Thursday, November 23, 2006

An open letter to anti-immigrant groups

A satirical, but sincere offer to anti-immigrant groups claiming they aren't racists.

This letter is aimed primarily at the Minutemen and S.O.S., but the content applies equally to any anti-immigrant group that has taken up vigilante like actions. I have grown weary of constant complaints from your groups that you are mischaracterized as racist simply because you are "trying to enforce the law." Let us put aside the fact that statements like Joe Turners' about "cultures that are inferior" are inherently racist. Let us put aside the fact that your activities have emboldened, encouraged, garnered praise from and even drawn participation from white supremacist groups. Let us suspend the understanding that scapegoating immigrants under an ideology that they somehow threaten the middle class is frighteningly reminiscent of basic fascist tenets. Lastly let us ignore the fact that while your memberships occasionally hint at targeting northern or other borders, your focus to date has been on one border and against one group of people.

Instead let us examine your assertion you are merely enforcing the law. More importantly let us explore the economic reasons behind your claim. Towards this end I suggest a simple and modest proposal that you may have overlooked in a fervor of nationalism. If you were to adopt this methodology, you could accomplish your stated goals while avoiding the correct and necessary labeling of racism stemming from you current activities. I suggest you marshal your membership and resources and take on the following tasks.

Your claim that undocumented immigrant labor "steals" jobs from able bodied "American" workers could simply be dealt with. Using your pools of enthusiastic membership you could find all these un/underemployed Americans and match them with these jobs. I am quite sure, following your logic, that there is an unending supply of Americans ready and willing to do this work. They merely need your help in locating it and maybe assistance with transportation.

Your groups could easily handle this task. By doing this you accomplish several things. You eliminate the economic incentive for undocumented labor because all the positions will be filled by Americans. Who would be willing to break immigration laws when all incentive to do so would be gone? Secondly, you further demonstrate your patriotic nationalism and avoid being labeled as racists because you have opened employment to thousands of Americans who otherwise would have had their jobs "stolen" by immigrants.

Additionally, by eliminating all economic incentive for undocumented labor to come here, you address two major factors you cite for your current activities. Since all potential jobs currently held by undocumented labor would now be held by U.S. citizens, it is highly doubtful that many undocumented people would want to come here. This would deal with your complaint that undocumented immigrants utilize public services at the tax payer expense. While this conception proves untrue since undocumented labor contributes much more to the tax pool then it ever uses, it wouldn't mater since they wouldn't be here.

This also takes care of your concerns that local communities are being turned into what the S.O.S. website terms "third world cesspools" (and you wonder why you are called racists).

Surely communities of red blooded Americans working at the same wage scales as undocumented labor does now would be the epitome of what Mr. Turner calls "great American culture."

You could call the effort something like "American Labor for American Jobs." Think of the benefits that your efforts would reap. Instead of long nights in the desert with binoculars, Minutemen membership could witness the joy on the face of a fellow American when they are matched with a much desired job in California's fruit picking industry. Instead of long hours in the sun protesting a misunderstood phrase on a train station monument, S.O.S. members could hear the praises of Americans happily employed in Los Angeles garment sweatshops.

Since Mr. Turner has already targeted a large home improvement chain for its loose association with day laborers, that would be a great place to start. Instead of ineffectual flag waving, why not show up with a group of able bodied Americans to take back the work from these job stealing day laborers?

There are so many jobs that you could open up in the agricultural, textile, construction, service, and janitorial fields to your fellow "legal" American citizens, and it is certain that they would be eternally grateful for the opportunity.

Think about it. All of your concerns: stolen jobs, tax expenditures, over-utilization of public services, so called dilapidation of local communities, and immigration law enforcement would all be addressed in one fell swoop if you and your memberships were to undertake this task. Avoiding the labeling of racism, you might even become heros through eliminating what you state as the cause of so many social ills in this country. In light of this I call on you, in fact I defy you, to drop all your current activities and resolutely take up the program of action stated above. Prove that our characterization of your racism is patently false. Prove us wrong in our understanding that it is our economic system, not undocumented immigrants, that causes misery in our society.

Demonstrate that you really are just concerned with the law through removing all incentive for people to break it. Now that you have an easy and foolproof solution to your concerns, anything less would be disingenuous. Anything less will continue to expose you for what you really are.

RD Skeels

This letter has been up since July 14, 2005 and yet nobody including sos have taken any action.

So stop protesting, flag waving, posting on forums and talking and start doing something.

But then again it's easier to post and talk then to do something about it.

Source: SaveOurState

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Long Beach teens face hate crime charges

By Hector Becerra and Rong-Gong Lin II, Times Staff Writers
2:41 PM PST, November 22, 2006

Los Angeles County prosecutors today filed hate crimes charges against eight black teenagers accused of beating up three white women on Halloween night in a case that has startled and divided Long Beach.

Authorities said they took the action after concluding that the teens attacked and beat the women in the upscale Bixby Knolls area because they were white.

The case has been the subject of a wrenching public dialogue over the last few weeks in the racially diverse city of 460,000, with civil rights groups like the NAACP condemning the teenagers' alleged actions and the city holding a public forum meant to ease tensions. The attack occurred on a block known for fancy Halloween decorations.

According to police, a mob of mostly girls, ages 12 to 17, allegedly hurled racial insults at the women, threw small pumpkins and lemons at them, and then knocked them to the ground with kicks, punches and swings of a skateboard.

The attack left the women, two 19-year-olds and a 21-year-old bloodied and with broken bones, internal bruises and cuts, before a black passerby stopped his car and pulled their assailants away.

"What could have possibly gone through their mind to make them think this kind of behavior was OK?" asked Long Beach Police Officer Jackie Bezart. The girls, who face felony assault charges, appeared in court today.

Their attorneys said the girls are good students and have no history of violence or criminal behavior. One of the girls won a full athletic scholarship to USC and had represented the United States in a track meet in China, her attorney told the court. He urged the judge to allow the girl out of Juvenile Hall so she could take the SATs.

A case of modern-day racial segregation

At Preston Hollow, principal tried to appease affluent parents, halt white flight, judge says

10:04 PM CST on Saturday, November 18, 2006

By KENT FISCHER / The Dallas Morning News

For years, it was an open secret at North Dallas' Preston Hollow Elementary School: Even though the school was overwhelmingly Hispanic and black, white parents could get their children into all-white classes. And once placed, the students would have little interaction with the rest of the students.

The result, a federal judge has ruled, was that principal Teresa Parker "was, in effect, operating, at taxpayer's expense, a private school for Anglo children within a public school that was predominantly minority."

