Durham's been buzzing the past few days as the details of Thomas Stith's robo-calling campaign have been spreading through the community.
Here's a transcript of one of the calls:
Hello, this is Thomas Stith.
Did you know that Durham is a sanctuary city, a city where illegal immigrants commit crimes without fear of being deported? That's right, our local police can't inquire about the citizenship of people who commit a crime in our city.
We can change that with your help.
In Monday's city Council meeting, I'm going to introduce a resolution that ends the policy that makes Durham a safe haven for illegal immigrants. Call members of the City Council, and attend the City Council meeting on Monday to show your support. I'm Thomas Stith. Thanks for your time.
You can listen to a tape of this call here.
Couple of points to make about this. First, Stith not only voted in favor of the resolution making Durham a "sanctuary city" four years ago, he seconded the motion. So, we've got some flip-flopping going on. Second, Stith started raising this issue within hours of John Ham bringing it up on the JLF's Right Angles blog. (Kevin points out that Ham actully bragged about this.) So now we've got water-carrying for the organization that Stith was formerly employed by (to be precise, Stith was a VP for Civitas Institute.) The call itself is nothing but ethnic fear-mongering, distasteful under any circumstances, but perhaps more so coming from a man whose family was instrumental in fighting against American apartheid in the 50s and 60s.
But for me, here's the worst part.
Several African-American Durhamites are reporting having received a second version of this call, which leads off with Stith making the claim that "he knows what it's like to be targed by the police because of the color of his skin."
So we can add race-baiting to the mix as well.
Stith has said he will try to introduce a resolution at tonight's council meeting to revoke the "sanctuary city" status, and called on his supporters to turn out. There's something unseemly about trying to turn a council meeting into a campaign rally, and we hope to have enough people there tonight to keep that from happening.
there's also ongoing discussion about what exactly the "sanctuary city" means. Clearly, it does not mean that the government of the city of Durham will shelter illegal aliens from deportation or arrest by the feds.
Again, Kevin's post linked above discusses the ramification of the 2003 council resolution. I've got several posts up on this topic as well, including the full text of the police order which describes DPD's interpretation of the Council resolution.
If you're in Durham, come on out to tonight's council meeting at City Hall. The meeting starts at 7, the fireworks should begin sometime after 7:30, after the ceremonial stuff and the consent agenda are out of the way.