Porterville LGBT Group Launched to Oppose Rescinding City’s First Ever Pro-Equality Proclamation

First pride month, Porterville CA First Pride Month Proclaimed June 4, 2013 By Porterville City Council, political efforts to rescind immediately follow[/caption]

Porterville, CA – Residents have launched Porterville Equality and Fairness For All (PEFA), a coalition of local LGBT organizations and allies, opposing the efforts of some city councilmembers to rescind a historic proclamation declaring June “LGBT Pride Month” in the city. The proclamation was issued on June 4th by Mayor Virginia Gurrola recognizing the significant contributions of the LGBT community in Porterville.

“Mayor Gurrola took a brave stand against discrimination by supporting a proclamation acknowledging the significant contributions of the LGBT community in Porterville, and for that we thank her,” said Barry Caplan, Coordinator of PEFA. “Now, some on the council find it necessary to rescind the proclamation, thereby rescinding acknowledgment of the city’s LGBT residents.”

June is celebrated as LGBT Month nation and statewide. On June 4th, Mayor Virginia Gurrola issued a Proclamation honoring the LGBT community for its longstanding volunteer work in mental health and other areas that has benefited the entire community.

Despite the routine of all councilmembers signing proclamations recognizing community members, every member of the council, except for Mayor Gurrola refused to follow standard protocol. They refused to shake the hands of the recipients and refused to sign the proclamation.

Council Members Brian Ward and Greg Shelton have agendized revisiting the Proclamation at the upcoming council meeting on June 18. Shelton aims to discuss the “process” of the Proclamation, despite Porterville’s process being the same or substantially the same as every other City in California. Ward proposes to rescind the Proclamation mid-month, and to replace it with a Resolution declaring “A Month Of Community Charity and Goodwill For All in Porterville”.

Porterville and its Council has a long history of anti-LGBT activism. In 2008 during the Prop 8 campaign, Ward offered a Resolution in favor of Prop 8, urging locals to vote to remove rights from themselves in order to harm a disfavored minority.… Read the rest

Newcomer Virgina Gurrola selected as Mayor

Cameron Hamilton and Brian Ward Bypassed for Leadership Roles

Porterville Recorder describes swearing in ceremony for new Council

Congratulations to new Mayor Gurrola and Vice Mayor McCracken.

Let’s let the rejection of the most divisive members of Council, who once may have been seen as “next in line” for these two positions, serve as a signal that the time for divisive policies of Council is past.

Let the new Council proclaim a New Day by rejecting the damaging and divisive 2008 Prop 8 Resolution, perhaps doping so indirectly by re-affirming the 2003 Patriot Act Resolution affirming the existing rights and the willingness to protect them against the intrusion all government bodies.

Porterville will be a thousand times better off for doing so as quickly as possible.… Read the rest

Patriotic Cake – A Porterville Portrait

Dorothea Lange, Porterville, near the scene of Patrotic Cake, 2012

In which we attend City Council so you don’t have to – but we wish you did!

Curious that both Brian Ward and Greg Shelton were not at the public session of City Council’s meeting last night.

I know that Shelton was present at City Hall, as I was hanging around outside near where his distinctive truck was parked.

I don’t know for sure that Ward was there or not.

City Attorney Lew reported that action was taken on one item, I think she mentioned it was 3-0, but she seemed unsure as to how to report it.

It was announced that Ward and Shelton would not be present for the remainder as they were both “sick”.

This was interesting because this meeting was the one meeting of the year where it was critical to pass the budget, and you would think both men would want their votes attached to the results, as this is one of the most important votes of the whole year.

During public comments, it was requested that the vote be postponed until the men are present, but it went on anyway as there was a quorum, and McCracken asked for clarification from City Attorney Lew that the budget had to be passed by June 30th by the City Charter.

She affirmed that, and Hamilton indicated “we know how they feel anyway” and the vote was held.

Certainly other meetings have had items continued or otherwise procedurally postponed until a specially scheduled meeting only a week later.

Such a delayed meeting would have still brought the vote in before June 30th, and left all of the Councilman as being on the record as to their votes on the all-important Budget.