Judge Sam Lindsay's opinion paints an unflattering picture of the elementary school and a principal who was so desperate to appease the school's affluent white parents that she turned back the clock on school desegregation 50 years.

In April, Hispanic parents sued, claiming illegal segregation. The three-week trial concluded in late August. On Thursday, Judge Lindsay declared that the school's principal violated the rights of minority children by assigning them to classrooms based on race.

The judge ordered Mrs. Parker to pay $20,200 to Lucrecia Mayorga SantamarĂ­a, the lone named plaintiff, who sued on behalf of her three children.

Although the judge did not find the Dallas school district liable for Mrs. Parker's actions, he strongly criticized DISD administrators for being "asleep at the wheel."

"The court is convinced that several of the area superintendents knew, or should have known, about the illegal segregation at Preston Hollow," the judge wrote in his 108-page ruling.

The district has until Jan. 17 to remedy the segregation at the school. Mrs. Parker did not return messages left at her home and school Friday.

District spokesman Celso Martinez said Mrs. Parker would remain the school's principal "until further notice."

Mr. Martinez said the school has undertaken steps to comply with the court order, namely relying on student language scores to place students.

"The truth is we have initiated quite a few changes at the school already," he said. "We need to compare those changes with the court order. We may well be in total compliance."

However, when asked if there are still classes at Preston Hollow containing only white students, Mr. Martinez replied: "That's a good question. I don't know the answer to that."

Desegregation plan
In 2003, a federal judge released the district from its court-ordered desegregation plan. That plan, however, focused on the allocation of resources and treatment of black students. In the 30 years the district operated under the order, whites fled and Hispanics have grown to become the majority. Blacks make up less than a third of the district; whites about 6 percent.

Preston Hollow's unwritten policy of clustering whites together was known for years among parents and teachers, according to testimony. In fact, Mrs. Parker's subordinates – including teachers and her assistant principal – raised concerns about it multiple times. One even wrote a letter to Superintendent Michael Hinojosa about it. Those complaints fell on deaf ears, the judge wrote.

"I began to see something very strange," Ms. SantamarĂ­a. "The difference was that the Anglo students would go to lunch together while the Latinos went with the Asians and the African-Americans." That, she said, raised a question in her mind "because the children don't know what segregation is."

Once the Hispanic families sued, Mrs. Parker tried to cover her tracks, according to testimony. For example, on the day an investigator was to observe classes at the school, Mrs. Parker "reshuffled" the student's classroom assignments, according to assistant principal Robert McElroy.

Mrs. Parker also asked members of her staff to sign confidentiality agreements about how students were assigned to their classes, and paperwork detailing the classroom assignments was destroyed under mysterious circumstances, according to the judge's ruling.

Principal uncooperative
The judge also took exception to Mrs. Parker's apparent unwillingness to cooperate with the court. At one point during the trial, the judge noted, Mrs. Parker testified that she didn't know whether Preston Hollow is a predominantly white neighborhood.

"The court finds it astounding that Principal Parker, who has served at Preston Hollow for five years, would testify that she knows nothing about the ethnic makeup of the immediate neighborhood surrounding her school."

The school's attendance zone is mostly north of Northwest Highway, east of Preston Road, south of Royal Lane, and just east of North Central Expressway. It includes affluent, mostly white single-family homes, as well as middle-class homes and apartments that are predominantly minority.

The judge also had sharp words for the district's attorneys, who argued that segregation would cause no harm to the minority students because their teachers used the same curriculum as those teaching white students.

"The court is baffled that in this day and age, that [DISD relied] on what is, essentially, a 'separate but equal' argument," the judge wrote.

Mr. Martinez, the district spokesman, said the district doesn't believe Mrs. Parker was segregating students, but he acknowledged that classrooms at the school need to be better integrated.

"It's our opinion that we were not segregating students at all," Mr. Martinez said. "In fact the judge found that we were not violating the constitutional rights of anybody. Do we need to integrate the classrooms? Yes, and we're doing precisely that."

Although the judge ruled against the school's principal in her personal capacity, he did not find the district, its trustees or Mrs. Parker liable in their "official capacities."

David Hinojosa, the parents' attorney from the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, said he apparently didn't convince the judge that the district knew the segregation was happening.

"You just have a certain legal standard you have to meet, and unfortunately, the court didn't find that," he said. "We might appeal the issue if need be ... but we got the ultimate relief we wanted. The parents wanted to stop the segregation that was going on there."

PTA chief criticized
Judge Lindsay also criticized Meg Bittner, the school's PTA president, who wanted to lure more affluent white families out of private schools and back to Preston Hollow.

More white families would result in a healthier PTA, she testified, bigger fundraisers and, ultimately, more money for the school. The best way to lure back white families, teachers and others testified, was to put white children together in the same classrooms.

Teacher Janet Leon told the court that "neighborhood classes" were predominantly made up of white students because "the people who live in the Preston Hollow neighborhood, who are the majority being white, would want their children grouped together."

To aid in the recruitment of more affluent whites, the school's PTA created a brochure for parents that featured almost all white students. Hispanic parents had shown up at the school the day photos were being taken for the brochure, but the principal blocked their entry into the classroom where the photos were being taken, the judge's ruling states.

Additionally, the PTA, in conjunction with the school, held separate open houses and kindergarten recruitments for white parents. And when PTA members gave prospective parents tours of the school, they were never taken down the "Hispanic halls" where the minority classes were housed, teachers testified.
Mrs. Bittner and other PTA officers did not respond to phone messages seeking comment.

"The court is left with the distinct impression that the primary objective of fairly educating students was lost and substituted in its place was an effort to prevent white flight from Preston Hollow. In reserving certain classrooms for Anglo students, Principal Parker was, in effect, operating, at taxpayer's expense, a private school for Anglo children within a public school that was predominantly minority."

The court also found that many English-speaking Latino students were inappropriately assigned to ESL classes, amounting to illegal segregation.

"In the end, the court found that principal Parker had intentionally segregated the Latino children on account of their race and national origin. Not only that, she had done so in a reckless and callous manner," said attorney David Hinojosa.

For parents, vindication.

"We are very happy, because we won. For us, this is a victory, because we can say to all parents that together, we can do a lot of things," said Ann Gonzales, a parent.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Michael Richards reveals his true nature

Michael Richards accidentally failed to suppress his true racist nature towards blacks at a famous L.A. comedy club last Friday.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

What Makes Police Brutality Possible?

by Roderick Long, November 17, 2006

What should a large group of bystanders do if they see a handful of attackers unjustly assaulting and tormenting an unarmed individual?

