There have been shouting matches, lawsuits and demonstrations, but the fight in Farmers Branch is just beginning. A petition has forced the city's controversial ban on renting apartments to illegal immigrants to a May vote, the city revised the measure only last week, and supporters are continuing with fund-raising efforts to fend off four lawsuits. Meanwhile, opponents of the measures are gearing up for a voter registration drive this weekend.
Let the Voters Decide, a group of business and community leaders opposed to the ordinances, is kicking off the drive Saturday morning at 9:30 at 2704 Valley View Lane. They'll start with a training session to "deputize" folks to register voters, then go door to door around town, says Elizabeth Villafranca, president of the Farmers Branch League of United Latin American Citizens chapter.
"We are on fire," she tells Unfair Park. "There's nothing anyone can say or do that will put a glitch in the work that we're doing."
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Their goal is to register 1,000 new voters. Critics of the approach have said that since many Latinos in Farmers Branch are immigrants unable to vote, the measures could likely be approved on May 12, but Villafranca says that's not the case.
"I think the city of Farmers Branch has a lot of educated people who are really gonna get it," she says. "There are already quite a few Hispanic voters registered, and when we did the petition drive, a lot of the people who signed were Anglo. I don't think this is a 'Mexican versus white' issue. At the end of the day, this is a social justice issue."
Oh, and in other Farmers Branch news, council member Tim O'Hare has recently launched his own campaign Web site.
And just in case you thought claims of racism were coming only from one side of the debate, we thought we'd call your attention to this quote posted below his photograph: "Mr. O'Hare would deserve praise for his actions alone. But throw in the bitter, racist hatred he and his family have tasted since standing up for U.S. law, and it becomes the stuff of outright heroism." That comes from WBAP host Mark Davis' Dallas Morning News column supporting the ordinances. Because you can totally trust Mark Davis about who is and isn't a racist. --Megan Feldman