Mike for Spokane responds to questions from the Washington State Council on American-Islamic Relations:
2011 CAIR-Washington Candidate Survey
CAIR-Washington is the local Washington state chapter of CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) serving the Northwest. CAIR is the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy group.
CAIR-Washington is a not-for-profit organization registered in Washington. Though it leverages the resources, expertise, and knowledgebase of CAIR (based in Washington D.C.), it functions as an independent organization that sets its own strategy and goals.
CAIR’s mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
Candidates are asked to answer the following questions honestly and to the best of their ability. Surveys completed by July 22will be distributed to constituents electronically by August 3. CAIR-WA does not make official endorsements and will provide the full text of all collected responses. If you have any questions please feel free to contact the office of CAIR-WA at (206) 367-4081 or at [email protected].
1. In the last year there have been over 10 reported anti-Muslim hate crimes in the Northwest. U.S. Attorney for the Western Washington region, Jenny Durkan, wrote in an Op-Ed published April 6 that “fear and prejudice cannot be allowed to define who is welcome and who will be ostracized.” Do you commit to publicly confronting bigotry against any race, religion, or other protected classes, including bigotry against Muslims?
Answer: I swear to uphold the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights, which does not exclude any race or religion. The only protected class that I am aware of is Individual Liberty under our Free Republic.
2. A 2009 report by the Asian Law Caucus cited numerous reports of racial profiling and religious discrimination that targeted the American Muslim, South Asian, and Middle Eastern communities. That report found that “overbroad and intrusive questioning of ordinary Americans at the border doesn’t just violate their constitutionally protected rights, it instills fear, anxiety, and insecurity in targeted communities, inhibits cultural exchange, and strains U.S. diplomatic relationships abroad.” Do you commit to stopping the harassment of Muslims by border-protection agencies and airport security? If so, how do you plan to act? Please explain.
Answer: I am running for Mayor of Spokane. I am not involved, nor have the authority to act on U.S. Diplomatic relations and border security matters. However, if you believe a citizen of Spokane has been abused, unfairly treated or threatened by any level of government, I would appreciate having it brought to my attention.
3. The Southern Poverty Law Center released its 2011 Intelligence Report: “Jihad Against Islam” that documents the “reckless and bare-knuckled campaign to vilify a distinct class of people and compromise their fundamental civil and human rights.” Additionally, the American Muslim community has been scrutinized by the Islam Radicalization Hearings being held by some Congressional members. These acts of prejudice and hatred are detrimental to the American Muslim community and have only increased the negative stereotype of American Muslims. How do you plan to engage and involve the Muslim community in visible political activities in order to combat hysteria and promote understanding in our communities?
Answer: I do not consider the Southern Poverty Law Center a reliable source of information. I am engaging Spokane as a community, not as a specific race or religion.
4. Reductions in bus routes and delays in expanding light rail service have burdened many low income communities unfairly as gas prices rise. What can be done to improve the accessibility of transportation for low income communities?
Answer #1: I am against light rail in Spokane as a highly limiting and inefficient use of regional transportation dollars.
Answer #2: I would like to reduce weight limits on specific commuter corridors that would allow bicycles and golf carts to operate safely and far more cheaply with a wider range of mobility and greater flexibility in long-term, city transportation planning.
5. Ward Connerly, the founder of the California Civil Rights Initiative, Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, and American Civil Rights Initiative, has been instrumental in campaigning for an end to affirmative action programs across the country. His latest campaign involved a repeal of the Supreme Court’s decision upholding affirmative action programs within public universities and received no endorsements from other civil rights groups. After helping to pass I-200 in the state of Washington, he took his campaign to Michigan where he thanked the KKK for endorsing his initiative. How do you plan to support under-served communities of color who are perpetually denied equal opportunities while the law denies this reality? Do you support affirmative action and the repeal of I-200?
