Posted on January 28, 2010

‘Proud Racist’ Comment Roils Santa Clarita

Ann M. Simmons, Los Angeles Times, January 28, 2010

A Santa Clarita councilman’s shout-out at a recent anti-illegal immigration rally that he is a “proud racist” has ignited an angry war of words in a suburban community over whether the longtime civic leader is a hatemonger who should be driven from office or a patriot unafraid to speak out for fellow Americans.

Bob Kellar, a veteran councilman and two-time mayor, said his words have been taken out of context, but he declined to offer an apology at a City Council meeting Tuesday night.

But the remark, which was posted in a video on You Tube and quickly spread across the blogosphere, has set off a firestorm. As protesters carrying signs milled outside the council meeting, dozens of Santa Clarita residents jumped on the issue. Many applauded Kellar when he strode into the meeting.

“They are invading us, and colonizing us . . . and we taxpayers are footing the bill for them,” lifelong Santa Clarita resident and Minutemen member Robert Crooks, 59, said of undocumented workers. For the last five years, Crooks said, he has volunteered as a sentry on the U.S.-Mexico border in Tecate, keeping watch for border-hoppers.

Bruce McFarland, a political organizer and 32-year resident of the Santa Clarita Valley, called Kellar “an embarrassment” and urged the council to censure him, which elicited boos and expletives from the audience.


The support for Kellar, a U.S. Army veteran who served 25 years with the Los Angeles Police Department, focused attention on the simmering tensions over the effect of illegal immigration in this predominantly white and largely conservative northern Los Angeles County city.

Population statistics published by the city for 2008 show that close to 70% of Santa Clarita’s population of 177,045 is white. {snip}


“Forty people living in one house and destroying our neighborhood and quality of life, emergency rooms with standing room only and no one speaking English, day laborers standing all over our streets taking a toll on our businesses and traffic,” Kellar wrote [in a written response published Tuesday in a local newspaper,]. “That describes some of the issues on a local basis.”


Many residents who defended Kellar’s “proud racist” remark said they would crack down harder and wished undocumented immigrants would leave the city and country. Several blamed them for an upswing in crime and for drug- trafficking.

“Illegals are here at the expense of our community,” said Santa Clarita Valley businessman Larry Rasmussen. “I agree with Bob. Our nation is a nation of laws.”

The few residents who spoke out against Kellar at Tuesday’s meeting accused the councilman of spreading hatred. Some called Kellar’s remarks “disgraceful” and suggested that the councilman at least apologize. Kellar told reporters he had no regrets over his remarks.

[Editor’s Note: An earlier story setting the context of Bob Kellar’s remarks can be read here.]

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