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