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Race An Issue for Hazleton Mayoral Candidate

HAZLETON — Most candidates who run for city mayor say they want to make the city safer. Sean M. Donahue says that can be achieved by making the city whiter.

Donahue, 45, is running a write-in campaign for the city’s top executive post as a member of the American Freedom Party, a political party that the Southern Poverty Law Center has dubbed a Nationalist party.

While he doesn’t consider himself to be racist or a white supremacist because, he says, he gets along “very well with people from different backgrounds,” Donahue says he is a white rights activist who believes that the Constitution of the United States was written by white people for white people.

Sean Donahue“In the current affirmative action system, (people of other races) have an unfair advantage [privilege] over me [and other white Americans]. Immigrants have a huge unfair and illegal advantage over me that goes unchecked. The government falls all over itself to make them happy and ensure that they have opportunities. Yet, my veteran’s preference hasn’t been honored once by Hazleton City, Luzerne County or the state. I’ll bet they never fail to honor affirmative action for a Hispanic or black person,” Donahue said.

Race discussions

Sean Donahue for MayorDonahue said most white people are afraid to talk about race issues because they’re afraid of being labeled racist. He, as mayor, would bring the discussion to the forefront.

“We have to stop hating the white person who says he wants to look out for other white people,” Donahue said, adding that he only wants to protect his Eastern European heritage and to stop whites from “being forced out of the community.”

He believes groups such as the Dominican House of Hazleton is not just a cultural organization, but has a political agenda and its members want to attain a status similar to foreign diplomats and be exempt from the jurisdiction of local law.

Victor Perez, president of Dominican House, disagrees with Donahue’s characterization and thinks Donahue is “confused.”

“This is a free country. We believe that white, black, people of any color can work together in this country. We don’t believe any one color has to be the dominator [sic] of the United States of America or the world. They must have another constitution,” Perez said of Donahue and those who share his philosophy. [Perez wants a different constitution.]

Mark Potok, a rabid anti-White racist at the SPLC, said he can’t comment on specific political candidates, but he said the American Freedom Party is a nationalist party.

Crime, Immigrants

Donahue blames a good portion of crime in the city on Latino immigrants, whether documented or undocumented, and said U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta took the wrong approach and wasted money when he pushed city council to pass the Illegal Immigration Relief Act when he was mayor of Hazleton.

A better solution, Donahue said, would be to work to have the civil rights acts repealed and re-institute segregation.

He also believes the city should open a recreational firing range within city limits, open to the public for a fee, to raise revenue for the city as well as to help establish “a traditional American gun culture in Hazleton” that would “curb crime.”

Service, education

Born and raised in Hazleton, Donahue said his family has lived in the Nanny Goat Hill section of the city since the 1900s. Noting he comes from a military family, he said he enlisted in the U.S. Army’s delayed entry program while a senior at Hazleton High School, and he started his basic training after graduating in 1987.

Donahue touts his more than six years of service as an intelligence analyst with the army. He says he was honorably discharged as a staff sergeant in 1994. After his discharge, he double-majored in International Studies and East Asian Studies at Dickinson College, graduating magna cum laude, and later earning a master’s degree in statistics, he said.

“I really wanted to be involved in economic development in Hazleton,” Donahue said, but he “couldn’t get through the door at City Hall. People didn’t like the international stuff. They think Hazleton’s not powerful enough to have a say in international forces, but people are lying to themselves.”

Legal battles

Donahue has been in a years-long battle with Hazleton CareerLink officials, whom he said won’t cooperate with him in his efforts to find employment.

The situation boiled over in 2012 after, Donahue said, a Hazleton police officer threatened him with arrest if he set foot in the CareerLink office and Donahue fired off a letter to Luzerne County District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis that she considered threatening.

Donahue was arrested and charged with harassment. His defense attorney argued that the letter was protected free speech and made no threats to commit crimes. The charges were eventually dismissed by a Wayne County senior judge.

Donahue says his numerous Right to Know requests to city and county offices and appeals to the state Office of Open Records shows his belief in the need for transparent government. He believes the Hazleton Public Library should maintain a readily accessible and up-to-date public database of city finances.

Platform explained

Donahue’s platform on local issues can be found on his website blog

Some of his plans, if elected, include:

• Not signing any new union contracts or pension contracts that grant pay raises or increases in benefits, declaring a fiscal emergency and imposing austerity wages on all city police and other “well-paid” city employees.

• Relying on paid firefighters rather than expecting people to volunteer.

• Pushing for the repeal of Hazleton’s Quality of Life and stormwater fee ordinances because they are used “to harass citizens and generate revenue.”

• Pushing to eliminate a parking ordinance that prevents people from parking on their own sidewalks and proposing an ordinance that gives exclusive parking rights to homeowners and business owners for the space in front of the main entrance to their homes and businesses.

• Proposing an ordinance that ensures zoning violations “are met with solutions, not fines,” and that the use of zoning enforcement “to harass, to exercise political or law-enforcement power over others,” or to generate revenue is met with fines for city employees involved.

Source: [The Times Leader]

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