The answer seems obvious: come to the victim’s aid by disarming and overpowering the attackers.

But on November 14, when UCLA student Mostafa Tabatabainejad was assaulted in the university library, about fifty shocked and angry students stood by, protesting and shouting but not intervening, though the assailants were much fewer in number and were armed only with nonlethal weapons.

Why didn’t the students intervene? Because the assailants were campus police.

When Tabatabainejad, unable to produce his student ID, was asked by a security guard to leave, he initially refused. The guard then contacted campus police. Here accounts diverge: the police say Tabatabainejad went limp and refused to leave, while most eyewitnesses agree with Tabatabainejad’s claim that he was leaving peacefully but protested when police tried to grab his arm as he did so.

In any case, the police then tasered Tabatabainejad repeatedly as he writhed screaming on the ground, in an incident captured on a bystander’s cellphone camera. When horrified students in the vicinity protested the brutal treatment and demanded the police officers’ badge numbers, the officers reportedly threatened to taser these peaceful bystanders as well. “Tabatabainejad encouraged library patrons to join his resistance,” one officer blandly explained.

Were campus police within their rights to demand that Tabatabainejad leave the library? Was he a victim of racial profiling? Did he go limp before or after being tasered? These questions, however important, are secondary. Whatever the answers, the fact remains that the officers’ brutal and repeated use of a dangerous weapon against someone who had neither used nor threatened violence is grossly disproportionate to whatever offense he allegedly committed.

“Stop fighting us!” the officers can be heard yelling on the recording. But by the police’s own account, the most that Tabatabainejad did by way of resistance was to “go limp.”

Whether he went limp deliberately or as an involuntary result of being tasered, in either case going limp is not “fighting” and does not constitute a threat to which tasering could be a legitimate self-defense response, especially given the disparity in numbers.

Being asked for one’s badge number, I need hardly add, is a lawful request and so likewise not an action to which a threat of tasering is a legitimate response.

In short, a group of armed assailants, refusing to identify themselves to bystanders, repeatedly inflicted violent and painful attacks on an unarmed library patron who had neither used nor threatened violence. Ordinarily anyone would think that in such a case the bystanders would have been within their rights to intervene forcibly to protect the victim. And ordinarily, I wager, these bystanders would have done precisely that.

But when the assailants are wearing police uniforms, they somehow become immune from the ordinary rules that apply to the rest of us. Did some bystanders refrain from intervening because they were afraid? Probably. But most of them, I suspect, never even considered forcibly intervening; the assailants’ uniforms prevented that ordinarily natural thought from so much as occurring.

There was a time when those in positions of legal authority were literally regarded as beings of an inherently superior order, entitled to a special status exempt from ordinary moral rules. That doctrine was known as the divine right of kings. Nowadays we profess to have given up that doctrine; the Declaration of Independence boldly declares that “all men are created equal.” But we are still all too quick to treat the bearers of official power as a breed apart.

Such inequality is arguably inherent in the institution of government itself. All governments, even purportedly democratic ones, reserve to their agents certain rights denied to the rest of the populace. And it is our acquiescence in government that lets us view police, even campus police, not as our equals but as our masters — which enables them to get away with abuses like this one.

Let’s pierce the veil of mystification and see this case as what it is: a small group of ordinary people attacking another ordinary person while a much larger group of ordinary people stands “helplessly” by. The profession of the attackers is irrelevant; providers of police services don’t need to be organised as an agency with superior authority — a “government” — in order to do their jobs. We don’t believe in kings and emperors any more. Isn’t it time to outgrow the idea of government as such?


Thursday, November 16, 2006

Town settles suit on Latino laborers

Freehold must pay $278,000 in fees and respect rights of migrants

Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Star-Ledger Staff

Ending a three-year legal struggle with its day laborer population, Freehold Borough has settled a lawsuit that alleged the town targeted Latino immigrants in employment and housing code enforcement.

The settlement, which still has to be approved by a federal judge, requires the county seat of Monmouth to shell out $278,000 in attorney fees and reimbursement funds and establishes a police protocol for enforcing certain regulations against immigrants.

The settlement comes as Congress and the national political parties are debating what do about burgeoning immigration -- and the strains it is putting on local and state budgets. Critics of the Freehold crackdown called the agreement a huge victory and a cautionary tale for other communities employing similar hardball tactics against burgeoning immigrant populations.

"It's a victory for the rights of people," said Mahonnry Hidalgo, chairman of the immigration committee of the Latino Leadership Alliance of New Jersey. "At the same time, it's sad that taxpayers, including Latinos who live there, will have to deal with this expense. There are better ways to solve this, and we hope the next town in New Jersey that wants to do this will think twice."

Stan Organek, spokesman for Monmouth County Residents for Immigration Rights, one of the groups that sued the borough, agreed that other towns had been put on notice that "there can be consequences to taking steps that will be found unconstitutional."

But an unrepentant Mayor Michael Wilson vowed to continue enforcing the housing codes and laws of the borough.

"A little respect for the law-abiding citizens of Freehold would go a long way toward making our residents more understanding of how we can resolve these hard questions that are caused by national immigration policy," Wilson said.

The settlement, approved Monday night by the Borough Council, is the the result of long-simmering tensions that accompanied the explosion of the Latino population in the two-square-mile community. Some long-time residents blamed the new arrivals for swelling school populations and straining services, driving up taxes.

A gravel area between Conrail railroad tracks and Throckmorton Street, about a half mile from the central business district, became an impromptu muster zone for day laborers, many of them illegal immigrants from southern Mexico who sought work for contractors or landscapers.

As the zone expanded and residents stepped up complaints, Wilson announced plans in the fall of 2003 to shut it down on Jan. 1, 2004. Civil rights advocates sued the borough, and in March 2004, U.S. District Judge Anne E. Thompson ordered it to reopen a portion of the zone that is on public property.

But the issues went beyond the rights of the immigrants to gather for work, however, and the underlying civil lawsuit continued. Attorneys for the immigrant groups alleged borough officials and residents often targeted their living situations -- violating their civil rights in the process -- in an effort to drive them out of town.

Renee Steinhagen, executive director of the New Jersey Appleseed Public Interest Law Center, one of the organizations that sued, said Freehold agreed in the settlement to treat the immigrants lawfully and respect their rights.

She said housing-code inspectors will no longer be allowed to conduct inspections without resident consent. Owners will be given time to correct violations. And while a police officer will be allowed to accompany inspectors, he will not enter the premises unless an incident occurs.

