Is Tempe Rep Laura Knaperek a racist??? Talking about the march where 100,000 latinos are expected to march to the arizona capital she said "I believe in safety and security, and I will be in a safe and secure place. ... Are you kidding me? I'm not coming down here, I believe in safety and security, and I will be in a safe and secure place."

Capitol employees told to work despite protest

Chip Scutari and Robbie Sherwood The Arizona Republic Apr. 6, 2006 12:00 AM

Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitanosaid the state will be open for business Monday despite a massive rally on immigration rights that could bring as many as 100,000 people to the Capitol as part of a national protest movement.

"In my view, this ought to be managed so that state government stays open and the work of the people is done as the march proceeds," Napolitano said. "My plan on Monday is to be here at the Capitol working."

Not everyone agreed with Napolitano's approach.

As of Wednesday, state legislative leaders were still deciding if it would be business as usual on Monday. There were differing opinions Wednesday about whether the Legislature should work while the protest happens outside.

"Are you kidding me? I'm not coming down here," said Rep. Laura Knaperek,R-Tempe. "I believe in safety and security, and I will be in a safe and secure place."

But House Appropriations Chairman Russell Pearce,who has sponsored some of the toughest illegal-immigration legislation this year, said the marchers are not respecting "our sovereignty and our laws."

"I think we need to do business as usual," Pearce said. "I know it's going to be difficult. We have citizens that will be down here for specific reasons; they have a right to be down here, and I would hope they would not be interfered with."

The pro-immigrant demonstration planned for downtown Phoenix will start at the Arizona State Fairground and end with a rally at Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza. The marchers will gather at 11 the fairgrounds. The march will begin at 1 p.m., when organizers will lead marchers along Grand Avenue to Van Buren Street and then west on Washington Street to the Bolin plaza. The protest is being coordinated as part of a nationwide day of action aimed at pressuring Congress to pass immigration reform that allows the estimated 11 million to 12 million undocumented immigrants in the United States to earn citizenship.

House and Senate leaders met with Department of Public Safety officials to find out which streets would be open, if portable restrooms would be provided and how law enforcement officials would react if there was a riot. They said they received an alarming lack of specifics, said Barrett Marson, House Republican spokesman. That prompted House Speaker Jim Weiersand Senate President Ken Bennett to write to Napolitano to insist that she take all the necessary steps to ensure the safety of members, employees and the public. Bennettsaid he believes the Legislature will convene Monday, though perhaps just in the morning to allow members and staff a chance to leave the area before they get penned in.

Napolitano said state officials are doing extensive planning for the protest. She also said state employees will be expected to work on Monday.

"What my message to state employees is if some of them wish to participate in the march, that's fine, but you need to take annual leave to do it."

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