Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Frances Semler Controversy Timeline



As a public service I thought I'd highlight the top 20 (something) news items in Kansas City's Frances Semler Controversy . . . I'm going to try and post these links and news items chronologically starting with news of her appointment . . . However, a few of the items might skip around.

1. June 11, 2007 - This is the first post I can find regarding news of Frances Semler appointment to the Parks Board. Before this appointment she had worked on Mayor Funkhouser's campaign in the Northland. Previously, her only claim to fame was writing angry letters to the Editor regarding immigration and the Kansas City's Smartport.

  • June 14th - Kansas CIty's Latino Leaders, Union reps, Jewish leaders, and City Council people John Sharp, Cindy Baker Circo, Terry Riley and Beth Gottstein hold a press conference decrying the appointment of Minuteman Frances Semler. The City Council votes 9-2 in favor of a resolution asking for Semler to be removed from the Parks Board.

  • Later in the day the Mayor holds a rival press conference at which newly appointed Parks Board President John Fierro claims that "he can work" with Semler; the Mayor makes several mentions of the fact that Fierro is a Hispanic.

  • June 29th - A community meeting on the Westside hosts more than 100 people urging the Mayor to abandon his support of Frances Semler. The Mayor Stands his ground and tells the Latino Community that they are "entitled" to this issue for the next four years but he's not changing his mind. Interestingly enough it's revealed that the Mayor's wife asked for special police protection despite Funkhouser's earlier refusal of police bodyguards, his wife made a personal call to KCPD officals asking for protection for the Westside meeting and an Eastside meeting; she didn't make similar calls for the Mayor's Northland appearances.

  • June 30th - It was revealed that Frances Semler's appointment WENT AROUND the online application process touted by the Funkhouser administration during their campaign and early days of their tenure.

  • A post from The Pitch's blog reveals that Semler initially mislead reporters as to her involvement in the Minutemen. "The day she was appointed to the parks board, Semler told The Kansas City Star that she was “not active” in the group. But she has been one of the most active members of the Heart of America chapter since its inception last year."

  • After news of her appointment breaks, Semler declines to show up at a anti-immigration rally in Topeka.

  • July 16th - The Wall Street Journal posts a roundup of the Semler controversy as the national media starts to take notice.

  • July 24th - Yael Abouhalkah mistakenly claims that the Semler controversy has "petered out" the Mayor's biggest advocate at The Star turns out to be completely mistaken.

  • August 30th - The National Council of La Raza President Janet Murguia threatens to cancel the organization's convention in Kansas City because of Semler's appointment. Which would cost the NCLR more than $70 thousand dollars and remove $5-7 million worth of revenue from Kansas City.

  • The NAACP surprisingly supports the National Council of La Raza and claims that Semler's appointment on the Parks Board could cause them to move their upcoming convention in Kansas City as well.

  • Sept 2nd - Frances Semler writes an "as I see it" column in the Star. Her critics note that Semler opposes all immigration (actually she endorses an immigration moratorium) - Not just illegal immigration . . . She invokes the Minuteman mission statement in the final passages of her column related to her service on the Parks Board.

  • Sept 4th - A group of Immigrant rights activists write a letter and drop it off at Semler's doorstep. She calls police and goes on talk radio expressing her fear. Mayor Funkhouser calls it a "new low" in Kansas City politics. The KCPD adds extra patrols to Semler's neighborhood but note that nothing illegal transpired.

  • Cris Medina, director of Guadalupe Center - A local Social Service agency - Rejects the mayor's invitation to a monthly Latino Leadership meeting until the Semler controversy is resolved. These meetings have been a contentious point in the Latino Community and have been poorly attended by prominent members of Kansas City's Latino Leadership, so much so that Funkhouser had to resort to inviting his Hispanic neighbors.

  • Frances Semler shows up at a 710AM promotional event and is honored by nationally syndicated radio talk show host Laura Ingram. She gets a (worthless) "Power to the People" award and reportedly gets a standing ovation from the crowd. Other sources claim this wasn't true and the majority of the people at the Uptown were not only creeped out by the station's reactionary listeners but were also in the lobby and waiting for Dave Ramsey to take the stage. Here's a transcript of the awkward exchange where she continually refers to KC's Latinos only as "they."

  • A controversial anti-immigration rally in STL hosts Republican Presidential nominee Tom Tancredo. The forum blasted legal immigrants as well as undocumented residents. . . Reports circulate that Semler was in the audience. It's also worth noting that Semler reportedly showed up at a immigration meeting in the Northland at which audience members demanded that illegal immigrant children be removed from Missouri school, which presently runs counter to the law.

  • September 14th - Adding fuel to the fire, The Minutemen announce that they will hold their national convention in Kansas City in December. MSNBC reports that the convention will only host 300 people. The Convention is later delayed until February and will instead feature only workshops in one of the smaller rooms in Kansas City's Uptown theater.

