cross-posted at dKos
We expected area Repubs to be up in arms over Richard Burr's vote in favor of repealing "don't ask, don't tell." But even by this state's standards, a county commissioner here in Mecklenburg County has gone several miles over the top.
Last week, Democratic commission chairwoman Jennifer Roberts asked her colleagues if they wanted to sign a letter thanking Burr, Kay Hagan, Larry Kissell and Mel Watt for voting to repeal the policy. When Bill James, a Repub who represents the southeastern part of the county, found out about it, he responded by suggesting that gays are all "sexual predators."
Staggering bigotry, even by North Carolina standards. Fortunately, it won't be allowed to stand. At tomorrow's county commission meeting, there's going to be a resolution condemning anti-gay bigotry. But this is only the first step. Suffice to say that a little bit of heat needs to be put on James when he runs for reelection in 2012.
Predictably, James isn't the least bit repentant.
"This isn't about, I don't think, some sort of consensus," he said Sunday. "This is about the speech police and controlling an issue that they have gotten a lot of heat over, because you can't go around censuring people for having a different opinion, or for expressing it."
"It's like having a resolution saying we're going to be uber-sensitive to prostitutes and pedophiles because we don't want them to get mad."
Um, Bill? Then how do you explain your three Republican colleagues being able to object without using such hateful and uninformed bile?
It isn't the first time that James has stuck his foot in his mouth about gays. In its writeup about James' latest screed, QNotes, a Charlotte-area gay publication, brought up what may have been an even worse slur than this.
He often uses derogatory language or slurs to describe LGBT people in debates or communication with fellow public officials and constituents. During debate last December on domestic partner benefits for county employees, James leaned over to his Democratic colleague, Vilma Leake, and called her son a “homo.” Leake’s son died from AIDS in the 1990s.
And back in 2005, James sent an email (h/t to Pam's House Blend) to his fellow commissioners suggesting that one favorite pastime of gays was "buying gerbils and hamsters from the pet store and cramming them up their rears in an activity called feltching". I'm not kidding.
So now you're wondering how in the world such a tool can be an elected official at any level. Well, Mecklenburg's county commission consists of nine members--six from districts, three at large. The districts are all gerrymandered to be insanely Democratic or insanely Republican. To my knowledge, James has never faced a Democratic opponent since first being elected to the board in 1994. Sorry, that shouldn't happen.
James represents one of the most Republican areas of North Carolina and the South. And yet, we need to get the ball rolling to find and fund a candidate who will at least keep him tied down in 2012. So help the Mecklenburg County Democratic Party find one.