And there is already hardball being played with next years budget, as one of the other items last night involved broken negotiations with the lowest paid bargaining unit at City Hall.… Read the rest

Porterville is a Christian City, locals and officials insist

Local citizen offended by pending  non-Christian invocation at City Council, affirms “Porterville is a Christian City

Yesterday I read in the Recorder that 17 cities will start their council meetings with a reading from Hindu Sand Script. This shocked me. Here in a nation that was founded by Christians with Christian principles, with a ceremony to dedicate this nation to God on the shores of this nation.

This discussion broke out online too over the weekend, worth reading indeed for the extensive duplicity of Porterville’s newly re-elected Councilman Cameron Hamilton.

I guess all the Jews, Singhs, Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Wiccans, (arguably) Mormons, Native Americans, and people of many other or no religions at all are only allowed to live in Porterville due to the goodness of the local Christians. Good to know where at least some of the locals stand on this matter.… Read the rest

Local paper “disturbed” by low turnout, does not understand own role

…but I am not too shy to tell them some of the reasons:

See article here

Why didn’t people vote, especially when the city council made headlines more than once in the past year for antics better left to a vaudeville show or a sitcom.

Easy answer: Because the Recorder has abdicated its civic reporting responsibilities many times:

1) You posted a video of a TCSO officer misbehaving and admitting that he knew he was misbehaving. That was good. But it only lasted about 24 hours as a more senior TCSO officer asked the paper to pull the video, which you promptly did.

2) You have never pressed Councilmembers, especially those running for election on any controversial matters. The town has been hurt for almost 4 years as a result of Ward and Hamilton working to take away the rights of gays. And Hamilton’s flip-flop from his 2003 vote, when he pledged Council to work against what he urged the 2008 Council to do has never been reported. In fact, the Recorder took the page offline that reported the 9/2003 meeting I refer to.

3) Hamilton again: You have never followed up regarding his odd behavior during the arrest of the previous publisher of the Recorder.

4) You have never reported on the discovery, made quite plain on the Recorder facebook page by Case Lok and others, that Rodney Martin had posted materials with his view on the impropriety (to day the least) of the mixing of races in public and homophobic reasons why he homeschools his kids. Not only ought that have been news, but why he never mentioned it in his campaign ought to have been news as well.

5) You have never run or lent your voice to a sustained voter registration drive or get out the vote drive.… Read the rest

Tulare County Election Official sort-of responds to Story

Earlier, I described the conditions at a polling place in a Church in Porterville today.

Later upon returning home to write these news stories, I decided to find the document that I was told I could find online: the “Elections Official Digest”, which was present at the polling place, but I was not allowed to inspect to see if it really had rules against photography that were being enforced by the local volunteers.

I did not find the document at the County Elections Board web site.

So I went on to my next task, to contact an official for an on-the-record explanation.

I was directed to Ann Turner, Election Division Manager who agreed to answer my questions on the record. Apparently she was familiar with the earlier incident.

I asked her what the Board’s policy was regarding crosses in church polling places and how it related to the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

She responded by saying that she did not know the election code front to back, but that  there was no conflict with the First, with a litany of reasons as to why there might be a cross or a church as a polling place, among them: the Board has no control over the layout of the room, they have to rent buildings for the election and locations are hard to come by, no one is trying to impose religion.

I asked her if it  County Counsel supported those reasons and I could rely on them on the record, or if they were unofficial viewpoints.

Suddenly she was not interested in continuing. I asked her if her quotes were still “on-the-record”, giving her a few chances to regroup. In the end, she did not retract the reasons and remained on the record, but she did not want to answer any more questions.… Read the rest

Cameron Hamilton (and Brian Ward) Deserve to Never be Elected to Anything Ever Again

[update 8:30 PM: See Hamilton’s respnse and whine about  being exposed in the screenshot. Click on the screenshot to enlarge]

My questions, Cameron Hamilton’s answers, and my initial analysis of his answers, on the eve of the first re-election ballot for Cameron Hamilton and Brian Ward since their infamous and notorious only-in Porterville pro-Prop 8 Resolution put the City’s reputation and economic development efforts on the line unnecessarily.

Cameron Hamilton (and Brian Ward) Deserve to Never be Elected to Anything Ever Again

1 – Do you agree you voted in 2003 to have Council stand against government intrusions on the rights of all citizens?

