Did You Hear the One About the Farmers Branch Mayor Pro Tem Invoking Rosa Parks' Name?

Say, Tim O'Hare, the ghost of Rosa Parks would like a word with you...

Lucky for you, dear Friends of Unfair Park, our early-rising blog editor caught Saturday’s 7 a.m. Today show, during which Farmers Branch city council member and deputy mayor pro tem Tim O’Hare -- a fervent proponent of the law mandating citizenship certification requirements for apartment-renters in that city -- sparred with Ordinance 2903 opponent Chris McGuire. In a long-winded and fervent oration, O’Hare invoked the names of historic black civil rights leaders -- to bolster his case for giving illegal immigrants the boot!

After the jump, a transcript from the broadcast, followed by a response from Casey Thomas, president of the Dallas chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Needless to say, he is not amused.

CAMPBELL BROWN, Today anchor: Well, let me ask both of you to address this question if you believe it's not a municipal issue. The federal government, Congress has been trying to deal with this issue for quite some time now. They have had no success. Why shouldn't cities then take it upon themselves to try to solve the problem?

TIM O'HARE, Farmers Branch Deputy Mayor Pro Tem: Campbell, we have heard...from the opponents of this ordinance from day one that this is a federal issue, and my question to Chris and every other person that's against this ordinance, would you have told Rosa Parks that it's a federal issue and wait on the federal government? Would you have told Susan B. Anthony that it's a federal issue, wait on the federal government? Where would our country be today if Susan B. Anthony and Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks had waited on the federal government.

CHRIS McGUIRE, United Farmers Branch: Well, I think every one of those civil rights leaders would just come right back at you and say that, you know, using their names to promote a law that is discriminatory is just laughable, Tim.

The NAACP's Thomas told Unfair Park this afternoon this was the first time he'd heard an anti-illegal immigrant crusader invoke the names of Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. to support the cause. After we read him the transcript, he said, “I believe he’s using that out of the context in which those individuals stood up for what they did. They were not a part of the establishment, part of the government, so they were speaking for people who were looked at as the outcasts, as opposed to people who were part of the establishment.”

Though O’Hare and his supporters claim they’re victims of an unchecked wave of illegals, for some reason, Thomas doesn’t think their complaints really compare to black citizens being barred from buses and schools drinking fountains and pools. Oh, and being lynched. Yeah. Really not the same thing.

Thomas also pointed out that the national NAACP office supports comprehensive immigration reform, which would include not just additional border enforcement but also a path to citizenship for the millions of undocumented immigrants already in the country. He’s not a fan of the ordinance Farmers Branch passed on Saturday.

“To use the laws to force people out -- there’s a better way to go about accomplishing something than to create an ordinance and forcing people to leave,” he says. --Megan Feldman

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky

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