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KC-MO Council Rebukes Mayor on Parks Appointment

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Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR
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Leaders from Latino, African American, Jewish and labor organizations protest the mayor's appointment of a Minuteman organizer to the Parks Commission.

By Sylvia Maria Gross

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/kcur/local-kcur-598284.mp3

Kansas City, MO – Kansas City Missouri's city council voted 9 to 3 to condemn one of the mayor's appointments to the Parks Board yesterday because of her affiliation with the anti-illegal immigrant Minuteman Project. Mayor Mark Funkhouser said Northland neighborhood leader Frances Semler has offered to resign, but he's standing by his decision for now. KCUR's Sylvia Maria Gross reports.

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Mayor Funkhouser said he appointed Semler to the board because of her creative ideas, but he might have reconsidered had he known she was a leader in a local chapter of the Minuteman. The organization patrols the southern border with Mexico and tracks illegal immigrants around the country for deportation. Yesterday morning, a coalition of civil rights organizations including Latino, African American, Jewish and labor leaders called the Minutemen a hate group and said the appointment was divisive. Rita Valenciano is president of the coalition of Hispanic Organizations

VALENCIANO: Talking about diversity and in the same instance appointing somebody who doesn't value diversity is incredibly insensitive and na ve.

Mayor Funkhouser said his office received many phone calls in support of Semler's appointment.

FUNKHOUSER: If I were to summarily say I changed my mind there's a whole other group of folks who would be very very angry.

The city council's resolution calls for Semler to resign within a week, but the council does not have the power to remove her from the board.

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