Day laborers, meanwhile, will continue to use the public portion of the muster zone. The borough will set up a $33,000 fund to reimburse Latino residents fined for loitering or certain housing-code violations, dating back to Jan. 1, 2002. The borough will pay its adversaries' legal fees, estimated at $245,000.

Steinhagen said the settlement "has ramifications beyond Freehold as to the rights of people, regardless of their documentation status. It's sort of setting the parameters for the other debates about immigration."

Praising the outcome of negotiations in what he called a "difficult social situation," retired state Supreme Court Justice Daniel O'Hern, who served as mediator, acknowledged an ongoing statewide struggle in areas with growing immigrant populations.

"Immigration reform is a national issue. Persons who have entered this country without documentation are nonetheless persons entitled to the protections of the (U.S.) Constitution and laws of the United States and this state," he said in a prepared statement. "We have seen other communities that have reacted to this social migration with repression and outright harassment."

Staff writer Brian Dononue contributed to this report. Mary Ann Spoto may be reached at or (732) 462-8603.


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

OldPreach has had enough of you racists!

OldPreach of Save Our State says:

As some of you know, about 6 months ago I posted a long winded post about how I was tired of talking to the same folks about the same things, and how that if posts were perceived in any way to be not good for us, they would be deleted, and the posters would be warned. I also went into a rant about how if you make me cringe, you need to go. Further, I talked about how it simply did not matter what you had done in the past, or how many posts you had. All that mattered was your overall reputation as a poster in regard to the issue at hand....our image. Its taken enough beating. The beating is officially over. I basically reneged on my promise, but not this time. I have talked to hundreds of activists, and we all agree...SaveOurState has somewhat of a bad rap, and we need to change that. We are afraid to tell some of our friends to come to the forums because of other posters offensive speech. No, not non PC speech... truly offensive speech. Some have told me stories about how folks have come back to them and said they don't want to post here because of this. There is just no excuse for this. We are all adults.

What does this mean ? It means I do not except the ' well, your friends are just PC, so that is why they are turned off by the forums '. No, they are turned off many times because we have let some folks stick around that just CONTINUALLY have expressed a 'latino this, and latino that' attitude. Its, 'Mexican this, and Mexican that'. So, we let you stay to try and give you the benefit of the doubt. Big mistake.

Let me just say that USA today and I went back and forth several times for over a year, and 2 times recently. He chilled for quite some time, and everything was pretty for scores of basically vacuous posts. Then, I ask him to basically chill out, NOT LEAVE (even tho it was perhaps the 5th or 6th time I had to ask him to chill) and what do I get ? A goodbye thread (which are always just a lame ploy to cause trouble. I have seen goodbye threads for the better part of 10 years now.) in which he displays my PM and says we are asking him to leave even tho it plainly says ' instead of asking you to leave...' and then basically back stabs the living daylights out of me. So, that is what a year of working with someone gets ??? Never again.

Basically, SaveOurState is due for a royal emema. We have had INCREDIBLE growth in the last year....from 1100 to 3400 registered. With growth, there is always a need for a pruning. I will NOT stand by and see the insanely hard work of so many get trashed, or go stagnant. One activist gave $7,000 for the national add. Another worked 10+ hour days 7 days a week, all while have a child under 3 to take care of. Another pounded the sidewalk 40 hours a week for 2 months to get the job done. I could go on and on but, suffice it to say, we will not be ruined by a few that have a bone to pick with Mexicans or Latinos. There, I said it.

So, if you have anything against Mexicans for the sheer sake of them being Mexican, you can just leave the web page you are on right now before you even read the rest of this rant, because you are D O N E done. I am sick to death of your 'dirty Mexican' type of talk, and so are a LOT of others that just roll their eyes and move on to the next post. We will no longer walk by your side, you racists. We tried to give you the benefit of the doubt and be human, but that was a mistake, just like giving the goons the benefit of the doubt always is. Puke on your 'filty fat anchor baby' type statements. Puke on your 'its the culture' statements that veil your true anti-Mexican sentiment. You consider this PC ? You are a clueless nooblet. Come and earn your stripes, as it is usually those that have not stood with us on the streets or at the border that I am talking about. And, if you are not a noob, and have, we are DONE ignoring you and hoping that you go away. No, there are not many of you, but we have tolerated you when we should have not done so. We have left your rebuke for someone else to do. Not any more. If you are with me at a gig, you are toast. If I do not know you are like that, and you get that way in front of me, the rest of us will give you the steel toe. We will stand away from you. Yes, a few bad apples ruin it for everyone...and yes, its a few considering the hundreds...the 99% that are not.

Oh, btw, plz make sure that if you have not read the forum rules to do so. Also, lets make sure that our posts have some substance to them if the context calls for it.

As the dust settles over the next few weeks, you will notice some deletions. You will also notice that we are MUCH the better for it. So, just know that things will be a bit topsy turvy for a bit, but the ship will right itself. No, we are not going to engage in heavy handed moderation and deletions of posts. We will only be dealing with those we know that are like this, and those that show us they are. Remember, its just a natural cycle.


Sunday, November 12, 2006

Today we march, tomorrow we vote!

Latinos throw more support to Democrats
Analysts say GOP candidates' stance against immigration helped defeat them.
By Teresa Watanabe and Nicole Gaouette, Times Staff Writers
November 10, 2006

Anger over anti-immigrant rhetoric helped fuel a shift in the Latino vote to Democrats, damaging Republican hopes of luring this fast-growing population into its fold, Latino activists and political analysts said Thursday.
The electoral defeat of several Republican immigration hawks, along with national polls that showed the Latino vote helped Democrats recapture Congress, was touted as proof that the community had delivered on its vast political promise.
"We are showing at the ballot box that we can translate our numbers into political power," said Angela Sanbrano, executive director of the Central American Resource Center in Los Angeles.

Latino and immigrant-rights groups had vowed to follow up massive rallies earlier this year with campaigns to register voters and mobilize them to reject anti-immigrant candidates. Although many of them fell far short of their fundraising goals, activists said that the immigration debate, along with the Iraq war and the economy, had particularly fired up immigrant and young Latino voters.

In a troubling trend for Republicans, most of those voters went for Democrats. Nationally, a CNN exit poll showed that Democratic House candidates won 69% of the Latino vote this week compared with 55% in 2004 (other polls show 58%). A Times exit poll showed that 61% of Latinos supported Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides, compared with 33% who backed Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Analysts said that Republican attempts to use immigration as a wedge issue to galvanize conservative voters backfired by instead rousing more Latinos to vote. Those results were particularly apparent in Arizona, "ground zero" of the immigration debate, where several Republican immigration hawks were defeated, analysts said.

