Advertisement
 
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Gay Rights Group to Call for Councilman's Resignation : Controversy: Douglas Drummond's comments during conservative forum characterized as 'awful and hostile.'

September 30, 1993|RICK HOLGUIN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

LONG BEACH — A gay and lesbian rights group plans to call today for the resignation of Councilman Douglas S. Drummond, saying that he made offensive statements about homosexuals.

At a recent forum, Drummond said he's not worried about "gay activity" because thousands of homosexuals are dying of AIDS, and gays and lesbians don't reproduce. He also said he supported Cuba's policy of quarantining people with the disease. Drummond said it is pitiful that gays and lesbians are allowed to adopt children.

The controversial statements came during a question and answer session after Drummond gave a speech on "family values" to the Long Beach chapter of the conservative Eagle Forum of California.

"It reflects a depth of bigotry that's frightening and incomprehensible," said Paul Self, president of the predominantly gay and lesbian Long Beach Lambda Democratic Club. "That mentality . . . shouldn't be something an elected official in Long Beach should have."

Lambda scheduled a news conference outside City Hall at 10 a.m. today to call for Drummond's resignation, Self said.

Drummond is on vacation in Wyoming, hunting elk with City Manager James C. Hankla and unavailable for comment, aide Steven J. Eliakedis said. Drummond's 3rd District covers southeast Long Beach, which includes parts of Belmont Heights and Belmont Shore, and includes a sizable gay population.

The controversy surfaced Friday when transcripts and tapes of some of Drummond's comments were delivered anonymously to City Hall and to the home Dick Gaylord, a business and civic leader, who is gay.

Councilman Alan S. Lowenthal, a proponent of gay and lesbian rights, was one of the recipients. Lowenthal aide Marta Gemme said she did not know who dropped off the transcript and tape on Friday.

Lowenthal said he found some of Drummond's statements offensive but would reserve judgment until he listens to a tape of Drummond's entire talk. "I think it's really up to Drummond to address the council and address everyone else," Lowenthal added.

Jeanne Goodin, director of the local chapter of the Eagle Forum, gave a tape of Drummond's talk to Eliakedis, Drummond's aide, who played it for members of the media earlier this week.

During the talk, Drummond discusses various issues that affect "family values." He mentions how the city is hiring more police to fight crime, for example.

Drummond starts speaking about gays and lesbians when an unidentified man in the audience says, "I can't even use my gymnasium anymore because of homosexual activity."

Drummond responds: "Do you know why I don't worry about gay activity? I'm going to give you a clue. So far in San Francisco over 10,000 have died. In Long Beach over 1,000 have died. I'm serious. You know you can't go into denial on this."

He adds: "I have no respect for Fidel Castro, except that he did one thing, he isolated his AIDS population . . . and as a result, Cuba has not had the spread that we have."

Another audience member asked about the political impact of gays, who make up about 15% of the city's population.

"I would be more concerned with promoting fundamental values, and letting that side go," Drummond said. "Let's face it. Let's be real fundamental, they don't reproduce. . . .

"I see some on the Board of Realtors (Greater Long Beach Assn. of Realtors) who think of themselves as being powerful, but I only see them as being strong in their own circle. . . . I see them not respected." Gaylord is a former president of the organization and is chairman of its political action committee.

When some members of the audience argued that the gay community is making political inroads, Drummond responded, "Let's face it. Let's think about this for a moment. How do we deal with it short of killing them?"

Self, the Lambda president, said he found the last statement particularly objectionable.

"This is pretty awful and hostile stuff," said Self, who noted that gays and lesbians hold leadership positions in local government and business.

"I don't think he needs to see our community as a political threat for any reason," Self said. "Lesbians and gays have always been a part of the political process and worked with many groups."

Gaylord, who is a real estate agent, said he called Drummond after receiving an anonymous call about the speech. Drummond suggested that someone was trying to smear him, according to Gaylord. (Drummond is running for a second council term in the April election. He is unopposed so far.)

Gaylord said he later listened to Drummond's remarks. "I'm shocked and hurt and disappointed," he said. "To create divisiveness and bad feelings, what does it serve?"

Gaylord said he called Drummond after listening to the tape, but the councilman had left on vacation.

Drummond angered some conservatives earlier this year when he voted to approve a "statement on family," recognizing non-traditional families such as unmarried or gay and lesbian couples. The symbolic statement carried no concrete benefits for non-traditional families.

But Drummond led the opposition once a concrete proposal surfaced. The council voted 5 to 3 in June against extending family health benefits to city employees in non-traditional relationships.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|