Former San Diego City Councilmember George Stevens told CityBeat this week that he's considering a run for school board but said he hasn't yet made up his mind. He was quick to add that he's waiting for "the Lord" to tell him how to proceed.
Since it looks as if Stevens doesn't dare make a move without the Lord's go-ahead, we can only assume that it was the Lord who told Stevens to object vociferously to the political and social advancement of gays and lesbians at every turn.
For the past few weeks-provoked by representatives of the San Diego Democratic Club, which speaks rather eloquently for local lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders-Stevens has been honking on and on about how the gay community should be ignored when it comes to drawing new boundaries for the San Diego Unified School District Board of Education.
True, under redistricting law, those who identify themselves by sexual orientation are down a rung on the ladder from the racial minorities-Blacks, Asians, Latinos. But because the Democratic Club came forward and made them so, gays and lesbians are considered a "community of interest." So Stevens is wrong. They shouldn't be ignored, no more so than the folks who want to keep the community of Clairemont in one district, or than the people who want City Heights placed in this district or that one.
On Monday, Stevens, who was appointed to the school board's redistricting committee by board Trustee Ron Ottinger, got all bent out of shape when committee member Mike Aguirre engaged in dialogue with Jess Durfee, president of the Democratic Club, about how best to cluster the gay community into one district.
Stevens confronted Durfee on whether or not he could say definitively how many gay people live in Mission Hills, Hillcrest, University Heights, North Park, Normal Heights and Talmadge. Durfee said the census doesn't count gay people very well but that there are other ways to get a good read on where they reside. Stevens countered that he had real numbers in front of him regarding racial minorities, and so that's all he cares about.
Aguirre, always the lawyer, treated Durfee like a friendly witness and established, for the record, how the gay community has coalesced and gotten lesbians Toni Atkins and Chris Kehoe elected to public office. Committee member Hugh Boyle argued that voting trends, not just numbers must be considered when redrawing the boundaries. "There was a time when Latinos weren't counted," noted Aguirre.
Stevens wouldn't have it. "You're pitting [minorities] against each other, and I'm not going to let you do it," he said, apparently believing that any gain by the gays is the racial minorities' loss.
Which is foolishness. The request by the Democratic Club is fairly easily accommodated, as long as it can live with, say, 85 percent of what it's asking for. The deal with Stevens isn't that the Asians or Latinos or Blacks are going to be harmed if the gay community is crammed into one voting district; it's that Stevens doesn't like gay people.
We know that not just because he has blathered about it during the last few committee meetings, but also because he established himself as firmly anti-gay during his eight-year stint on the City Council. For goodness sake, the man refused to ever vote in favor of a proclamation recognizing the annual Pride Day in San Diego. (What would he say if a City Council member refused to honor Martin Luther King Jr. Day?)This is why, if the Lord tells him to run for school board, we hope he's sent a resounding message by the voters-that bigots of all sorts have no place in public office, particularly the school board, where tolerance should be the primary ethos.