July 16, 2007, - 4:02 pm
By Debbie Schlussel
Welcome to the new McCarthyism (with apologies to Senator McCarthy, who was somewhat right about many in Hollywood who truly hated America).
If you are for secure borders and don’t like illegal alien criminals running rampant all over our country, you will be the object of the new witch hunts.
Take Frances Semler. Today’s Wall Street Journal reports that the 73-year-old woman was appointed by Kansas City, Missouri Mayor Mark Funkhouser to serve on the city’s Parks and Recreation board.
But lefties and a religous coalition of more lefties is protesting her appointment. Why? Because Semler is a volunteer for the Minutemen Civil Defense Corp. And apparently, you can’t voluntarily patrol our interior looking for illegal aliens and be a good American. You must live and let–criminals, lawbreakers and terrorists–live.
They are trying to depose Mrs. Semler. But three cheers to brave Mayor Funkhouser, who is refusing to give in to the PC crowd. He continues to support Mrs. Semler. And I like how he defines “diversity,” bucking convention. Three cheers also to the Mexican-American colleague who is supporting Mrs. Semler. And finally, kudos to the many Minutemen who protested outside the hope of an intolerant Kansas City Councilwoman, Beth Gottstein, who voted to remove Semler.
An elderly woman’s appointment to a local parks board doesn’t normally generate controversy. But in Kansas City, Mo., Frances Semler’s new position on the city’s Parks and Recreation board has unexpectedly fanned the flames of the debate over illegal immigration.
The 73-year-old Mrs. Semler is an activist in the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, a controversial volunteer civilian patrol formed two years ago to secure U.S. borders and crack down on illegal immigrants. . . . And as the stir over Mrs. Semler’s appointment shows, the Minutemen’s influence has spread deep into Middle America, far from the U.S.-Mexico borders where the anti-illegal-immigrant group originated.
The controversy began on June 11, when Kansas City’s new mayor, Mark Funkhouser, announced he was replacing a Parks and Recreation board that he said was rooted in a “culture of elitism and community divisiveness” with new commissioners representing a “wealth of experience, perspective and diversity.” Mrs. Semler was one of five new commissioners.
The next day, her connection to the local Minutemen chapter was made public by the daily Kansas City Star. The city’s National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Coalition of Hispanic Organizations, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the Jewish Community Relations Bureau held a news conference on June 14 to condemn the appointment. Later that day, the city council, voting 9 to 3, adopted a resolution calling for Mrs. Semler’s removal from the parks board. . . .
“This is about racism and divisiveness — everything we are not supposed to be about,” said council member Beth Gottstein, who voted for Mrs. Semler’s removal.
Mrs. Semler, a former president of the county rose society, said in an interview that she had joined the anti-illegal immigrant group late last year because “I believe very strongly in obeying the law.” She denies being a racist.
The mayor says he didn’t know of Mrs. Semler’s affiliation with the Minutemen but doesn’t believe it will interfere with her performance. “As long as her personal behavior is good … I don’t see why I should remove her,” Mr. Funkhouser said in an interview. The mayor said he chose Mrs. Semler because she is “smart, creative and caring. She is not a racist.”
He noted that he had appointed a Hispanic as president of the board and two black men to be commissioners. “Diversity is also about diversity of views,” he says. . . .
Two days after the city council approved a resolution against Mrs. Semler’s appointment, several demonstrators gathered outside council member Ms. Gottstein’s gated condominium with placards protesting her vote. Her office has been flooded with angry email from Minutemen supporters across the country, she says.
The mayor, who confirms reports that Mrs. Semler campaigned for him ahead of the March 27 election, isn’t the only one standing by her. John Fierro, the new president of the parks board and a third-generation Mexican-American, also defends the appointment. “I am comfortable working with her at this time,” he said in an interview. “I don’t see any reason to think she is going to be divisive in her ability to support the department.”
Mrs. Semler says her affiliation with the Minutemen won’t interfere with her work on the board, which controls a $56.5 million annual budget and oversees 213 parks and 132 miles of boulevards. “I am interested in safe, clean parks for all,” she said.
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