Neo-Nazi propagandists used a photo of the mayor of Sandpoint, Idaho, and a purported statement from him about multiculturalism in the latest batch of racist flyers to hit to city.
Sandpoint Mayor Shelby Rognstad disavowed any connection with the flyers and said their distribution involves criminal conduct. The Sandpoint Police Department is investigating, but there have been no arrests.
There is a possibility federal laws may come into play because the flyers were sent through the U.S. Mail to Sandpoint-area businesses and residents. Others were placed in delivered copies of the local newspaper, according to one media report.
The return address used is a popular Sandpoint bar and nightspot where Rognstad was a partial owner before being elected mayor.
“Clearly [the flyers] are aimed at misinforming the public and promoting a racist and hateful message,” Rognstad said in a statement released Wednesday by his office. He and City Administrator Jennifer Stapleton did not return calls for additional comment when contacted by Hatewatch.
The flyers show a picture of the mayor with a heading, “I’m Shelby. And I’m the mayor here.”
The accompanying statement, with slightly different wording in a couple versions, says: “Sandpoint has not yet learned how to be multi-cultural and I'm going to be part of the throes of that transformation, which must take place.”
One version asks city residents to support the mayor in the “darkening” of Sandpoint with foreign refugees because it will make everyone prosperous.
“Low-income housing projects and their occupants are good for Sandpoint since among the things they bring with them are federal welfare dollars including food stamps, which might as well be spent here by your soon-to-come multi-cultural neighbors than in the inner cities where they live now,” the flyer statement says.
The mayor’s statement in response to the “illegal flyers” with his photo and a “false quote” made reference to other racist and anti-Semitic flyers distributed in the city in recent weeks.
One of them said: “Jews infesting our media and our government conspiring with Jews internationally have long planned a World War 3 with Russia. When WW3 starts, go after every Jew within your reach. They are behind it. Crush the jew now before he smashes our whole world.”
Without specifically denouncing the contents of the flyers and their clear link to a racist web site organization, the mayor said his community “responds to hate and ignorance with the power of truth and justice.”
“Know that as your Mayor, my purpose remains clear,” the mayor said in his statement. “I am here to promote economic prosperity by supporting job growth, innovative industry, local business and enhancing the tremendous quality of life we enjoy here in Sandpoint. At the same time I stand in support of human rights and a fair and equitable society.”
The Bonner County Human Rights Task Force is concerned about the distribution of the racist flyers and is contemplating a response, its president Lynn Bridges told Hatewatch.