Politics as usual
The Porterville City Council, despite recent elections and the unfortunate passing of respected and re-elected member Pete McCracken (requiring the council to appoint a replacement), has yet to experience the growth we in the larger LGBT community in Tulare County had hoped to see. The recent refusal of the Council to issue a proclamation requested by the Porterville LGBT community to recognize National Coming Out Day on October 11 spurred another peaceful protest in front of City Hall, and had numerous speakers take advantage of the public commentary periods in last Tuesday’s City Council meeting. The Porterville Reporter carried this account of the council meeting.
As we continue to see Porterville reacting in an officially hostile manner towards a group of their constituents (see former Mayor and current Council member Cameron Hamilton’s comments at the end of the Recorder’s article, and of course his famous “just grow a pair” remarks), we can’t help but compare that to Visalia’s actions these past three years (here),(here), and (here). Porterville has a long row yet to hoe before we see that city treating it’s citizens equally. (The proclamation is not “inclusive”? Really? Do they not understand the very nature of a proclamation? They’re MEANT to single out a person, group, or organization for recognition, and the Council has done just that for decades in Porterville. Only the LGBT community gets singled out for “not inclusive”.)
I’ve posted blogs regarding National Coming Out Day before (2013),(2012),(2011). This year I was hoping to include Porterville in the celebrations, but, once again, we’re treated to the Council flying it’s discrimination flag at full staff. This year’s National Coming Out Day theme is “Live Your Truth“, and with the recent flurry of public announcements by internationally recognizable individuals (Cokie Roberts, Michael Sam, Tom Daley to name only three) that they are gay, and with the dizzying progress made in marriage equality in the courts, equality has been marching across our land in a way few ever thought possible. That march is solidly blocked at the Porterville City limits.
Addendum: In my blog post of September 24, 2014, Porterville City Council Still Snubbing LGBTQ Community, I stated ”Council member Virginia Gurrola, the former mayor who was removed from that ceremonial office for her issuance of the June 2013 LGBT Pride Month proclamation, has also declined to step up and sponsor the request.” Mrs. Gurrola, when interviewed by the Porterville Recorder, said she had not “declined”, but had not been asked to sponsor the proclamation. I put out a request for comments among my friends on Facebook, many of whom are much better writers than I, describing the situation, and asking if ‘declined’ was used in an acceptable manner. The consensus was that it implies that the person who was being mentioned had been asked and subsequently refused to take an action. My usage was intended to convey that someone who knew an action was needed but didn’t take that action had declined to act. My intent was to convey the latter, not the former.
Photo credit: Yesenia Valdez