Friday, May 02, 2014

Hmm, A Lesson Not Learned In The Sterling Kerfuffle

OK, it appears that one thing about the whole Donald Sterling kerfuffle that I forgot to mention in this post is the following.
While I provided a pretty comprehensive history of Mr. Sterling's pretty public transgressions, the fact is that the revelations of his mistress, V. Stiviano, was done in private conversations that she was tape recording. In California, one can not tape a phone conversation unless both parties agree to it. Miss Stiviano claims that Mr. Sterling did approve of it. But we only have Miss Stiviano's word for it. So it is very possible that Miss Stiviano did the recording without sufficient approval of Mr. Sterling.
In other words, while there is ample history of Mr. Sterling's racism and misogyny, this is what has made the NBA seek to remove him as the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers.
Now, what a Pasadena city employee does when he is not on city time is coming back to bite him in much the same way as it did Mr. Sterling.
The Pasadena director of public health, Dr. Eric Walsh, was going to give the commencement speech at Pasadena City College later this month. Now Dr. Walsh replaced one Dustin Lance Black who is an Academy Award-winning screen writer and alumnus of PCC. And he happens to be an open homosexual. And there are racy photos of Mr. Black and a former boyfriend floating around the internets. And PCC found a way to "disinvite" him as this article notes. Now to be fair, PCC has already had a scandal of sorts with now former professor Hugo Schwyzwer and his inviting a porn actress to speak at one of his controversial classes. Read the link for why it was controversial. Now when PCC decided to "disinvite" Mr. Black, one can cut the college slack due to their previous seemingly inaction in the Schwyzer affair.
But not to this student group called Students For Social Justice.
Led by fourth year student Sarah Belknap, the group decided to take to the internets to find something dirty on Dr. Walsh.
I have to digress a moment on this point about Miss Belknap.
PCC is a two-year community college and Miss Belknap is in her fourth year. Maybe if she hit the books and study a little harder, she would take her social justice wares to a four year university. Just sayin. . .
Well, Dr. Walsh is a Seventh-Day Adventist preacher and needless to say, they found plenty of his sermons that were, well not exactly politically correct.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Dr. Walsh spoke on such topics as the evils of the one-time hit television show Will And Grace. The Will character was openly gay. And Dr. Walsh, associate pastor at Altadena Seventh-Day Adventist church, said this is in a sermon:

"Today you have whole shows like 'Will & Grace' where the whole theme is around gayness -- if there is such a thing. How does the devil do it?…A slippery slope, he doesn’t give you whole lot of it all at once, it's just a little bit at a time. And you become kind of immunized to something that was once revolting to American society.”

So, he is not a fan of Will And Grace and thinks that it sets a bad example for Americans. Again, this was not said in his capacity as the Pasadena director of public health but as a minister. In fact according to this in our local fish wrap, the Pasadena Star-News, Dr. Walsh spoke in his capacity as director of public health at All Saints Episcopal Church, a very modernist Episcopal congregation that has and does perform same-sex marriages. And he has spoken at the Mayor's prayer breakfast on the need to maintain the multicultural feel of Pasadena. And that discrimination can lead to public health problems. And he even quoted Oprah Winfrey and Tupac Shakur.
However, in the pulpit, he did not care for such people and groups that he believes are bringing down America's morality, such as it is.
In other words, in Dr. Walsh's capacity as director of public health, a job he has had since 2010, he is doing and saying all the right things. But as a minister, he is not sure all about the things he comes to understand are bringing down his nation and yes, his city.
In other words, to people like Miss Belknap and the Students For Social Justice ilk, people like Dr. Walsh who do find a way to thread the needle of his primary job for the city and his belief that God wants a different world, especially regarding moral issues, can not do both.
And the response to the social justice crowd is putting Dr. Walsh on paid administrative leave by city manager, Michael Beck, while the city "investigates" whether or not what he said as a private citizen would affect his job.
I put "investigates" in quotes because I am pretty certain that the city of Pasadena will find a way to make Dr. Walsh go away. They will be more afraid of the social justice crowd rather than whether or not Dr. Walsh has done a good job.
And what does this have to do with Donald Sterling?
How we have come to find out about both Mr. Sterling and Dr. Walsh.
A private and or series of private discussions are just that. Private. It does not give the right for someone to tape record it without permission of both parties. Even if in the end it is for some good. The law in California is very clear.
In the case of Dr. Walsh, he was unfortunately a victim of a college administration that got caught with it's pants down, so to speak. They disinvited an openly gay speaker for possibly having racy photos online. They asked Dr. Walsh to be a second choice. Because Mr. Black raised the "they don't want me cause I'm gay card" and whipped up the social justice crowd, Dr. Walsh not only has been scrapped as the commencement speaker, but Mr. Black, of course, was reinstated as the commencement speaker. And because of the social justice crowd they may cost Dr. Walsh his job because when he was on HIS OWN time, he spoke honestly, as he saw it on such hot-button so called social issues.
Mr. Sterling has a record as a racist and misogynist and one who openly discriminated against minorities and families with children in his rental properties. Dr. Walsh has no such record. But as a minister of the Gospel, as he sees it homosexuality is wrong and he spoke that truth. Mr. Sterling is going to be forced to sell his basketball team not for any of the past evils, but for what he said to a mistress on tape. Dr. Walsh will possibly  lose his position as director of public health not for anything job related but what he has said outside his capacity of the director of public health.
The lesson we have not learned it appears is that nothing is private anymore. Nothing.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Jack's law...if they can thwart your plans, ruin your good name, bankrupt you, frame you, sue you, destroy you, they'll do it with a smile on their face. The devil is listening, and his tape-recorder is recording.