"[Republicans] have done long-term permanent damage to their brand with this community," said Simon Rosenberg, president of the Washington, D.C.-based New Democrat Network.

Some Republican analysts gloomily agree.

"It isn't what you say, it's how you say it," said Allan Hoffenblum, a Republican political strategist in Los Angeles.
"You had these Republicans sounding mean…. It's an angry tone that all American problems are because of illegal immigrants. There's little doubt that when you go around acting as if you don't like a group of people, they don't vote for you. So Latinos stopped voting for Republicans."

It was not clear, however, that immigration was the top priority for Latino voters. Several polls showed that education and the economy were more important.

In California, a Times exit poll did not find any significant surge of Latino voters. They made up about 12% of the electorate — about the same proportion since 1998.

Antonio Gonzalez, president of Southwest Voter Registration Education Project, said 1.2 million California Latinos voted this week, an increase of 100,000 over the 2002 election. However, he said that fell short of the 1.5 million voters that his group had hoped for.

One problem, he said, was that his group only managed to raise one-fourth of the $1 million it wanted for voter registration. In addition, he said, there were few candidates or ballot measures that generated the excitement or controversy needed to drive higher turnouts.

The We Are America Alliance, a national coalition of religious, labor and immigrant rights groups, also fell short of fundraising goals, raising only about $500,000 of the $1.6 million targeted for voter mobilization, according to Angelica Salas, executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles.

But Salas and others said the pro-immigrant marches and rallies this year had energized record numbers of immigrants into volunteering for voter outreach and education programs.

On election day, for instance, Ethiopian immigrant Admasu Mekonnen and Mexico native Antonio Bernabe teamed up to knock on doors and remind people to vote in one South Los Angeles neighborhood. In sweltering heat, they encountered dogs, housekeepers, relatives — but only a handful of voters at the 20 or so homes they visited.

That did not seem to discourage the pair, both noncitizen legal immigrants. After all, their work that day helped the immigrant rights coalition surpass its goal of contacting nearly 3,000 voters.

"We can't vote, but we can walk," said Bernabe, 46, who organizes day laborers for the immigration coalition. "This is not work. This is a mission."

An exit poll released Thursday by several Los Angeles immigrant-rights groups found that 60% of immigrants surveyed said Democrats had done a better job on the immigration issue than Republicans. The poll of 1,200 voters at 30 Los Angeles voting sites was sponsored by the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, the Central American Resource Center and the National Korean American Service & Education Consortium.

Another poll of Asian, Latino and African American voters released Thursday by the Asian Pacific American Legal Center of Southern California found widespread support for the legalization of undocumented immigrants across all communities.

Now that the Democrats control Congress, Salas said, many immigrants and their supporters expect immigration reform to become a top priority.

"Democrats have a huge opportunity to make good on the promise of comprehensive immigration reform, keeping in mind that many of those who brought them to power were the immigrants and their families," Salas said.

Anti-Mexican vigilantes accused of voter harassment

ARIZONA: Anti-Mexican vigilantes accused of voter harassment

Mexican flag burner, Roy Warden, had a 9mm Glock automatic
strapped to his side says New York Times

In Arizona, Roy Warden -- an anti-immigration activist with the Minutemen -- and a handful of supporters staked out a precinct in the city of South Tucson and questioned Latino voters as they entered the polls to determine if they spoke English.

Armed with a 9mm Glock automatic strapped to his side, Warden said he planned to photograph as many Latino voters entering polls at as many as 20 precincts in an effort to identify illegal immigrants and felons.

Warden heckled Democratic congressman Raul Grijalva as he walked into the precinct to cast his ballot.

Volunteer election monitors say three men armed with a video camera and a gun were intimidating voters at various polling stations throughout Tucson during voting on Tuesday.

From about 9:45 a.m. to noon, the men approached Hispanic voters as they attempted to enter Iglesia Bautista Kairos, 4502 S. 12th Ave. in precinct 25, said Diego Bernal, a lawyer with the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund.
One of the men would approach the voters with a clipboard, while another would film the encounter, Bernal said.

A third man, wearing an American Flag T-shirt and camouflage shorts, stood nearby with his hand on a handgun in a holster strapped around his hips, he said.

Kat Rodriguez of Derechos Humanos, who was also acting as an election observer at Iglesia Bautista, identified two of the three men as Roy Warden and Russ Dove, two anti-immigrant activists.

Bernal reported the incident to the FBI.

New York Times




Deadly Force
Brandishing insults and a gun, Roy Warden routinely threatens Latinos with death. Some observers fear the worst.

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Sunday services were under way inside St. Augustine's Cathedral. Outside, the summer air was still and quiet except for a few birds chirping in a courtyard near the entrance. But the serenity was doomed. A car pulled up, and a graying, bespectacled man carrying a handgun and a loudspeaker got out, two cameramen in tow.

Working fast, he positioned a collection of lawn chairs on the public sidewalk in front of the Catholic cathedral, then encircled the lawn chairs with what appeared to be a series of pink jump ropes and planted two American flags. With the bravado of a professional wrestler, he then stepped into the roped-off ring he'd constructed, threw down a Mexican flag, and ceremoniously stomped on it, grinding his heel for the cameras.

Then he turned on the loudspeaker and addressed the worshippers inside St. Augustine's.

"You people don't seem to understand forbidden territory, whether it's a child's anus or the American border! You just want to push on in, don't you?" he screamed, his face flushed with anger. "We are going to be driving you back to Mexico real goddamn soon!" Spit flew from his mouth. "Get used to it! My name is Roy Warden, and I burn Mexican flags!"

Defensive Perimeters
With a fanny pack loaded with water bottles strapped to his belly, a Glock 9mm on his hip, and a bullhorn to amplify his outrage, Roy Warden, 59, emerged this spring as one of the country's most controversial, volatile, and, many believe, dangerous characters of the anti-immigration movement. Along with occasional sidekicks Russ Dove, a former militia leader and convicted car thief, and Laine Lawless, the founder of the group Border Guardians who earlier this year urged neo-Nazis to terrorize Hispanics, Warden has burned and trampled Mexican flags in public, nearly started at least one riot, regularly wreaked havoc on Tucson City Council proceedings, and E-mailed a death threat to a prominent local public defender. Without regular followers or even a named group behind him, Warden is a one-man band of immigrant-bashing hate, a man so untamed that other anti-immigration activists shun him as an embarrassment.

