Ding-Dong! Barbara Coe is Dead! Godmother of Anti-Immigrant Movement/Evilest Woman in OC History Passes Away

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Beth Stirnaman/OC Weekly
From left: Joe Arpayaso, Barbara Coe, and Bill Hunt
About the nicest thing that can be said about Barbara Coe, who passed away this weekend at age 79 from lung cancer undoubtedly caused by her chain-smoking, is that she she wore big glasses before it was cool to do so. Other than that, she was pure, unrepentant evil, the godmother of the anti-immigrant, Minuteman Project AND Birther movement via her California Coalition for Immigration Reform; spreader of noxious, racist lies; fellow traveler with white supremacists; the definition of a crone; an exploiter of tragic deaths to further her vile cause; a pendeja, a racist, a homophobe, a bigot--and one of the most influential women in OC history, on top of our long Rolodex of Racism. God, we won't miss her.

The world is a far-better place with Babs in Hell. And, yes: Coe is in hell because there's no way she would ever want to be in heaven, the domain of that swarthy illegal alien savage named Jesús.

We have covered Coe for so long in these pages that to properly cover all the insanity she spoke over the years--from claiming that Muslims train Mexican drug cartels to calling a federal judge a "homo" to claiming an asparagus diet can cure cancer--is simply impossible. We would like to point out that her creation myth, the story she'd always give reporters as to why she went from an Anaheim police department clerk to creating the group that would go on to sponsor 1994's Proposition 187--that she tried to take her World War II vet friend to a health clinic filled with people who didn't speak English--was a flat-out LIE, which makes us think that her claims that she was part-Sioux and grew up on the Pine Ridge Reservation was as likely a story as someone claiming their great-grandmother was a Cherokee princess.

Okay, enough bile. Many local liberals would frequently criticize me for writing about Coe's every foible, claiming that she was irrelevant--which shows how dumb local liberals are. Fact is, Coe was a titan of OC politics, Alien queen to some of the largest American conservative grassroots movements over the past quarter-century. Through her group, 1994's anti-immigrant Proposition 187 was not only created and passed, but has been copied ad nauseum ever since across the country. From the monthly CCIR meetings she held at the Garden Grove Women's Club, Jim Gilchrist got his inspiration for the Minuteman Project (later on, Gilchrist would smartly repent of his dalliance with Coe) and Orly Taitz figured it was time to create the Birther movement. From her cesspool of ideas, local politicians figured it was smart to put migra agents in Orange County jails, try to sue Mexico for educating the children of illegal immigrants, and give police officers the power to check on someone's immigration--ideas that seemed ludicrous when first introduced but are now virtually standard nationwide. Politicians would frequent Coe's meetings, seeking the approval of her minions.

Actually, the nicest thing that can be said about Coe is that her activism caused the best possible backlash imaginable: the radicalization of Mexican-Americans in California, who were walking down the path toward Hispanicizing themselves until being jolted awake by Proposition 187. And her repeated local efforts only galvanized more and more OC Mexis, leaving a county full of 'em happy to get into activism, happy to not only dominate this county demographically, but also happy to get on the road to political office to ensure Coe's ilk never have power again. It's particularly pleasing to know that in her last gasps, Coe left a county that was majority-minority and lay dying probably in a medical facility swarming with Filipino and Mexican immigrants attending to her final needs.

Email: garellano@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @gustavoarellano.

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