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Re: Nick Schou and Gustavo Arellano's “Fox Hunt,” March 30: This is what these jerks wrote: “Actually, the courts had already pretty much eviscerated the measure [Proposition 187], which would have denied education and social-service benefits to undocumented residents, before Davis negotiated the final nail in the coffin in 1999.” This is the truth: one left-wing judge, Mariana Pfaelzer, ruled Prop. 187 unconstitutional. It was on its way to the appeals court when Davis stopped it. He stopped it, according to Carlos Holguin, one of the attorneys involved in the mediation, because he thought it would be found constitutional. Your jerks wrote: “With [Barbara Coe's group] were several members of the LA-based American Patrol, a vigilante group that tries to intercept undocumented immigrants coming across the border.” The truth is AmericanPatrol.com is not and has never been a vigilante group. We have never gone to the border to intercept anyone ever, and there is no evidence whatsoever that we ever had. These assholes are making this up out of whole cloth. Those jerks wrote: “Spencer immediately began shouting at them, prompting two uniformed Santa Ana police officers to approach him with video cameras rolling. The police action invigorated the otherwise quiet immigrants, who began cheering, 'Viva Mexico, cabrones!' ('Long live Mexico, assholes!') and, 'Go back to Germany!'” That is a goddamn lie. I never yelled at those people. I spoke with the police officer about keeping the groups separated. Your rag is a piece of shit full of lies and ads for sexual perverts.

Glenn Spencer
Will Swaim responds:Shortly after Spencer wrote this letter, he sent us another —what's known in the business as a retraction demand. In its entirety, it reads:

“I demand that your newspaper print a complete retraction and apology to American Patrol for its false accusation, to wit: 'American Patrol, a vigilante group that tries to intercept undocumented immigrants coming across the border.' The retraction should be in as prominent a place as the original story. If not, I will turn the matter over to my lawyers. Don't think we have lawyers? Do you think an organization that paid for a weekly two-hour show on 19 radio stations (some 50K watts) nationwide for nine months can't afford a lawyer? Don't bet on it.”

Aside from the front cover, this Letters page is as prominent as we get. And we'll give Spencer this: if you define “intercept” as narrowly as he apparently does, it may be that neither Spencer nor anyone associated with American Patrol has ever successfully stopped a single illegal immigrant from crossing into the U.S. But such failure hasn't stopped Spencer from praising private citizens who actually succeed in intercepting illegals—he called two of them “true patriots, doing a job the government is too weak-kneed to carry out”—or from labeling the U.S. government “Clinton's gestapo” when it attempted to intervene last year to assure illegals weren't mistreated.

There's nothing wrong with a private citizen intercepting someone committing an illegal act, of course—it's called a citizen's arrest, and one might call it a duty—but it takes a certain courage. Spencer satisfies himself with big talk. He calls his opponents “assholes,” “cowards,” “jerks,” “perverts” and “traitors.” His website, “Glenn Spencer's American Patrol Report” (AmericanPatrol.com), opens with a threat of violence (“Those who make peaceful reform impossible make violent reform inevitable”) and ludicrously claims that Governor Gray Davis has called for a merger of California and Mexico. He has asked his group's members to imagine Los Angeles Times opinion writer Frank Del Olmo “being hanged for treason after the coming war with Mexico.”

Spencer's rhetorical excesses, which he justifies by saying that “objectivity ends at the border,” are protected by the First Amendment. And so are the Weekly's statements about American Patrol. It is ironic (and a little disappointing) that a man whose own invective-laden political tirades enjoy constitutional protection would threaten legal action against theWeekly over the use of the word “vigilante” in the context of the heated national debate over immigration. The First Amendment was designed to promote a free marketplace of ideas. In that spirit, we'll leave it to our readers to decide whether American Patrol's statements and activities make it a vigilante group or just a bunch of blowhards.

Regarding assertions in Spencer's first letter to the Weekly, reporter Nick Schou offered this: “I was standing next to Spencer at the Fox demonstration. I saw and heard him yelling at people and watched the cops make him turn off his megaphone. It was not a discussion; it was an order. I also saw members of Spencer's group confiscate signs brought by Latino protesters, and I even saw them refuse to hand them over to two little girls who asked politely. 'Not without your mother's permission,' one of Spencer's associates told the girls. 'And go tell her she's on the wrong side.' Spencer ought to be ashamed of himself.”


I do not live in California, nor do I understand your desire for yet more foreigners residing in your area. If California wants to become a bilingual, dual-citizen mecca for Latin America, that is your choice. However, I don't want to have to pay for your folly with my tax dollars.

Rosalind Ellis
Nick Schou responds: So far, Ms. Ellis hasn't paid anything for my various follies. And I'm saving huge amounts on my food bill by allowing Mexicans to perform agricultural work at wages far below those I'd consider livable.

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