Friday, June 22, 2007

Meet Frances Semler

Frances is 73 years old and known about town in Kansas City MO as being involved in the community. Being visible, she was recommended by Mayor Funkhouser to serve on the Park Board. In fact, the mayor reorganized the entire board at the same time, leaving only one member from the previous administration.

One blogger says Frances has “the fashion sense of a librarian”, not what you’d call an intimidating figure. All was well with her appointment; she was even voted in by the city council.

Then it was discovered that Frances is also a member of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps. She was reasonably active in the group, but obviously not a headline grabber since the mayor and city council didn’t connect her to the group until after she was voted in.

Well, it just won’t do to have a Minuteman on the Park Board. That’s just plain wrong.

Beth Gottstein, a member of the city council said: “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.”

Rita Valenciano, the president of the Coalition of Hispanic Organizations in Kansas City said: “It’s like a member of the Ku Klux Klan” …“I definitely think it disqualifies her.” (Her brain waves must have melded with Gottstein’s. Eerie, isn’t it?)
Cris Medina of the Guadalupe Center said “What? Oh, my God. The community will be very upset.”
At first the mayor told her to “hang in there” when Semler offered to resign. But he’s had second thoughts. It’s a good thing because the city council passed this resolution on June 14th. The vote wasn’t even close. Two abstained, two voted no, and NINE voted to remove her:
“WHEREAS, the appointment of Commissioner Frances Semler will likely be a divisive force in our community rendering the work of the Board of Parks and Recreation Commissioners suspect in many quarters; NOW, THEREFORE,
“Section 1. That the Council respectfully requests Parks and Recreation Commissioner Frances Semler recognize the potential for community distrust of the work of the Board with her involvement as a Commissioner, and respectfully requests her resignation from the Board of Parks and Recreation Commissioners.
“Section 2. That if Parks and Recreation Commissioner Frances Semler does not resign within one week of the passage of this resolution, that the Mayor, in accordance with section 1001(b) of the City Charter is requested to recommend to the Council the removal of Commissioner Semler from the Board of Parks and Recreation Commissioners.”
I guess I can never serve in an official capacity now. But what about Mayor Alan Mansour in Costa Mesa, California? And he was re-elected last year. Hmmmmm.

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