Warden's tactics are over the top even for southern Arizona, a longtime hotbed of anti-immigration extremism. A typical Warden event has him standing within a roped-off "defensive perimeter" on a public sidewalk or in a city park, threatening to shoot anyone who crosses his line, then trampling and burning a Mexican flag while shouting insults through a bullhorn. In one recent instance he called Mexican immigrants "cowards and traitors who have abandoned the dream of Zapata and Marcos to feed like dogs on the table scraps of gringos."

Tucson is 70 miles from the border. Thirty-five percent of the city's half million residents are of Mexican descent. More often than not, Warden draws an angry crowd whose members he then bullies and taunts with carefully worded death threats such as, "If you try to inflict deadly harm upon me, I'll fucking blow you away!"

Warden may come off like a raving lunatic, but he is well versed in free-speech and self-defense laws, and he exercises his rights to the limit. As he explained to the Tucson City Council last May: "I am empowered to use deadly force to protect my own life. Now this is what it's gonna mean. It's gonna mean I'm gonna have a perimeter, I'm gonna speak through a loudspeaker down in the barrio, any place I want, and if people try to kill me, try to overrun my position, I will discharge a shotgun in their face!"
Interviewed by the Intelligence Report, Warden didn't shy away from his earlier remarks. "My safety, and the public's safety and the safety of those who oppose my viewpoints, is best ensured when everyone — police, rednecks, open border activists, judges, mayor, City Council, etc., etc. — truly understands I will blow the freaking head off anyone who offers me the imminent threat of deadly force."

Attention Deficit
Like many who've seen Warden in action, Matt Lowen, a human rights activist with the American Friends Service Committee, suspects that Warden may have "serious mental issues." "He reminds me of a child that doesn't get enough attention and continuously acts out and thrives on negative attention," Lowen says.

Warden's tantrums have been punished with frequent spankings in the Tucson media, plus two arrests in the past six months. Also, his website has been hacked, and Warden claims the reason he now lives out of his car is that he was evicted from his rental home in retribution for his demonstrations. He also says that gangbangers in baggy pants have followed him and that he has received many death threats from as far away as Colombia.

Whether Warden is a lunatic or just acts like one in order to raise a ruckus, he makes himself impossible to ignore, and his opponents say that he's the natural outgrowth as well as a symbol of the increasingly harsh tone of the national debate over immigration -- a debate in which mentalities and methods that were considered extreme in the past have now shifted into the mainstream. Three years ago, anti-immigration hard-liners were often portrayed as erratic fringe elements in the major media, with President Bush labeling one group "vigilantes." Now, anchorman Lou Dobbs hails them as heroes and patriots on CNN.

"The demagoguery and scapegoating of immigrants by public figures in the national media has encouraged the Roy Wardens of the world to be more brazen and violent," says Rich Stolz, a Tucson-based immigrant rights organizer with the Center for Community Change. "As long as fundamentally violent policy proposals like border militarization, vigilantism, mass deportations, and migrant concentration camps go unchallenged in the public debate over immigration reform, anyone with a Roy Warden mindset will perceive that they have a free pass to use the anti-immigrant platform to preach hate and violence."

Many in Tucson worry that it's only a matter of time before Warden either shoots someone or gets shot. "He's just waiting for the time when he feels threatened, his space is invaded, and that gun is going to be fired," Lowen says. In the meantime, as Warden's antics and rhetoric grow more inflammatory, they consume more time and energy among pro-immigration forces in the Arizona border region. In this respect, Warden is a success, a strategic diversion. "Activists in the Latino community really can't do anything but think about Roy Warden, follow him around with cameras waiting for him to slip up," Lowen says.

One of those activists is 16-year-old Arturo Rodriquez, who decided last June to find out what would happen if he stepped over Warden's line.

'I'll Put You in the Ground'
In the tiny living room of his Tucson home, Arturo Rodriguez connects his video camera to a television and presses play. Although his mother has seen the footage that pops up on the screen several times, the images still bring angry tears to her eyes, which she wipes away with the back of her hand.

The footage is of a demonstration Warden held June 3. Behind the camera was Arturo, a skinny teenager who wears glasses. Braces peek through his shy smile.

Arturo's a budding activist. He explains that he wanted to document Warden's activities this summer. "I was scared," he admits, "but sometimes you just have to suck it up." His footage shows Warden establishing his usual "perimeter" around a piece of sidewalk with a length of clothesline. As Warden rants and paces, Arturo and a friend step over the barrier. Warden erupts in the teenager's face.

"Get out of here!" Warden screams at Arturo, his face filling the video camera's lens. "I'll put a fucking bullet in your head!"

Arturo continues to film as Warden rages and moves toward him. "You get away from my border," Warden says. He then shoves Arturo backward. "You better stay out of our area because I'll put you in the ground if you don't."

Arturo turned his footage over to the police, who arrested Warden for assault, disorderly conduct, and two counts of making intimidating threats. Warden's trial on these charges is pending. In preliminary court appearances, he has used a Mexican flag as a doormat and worn a T-shirt bearing the legend "Chicana Pendeja" (very loosely, asshole) underneath a large photo of Isabel Garcia. Garcia is the Pima County legal defender and leader of the human rights organization Derechos Humanos.

Last May, Warden circulated an E-mail with the subject line "Warden to Isabel Garcia: I will blow your freaking head off." The text read: "If any of your pendejo thugs assault me in any way, break through my perimeter, make any threat of deadly force upon my life, etc., I will not hesitate to draw my weapon and blow your freaking heads off."

Interviewed about the E-mail by a television news reporter, Warden said: "I don't understand what the problem is. It's conditional: you try to kill me and I will kill you first. It's very simple."

Garcia, who Warden calls a "hairy-breasted Amazon," has been working on immigrants' rights issues for 30 years. Her parents were activists, and she held her first picket sign when she was 10. She's used to threats and insults and says she's not afraid of Warden, but she is frustrated by the effect his anti-immigration Tasmanian Devil act has had. Garcia points out that while massive immigration reform marches on April 10 drew millions of people into the streets all over the United States for peaceful marches, the Tucson march turned violent when Warden staged a flag burning in the middle of a park along the marchers' path. The crowd surged toward Warden, causing a Tucson police officer to draw his gun. Six young immigration activists were arrested on charges of aggravated assault on a peace officer, interfering with governmental operation, hindering prosecution and disturbing the peace, while Warden was arrested the next day and charged with suspicion of assault, criminal damage and reckless burning (these charges, like those resulting from his confrontation with Arturo Rodriquez, are pending).
"He really gets himself into this state of such venom and hatred. He calls us animals," says Garcia. "He'd like a young Latino to attack him. Then he'd pull out a gun and shoot him."