CH: Yes

2 – Do you agree that the US Supreme Court has indicated that the right to marry is a fundamental right in more than 14 cases over more that 100 years?

CH: No

BC :
————————————-
From an interview on Fox News: OLSON: No. As a matter of fact, since 1888 the United States Supreme Court has 14 times decided and articulated that the right to marriage is a fundamental right. We’re not talking about a new right here.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/on-air/fox-news-sunday/transcript/ted-olson-debate-over-judicial-activism-and-same-sex-marriage#ixzz1wsCRSxOe
————————————-

3 – Do you agree that on the day before the Prop 8 Election, Californians had the right to marry anyone of any gender?

CH:Yes, legislative action

BC: Maybe this is the root of your misunderstanding Cam. In fact the right was affirmed by the CA Supreme Court in In Re: Marriage Cases. not in any legislative action.

You wanted to debate and yet do know know even this?

you are hanging your hat on reelection based on your knowledge of Prop 8, and you don’t even know the Court case it was meant to undo?

Really?

Here is just one of about a zilliion articles form the time describing it: http://writ.news.findlaw.com/grossman/20080527.html

Google is your friend Cam!

Read the rest

Cameron Hamilton Answers My Questions At Last

Below are the questions I asked and answers from Cameron Hamilton I posed him on the recorderonline facebook page on the eve of his election.

My analysis will be in the next post….

1 – Do you agree you voted in 2003 to have Council stand against government intrusions on the rights of all citizens?

Yes

2 – Do you agree that the US Supreme Court has indicated that the right to marry is a fundamental right in more than 14 cases over more that 100 years?

No?

3 – Do you agree that on the day before the Prop 8 Election, Californians had the right to marry anyone of any gender?

Yes, legislative action

4 – Do you agree that after Prop 8, the 4th Branch of Government in California took that right away?

Yes, citizens action

5 – Do you agree that Council supporting a branch of government taking a right away is counter to the 2003 Resolution that you supported standing up against exactly that?

No

6 – Do you agree that in 2008 you voted for a Resolution that Brian Ward introduced that was opposite in spirit and intent to the Resolution that you voted for in 2003, that by its very words urges the 4th Branch to remove Rights that were then held by every Californian eligible to marry?

No?

7 – So sometime between 2003 and 2008, when you voted on each of these Resolutions, your position on whether Government should intrude on removing rights changed, from being squarely against it in 2003 to actually urging it in 2008?

No?

8 – To this very day, on including on this very facebook page, you have stood up and defended the 2008 vote to remove rights as right and proper, and not said a word about the rightness or properness of your 2003 vote to defend the rights of the people against government intrusion.

Read the rest

Questions for Cameron Hamilton on the Brian Ward Pro-Prop 8 Resolution He Voted For

Today on facebook I posted a series of questions to Cameron Hamilton, one of two driving forces behind the anti-gay and only in Porterville Council Resolution in favor of Prop 8. Hamilton is up for re-election tomorrow, and ducked my taking him up on his offer to answer my questions “any time any place” when I took him up on it and tried to arrange a time and a very public place.

Today, he appeared again on the local newspaper’s facebook page where there has been plenty of heated discussion about his record and which candidates would serve us best.

He answered a few questions, cryptically to be generous, regarding his positions, and denied ducking me.

So I decided to put up a series of dirt simple questions that would take 5 minutes for him to answer and from which his true position and reasoning could be inferred with little room for error.

The issi is not just Prop 8, but the damage to local economic development that has resulted from his vote in 2008, and why his 2008 vote contrasted to a 2003 Patriot Act Resoltuion that he also voted for that urged Council and others to protect against the attempts of government to restrict or remove rights from citizens.

Note that up until this time, he has never publicly acknowledged that there were rights that Prop 8 took away, or undertaken any kind of comprehensive explanation for his behavior.

Below are the questions::

‎1 – Do you agree you voted in 2003 to have Council stand against government intrusions on the rights of all citizens?

Yes or No?

2 – Do you agree that the US Supreme Court has indicated that the right to marry is a fundamental right in more than 14 cases over more that 100 years?

