The San Antonio, Texas city councilwoman whose secretly recorded staff meeting revealed her virulently anti-gay and anti-transgender views is now the target of ethics charges based on her comments at that May 21 meeting. Elisa Chan has been charged with ethics violations by a local citizen and Democratic consultant who filed a complaint as a direct result of the may 21 recording that shows Chan disparaging LGBT people and using her tax-payer paid staff and office for political purposes — a direct violation of San Antonio city council rules.
Democratic campaign consultant D’mitri Kosub’s complaint includes the allegation “that a partisan political purpose was served because the discussion focused on how statements, actions, or policy administered by the office would be received by the partisan political group of voters who participate in the Republican primary or those voters who the councilwoman perceives constitute her partisan political base.”
Chan had said she believes homosexuality is a choice, that gay people “take hormone shots,” and that gay people should be “banned” from adopting or raising children. Chan also attacked the marriage of a former city councilwoman whose legal wife is a transgender woman. In a release of additional audio, Chan can be heard gossiping about the former councilwoman, and asking, “So what kind of marriage is that?”
Throughout the audio, Chan and her staff are heard debating and strategizing on how best to vote against a proposed anti-discrimination ordinance. At one point, Chan staffs out a draft of an op-ed — that would bear her name — to be published in a local paper, explaining why she opposes the ordinance. She can be heard saying that if it isn’t well-receioved, she can pretend she did not know what “transgender” is, and claim she later looked it up in Wikipedia if she needed to apologize after it’s run.
“When taken together, these statements indicate that the May 21, 2013, staff meeting was conducted for the partisan political purpose of preparing statements and policy to specifically appeal to potential voters in an upcoming Republican primary,” the complaint also states.
“But once a representative is elected and sent to do business on behalf of all constituents,” D’mitri Kosub told Texas Public Radio, ”I think that it’s really important that they work very hard to avoid even the appearance of bias or favortism, and that rather than working for just their small partisan political constituency, that they work for the district that they were elected to represent as a whole.”
The local paper that broke the story with the secret audio recordings, San Antonio Express-News, explains that the “administrative directive that Kosub says Chan violated prohibits political activity by city employees.”
It prohibits “the use of public employees and city resources for political purposes, and to avoid any appearance of bias or favoritism in carrying out public policy.”
In his complaint, Kosub accuses Chan of engaging her city staff during city time, on city property, for a political purpose.
He also alleges Chan “failed to avoid the appearance of bias and/or favoritism by allowing the discussion to focus on appealing to her political, voting base.”
Chan is rumored to be considering a state Senate run. An opinion piece in the San Antonio Current looks at her chances: “Will Anti-LGBT Remarks Hurt Chan’s Shot At The Texas Senate? Probably Not.”
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