Tuesday night was another Porterville City Council meeting and again the gay community and their allies turned out. We had about the same numbers (20 people or so) as the last meeting but with some new faces to the civil rights movement. We gathered across the street before the meeting with some signs. Right before 7pm we met with Marie Cunningham, a reporter from the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication.This reporter heard about Porterville City Council and the work, we the grassroots community, are doing here! So, she grabbed her camera and followed us to the meeting!
During the meeting the city has an open comment part, so with that is where we tell the city what they did by making a proclamation supporting Prop 8. That they do not speak for the whole community. We had about 6 people go up and talk to the 5 city council men including me. I spoke on the need of a mosqutio abatement then I changed the topic to that day and Wednesday June 17th 2008. I told the council that these days are very special days for Porterville and Tulare County because on June 17th last year, 14 same-sex couples got a marriage licence and or married. Nine of those couples were from Porterville. Others spoke on such topics of why last year at the Mayors Prayer Breakfast that he was over heard getting thanks from a minister saying "thank you mayor for helping us out last november". Anyone can get the meaning to what this is refering to! Jamie Garza spoke shortly and told the council why we are there and that there are still more people in the community that still need to be heard. And that’s why we will keep coming until all of us are heard! We also had two people from Visalia. I think they were from Tulare-Kings Co PFLAG.
During the meeting there was a short break so we all went outside and ths USC reporter followed us out to get interviews. As she was intertviewing a man, the mayor of Porterville was out smoking and as he was entering the building Mr. John Coffee said something to him that I didn’t catch. But the mayor snapped back with some comment that was caught on camera by the reporter. She then asks the Mayor if she could get an interview with her. The mayor said yes and told the crowd outside that he would love to talk to all of us but he needed to get back to the meeting and that he would talk with us afterwards. After the meeting the USC reporter asked one councilmember for an intertview but he said no. But she did get the interview with the Mayor and let me tell you from what I heard you will see why the fight here in Porterville is a hard one. He talked with the reporter about how gays are a heath risk, because of their sex and what they do. That they cause cancers and other heath risks! Marie seemed very shocked by the mayors comments.
On a personal note I would like to thank Marie Cunningham the reporter that came from USC for doing our story and to all the people that come out for civil rights, thank you! Strength in numbers!
UPDATE BY BROCK:
PORTERVILLE CITY COUNCIL
Regular meetings are held on the first and third Tuesdays of the month, starting at 6:00 p.m. for Closed Session, and 7:00 p.m. for the public meeting, City Hall Council Chamber.
City Hall, 291 N. Main St., Porterville, California 93257, Phone (559)782-7466.