Thompson would have liked to have seen amnesty work

Curt Thompson was rooting for Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson a couple of months ago.

But like the Democrat state senator he is, Thompson ended up dissatisfied with the pair of Republican U.S. senators.

"I was disappointed that they caved to the people who were more in favor of politics than to actually solving the problem" of illegal immigration, Thompson said. "I had been very impressed with the facts that Chambliss and Isakson had decided to be above politics, but that was not to be."

Thompson was referring to moves earlier this year, in which the Georgians worked in Washington to find a compromise to the illegal immigration problem in the country. After supporting an amnesty proposal from the president, Chambliss was booed by Republicans at the state party convention.

In the end, both leant votes that killed the amnesty proposal, saying it did not include enough money to secure the U.S. border with Mexico.

Isakson and Chambliss sent a letter to President Bush on Thursday urging him to set money aside for border security. "Many Americans from across the nation have become engaged in this issue, and shared with us their wide ranging and passionate opinions on how we can reform our immigration system," the letter stated. "While there is no consensus on the best approach to comprehensive immigration reform, there is near unanimity in the belief that we should secure our borders first."

Thompson wrote a letter to Mundo Hispanico, a Spanish language newspaper, about the illegal immigration issue earlier this month.

But Jimmy Herchek, a former constituent who once ran for the Senate seat Thompson now holds, blasted Thompson for the letter.

"It is disgusting that pro-illegal politicians like Curt Thompson keep repeating shameful personal attacks instead of addressing the issues caused by the overpopulation of our neighborhoods, our schools, our hospitals and our jails by people who do not have the legal right to be in the United States," Herchek said, saying Thompson referred to anti-illegal immigration advocates as "racists."

But Thompson said Herchek's attack was ridiculous.

"There was nothing racist about it. It was just a comment on what was going on," he said.

Herchek also said Thompson wrote a letter to a Spanish-language newspaper "in order to avoid accountability to the majority of his constituents."

But Thompson pointed out his Norcross-area district had grown increasingly diverse since the 2000 Census revealed Hispanics made up 34 percent of the population.

"My district is (a) heavily Latino district," he said. "I don't hide anything I write."

The letter has also been published on the Web site for the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials, www.galeo.org.

By the way, Thompson's bride Sascha, a Colombian who faced deportation late last year, has received permanent residency status from the government. He said she hopes to receive her citizenship in the next year or two.

Snellville open house

Just it time for the big election, Snellville citizens have an opportunity to meet their leaders.

Mayor Jerry Oberholtzer, all the council members and the city department directors have scheduled a meet-and-greet titled the "Mayor's Night In."

The event will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Snellville City Hall on Oak Road.

Prior to the event, at 5:30 p.m., officials will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the city's new Quality of Life Unit, a portion of the police department that will focus on property and other crimes such as litter and graffiti. The unit will be headquartered at City Hall.

"I've always had a vision of a one-stop shop at City Hall, and that is coming to fruition," Oberholtzer said.

Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Camie Young can be reached via e-mail at camie.young@gwinnettdailypost.com.