School bars illegal-immigration forum
Officials point to safety concerns
By Elena Gaona
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
August 6, 2005
CARLSBAD – A town hall discussion on illegal immigration scheduled for next week will not be held on the campus of Carlsbad High School as planned.
School officials said the event posed a potential risk of damage to the facility and could jeopardize members of the audience.
Organizers said the event will take place next week at an unspecified venue.
"We're in a holding pattern," said Wade Teasdale, an aide to Republican state Sen. Bill Morrow. "We're looking for another location right now."
Morrow is sponsoring the town forum called "The Illegal Immigration Crisis: A Frank Discussion." It is to examine how illegal immigration impacts health care, homeland security, education, the economy and the environment. The forum has been endorsed by the Republican Women Federated Board.
Speakers are to include U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., an outspoken opponent of illegal immigration; James W. Gilchrist of Aliso Viejo, founder of the MinuteMan Project; Los Angeles medical attorney and author Madeleine Cosman, who writes about the health costs of illegal immigration; and Pete Nuñez, former U.S. Attorney in San Diego, who has favored reducing immigration levels. Roger Hedgecock, a conservative radio talk-show host and former San Diego mayor, will serve as moderator.
Morrow's staff thought that by now they would be working on final details of the event scheduled for Thursday at 7 p.m., but one week before the discussion was to take place inside the remodeled Carlsbad Community Cultural Arts Center on the campus of Carlsbad High School, Superintendent John A. Roach denied use of the theater.
He cited recent emotional outbursts that turned into altercations at demonstrations and counter-demonstrations regarding illegal immigration.
In a letter Roach faxed reaffirming his refusal of use of the theater, which was originally conveyed to Morrow's office by telephone on Wednesday, Roach said that district rules allowed him to "refuse the use of the Cultural Arts Center if an event poses an unreasonable risk of damage to the facility, equipment or furnishing, and that might jeopardize the security, health and well-being of an audience of the community.
"Based on my understanding of the recent events in Garden Grove, Baldwin Park and Campo, it is my belief that the event you had planned poses exactly such a risk."
On May 14 in Baldwin Park, police in riot gear were sent in to calm angry protesters and counter-protesters over a 20-foot public monument that says "this" land, where the monument is located, has belonged and always will belong to the Indian and Mexican peoples.
On May 25 in Garden Grove, a motorist there to attend an appearance by Gilchrist injured two of the hundreds of protesters who also showed up.
On July 16 in Campo, an aide to Morrow filed a police report stating he had been kicked by a man he identified as a UC Riverside professor who was protesting the California Minuteman Project set up there to watch for illegal border-crossers.
Other illegal immigration-focused events have pitted protesters and counter-protesters in scuffles, shouting matches and finger-wagging.
The Carlsbad school district office has received numerous calls from citizens upset by the cancellation, a secretary said yesterday.
Morrow's office said organizers intend to nail down a location for the rescheduled event by Monday.
Silvia Berrios, an Oceanside businesswoman, said she plans to attend the forum, not to cause trouble, but to present a different point of view than those expressed by the speakers.
"I'm not going to be violent, but I want to show that, personally, I contribute much more to this country than (alleged by) the one-sided show they're presenting to the public," said Berrios, an immigrant from El Salvador.
The town hall is still welcome in the city, said Carlsbad police Lt. Bill Rowland.
"This is an emotional thing for both sides," he said, and the goal of police is to oversee a gathering that allows for "peaceful expression on both sides."
Nonetheless, he said, "We're prepared to handle whatever situation comes up."
Oh my God... it might get emotional... Boo Fucking Hoo... Cry me a fucking river.
There shouldnt be any debate over this in the first place. ILLEGALS are breaking the fucking law... Toss there asses back across the Rio Grande aleady
This is in CA, I would be willing to bet that the illegals will be present in large numbers
The INS should also be there, I would also be willing to bet that they will NOT be there.......
Now THAT is a great idea. Simply invite the INS and have a few paddy wagons standing by
They are more likely to arrest the legal citizens that defend themselves against illegals that assault them
Major topic on KFI this pm.
Seems they now have a dead bang suit against the district if they don't rescind the ruling. The case was cited but doesn't show up yet on the website yet. It's a case in San Diego where cancelling a public forum due to threat of violence by opponents was ruled an unconstitutional prior restraint of free speach. This is the same appeals court district so they are pretty sure they are going to get back in. Should be interesting. This isn't ended yet. by a long shot.
Yup. It was even a California Appelate Court ruling.