Should Supervisors Have Greater Say in Work of Human Relations Council?

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Should Orange County supervisors get more involved in the positions taken by a nonprofit that seeks to reduce hate crimes, prejudice and discrimination?

That question was at the center of a discussion last week among supervisors Andrew Do and Todd Spitzer regarding the Orange County Human Relations Council, which gets much of its funding from the county.

As supervisors prepared to approve the county’s annual contribution last week, Do said he wanted the Board of Supervisors to get more involved before approving another contract with the group next year.

“I would like to see a greater involvement by this board with the commission, and thereby with the council, in terms of…work that you do out in the community, statements that are being made, positions being taken,” Do told the nonprofit’s executive director, Rusty Kennedy, after asking if Kennedy seeks the board’s input before taking positions.

That didn’t seem to sit well with Spitzer, who – while being careful not to criticize Do – said just after Do’s comments that he found the idea of supervisors directing the group through their funding mechanism to be “troublesome.”

To illustrate his point, Spitzer spoke of a recent awards dinner he attended where the human relations group honored the transgender community. At the event, one of the presenters asked him to champion the cause of transgender undocumented immigrants.

“I got really uncomfortable. Those are not issues that I tend to champion,” Spitzer said.

But, he added, he very much supports the overall work of the commission and doesn’t want to see its mission muddied by politics.

“If we start dictating from our vantage point, because we have very strong views as elected officials, whether our funding goes hand in glove with the issues that the Orange County Human Relations Commission is going to tackle, we’re really gonna create some significant problems here in the county,” said Spitzer.

He continued: “There’s groups of people in this county that you are helping that wouldn’t vote for me in an instant. In fact they probably don’t like me and they probably would do everything they could to make sure I wasn’t elected…But I think your work is so critical, that I’m willing to put my own political self-effacement and ideology down.”

Do then sought to re-frame his earlier comments, saying he was just asking for information.

“What I asked for was actually to be made aware of what you’re doing,” Do said of the group. “I don’t think asking for information is the same as controlling the work or the message.”

If actions are being taken “in the name of the Orange County Human Relations Commission, it’s only fair that we know what is about to happen,” Do said.

Spitzer then said his comments weren’t directed at Do.

“I agree with you wholeheartedly,” Spitzer said to Do.  “I just wanted to put on the record that they are dealing with some very, very big issues that we may not, politically, support.”

You can contact Nick Gerda at ngerda@gmail.com, and follow him on Twitter: @nicholasgerda.

  • Ed Romero

    Where were these individuals when there was so much corruption in County Government? There was that Racist the former Chairperson of the Orange County GOP, that sent ARMED GUARDS to the Voting Places in the Mexican-American Communities. What she should of done was send ARMED GUARDS to the Orange County Probation Department where there was so much Drug Dealing, Marijuana Smoking, Cocaine Snorting and way too much Criminal Activity. She should of sent ARMED GUARDS to her house because her neighbors would call our Probation Department Records Unit complaining about all the Marijuana fumes drifting over to their houses from the Chief’s house and no one including Supervisor Todd Spitzer can deny that because there was this Asst. Chief Probation Officer that Smoked so much Marijuana in the Probation Department that at times all 5 floors were full of Marijuana fumes. She also had her very down Gang of Drug Dealers, all of them Deputy Probation Officers. Another place that filthy Racist former Chairperson of the Orange County GOP should of sent ARMED GUARDS was that Lesbian Bar in Garden Grove, where the Chief would write out a check to the Bar Owner, the doors would be looked, the lights turned off, the music turned up and a mattress was thrown on the Pool Table. I only one more thing to say to Spitzer and Do, this Racist used her position of power to hire and promote her lesbians friends to positions that should of gone to more qualified applicants, not just because they would spread their legs open for the Chief.

    • KateD

      WAS?! No, still is. You have people who are taking kickbacks and stealing from both taxpayers and disabled. Not one member of the BoS has ever done a thing, and neither will this little group. Upper management of the County agencies are as crooked as the mafia and they do business with the same tactics.

  • David Zenger

    “…that I’m willing to put my own political self-effacement and ideology down.”

    This must rank as one of the funniest comments of 2015. I think he meant “self-aggrandizement.”

    But the statement is just so perfectly true the way he said it.

    • Kathleen Tahilramani

      Between Do’s support of “hacks” and Spitzer’s “self- effacement” I am rolling in comic hysterics. Definition of “self-effacement” is ” withdrawing into the background; making yourself inconspicuous” .Does that sound like “Mr. Media pop up” to anyone?

      • David Zenger

        Yes, but he’s going to “put down” that self-effacement, meaning of course, that he will continue to grab every mike and hog every spotlight.

        • Kathleen Tahilramani

          Ha – looking at it that way- it is even funnier.

  • Trudy White

    Of course Spitzer would not support basic , Christian, human rights. He has never stood up for County employees when they are discriminated against, why would he now? I love his horrible honesty, if a group isn’t going to vote for him, why champion their cause? Most GOP politicos are not that blunt.