I just got off the horn with former New Yorker and Republican activist Bob Haran, who today has severed ties with Anna Gaines' group American Citizens United, which yesterday announced a drive to recall Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon.
Haran, who was the group's President, said he never agreed with Gaines' idea of recalling Phil and characterized the effort as futile, considering Gordon's landslide reelection victory last fall. Indeed, the first the ex-Marine heard that the recall was a reality, was through the media, he explained. In his statement, he labels it a divisive issue, writing,
"I fear that if this recall makes it to the ballot based on the issue of immigration it will be like pouring gasoline on a fire that is already dividing people by their skin color and I want no part of it."
Haran said the original idea behind American Citizens United was to create an organization that would have nothing to do with the racists and neo-Nazis infiltrating the anti-illegal immigration movement. But he charged that the group, under Gaines' watch, was now allowing anyone into its ranks.
"She's not a bad person," he told me, praising her patriotism and courage. "Naive might be the right word."
Haran's statement is below. I think it pretty much speaks for itself. After this, can we all agree this recall effort is dead in the water?
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Bob Haran, May 2, 2008 firstname.lastname@example.org www.Bob-Haran.info
Statement by Bob Haran, former President, American Citizens United.
As the President and the person that came up with the name, American Citizens United, and the author of it's mission statement, I do hereby sever any connection with the group of people attempting to recall Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon, calling themselves "American Citizens United."
The original name of the organization was, "Arizona Patriots Supporting Enforcement of Immigration Laws," and was founded by Anna Gaines and the web site was www.azpseil.cloverpad.org
While the organization was still using the name "Arizona Patriots Supporting Enforcement of Immigration Laws," it was agreed that Anna Gaines would be the Chair and Chief Executive Officer and I would be the President and Chief Operating Officer.
I came up with the name "American Citizens United" on April 19, 2008 and Anna Gaines, as chairperson, approved the name change on April 20, 2008, I wrote the organizations mission statement, which Gaines approved after minor changes on April 21, 2008. The mission statement was published under "about us" by Gaines on the azpseil web site the next day and listed me as President of the American Citizens United.
Shortly after agreeing on the name change and mission statement, Ms. Gaines first touched on the subject of recalling Phoenix Mayor Gordon. I explained to her that it was more important for the American Citizens United to get organized and build a strong foundation and write a set of by-laws to govern ourselves before we attempted any project as large as recalling the mayor of Phoenix. I didn't see any point in resorting to a recall that not only would be extremely difficult to get on the ballot and close to impossible to win, given the fact that Gordon had just been re-elected with 77% of the vote and would be sure to be well financed in a recall election. In short I thought the idea of a recall was ill conceived and a waste of time and effort with little chance of success.
I'm no supporter of Phil Gordon, I think he has been trying to pander to some extent to both sides of the immigration issue. He doesn't want to look like a supporter of illegal immigration but he also doesn't want to alienate Hispanic voters and therefore he has really done nothing but attempt to obstruct the enforcement of immigration laws by the Sheriffs Office. Would that be a cause for a recall, maybe. Would a recall at this time be beneficial to the people of Phoenix or to the immigration control movement, absolutely not. The have a recall election centered on the immigration issue in a city that is over one third Hispanic is dangerously divisive to the community at large and irresponsible to say the least.
One of the reasons American Citizens United was formed was to turn the immigration debate around from becoming an issue of race. Both Anna Gains and myself have been disturbed by those opposed to enforcement of our immigration laws attempting to label anyone who is pro-enforcement as racist, and we have also been troubled by white racist trying to hitch-hike on the immigration issue to advance their racist agenda. We wanted to form an organization that not only advocated illegal immigration control but also opposed racism and turning the immigration issue into a brown versus white issue. I fear that if this recall makes it to the ballot based on the issue of immigration it will be like pouring gasoline on a fire that is already dividing people by their skin color and I want no part of it.
The effort to recall Mayor Gordon by Anna Gaines and her fellow travelers has not been well thought out and is just an impulsive action that cannot lead to anything positive and at best would just be a wasted effort and at worst it would further divide the people of Phoenix over the issue of immigration based on a their ancestry.
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With all due respect for Anna Gaines' patriotism and courage, recalling the mayor of Phoenix is a bad idea.
The mayor of Phoenix may be showing a lack of leadership on the immigration issue, but those calling for his recall are showing even less.
For more on this story, please see: "Wing-nutty Hobbit lady Anna Gaines attempts recall of Mayor Phil Gordon;" and, "Patriots Border Alliance's neo-Nazi love-fest; and why Anna Gaines' recall of Mayor Phil Gordon is doomed."