A PROGRESSIVE VOICE FROM THE LLANO ESTACADO

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Petition Submitted For Vote On Anti-Immigrant Ordinance

A few weeks ago, the city of Farmers Branch passed an anti-immigrant ordinance targeted at the Hispanics living in the city. The ordinance has come under fire from Hispanic and civil rights groups, and at least one lawsuit has been filed to overturn the ordinance.

Residents of Farmers Branch have also been trying another way to get rid of the ordinance. They have been collecting signatures on a petition calling for a vote by the citizens on whether to overturn the ordinance or not.

The anti-ordinance citizens needed 700 signatures to force the city council to call the election. The group has now turned in the petition to the city council. The petition has over 1400 signatures. Now the city has 15 days to verify that at least 700 of the signatues are from registered voters living in the city.

Of course some of the ordinance supporters are claiming that many illegal immigrants may have signed the petition. But William Brewer, a petition organizer, answered that charge saying, "That was all a bunch of silliness. The petition was signed by registered voters."

According to City Attorney Matthew Boyle, if the petition is found to have 700 valid signatures, the city council will have to choose between repealing the ordinance or scheduling a city-wide vote for May 12th.

I seriously doubt the city council will repeal the ordinance, so it looks like the voters will get their chance to speak on the matter next May. I hope the decent citizens of Farmers Branch will overturn this bigoted ordinance. The city council has given their city a lot of bad publicity by passing it, and set them up to spend thousands of dollars trying to defend this obnoxious ordinance.

It's up to the voters now. The election next May will tell the nation just what kind of city Farmers Branch is -- bigoted or progressive and accepting. It will be interesting to see what choice they make.

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