Archive for Sunday, July 30, 2006

Texas town upset about Sheehan’s land purchase

July 30, 2006

Advertisement

— Like many folks in President Bush's adopted hometown, 83-year-old Robert Westerfield isn't exactly rolling out the welcome mat for the town's newest resident: war protester Cindy Sheehan.

"I wish she'd stay away. Crawford's a Republican town, and she's a dumb Democrat," Westerfield, a lifelong Crawford resident, said Friday while sitting on a bench outside a gas station on Main Street.

Sheehan, whose monthlong war protest near Bush's ranch last summer attracted more than 10,000 demonstrators, recently bankrolled the purchase of a 5-acre parcel near downtown to be used for future protests, including one next month.

The protesters group said it outgrew a 1-acre lot about a mile from Bush's ranch that a sympathetic landowner provided. Several hundred demonstrators returned to the lot over Thanksgiving and Easter.

Now many of the town's 700 residents fear the traffic congestion, noise from rallies and odor from portable toilets will affect those closer to town.

"When it's here, it affects a different set of people," Teresa Bowdoin said.

Gerry Fonseca, a Vietnam veteran who attended the protests in August and April, returned to Crawford in June to help the group look for property.

Gerry Fonseca clears brush Thursday from a 5-acre lot in Crawford, Texas. The lot was bought with insurance money Cindy Sheehan received after her son was killed in Iraq. Fonseca, also a war protester, was Sheehan's agent in the purchase.

Gerry Fonseca clears brush Thursday from a 5-acre lot in Crawford, Texas. The lot was bought with insurance money Cindy Sheehan received after her son was killed in Iraq. Fonseca, also a war protester, was Sheehan's agent in the purchase.

Fonseca said he doubts that any Crawford landowner would have sold to Sheehan or other protesters, so he didn't reveal his connection. Fonseca, who lost his Slidell, La., home in Hurricane Katrina, told sellers about that part of his life and that he wanted to build.

He bought the $52,500 lot in mid-July, using insurance money that Sheehan received after her oldest son, Casey, was killed in Iraq in 2004.

The lot is a tenth of a mile from a small "Welcome to Crawford" billboard featuring a picture of Bush, smiling with a thumbs-up sign, and his wife.

The land consists of pasture and tree groves. Trucks began dumping gravel for a driveway on Friday, and water lines will be installed next week.

Fonseca said he is still trying to arrange for electricity to be hooked up.

Although the site is more than 7 miles from Bush's ranch, it will have more space for the group's large activities tent, camping area and parking.

"This is close enough. We're still protesting in the community that he chose to live in," Fonseca said.

Comments

Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.