Read the rest

How Cam Hamilton and Brian Ward have tied the hands of Economic Development Staff, and cost Porterville jobs and tax revenues for 4 years, and a simple solution at the end

How is it that Porterville’s economic development is hurt by its Council’s flip-flop between 2003 and 2008 on the advisability of the protection of Rights of citizens from government intervention?

Part 1:

Here is the article that describes the 2003 public hearing now-Mayor Roh Irish was absent from and the Council’s holding up the vote so he could be present. I don’t have any beef with him not being present, life happens. And I don’t have any beef with Council wanting to give him a chance to weigh in.

http://www.recorderonline.com/sections/search/?q=patriot+act+resolution&fistype=site&x=0&y=0

The article that describes the vote and containse the text of the resolution is no longer searchable on the Recorder’s web site. It used to be, but is gone now, I can only speculate as to why, maybe because I have raised this issue in the past. Rick Elkins has avoided answering my question as to why, and I have no idea why that is. (Not that it would be the first content to disappear while he was the editor, but that is a different matter)

No matter, the text or the Resolution is available elsewhere:

http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2003/09/12/16448441.php (also contains a report of the meeting including some of Irish’s actions)

Text of the Resolution only: http://www.bordc.org/detail.php?id=85

By contrast, here is the report of the meeting on the Prop 8 Resolution and the text of the Resolution(when Mayor Irish was not on Council 5 years almost to the day later!): http://www.recorderonline.com/news/porterville-38329-state-prop.html

Please read those Resolutions over, and you will see that Council voted for both unanimously, Cam Hamilton was on both Councils, Irish was on the first, and that one clearly affirms the rights of all citizens should not be limited by government, and the second calls for government (the people of California being the 4th branch) to do just that.

Independent of you the reader’s opinion on Prop 8 or gay rights or any of that, can we agree so far that this was the opposite intents of the two Resolutions?… Read the rest

You can’t manage what you can’t measure

Statistics take “millions of dollars” and “years to analyze” says Library staff in begging off the task

I just attended an interesting local board meeting where every local problem, and they are legion, was touched upon or hinted at in an indirect manner. How the Library Board came to be the nexus of that, I am not exactly sure, but here is my best guess:

In Central Valley towns everywhere, including Porterville, social problems abound. No need to get into the specifics of why, but John Steinbeck wrote about it in Grapes of Wrath so they are well known to the American public. The problems shown there have not been solved, not a one of them. Oh some of them are not quite as bad as they used to be, but some are worse.

So it seems that in order to fight the Ghost of Tom Joad, in a pique of blaming current crime levels for all the ills of the City, a few years back before I arrived, the town voted to tax itself with a local sales tax of .75 percent in a ballot measure known as Measure H.

Measure H doles out the money 85% to police and safety for new toys to “reduce crime”. The other 15% is supposed to go to the library for vaguely defined “literacy programs” because it is believed that doing so will also reduce crime.

All well and good I suppose, but there is a catch. The cops want that 15% and the locals are inclined to give it to them, or at least make the Library beg continually to justify every single dollar, although cops and fire departments have no such pressure to justify their large piece of the pie.

How does that happen? There is a committee, called an oversight committee, that once a year reports to City Council its opinion as to whether the Measure H funds (the Library part of it in practice) were spent “wisely” during the preceding year.… Read the rest

Schwarzenegger signs gay rights bill SB 54 now law

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed two gay rights bills, one honoring late activist Harvey Milk and another recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other states.

In the last of hundreds of bill actions taken before midnight Sunday, Schwarzenegger approved the two bills by Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco.

The governor last year vetoed the measure declaring May 22 a state day of recognition for Milk, suggesting that the former San Francisco supervisor be honored locally. But he subsequently named him to the California Hall of Fame.

Leno’s SB 54, meanwhile, requires California to recognize marriages performed in other states where same sex marriage is legal.

In a signing message, Schwarzenegger said California will not recognize the couples as married but will “provide the same legal protections that would otherwise be available to couples that enter into civil unions or domestic partnerships out-of-state. In short, this measure honors the will of the People in enacting Proposition 8 while providing important protections to those unions legally entered into in other states.”

via Schwarzenegger signs gay rights bills – Latest News – sacbee.com.… Read the rest