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.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.
'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.'
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) 816-513-1624Thus 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.
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:email@example.com
Beth Gottstein - kristin_mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Ed Ford - lisa_mailto:email@example.com
John Sharp - daron_mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Jan Marcason - susan_mailto:email@example.com
Terry Riley - schylon_mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org