Jekyl and Hyde
Outside the St. Augustine Cathedral, Tucson radio journalist Jessie Bhangoo watched as Warden continued to rail against immigrants and the Catholic Church.

"You people are a chamber of horrors and you will not push into our country and destroy our culture with yours!" Warden shouted, his voice straining with emotion as police watched from a distance and television camera crews began to arrive. Bhangoo approached Warden and, with a tape recorder rolling, asked him why he was targeting the cathedral. Warden explained his belief that American parishioners are leaving the Catholic church due to sexual abuse scandals, and the church is bringing in Mexican immigrants to fill the pews. The church's "main concern is filling up the church with people that are more compliant, people that won't complain about the sodomy, people who won't give them any trouble. That is why they are openly courting the Hispanic people and helping import them from Mexico," Warden told Bhangoo, using a measured tone.

Then he started up on the loudspeaker again: "You Mexicans make me sick! You violate our law! You let priests screw your own kids! What is wrong with you? Maybe that is why you Mexican men are so violent, because you are frustrated, because you got sodomized when you were kids and you couldn't do anything about it, so now you beat your women. Yeah! Real tough guys aren't you!"

Bhangoo interviewed Warden a second time at Warden's home a week after the St. Augustine protest (Warden still maintained a residence at the time). At ease amidst a clutter of newspaper clippings and numerous empty grape juice containers, Warden sounded more articulate and rational than he ever does in public. "For months, I have sent out E-mails to all of the open borders groups asking them if their leadership would consider sitting down in something like a presidential debate format ... a town meeting where we would pick a local newscaster of trustworthy reputation and have a public discussion of the issues beyond the rhetoric and beyond all the sound bytes and the propaganda and discuss the issues," Warden told Bhangoo. "They simply don't want to discuss the issues, they have never agreed to that."

Wardens' transformation was startling. "At the rally, Warden incited the crowds using inflammatory language. But when I sat with him and turned on the microphone, his vocabulary expanded and his statements became a little more reasonable," Bhangoo says.

Locked and Loaded
During the demonstration at the church, Warden had spoken of his plans to prevent illegal immigrants from voting in the upcoming elections. He pledged to have people with cameras at Hispanic precincts snapping pictures of voters. "We will take every picture of every face and we will check your name and time against the voter roll and then we will run your name and your picture through software supplied to me by Homeland Security," he vowed. "We'll bring the law down upon your goddamn heads so fast you won't believe it."

When Bhangoo asked in the later interview what he meant by "we," Warden claimed to be working with several government law enforcement agencies. Pressed to reveal which ones, Warden's answer was vague -- and hard to believe. "You go through the FBI, you go through the Freedom of Information Act. If you know how to approach these people and you know how to write the applications, you can do it."

With or without the FBI on his side, Warden says he has no plans to turn down his volume in the weeks leading up to the elections, or after. "I've ordered dozens more flags," he wrote in an Aug. 12 dispatch to his E-mail list. "We're going to be very busy from here on out."

"I don't think Warden's going to stop," Lowen says. "He's wrapped his identity up in his crusade against [immigrants]."

In addition to his Glock, Warden wrote in August that he'll bring a baseball bat and a stun gun to future protests.
"We're locked, cocked and ready to rock," he said. "America is the stronghold, and here in Tucson, Ariz., we Americans will make our stand."

Intelligence Report
Fall 2006


Sony Takes Down Controversial Billboards

By Cesar Mendoza, main news editor
Category: News » Sony » PSP » Industry
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Sony have withdrawn the controversial PSP ads that caused the company to be accused of racism and has issued an apology. See inside for more.

In an unexpected move, Sony has pulled the controversial PSP ads that were displayed in the Netherlands after issuing a statement defending them and has now issued an apology for putting the ads up in the first place. The billboards depicted a white woman and a black woman (representing the white and black models of the PSP) in hostile poses towards one another and in one billboard, the white woman seemed to dominate the other. While shown only in the Netherlands, the ads nevertheless prompted accusations of racism from commentators all over the world.

In addition to pulling down the ads, Sony has issued the following statement:

Whilst the images used in the campaign were intended solely to highlight the contrast between the different colors available for the PSP, we recognize that the subject matter of one specific image may have caused concern in some countries not directly affected by the advertising. As a result, we have now withdrawn the campaign.

We further recognize that people have a wide variety of perceptions about such imagery and we wish to apologize to those who perceived the advert differently to that intended. In future, we will apply greater sensitivity in our selection of campaign imagery, and will take due account of the increasingly global reach of such local adverts, and their potential impact in other countries.

One of the harshest critics of Sony’s ad controversial ad campaign, California assemblyman Leland Yee, commended Sony for their response: “I am pleased to see Sony taking responsibility for their racially charged ad and appropriately pulling it from the marketplace. Sony did the right thing by recognizing their insensitive mistake and apologizing for offending many of their customers.”

And thus ends what has no doubt been another nightmare for the marketing gurus over at Sony Computer Entertainment. With noise raised in the past over a series of TV ads featuring squirrels, a viral grafitti campaign as well as a set of posters including one that suggested that the PSP features facilitate pornography and another that could be interpreted as an invitation to suicide, the PSP has rarely been free of controversy. This comes as a result of a deliberate push to be edgy, but time and time again, Sony has fallen off the edge. Let’s hope they learnt their lesson this time.

Source: Gamespot

Written by Cesar Mendoza, main news editor


Groundbreaking New Immigrant Health Care Study

Press Release:


Congressman calls study an important and compelling counterweight to misleading and misguided anti-immigrant rhetoric and another important example of immigrants' enormous contributions to our country

CHICAGO -- U.S. Representative Luis V. Gutierrez, chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Immigration Task Force, released the following statement today regarding a groundbreaking new Harvard/Columbia University study that appears in the current issue of the American Journal of Public Health. The study shows that health care expenditures are substantially lower for immigrants than for U.S.-born persons and conclusively refutes the assumption that immigrants represent a disproportionate financial burden on the U.S. health care system.

"We constantly hear anti-immigrant extremists, elected officials and media commentators making baseless claims about how immigrants are contributing to our nation's high health care costs. This comprehensive new study shows just how unfounded these allegations are, and I hope it will permanently put to rest these misinformed and misguided myths.