  • After all of their big name columnists write in support of Semler and Funkhouser "sticking to his guns" (aimed at KC's Latinos) the Star surprisingly publishes an Editorial in favor of Semler's removal.

  • Bill George, Chairman of Kansas City's Convention and Visitors Association writes a letter criticizing Mayor Funkhouser for his failure to solve the Semler controversy and urges him to do so quickly and diplomatically rather than risking lost revenue for Kansas City.

  • TKC reports (according to a confidential source) that the NCLR will, in fact, show up in Kansas City despite claims to the contrary.

  • October 8th - News begins to circulate of meeting between the Minutemen and the Star editorial board during the previous week. Self-proclaimed President of the Minutemen held a press conference in Kansas City and worked with the KCPD to arrange security for the small meetup. Semler reportedly stood by his side. I didn't know this until now but, according to the World's most accurate encyclopedia, Simcox has previously been fined for a weapons violation by the by National Park Rangers in Coronado National Memorial Park. The SPLC reports that Simcox has lost custody of his son and is now on his 3rd marriage as one of his ex-wives continually makes accusations of mental instability. It's also worth noting that throughout last year, Simcox's wing of the Minutemen endured several accusations of financial impropriety which has so far gone unmentioned in Kansas City's Media. Here's the wikipedia page dedicated to Simcox.

  • Finally, a large scale meeting is slated between Mayor Funkhouser and the Latino community on Oct. 11th. Reports vary as to whether or not the media will be allowed to attend the event. Word has it that both La Raza and the NAACP will decide on whether or not they'll be coming to Kansas City for their conventions by the end of next week (Oct 19th). No matter which way this goes: This could very well be the defining moment of Mayor Funkhouser's tenure and an indication as to whether or not he'll be able to unite Kansas City or has given in to endorsing divisive groups and unintentionally embroiling Kansas City in a contentious debate that did not previously dominate this City's politics.


  • Mayor Funkhouser met with Latino leaders at Guadalupe Center October 11th, 2007 meeting. The Mayor heard statements from several Latino leaders in front of a group of nearly 30. Afterward the meeting, the Mayor blamed Latino leaders Cris Medina (President Guadalupe Center) and Rita Valenciano (President of the Coalition of Hispanic Organizations) for the controversy. Latino leaders expressed their frustration at the lack of understanding from the Mayor but hoped that a compromise could be achieved.

  • Midweek Oct 15-19th. Congressman Emanuel Cleaver (D) attempts to step in as a mediator.

  • Oct. 20th. The National Council of La Raza decides to back their local supporters and affiliates and cancel their convention slated for 2009. The mainstream media reports that the conference would have brought $5-7 million to Kansas City. La Raza will spend $75,000 in fines to cancel their hotel reservations. The group's statement on the matter includes the following passage: "Our decision is a clear expression of support for Kansas City’s Hispanic community," said Monica Lozano, NCLR Board Chair. "An active member of the Minutemen should not be an official representative for a city that purports to believe in diversity." Mayor Funkhouser's initial reaction is that he was "disappointed."


  • The Semler Controvesey lingers into 2008 along with new concerns about Mayor Funkhouser's management . . . SCLC yanks convention from KC

    A national civil rights organization co-founded by Martin Luther King Jr. is pulling its 2008 national convention from Kansas City to protest decisions by the mayor.

    The Southern Christian Leadership Conference thinks Mayor Mark Funkhouser showed racial insensitivity when he appointed a member of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps to the park board and when he tried to oust City Manager Wayne Cauthen, an African-American, without consulting with the City Council.

    Local SCLC members also have criticized Funkhouser and his wife, who allegedly called a mayoral aide “Mammy.”

    In a news conference this morning, Charles Steele Jr., president and chief executive officer of the SCLC, will announce the decision.

    “I am here to raise hell,” Steele said in an interview with The Star after flying into Kansas City Monday afternoon.

    He said the SCLC probably would hold its convention, expected to draw more than 2,000 attendees, in New Orleans instead.


  • Tuesday, January 22, 2008. Frances Semler sends out a letter to media organizations all over Kansas City and files her resignation.

  • 22 Comments:

    Anonymous said...

    ZZZZZZZzzzzzzzz, huh, wha? Oh, still this issue? ZZZZZZzzzzzzz.

    Che Guevara said...

    Thanks for the links Tony. Very informative.

    Anonymous said...

    biased but lots of links.

    Anonymous said...

    racist

    Heather said...

    I have to go to the store this evening. I'm out of eggs, milk, Cool Whip, and toilet paper.

    I prefer Charmin to any other paper.

    travelingal said...

    What are you going to do when you don't have Semler to kick around any more?

    I'm not giving you the benefit of the doubt any more. You only believe in our constitution when it suits you and illegal immigrants. If a citizen belongs to an organization that you don't like, you attack while hiding behind your computer screen.

