Supervisor Exits Board Room Rather Than Address Orange County’s Snub of Harvey Milk Day

Supervisors in Orange County, California won't recognize slain gay civil rights leader Harvey Milk, on his state-sanctioned day, the L.A. Times reports:

NguyenActivists, for the second year, asked Orange County supervisors Tuesday to recognize Milk's birthday with a proclamation, but the board declined the opportunity, as it did last year. One of the supervisors, Janet Nguyen (pictured), walked from the board room shortly after the activists began their presentation. Last year, Nguyen also left the meeting as the activists spoke.

Dave Hoen, a 28-year Santa Ana resident, and other activists waited more than six hours before they could step to the podium, and by then the room was almost empty. Hoen read a poem, saying he suspected that fear was the reason the five supervisors have yet to endorse a proclamation honoring Milk.

"You're happy to keep your job instead," he said.

A campaign pressuring the supervisors began two months ago, to no avail.

The L.A. Times notes the significance recognition from the OC would have:

One of Milk's final battles was to take on then-state Sen. John V. Briggs, a Fullerton resident who championed a state initiative that would have essentially given school boards the right to fire openly gay teachers…Stuart Milk, the former supervisor's nephew, said in an interview Tuesday that he remembered his uncle talking about Briggs as someone who used hate and exclusion to get ahead.He said it would be symbolically significant for Orange County to recognize the day.

"The important element is because you have a history of non-acceptance doesn't mean you need to continue on that path," he said. "Harvey Milk Day is the way to do that."

UPDATE: A note received by Towleroad from Christy Delp, Office of Supervisor Janet Nguyen.

On behalf of Supervisor Janet Nguyen, I'd like to inform you that the LA Times article titled “O.C. declines to honor Milk” did not report accurate information when it stated that Supervisor Nguyen “walked from the Board room shortly after the activists began their presentation.”  This statement is incorrect; the Supervisor was present throughout the entirety of the public comments section. She left after all of the public comments were made, right before CEO and Board of Supervisor’s comments.

In addition, just for your information, last year Supervisor Nguyen coincidentally left the Board meeting before public comments in order to nurse her infant son, as she had done in other Board meetings. It's important to note that when the Supervisors step off of the dais, they do still have the capability to listen to the Board meeting.

I have already been in contact with Nicole Santa Cruz, the author of the LA Times article, and she will make the correction.


  1. Grover Underwood says

    Office of Supervisor Janet Nguyen
    First District
    Orange County Board of Supervisors
    333 W. Santa Ana Blvd.
    Santa Ana, CA 92701

    Phone: 714.834.3110
    Fax: 714.834.5754

    no email listed on the county website

  2. No matter says

    Janet Nguyen is a coward. But then Vietnamese are known to be mostly Katholic & are heavily influenced by that disgraced church’s homophobia.

  3. Malaysian Ho says

    Please for once understand the Janet Nguyens background before saying stupid things.

    The girl had to leave early because she was late for an appointment with South Coast Cosmetic Center. The same situations had happened numerous times before. And yes, the girl needs that much help.

  4. Paul Cook-Giles says

    I just spoke with Christy Dell in Supervisor Nguyen’s office. She checked with the Supervisor, who stayed throughout public comments, and left before Supervisor comments started. The LATimes will be printing a correction tomorrow. Those of us active in Orange County’s gay community are working to make the Harvey Milk Day proclamation a reality next year, and appreciate those who contact the Supervisors (contact info at to express their support of this request.

  5. Dave says

    How rude and disrespectful for her to walk out like that. Fullerton is in Orange County, California, that is the place they recently arrested two police officers for beating to death a young homeless man who could have also been gay. Orange County is the Southern California Bible belt.

  6. Hemolysis says

    Excuse me but whoever in this comment said O.C. is anti-gay is relying on stereotypes. You NEED to know that we won O.C. during the Prop 8 initiative. We lost LA County and San Diego County. Get your facts straight.

  7. Linda says

    OC did NOT defeat Prop 8. There were only a handful of precincts that voted down Prop8. They included Laguna Beach, areas around UC Irvine, and Silverado, a rural area in the mountains.

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