Last Monday the Salem City Council unanimously approved an Inclusive City resolution after hearing highly emotional, and also highly reasoned, testimony from 45 citizens -- all but two of whom supported the resolution.
Person after person talked about the fear being experienced by both undocumented and documented immigrants after Trump announced stepped-up deportation efforts. They urged passage of the resolution to show these immigrants that Salem cares about them and will support them.
But as I blogged about in "Citizens strongly support Salem 'Inclusive City' resolution. Conservatives not so much." there was both subtle and not-so-subtle resistance to the resolution among the four conservatives on the City Council: Mayor Bennett and councilors Brad Nanke, Steve McCoid, and Jim Lewis.
Likewise, Gator Gaynor and Denise Nanke (wife of Councilor Nanke), who are right-wing talk show hosts on KYKN, engaged in a rant about the City Council's approval of the Inclusive City resolution. They actually called the 43 concerned citizens testifying about the fear and anxiety caused by Trump's effort to deport undocumented immigrants a "mob mentality."
I shared the vehement remarks by Gaynor and Nanke on SoundCloud. But since many people won't take the time to listen to the 10-minute recording, I've made a transcript of a portion of what they said.
I was stimulated to do this after reading an OPB story about an ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) arrest of an immigrant who has lived and worked here since 2001.
I defy anyone, including Gaynor and Nanke, to read "ICE Plans to Deport Oregon Immigrant With 5 Children, No Criminal Background," without feeling outrage at the Trump administration's action, and sympathy for Roman Zaragoza-Sanchez and his family.
Here's an excerpt from the OPB story:
Zaragoza-Sanchez’s arrest, along with a recent immigration raid in Woodburn, Oregon, illustrates the expanding categories of undocumented immigrants federal officials are targeting for arrest and deportation.
Most significant, ICE has confirmed that in Oregon it has arrested and detained Roman Zaragoza-Sanchez and at least four immigrants in the Woodburn raid who do not have criminal records aside from offenses related to their entering the country illegally.
These cases appear to validate the concerns of immigration activists, who say President Donald Trump’s recent executive order on immigration, and two Department of Homeland Security memos that followed it, effectively make all 11 million people who have entered the country illegally into potential targets for deportation.
But all this doesn't matter to Gator Gaynor and Denise Nanke, who don't see any need for the Inclusive City resolution. Of course, Nanke's husband, Councilor Nanke, voted for it. As you can read below, though, Gaynor and Nanke saw no purpose to the resolution, and actually believe it made Salem worse.
Obviously these right-wingers are out of touch with the majority of people in Salem, judging from the amazingly inspiring, and virtually unanimous, display of support for the Inclusive City resolution at Monday's City Council meeting.
It's disturbing that Mayor Chuck Bennett has chosen to appear on Gaynor and Nanke's talk show after every City Council meeting.
One would think that Bennett would rather choose some other way to communicate with citizens other than a right-wing radio program that disparaged Salem progressives, including City Councilor Tom Andersen, who sponsored the Inclusive City resolution.
Read on. I did my best to make this partial transcript as accurate as possible. The 10-minute recording of Gaynor and Nanke's remarks can be heard here.
Gator Gaynor: I am not a racist. The idiots who say this are clearly exactly who I describe when I am discussing progressive tactics.
…Denise Nanke: There was one side, and it was Tom Andersen, who brought this whole thing up, grandstanding on the backs of these people. It was using it as a wedge. It was really cynical. It was cynical politics and it was hiding behind a veneer of compassion. Because the very people that they’re claiming to be helping are the ones they’re standing on top of to make a point. So they use this as a wedge to further divide our community.
…This group Progressive Salem used the very people they claimed they wanted to be helping as a wedge issue in this community. They wasted everybody’s time, they whipped up the crowd, they whipped up everybody, into an emotional… I mean people were practically crying, Tom Andersen was practically crying. And you know, it was just theatre. It really was theatre.
…Gator Gaynor: One thing I kept hearing, Denise, throughout the arguments last night and today, “Well, in response to the national climate that President Trump is setting…”, I was thinking, “Are you children?
Denise Nanke: And, Trump. There it is. OK, we’ve got that out. And you know, Councilor Kaser’s comments again, heartfelt or whatever, they are talking points that is a part of a narrative that is being spun out by a certain faction of these organizing groups from the left, echoing talking points. But my question is, what was the motivation for putting… this resolution, it did absolutely nothing, it was purely for show. It basically just reinforced procedures and laws and ordinances that already are on the books and have been f0r years.
So what it really did, I think it did a lot of damage last night. It further drove a wedge into the Salem community. It did damage. When you have special interests that coming in here who are not really interested in the individual people. They can claim that they are, but they’re really not, because I think a lot more damage was done.
…Gator Gaynor: We woke up today, with for better or worse, the same Salem as it was last night.
Denise Nanke: Actually, I think, a little worse for the wear. Councilor Tom Andersen actually did damage last night.
…Gator Gaynor: First of all, I don’t agree with this resolution. I think it was not only a waste of Councilor Andersen’s time, it was a waste of the Council’s time, and it was a waste of everyone’s time, and even ours, because we’re having to respond to this.
…Denise Nanke: It clearly was a stunt
Gator Gaynor: Of course. But you can’t tell them that. Because as soon as you say that, the names start coming out. “Well, you don’t want to be inclusive?” We are inclusive. As a matter of fact, Salem and the State of Oregon are already in defiance of federal immigration law. So your resolution did nothing. I’ve asked several people today, “Don’t chew my head off, I’m just asking the question, “What did last night’s resolution do?” And every single response I got was emotionally driven. “Well, you know, it really sets the record straight.” Well, it did jack nothing,.
…Denise Nanke; You know, you had kind of a mob mentality last night, the place was packed.