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vu tw 3 Debating a Community Resource Center Respected members of Council, I am a medical person. If I were to discover that I had a tumor that had been growing over the last two or three years, I would take IMMEDIATE action. I would get at least three professional opinions and act as soon as humanly possible. My very life could hang in the balance. So please understand that I am confused and befuddled on the speed of Council’s response to the tumor that has invaded the Charter Neighborhoods. We have identified the cancer. It will kill quality in these neighborhoods. And to take the analogy further, it will metastasize into other neighborhoods, ultimately threatening the viability and quality of a beautiful town that is Jupiter. To bring this home to the issue at hand: There is a hurricane rushing towards us and all I see are good-hearted people passing out umbrellas on Center Street. —January 2005 letter to the Town Council from a Pine Gardens South resident (emphasis in original) By the end of 2004, the issue of day labor had moved to the center of local politics in Jupiter, and the Town Council was seriously considering the option of a labor center. A December 29 guest editorial in the Jupiter Courier listed the center among the most important issues concerning the town in 2004. The author of the editorial, Roger Buckwalter, took a stand in favor of the center, warning, “The Town Council must not cave in to some residents’ vociferous attempts at intimidation , which is a terrible basis for making policy. It will take real ‘profiles in courage’ to approve the Labor Center. But the town should do it.”1 But as Buckwalter noted, vociferous opposition to the center was reaching an all-time high as the town entered the new year. Center opponents sought new allies and new tactics to put pressure on the Town Council. While Buckwalter’s guest editorial was supportive of the center, the Jupiter Courier’s full-time editor, Louis Hillary Park, was a staunch opponent, and he penned a number of editorials opposing it. Jupiter Neighbors against Illegal Labor (JNAIL), which had formed in 2004, continued to hold meetings and write letters to the council. As detailed in 73 74 Debating a Community Resource Center chapter 2, national (FAIR) and state (FLIMEN) restrictionist organizations also became involved in Jupiter, tapping into the frustration over the original neighborhood and day labor problems and framing the issue in terms of a larger antiimmigrant agenda. Representatives of FAIR made public threats to sue the town if it pursued the opening of a center, drawing significant coverage from local and national media. Congressman Mark Foley’s letter in late 2004 urging the town not to open a center further polarized the issue. Letters and e-mails like the one that opens this chapter were arriving on council members’ desks with greater frequency. In January 2005 JNAIL organized the first protest of the proposed center at Jupiter’s annual Jupiter Jubilee event on town property. The Jupiter Jubilee was initiated as part of Jupiter’s seventy-fifth anniversary celebration in 2000 and is designed as a family event, with music, games, civic education, and cultural components. Approximately fifty protesters attended the 2005 Jupiter Jubilee waving signs and shouting slogans. The Palm Beach Post quoted one of the protest organizers suggesting a link between immigrants and terrorists: “We have no clue who these people are. . . . This country is not indestructible. People need to realize that 9/11 really happened. My motivation is to protect what my ancestors built.”2 The same individual stood up at a Town Council meeting later that month to display a large printout of Mohamed Atta’s Florida driver’s license as the council discussed the possibility of a labor center. A town resident who had witnessed how the rhetoric had shifted around the issue of day labor wrote a letter to Congressman Clay Shaw, detailing the growing tensions in Jupiter: “Please do not allow the anti-immigration, hate-speaking group that has appeared in the Town of Jupiter to dictate to us what Jupiter officials should do regarding a Resource Center. I have been discussing this issue long before this group appeared in town. Before this group showed up with this hateful rhetoric there were enough votes on the Town Council to establish the Resource Center. Now some of those Councilors and the Mayor are backing down on their...


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