Archive for Saturday, September 1, 2007

La Raza might move ‘09 K.C. convention because of activist

September 1, 2007


— The nation's largest Hispanic civil rights organization is warning it may move its 2009 convention from Kansas City because of a controversial city park board member.

The National Council of La Raza is already looking at other cities after the appointment of Frances Semler, an anti-illegal immigration activist, said Janet MurguÃ-a, La Raza's president.

City councilmembers have also heard concerns from members of the NAACP, which is expected to hold its 2010 convention in Kansas City. The city hasn't heard directly from officials of the national organization.

Losing two national conventions could hurt the city's image and cost the local economy about $15 million, city officials said.

"Hopefully we can work it out," said City Councilwoman Melba Curls.

Mayor Mark Funkhouser appointed Semler to the Parks and Recreation Board of Commissioners in June, causing a stir in the local Hispanic community. Semler is a member of the Minutemen Civil Defense Corps and has taken a strong stance against illegal immigration and suggested a moratorium on legal immigration.

MurguÃ-a told Funkhouser in a telephone conversation last week that the conference will be held elsewhere if Semler doesn't step down.

"It is very troubling that we would be in a position to reconsider but in fact we are," MurguÃ-a said during a trip to Kansas City.

To make the move, La Raza would have to pay the city as much as $70,000 for failing to meet its hotel-room guarantee, she said.

MurguÃ-a said she has been in discussions with leaders from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, who she says have the same concerns.

The six-day NAACP convention would bring more than 10,000 people with an expected economic impact of $9 million.

La Raza fills more than 5,000 hotel rooms for its annual conventions with the economic benefit of recent conventions ranging from $5 million to $7 million, said MurguÃ-a, a native of Kansas City, Kan.

This year's convention in Miami attracted 2008 presidential hopefuls New York Sen. Hillary Clinton and Illinois Sen. Barack Obama as well as the Rev. Al Sharpton and Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott to speak.

Rick Hughes, head of the Kansas City Convention and Visitors Association, said a meeting Thursday with MurguÃ-a went well and he is hopeful that La Raza's concerns about Kansas City can be addressed.

"We still have it (La Raza convention) very much in our pocket and we all want to work toward a good, amicable solution," he said. "These are two critically important groups and we want to keep them on the ground with us."


Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 10 years, 8 months ago

Dave Helling is far from being a conservative. Dave has written for The Pitch and is one of the most progressive journalists at The Star.

Any way it cuts, there are far more people on the left whose jobs could be endangered for controversial beliefs than there are on the right. Don't promote something you don't want imposed on you.

Sigmund 10 years, 8 months ago

Agreed, let "The Race" move their convention. KC is better off without them.

ASBESTOS 10 years, 8 months ago

There is also a bill in the US Senate that has been slipped into a HUD bill to basically duplicate what HUD is doing but to give money to La Raza, which is akin to giving money to the arayan bortherhood or the KKK. Write your congressmen and get this out all over. THis is NOT what AMREICA is about and we shuely do not give HUD money for a duplicate program for LA RAZA only!!!!

It is S. 1923,To authorize appropriations for assistance for the Housing Assistance Council, the Raza Development Fund, and for the Housing Partnership Network (HPN) and its members, and for other purposes.

SEC. 4. ASSISTANCE FOR RAZA DEVELOPMENT FUND. (a) Use- The Secretary of Housing and Urban Development may make a grant to the Raza Development Fund for the purpose of providing technical and financial assistance to local non-profit organizations to undertake community development and affordable housing projects and programs serving low- and moderate-income households, particularly through organizations located in neighborhoods with substantial populations of income-disadvantage d households of Hispanic origin. Assistance provided by the Secretary under this section may be used by the Raza Development Fund toÂC

(1) provide technical and financial assistance for site acquisition and development, construction financing, and short- and long-term financing for housing, community facilities, and economic development;

(2) leverage capital from private entities, including private financial institutions, insurance companies, and private philanthropic organizations;

(3) provide technical assistance, training, support, and advice to develop the management, financial, and administrative capabilities of housing development organizations serving low-income households, including Hispanic households; and

(4) conduct such other activities as may be determined by the Secretary and the Raza Development Fund. (b) Authorization of Appropriations- There is authorized to be appropriated for grants under this sectionÂC

(1) $5,000,000 for fiscal year 2008; and

(2) $10,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2009 and 2010.

ASBESTOS 10 years, 8 months ago

"...serving low- and moderate-income households, particularly through organizations located in neighborhoods with substantial populations of income-disadvantage d households of Hispanic origin."

Serving Middle class is helping the poor? Additionally there is already a low income housing program, and funding is to be distributed NOT BY RACE!!! This one is giving "hispanic origin" protected class. Remember we stated this was not about race, but pro illegal alien issues ARE!!! This is La Raza, and our government is considering giving them funding, which will rob the poor from elsewhere and will be mandated BY RACE!

SettingTheRecordStraight 10 years, 8 months ago

Thank you for taking a principled stand, Mr. Stemler.

Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 10 years, 8 months ago

On this one, I have to agree, there's something that stinks when a group called The Race and another that's dedicated to elevating one specific racial group tries to tell a 73 year old American citizen what she can and cannot say. Let them both leave the area, we'll keep the first amendment, thank you very much.

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