Answer #1: I believe that the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights is all the affirmative action any Citizen of Spokane needs. I have lived in Spokane for 40+ years and have never seen any evidence of the KKK.
Answer #2: We already have a pretty good affirmative action plan under this Republic and as Mayor I fully intend to uphold those protections to the best of my ability.
6. The death of John T. Williams has demonstrated the need for stronger diversity training among law enforcement officers and agencies. A report by the Public Research Associates found trainings promoted as “anti-terror” programs in Washington State and across the nation actually promote racial and ethnic bias. Will you push for and support an end to these damaging programs? How will you encourage positive diversity and sensitivity training programs for all law enforcement personnel? Please explain your position(s).
Answer: I do not know the circumstances of John T. Williams and do not know who the Public Research Associates are. There are some problems with various law enforcement agencies, which are not restricted to race or religious overtones. The Mayor’s Office has limited power in dealing with the actions of state and Federal agencies, but it can make Spokane a very uncomfortable place for any person or organization that does not respect the Bill of Rights, regardless of governmental affiliation.
7. Students in middle and junior high school are educated about the Holocaust, Japanese-American incarceration, and tolerance through literature and history. Will you push for and support a supplemental curriculum consistent with the methods used for teaching the aforementioned periods of American history and which accurately describes the challenges facing American Muslims and promotes an accurate understanding of the American Muslim experience?
Answer: This is a matter for parents and their school boards. Personally, I want students taught math, English and World History circa 1770-1812, but more importantly I want all students living in the United States of America to understand they are not disadvantaged if they live here. They are part of a free, capable and resourceful people that includes the young of all our races and creeds.
8. How can your office prevent the bullying of American Muslim youth in schools that stems from perceived racial, ethnic, or religious affiliations?
Answer: Spokane elects a School Board and hires educational professionals that are charged with the responsibility of managing such affairs. When children are loose in the community and threaten to impose on the Liberty of others, they risk the wrath of the Mayor’s office and the keen interest of Spokane Law Enforcement.
9. Will you push for and support the creation of an Office of Immigrant Affairs within the City of Seattle that can coordinate immigrant integration strategy at the highest, cross departmental level for the growing population of immigrants and refugees in Seattle? Please explain your answer. [King County Candidates Only]
10. How can our cities enhance the resettlement services and opportunities available to new-comers and immigrant communities across the state? For King County candidates, how do you plan to engage and involve the Somali Muslim community to enhance their standards of living and benefit the county in general?
Answer: It is not the job of the city to settle or resettle anyone. The city of Spokane should provide core city services at the best value/cost basis possible, and ensure a governmental framework where all citizens can live and prosper fairly. Charity is a matter of individual choice, not government mandate.
11. Throughout the United States, many municipalities and states have taken the enforcement of federal immigration laws into their own hands by participating in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Agreements of Cooperation in Communities to Enhance Safety and Security (ACCESS) programs. One Department of Homeland Security-sponsored program, called 287(g), allows local law enforcement to enforce federal immigration laws. Despite numerous studies that have highlighted problems with these programs, ranging from ineffectiveness to deterioration of trust between law enforcement and immigrant communities, these programs persist. Do you support local enforcement of federal immigration laws, including 287(g) and Secure Communities? If so, under what conditions? Please explain.
Answer: It is difficult to grasp the ramifications of all the different laws and agencies involved with this issue throughout the many jurisdictions.
I believe the states are sovereign within the framework of our Constitutional Republic and the Tenth Amendment reinforces the powers reserved for the states and individuals.
Spokane Law Enforcement is charged with protecting the citizens of Spokane within the confines of the Constitution and Bill of Rights. If you are not a citizen or are in this country illegally, expect problems with Spokane Law Enforcement as we will want to know who you are and what you are doing here. The Spokane community is our responsibility, not the Federal Government’s.
12. How will you support education and other social services affected by cutbacks in state spending so that our children, elderly, and poor do not suffer the heaviest burden?