Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Funk and Frances

The tangled, bitter and nasty mess revolving around Kansas City park board member Frances Semler has made another turn. Frances Semler is a neighborhood leader in Kansas City North who was appointed to the park board by newly elected Mayor Funkhouser. Almost immediately she became a lightning rod for controversy as it was revealed that she was a member/supporter of the Minuteman Group, a loose organization devoted to battling illegal immigration.

Her membership on the board ignited the racist element in all parts of society. Those in agreement with her lauded her outspokenness and Funkhouser’s choice not to give in to her demands. Some of the more radical minority groups declared war on her and the whole city, giving credence to the notion that the oppressed soon become the oppressor when given the chance. The controversy highlighted the great unanswered question of our time. What right do people have to stop speech and actions they feel are offensive?

While I respect Ms Semler's right to support any organization she wishes, her resignation from a practical standpoint is the correct course of action. This town is a mess, and does not need the divisiveness and distractions her appointment has generated. Streets need to be cared for, my street has never been salted during the recent ice and snow storm. Crime continues to plague the area, jobs are leaving, a downtown is on the verge of being renewed and the bad publicity and pulled conventions do nothing to generate revenue.

As I do not support the Minutemen, I do feel we need to address illegal immigration and but the emphasis back on the illegal part. Setting up vigilante groups and taking laws into our own hands is not the answer. I was also not surprised that Semler's appointment highlighted the fact that La Raza and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (two groups who tried to blackmail the city into firing Semler and are still not happy even though she resigned) are racist and arrogant organizations that feel they are above reproach and can foist their agenda on anyone by crying “racism” when they do not get their way.

Good-bye Frances and good luck. At the very least you made us think and help sow the seeds of Funkhouser's demise.

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