Saturday, June 18, 2011

Carrollton City Council candidates asked about race, civil unions, immigration changes

Staff Writer
Published 13 June 2011 10:36 PM

CARROLLTON - The runoffs for two City Council seats feature both the expected and the unexpected. There's debate on the budget and the effects of the recession, but in this diverse city of 130,000, there are also questions rising on civil unions and immigration.

In Place 2, former council member and attorney Bonnie Kaplan faces software developer Anthony Wilder. Kaplan won 37 percent of the vote and Wilder 32 percent in the May 14 election.

In Place 4, Bob Garza, a retired telecommunications manager, faces Cathy Henesey, a hospital human resources manager. Garza had 37 percent of the vote and Henesey 30 percent last month.

Early voting for Saturday's runoffs ends Tuesday.

At a candidates' forum last week organized by resident Mike Ghouse, questions were asked about social issues. Ghouse is Muslim, an immigrant from India and an organizer of events centered on religious tolerance and cultural understanding.

Wilder missed the forum, citing scheduling conflicts.

Ghouse asked what the candidates thought of civil unions of gay or lesbian couples. Six years ago, the mayor at the time, Becky Miller, was criticized for participating in a gay pride parade. Gay groups moved quickly to defend her.

The city doesn't offer domestic partner benefits. Kaplan said couples "have the right to be in the kind of relationship they want." The day will come when civil unions are recognized more broadly, she said.

Garza noted that the issue is unresolved at the federal level. "One of my top goals is that I will represent everyone fairly and equally," he said.

Henesey noted that many companies offer domestic partner benefits. After the forum, she said she supports domestic partner benefits for city employees and added that civil unions can involve any two people who are committed but not married.

Issues of racial profiling and opposition to Islam merged into questions on immigration laws.

In 2010, the city was sued by a black businessman beaten by a Carrollton police officer as he prepared to sell a used vehicle to a customer and took off the license plate. The businessman had a concealed weapon, and a police video of the beating included his statement that he had a concealed weapons permit.

"Racial profiling is something that may be happening. . It certainly is something I won't tolerate," Garza said.

Kaplan said her home was painted with a swastika years ago when she moved to Carrollton.

"I am really Irish Catholic," Kaplan said. "My husband is Jewish."

But the incident deepened her sensitivity to discrimination, she said.

Asked if immigration law is a federal or state issue, the three candidates said it is a federal issue.

Henesey, though, said the city should adopt the federal government's volunteer program called E-Verify for its contractors to make sure only legal residents are hired.

Under the E-Verify program, Social Security numbers are checked to see if they are valid. In 2007, the state of Arizona  passed an immigration law that included mandatory use of E-Verify, and that 2007 law was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court three weeks ago. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce fought against E-Verify in the Supreme Court case.
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Only way to correct this situation is to correct ourselves. Here is a reason why ?

Islamic Association of North Texas (IANT) criticized.

The IANT Board Members have expressed their dissappointment in a letter signed (CLICK HERE TO SEE THE LETTER) by several current and past members "It is painful to watch the split of the community on the issue of IQA School ”. The following article appeared in "my Crescent" magazine today.

When Aswad had to be reinstated at Kaaba, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) set the model of peacemaking through conflict reduction and nurturing goodwill, as an example for us to follow. He asked leader of every tribe to participate, and come together for goodwill and lift Aswad up and set it in the wall.

Indeed, to be a Muslim is to be a mitigator of conflicts and nurturer of goodwill. Given the situation, we need to resolutely refrain from finger pointing at any one. No one should dig in their heels and defend their positions; we should not put any one through that. The time now is simply to come together, set the priorities and work on achieving them.

Please ask people to find the truth first hand before they share it with any one, let the rumor stop at you, it is the Muslim thing to do.

I would urge every Muslim to write goodwill notes here and find solutions in the comment section of the Crescent without blaming any one, and kindly remember that your solution is one of the 99 possibilities, rejection of your idea should be taken with pleasantness and not sourness.

Jazak Allah Khair