Rather than take action to remove a controversial commissioner from the San Diego County human relations commission, some county supervisors are instead recommending the commission handle the issue themselves.
County Supervisor Joel Anderson said Friday he will not remove commissioner Dennis Hodges, who recently expressed disparaging opinions about the LGBTQ community and transgender individuals.
And last week, chair of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors Nathan Fletcher and vice-chair Nora Vargas sent a letter to commission chair Ellen Nash recommending the San Diego County Human Relations Commission instead create a code of conduct for the commission and spell out consequences for any violations.
“This will empower your body to hold members accountable for action detrimental to the overall mission,” the letter read. “We are asking you to work with your colleagues and potentially outside experts to develop such a code, including how violations will be enforced.”
The supervisors’ letter to Nash came in response to various requests from LGBTQ supporters, including some commissioners, that the county supervisors intercede in the conflict and remove Hodges from the human relations commission.
The human relations commission “was created to promote positive human relations, respect and the integrity of every individual regardless of gender, religion, culture, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age or citizenship status,” according to Fletcher and Vargas’ letter. “It exists to be the forum that brings diverse points of view together around some of the most significant issues we face.”
However, it is struggling to uphold its mission after a conflict began in November, when Hodges, pastor of the nondenominational Church of Yeshua Ha Mashiach in Lemon Grove, abstained from voting with other commissioners to endorse a letter condemning transphobia and recommitting to work to end discrimination against transgender people.
When asked about his abstention, Hodges made controversial remarks about transgender and LGBTQ people including that “transgenderism … is an abomination in the eyes of God.”
Dozens of LGBTQ supporters and some of his fellow commissioners have since sent letters to the board of supervisors seeking his removal. Hodges said he has a right to remain on the board while maintaining his religious beliefs.
Nash sent a letter to Anderson, who appointed Hodges to the commission, asking him to remove Hodges, but Nash says Anderson never responded.
When asked Friday by the San Diego Union-Tribune, Anderson said he will not seek Hodges’ removal.
He wrote in an email: “The mission of the HRC is to promote positive human relations, respect and integrity — in fewer words, to promote tolerance. I believe this commission was designed to show us how to be tolerant of others. This situation is a golden opportunity to lead through example by respectfully engaging with those who share differing views. I believe in the commission’s mission and am optimistic the commissioners will rise to meeting the needs of all San Diegans, which include the more than 100 community leaders who signed a letter asking for tolerance to be shown.”
In their letter, Fletcher and Vargas said they share the commission’s concerns about recent events that led some members “to not feel safe or included in this important work” and “believe that hate speech and demeaning and derogatory opinions have no place in the mission or work of the HRC, nor does it have a place in our county.”
Fletcher said in an interview he believes Hodges’ comments were “outrageous and an insult to the spirit and mission of the human relations commission,” and that if he had appointed Hodges, he would be replaced….
The above comes from a March 11 story on unitednewspost.