    The fight is on. Grow some balls, climb out of your mother's basement and defend your position in the light of day.

    John said...

    Don't you see travelingal? That is the beauty of teh Intarwebs. You can be a douchebag and just post a bunch of misinformed blather in a blog, ad some quasi-journalism then mix in a little Mexi-tilt and spin, and there you have it, Tonyskansascity.

    thepaintman said...

    Yawning...........boy it was a nice day.

    Went to the Sprint Arena for open house. Nice inside. Good thing The "D" went on a weight loss. Dam seats are small, dam small.
    I wish a had a suite. Like City Hall.

    Did I say it was a nice day?

    mainstream said...

    Was David P Grader there?

    Anonymous said...

    I'd hit it!

    Tormentor of Bigots said...

    Tony, please do not disturb Travelingal's dirty, filthy, hate-filled life anymore. She is content being a sick woman who is unwanted by any other human life form.

    DaveKCMO said...

    Leave paintdouche bag alone. He ma fiend.

    thepaintman said...

    Why are you picking on Mark's BFF Frances Semler again?

    We love Frances as we love you too Tony.

    Anonymous said...

    Great Job tracking this story. Its amazing how many times this lady has lied and already done more than enough to be kicked off of the parks board, but yet she hasn't because this mayor doesn't have enough balls to stand up to his wife's friend.

    Anonymous said...

    its so nice to see Tony commenting on his work.

    Paintman said...

    Paintman,
    I am so proud of you for admitting your love for Tony and your
    BFF Mark! See how good it is to be honest about your feelings! Way to go, pendejito!

    I guess sitting on your head while you sleep did help you think straight today. I will have to start doing that more regularly from now on.

    Now, go take off that wig and stop doing your imitation of Mrs. Semler. She doesn't like it when you wear her clothes, porque you leave the corpiƱos all sweaty.

    Paintman's Housekeeper said...

    Paintman,
    See, there I go again. That last comment was from me, not you!

    Stop pushing my arm when I am typing. I don't like it when your little bolitas touch my elbow when I am busy doing something!

    Put those little things away - now!

    Ahorita! before I get out your huggy jacket!

    Anonymous said...

    Well Tony:

    The one thing that comes across is that after four months of arm twisting, led by someone we can only identify as "yo-mama", The Latino axis of conceited power has come up emptier than your head.

    The MO representtive of LULAC, in a Dos Mundos article, begged off the controversy, and now it seems that NCLR was letting their pockets do their thinking. The most amusing thing about all this is that for a so called powerful Coalition of Hispanic Organizations, or COHO, they've been bested by a woman of the third age who isn't even trying to kick their butts. The ocmmon trail to most of the principals in objecting to this runs through COHO, a lobbying NGO, presided by Rita Valenciano, whose mambership includes many NFP-NGO's who are barred from political action, but use COHO as a hired hand to lobby in favor of their interests. Case in point, Beth "Goshstein" (or "buttsie" as she's come to be known by Doonesbury fans who object to her anti-smoking crusade) used to preside over the same COHO member that NCLR crown prince Ramon Murguia now heads. Yoou could say that the COHO family tree looks like a x-mas wreath. All interconnected and self-supportig.

    The only thing that thisdefines is that finally, the voters will see that the political emperors of the metro have no clothes as they are exposed for the self-serving, hate-mongering racists more fittingto Tammany Hall than City Hall. More than one of these ethnocentric chieftains may find their political futures tainted by their displays of extremism.

    Traveling Gal:

    As to your request for Tony to grow a pair, we Hispanics have a saying: You can't ask pears from an elm. In this case, the acorn hasn't fallen far from the skirts.

    Augusto

    Pd: The other thing that Tony's Semler obsession has done is point out the growing irrelevance and banality of his puerile blog and how it is only exceeded in its intolerance of opposing viewpoints by that echo-chamber of ideological intolerance known as the Blue(balls)Blog.

    Anonymous said...

    also has brought people to look up la raza and decide that they are on the hate group and getting federal money. tonys mom still hasnt brought out the proof that the minutemen are rapist and murders. and bill george is only worried about the money his cabs will not be getting with the convention. any thing else oh yeah rita and janet ought to go to mexico and see how far there mouths go until they are put in jail there

    John said...

    Is it just me or does anyone else notice that all these Mexican posters spit out more acronyms than the fucking military? I can't keep up. Good thing they are Mexicans, or I'd have to be concerned.

    Anonymous said...

    My poop was over 8.5 Courics this morning

    PROGRESSIVE EDUCATION said...

    Dear Tony,

    I see that Frances Semler was on
    Paula Zahn on CNN. She made a few comments with another local associated with her, Joyce Mucci. This is where Semler suggests all immigration be stopped.

    I don't know how she got on national television back in 2005.
    Some of my other research suggests
    she is quite an activist and has been for some time.

    Does your documentation tell when her membership in Minuteman was first disclosed and by whom?

    David