February 1, 2008

Commentary:

Adopt-A-Highway

“MONEY EQUALS POWER”

By Raoul Lowery Contreras

An obscure septuagenarian woman is appointed to an obscure city board in Kansas City and a controversy ensues. She caused controversy, name-calling, and political upheaval nationwide, not from being a nice little old lady, but from her politics.

A small group of misfits pay the State of California (Caltrans) a few hundred dollars to get their name on an “Adopt-A-Highway” sign. This to claim credit and respectability for keeping a freeway clean. Sparks fly. This otherwise legal community exposure has caused controversy, name-calling and political upheaval.

What is it in today’s America that connects these distant events and people?

It is the hysteria revolving about illegal aliens that grips some people and grabs the attention of the media, especially when presidential candidates mouth anti-illegal alien jibes and ersatz positions that cater to the hysteria.

For example, three major Democratic presidential candidates state that their all-inclusive health proposals would not cover illegal aliens, despite the billions in taxes these 15-million illegals pay and the public health danger that may ensue if they are excluded.

They are not alone, Minuteman founder Jim Gilchrist endorsed and campaigned for Republican Mike Huckabee in Iowa. Huckabee won his only victory in Iowa.

Gilchrist, himself, was thrown out of his own Minuteman organization by associates and is brawling in court with them about how he managed to spend over a million dollars raised from his supporters on a quixotic losing race for Congress.

The Associated Press reports, “Frances Semler, who was the focus of months of controversy because of her affiliation with an anti-illegal immigration organization, has resigned from the (Kansas) city parks board.” The ubiquitous Minutemen, again.

“Semler, 74, (has been) a member since December 2006 of the Arizona-based Minuteman Civil Defense Corps …(Mayor) Funkhouser named Semler to the five-member park board last summer.”

This is where money comes into the picture. The National Council of La Raza, an umbrella for over two hundred Hispanic organizations, was scheduled to have a national multi-thousand person meeting in Kansas City. La Raza voted to cancel its plans, costing Kansas City millions of visitor dollars. Reason: Ms Semler’s membership in a Minuteman organization.

The Southern Christian Leadership Conference also decided to move its national convention away from Kansas City to New Orleans, its decision also based on Semler’s Minuteman affiliation. This will also cost Kansas City more millions of dollars.

1800 miles to the West, a San Diego Minuteman organization, the leadership of which is under police investigation, paid the State of California highway department to put its name on a highway sign on Interstate 5, the busy highway between San Diego and Los Angeles.

The public thinks that any group whose name is on these signs is legitimate and responsible for cleaning that stretch of highway. Wrong on both counts. Money alone, not trash collection buys a name on the signs.

The San Diego Minutemen is a rump group of disoriented hysterics who call Korean women “skanks” not because they are street prostitutes but because they are Korean. They picket Mexican day labor workers around San Diego’s North County, including a Fallbrook Roman Catholic Church with a day labor center. The San Diego Police suspect them of criminally razing a migrant camp in one of San Diego’s canyons.

Hispanic groups have complained to the State to no avail. One, named “El Grupo” (the Group), has taken its complaints to the news media and are, of course, protested against by Minutemen fellow travelers who demand these American citizens go “home” to Mexico. Both sides use the word “racist.”

Here’s where money enters the scene, again.

Legitimate groups are withdrawing their contributions to Caltrans, actions caused by the department taking money from the Minutemen, who are, in fact, hysterical in their public persona and are considered by many to be illegitimate, to be, in fact, as President George W. Bush described them, “vigilantes.”

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