to it. As for accentuating the wealth gap, are you implying that rich white guys are staffing their landscaping, construction businesses and meat packing plants with undocumented workers to go around union wages and laws in order to increase profits. If thats the case it seems like your anger is misplaced and should be directed towards the rich white guys. Sadly cutting labor costs is considered a sound business strategy in a free market economy. Not exactly sure what you mean by political ineptitude. As for strain of public infrastructure, I believe illegal workers have their wages taxed at least that is the law and those moneys should be put towards the public infrastructure. If the minutemen had any balls they would go after the ceo's and business that are profiting off illegal immigrants instead of picking on people who are really caught in the middle or the odd landlord who's making a few bucks by renting to undocumented workers. I know its hard being a white man these days, but some things you just have to suck up. It's also going to be hard to pay for $4 dollar oranges and other price increases that we are already seeing because no one wants to do slave labor, save for undocumented workers. As for illegal immigrants, its way too late to solve the problem at least by a small group of misinformed racists. Wake up, we are moving towards a global economy. Just as the British Empire came to an end, so will the American Empire. Our time as a leader in world affairs comes with an expiration date. And no amount of angry white men will change that.

Audacious Epigone said...

Anon,

Drop the name-calling, it makes you look foolish.

Re: ineptitude. Hispanics comprised less than 6% of the '04 Presidential election electorate. As a group, in the US Hispanics vote at the lowest rates of the four major racial/ethnic classifications.

Re: wealth gap. I'm making an empirical claim. The correlation between housing affordability and the percent of a state's population that is foreign born is a positive .42 with a p-value of essentially 0.

Atavism (from the American Heritage Dictionary) - The return of a trait or recurrence of previous behavior after a period of absence.

Tuberculosis was virtually nonexistent in the US. Only in the last decade has it begun resurging (mostly in the Southwest).

"Sadly cutting labor costs is considered a sound business strategy in a free market economy."

If cutting labor costs alone was the key to prosperity, Mexico would be wealthier than the US, and Guatemala would be wealthier than Mexico. Necessity is the mother of innovation--clearly, as labor becomes more expensive, mechanization becomes more attractive. And technological innovation is the key to long-term, secular cycles of increases in a population's standard of living.

MNCs are no longer bound by geography. Since they can shift production to another locale much easier than you or I can shift our lives to another one, that they are happy to socialize costs while privatizing profits comes as no surprise.

The Farm Bureau estimates that by having to pay at domestic wage rates, farmers would be set back $5 billion annually. Well, that sounds like a lot, but total farm income in the US tops $60 billion a year. So the profit margin gets cut by 8%. Big deal--that profit loss amounts to less than one-fifth of what farmers receive in annual government subsidies.

Since illegal immigrants cost taxpayers over $10 billion a year, I do not see why a profitable farming industry must have its illegal labor force subsidized just to turn even bigger profits. Hard to blame them for wanting to socialize costs and privatize profits, though, as I mentioned earlier. Low-skilled workers create a per capita tax deficit of just over $22,000 a year. Nine percent of natives fall into this category, as do 25% of legal immigrants and 50% of illegal immigrants.

What in the heck does the decline of US influence on the world stage have to do with any of this? Or are you merely celebrating the rapid decline in the world's population that comprised of people of European descent (1/4th in 1960, 1/6th in 2000, and projected to be 1/10th in 2050)? Well, as 98% of all encyclopedic accomplishments in the arts and sciences from 1500-1950 were made by white males, one might be careful what he wishes for. Anyway,
I've argued for years against US troop commitments, defense obligations, messianic democracy, and military intervention in areas of the world of no vital interest to the US (like Iraq, the Balkans, etc).

Azathoth said...

Yikes, and I thought Philadelphia was messed up. (yeah, I'm in Philly)

Anonymous said...

Amiable fill someone in on and this fill someone in on helped me alot in my college assignement. Thank you on your information.