Friday, March 17, 2006

Reparations activists in Oregon slime beloved former mayor who's been dead for 42 years...

Of course resisting those ethnic Japanese who wanted to return after Japan surrendered was wrong. That's not the focus of sharing this post.

Major Hopkins resisted ethnic Japanese returning to Bainbridge so somebody changed the name Camp Hopkins to Camp Yemoalt a couple of years ago thus sullying the man's name on Bainbridge for generations to come.

The focus of this post is this: Coming up with "anecdotal evidence" that the mayor of Gresham, Oregon refused to deliver an infant based on ethnicity 42 years after he's dead and buried and 60 years after the war is wrong, not to mention sleazy.

That's disturbing and the Gresham City Council is a bunch of pansies for caving on this issue and allowing one of the city's fathers to be slimed by a bunch of ethnic activists.

Gresham buries monument project for a former mayor

Controversy - Officials respond to information linking him more closely to an anti-Japanese group during WWII
Friday, March 17, 2006

GRESHAM -- The effort to honor former Gresham Mayor Herbert H. Hughes with a monument is officially over.

The City Council killed the proposal Thursday after learning that Hughes' role in an anti-Japanese group during World War II was larger than first thought.

"It just needs to go away," City Council President Shane Bemis said Thursday. "It would be difficult to honor someone with that background."

Hughes, who served the city from 1941 to 1956, had previously been linked to an anti-Japanese group, Oregon Anti-Japanese Inc., in one local newspaper article in 1944. But a second article, in 1945, was uncovered this week during The Oregonian's review of news reports of the time.

A previous city investigation had wrongly concluded that Hughes had been named only once in print and only as a temporary director in connection with the group, which sought to keep Japanese Americans from returning to their homes after they had been sent to internment camps.

"It is clear that while the original research (into Hughes' background) was well-intentioned, it was not complete," Bemis said Thursday. "This proposal," he added, "should not have come forward to begin with."

John Kodachi, president of the Portland chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League, said Thursday that he was glad to hear of the council's decision.

"Racism should never be condoned, let alone with a historic monument, " Kodachi said. "We are very pleased that the City Council has listened to the community's concerns -- and I mean community in the broadest sense."

The first article naming Hughes appeared Nov. 30, 1944, in the Gresham Outlook. In it, Hughes was listed as one of a handful of governors of Oregon Anti-Japanese Inc. "until permanent organization is effected."

This was the only news article identified by the city's investigation of Hughes, leading a citizen volunteer and a park planner looking into his past to conclude his involvement was probably temporary. City officials, according to documents, considered the matter "satisfactorily resolved."

However, the second Outlook article, dated Jan. 4, 1945, reported on the group's application for incorporation and listed Hughes on the board of directors, along with about a dozen other men. This article -- apparently missed by the city's reviews -- lists the group's directors.

Hughes was the longest-serving mayor in city history, and, for many, a beloved figure. As a medical doctor, he delivered more than 5,000 babies and often made house calls. When he retired as mayor, the city declared "Dr. Hughes' Day," and when he died in 1964, the business district closed out of respect.

Although there was interest by some Gresham residents in honoring "Doc" Hughes as early as 2003, it was only this month that such a proposal got as far as a City Council agenda.

City officials failed to solicit input from the Japanese American community. And on March 7, as they prepared to act on the proposed monument without debate, they received a rush of protest from Japanese Americans, and others, who learned of it hours before the council meeting.

One critic of the idea offered new anecdotal evidence alleging that Hughes had refused to treat a pregnant Japanese American woman -- his mother-in-law -- in late 1941 because of her race.

As a result, the council postponed taking action and called for the creation of a task force to examine how to better handle memorial projects in the future.
Even with the monument called off, the city continues to hammer out the details of that yet-unnamed group, which is expected to establish criteria over the next two to four months for honoring community leaders.

City spokeswoman Laura Bridges-Shepard said Thursday that such a task force should help the city avoid a similar controversy in the future by involving experts who best understand the complexities of historical research. Such experts, she said, might come from the Oregon Historical Society or the Oregon State Archives.

"We want to do this right," Bridges-Shepard said. "We want to develop a process that stands the test of time."

(BainbridgeHistorians note: Does anybody else find the sub-headline a poor choice of words? It says "Controversy - Officials respond to information linking him more closely to an anti-Japanese group during WWII". Wouldn't it have been more controversial if he had been closey linked to a pro-Japanese group during WWII? Wasn't the United States fighting a war against Japan at the time?)


At October 02, 2006 11:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you, FOHA! Your voice is appreciated! I came across your website while googling Shane Bemis, since he is now running for mayor. As a Gresham citizen, I was disappointed that the City caved in to the perpetual victimhood industry. Since politically correct perfection seems to be a prerequisite, I expect no further attempts by the City to honor any prominent citizens.

At January 14, 2007 12:54 PM, Blogger Friends of Historical Accuracy said...

You are very welcome. Hopefully private citizens will organize and provide the former mayor of Gresham the memorial he deserves.


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