"When you separate fact from fiction as this study does, you see the real picture of our immigrant community. You see hardworking men and women who are actually using half as much care as other Americans, while helping to subsidize the system.

"Similar to how undocumented workers help sustain our Social Security System with a subsidy of as much as $7 billion a year, these individuals are helping to subsidize our nation's health care system through the taxes they pay.

"I applaud the authors of this study for their invaluable work debunking this anti-immigrant rhetoric and for painting an accurate, thoroughly researched, fact-driven picture of our immigrant community and our nation's health care system."

Racists asked to leave Ruby's

Several white supremacists were asked to leave Ruby's yesterday after a rally in Maywood, California. Many customers complained that they were loud, obnoxious, and talking about illegal immigration in a non-politically correct manner. A big time kudos goes out to the police officers who removed these hate filled white supremacists from the restaurant.

Save Our State member Weasel arrested!

White supremacist Weasel of the Save Our State organization was arrested today in Canoga, California at approximately 9:30 A.M. for threatening a person of Mexican descent with a taser. The incident was all caught on tape by an undercover security officer and is currently being used as evidence to prosecute Weasel to the full extent possible under the law.

Gallery of Racists

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White supremacist Huck phlem from the Save Our State organization attempts to rally people into forming a coup d'etat to overthrow the United States government and replacing it with a regime similar to Nazi Germany.

He calls for this coup d'etat after learning that the White House would have the audacity to have a Spanish translation of the material on the White House website.


Note that he is indeed "one pissed off mother fucker."

He should be investigated immediately by the FBI, CIA, and Secret Service for issuing such alarming threats against the United States government and conspiring to violently overthrow it.

Notice how he clues all of us in on his future plans of living as an outlaw, as a traitor, as a defector, as a murder, and as a criminal in the wilderness.

Scary, scary stuff...

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White supremacist Frank from the forum is determined to prove to everyone that people of Mexican descent are inferior to whites.

He asserts that because people of Mexican descent have not contributed to society in any major way that they should be treated harshly and inhumanly.

It can be seen that he is truly a classic racist.

Note the similarities between a racist against people of Mexican descent and a racist against people of African descent and how they will commonly try to debunk any achievements in the form of scholastic or medical excellence while focusing entirely on the negatives aspects of such races.

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White supremacist Blondee from the Save Our State organization is fed up with people of a different colored skin and people who have an accent when speaking English.

Blondee believes that the American way is only for those of an anglo white culture. She notes that multiculturalism is sickening because it is not the American way.

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White supremacist A Floridian from the Save Our State anti-Mexican organization advocates using nuclear devices in Mexico to kill off millions of people of brown skin. He states that it would be "great" to have another Mexican American war.

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Members of the Save Our State anti-Mexican organization burn a Mexican flag at a protest.

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White supremacist jinky from the Save Our State forum asks if there is a member of Hispanic descent in the organization.

The thread ironically goes unanswered on a forum of an organization that claims to be composed of many races.

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White supremacist retired from the Save Our State forum threatens the President with assassination if he does not call for the deportation of illegals in his speech Monday.

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White supremacist Maraakame from the Save Our State anti-Mexican organization fantasizes over a first person shooter type game that allows you to murder Mexicans in a virtual city. This is certainly not the first time the people of Save Our State have played these sorts of violent and disgusting video games. They have openly praised the racist Border Patrol video game that hit the Internet last year.

Success! Joseph Turner loses the election!

White supremacist Joseph Turner, founder of the Save Our State anti-Mexican/Mexican-American organization, has not surprisingly lost the school board election in San Bernardino. Major kudos to the American people for keeping this very dangerous man out of office.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Latinos voice concerns about racial profiling to police

Published: Wednesday, Nov 1, 2006


At left, Adriana Smith and Abraham Solar watch as Petaluma Police Officer Ed Esponda addresses members of the St. Vincent parish Sunday, in Spanish, in a community meeting organized by the church to address concerns about Latino community and police relations.
Nina Zhito
At left, Adriana Smith and Abraham Solar watch as Petaluma Police Officer Ed Esponda addresses members of the St. Vincent parish Sunday, in Spanish, in a community meeting organized by the church to address concerns about Latino community and police relations.

Alarmed at the growing concerns of local Latinos who feel targeted by law enforcement personnel, St. Vincent de Paul Church held a public meeting Sunday afternoon that included church leaders and Petaluma Police Department personnel.

“Many local Latinos say that they are being stopped by police who think they may be illegal immigrants or look like illegal immigrants,” said Ken Fujimoto, senior organizer of the North Bay Sponsoring Committee — a broad-based group of churches and other non-profit and business groups that helps immigrants face their many challenges — which helped to organize the event. “People can’t be stopped for that reason, but they can be stopped for speeding or having a malfunctioning tail light.

“We are asking the police department to put together a workshop for people in which they could explain when and why people can be legally stopped.”

Over 100 people crowded into Sunday’s meeting, which included Father Gary Lombardi, lay leader Abraham Solar and parish member Adriana Smith of St. Vincent and Sgt. Tim Lyons and School Resource Officer Ed Esponda of the police department. Spanish was the primary language spoken, and English translation was provided.

“The purpose of the meeting was to begin to establish a better relationship between the Hispanic community and the police,” Lombardi said. “We want to help local Hispanics observe the rules of our country and be sure that the police understand Hispanics.”

“We don’t want to point fingers at anyone,” Fujimoto said. “We hope to help build a better relationship between the Hispanic community and the police department. The problems of Hispanics have been persistent, but they now seem to be coming to the forefront.

“In 2004, Windsor was having the same problem between Hispanics and law enforcement officers. The two sides didn’t really understand each other: The police department needed to understand the perspective of Hispanic families, and Hispanic families needed to understand why they were being stopped.”

Fujimoto said that event organizers invited Petaluma Police Chief Steve Hood to the meeting, but he was unable to attend, so he asked Lyons to participate.

“We would like to engage the police chief in an ongoing conversation about these problems, and hope that he will be able to attend a follow-up meeting at St. Vincent on Nov. 12,” Fujimoto said, adding that having “very few” Spanish-speaking Petaluma police officers is a concern.

Fujimoto sees the local problems as representative of broader national issues.

“We seem to be living in a political atmosphere that is anti-immigrant, and there is a very strong sentiment that something wrong is taking place,” he said.

Lombardi felt Sunday’s meeting was a good preliminary effort to address local concerns.

“It was a good first step to build a mutual relationship of understanding,” he said.

(Contact Dan Johnson at

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