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California Mayor Removed from Office for Issuing LGBT Pride Declaration in June: VIDEO


This week Porterville, California mayor Virginia Gurrola was removed from office by a homophobic and vindictive City Council angry that she had dared issue an LGBT Pride declaration in June.

Reddit user 'nowaykd' posted the above photo yesterday showing support for Gurrola from the LGBT community.

Here's the backstory:

In 2009, Porterville, California's City Council faced outrage from some of the community after it passed a resolution publicly supporting Proposition 8.

V_gurrolaEarlier this year the town had a heated debate over plans by some of the Porterville City Council members to rescind an LGBT Pride proclamation made by the city's mayor, Virginia Gurrola. An overflow crowd turned out at the City Council meeting in June .

Blogger Jim Reeves writes:

The religious community had been up in arms over Mayor Gurrola’s issuing of the Pride Month proclamation from the moment they heard about it. Even though the process in Porterville has always been one of community members submitting a request to the City, and of the Mayor approving that request and presenting it at a Council meeting, speakers harangued Mayor Gurrola over the course of the next three council meetings for exceeding her authority, and daring to present such an evil thing. Council members Ward, Shelton, Hamilton, and to a lesser extent McCracken, all spoke against the proclamation the night it was issued. Public comment during the meetings included a lot of vitriol directed at Mayor Gurrola by the religious community, with at least two speakers calling for the Biblical punishment for homosexuality – that homosexuals are “worthy of death”. A few screamed at the Mayor while waving Bibles in the air. Speaker after speaker rose to condemn the LGBT community, spouting falsehood after lie after endlessly disproven statistic and other made up nonsense. Above it all, on the wall behind the council members, are the words “IN GOD WE TRUST”.

PortervilleIn July, the City Council voted 3-2 to rescind the mayor's LGBT Pride proclamation, prompting a protest by three activists who stormed the chamber holding up signs reading "liars" and bigots". They were arrested.

The City Council majority this week succeeded in a plan to punish Gurrola and the Vice Mayor Pete McCracken by removing them from office. The LGBT Pride declaration was behind the ousting.

ABC30 reports:

Gurrula says she wasn't surprised with outcome, given her recent support of gay rights issues.
Supporters of Gurrola say there was no reason to remove her from her post as mayor. But they say her position to support a proclamation designating the month of June as LGBT pride month, is the reason behind the shakeup.

But the new Mayor Cameron Hamilton says that wasn't the case to switch leadership.

According to the city's charter, the mayor and vice mayor are allowed to serve a two-year term. But either may be removed before their term is up by a council's majority vote.

Watch ABC30's report on the ousting, AFTER THE JUMP...


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  1. Porterville City Council - Redefining what it means to be a "Christian"

    Posted by: adamth | Sep 19, 2013 9:35:27 AM

  2. Fvck all religious people. They the bane of human existence and do nothing but hold back our development.

    Posted by: Steve | Sep 19, 2013 10:06:08 AM

  3. Always amazes me when I hear about these little closed-minded, rabid-right, homophobic communities in California, supposedly one of the most forward-thinking states.

    What ever happened to the California I once knew in the 70s when I lived there?

    Posted by: johnny | Sep 19, 2013 10:06:34 AM

  4. Despicable. On a lighter note, who's the reporter? Muy guapo!

    Posted by: Gigi | Sep 19, 2013 10:13:16 AM

  5. Johnny, these kinds of people have *always* been here. It's the dirty secret of CA politics: while the coastal cities north of Orange County tend to be liberal, the rest of the state can be as backwards and reactionary as AL or OK. See: Bakersfield.

    Posted by: Henry Holland | Sep 19, 2013 10:14:19 AM

  6. Bigoted anti-gay fanaticism is alive and well (and breeding) in Porterville, California. Onward Christian Soldiers, marching as to war...with your fellow but less-than-equal GLBT citizens.

    Posted by: HadenoughBS | Sep 19, 2013 10:22:21 AM

  7. No "religious community" should ever be given the power to have that kind of effect on government. Guess they're not persecuted victims in this case.

    It's 1984. Love = hate.

    Posted by: Jack M | Sep 19, 2013 10:27:41 AM

  8. They should sue under California's non-discrimination laws. If an employer can't fire someone for their personal beliefs, neither should a city council be permitted to do so (especially not a city council). Animus is NEVER a reason to fire someone from their job...not even a duly-elected public official.

    Posted by: AggieCowboy | Sep 19, 2013 10:35:42 AM

  9. How do you punish a town which has no reason to exist?

    Posted by: Hagatha | Sep 19, 2013 10:35:44 AM

  10. For Johnny and those of you who may only know coastal California: Imagine a state that ran from Savannah, GA to Cape Cod, MA and inland 200 miles. Now, think about all the different types of people who live in that state. On the west coast, that's called California. And Porterville is smack dab in the middle of our own little "Bible Belt."

    Posted by: Tom in SF Bay Area | Sep 19, 2013 10:35:49 AM

  11. Can we remove Porterville from California??

    Posted by: Princely | Sep 19, 2013 10:40:07 AM

  12. So what vodka do we boycott about this?

    Posted by: Jack | Sep 19, 2013 10:42:16 AM

  13. I'll make certain not to stop at Porterville on my way to Sequoia National Park. They don't deserve any of my queer money.

    Posted by: MiKem | Sep 19, 2013 10:49:50 AM

  14. With each and every passing day, I come to despise christians more and more. Foul, fetid religion. Curse them and a pox on all their houses.

    Posted by: jamal49 | Sep 19, 2013 11:31:49 AM

  15. I never heard of a situation where a city council is allowed to "remove" a mayor. Don't mayors get elected by the voters? Wouldn't there have to be a recall vote to oust the mayor? Possibly she would survive a recall election. The city council's actions may not reflect the wishes of most of this town's people.

    No matter how one feels about gay rights issues it seems silly to oust someone from office due to a formality like declaring a pride day for any group. It's really just a formal gesture.

    Posted by: Mary | Sep 19, 2013 12:11:36 PM

  16. @Mary - Most of the small towns in California follow a council-manager form of government, where the people elect a city council and the council hires a city manager to serve as chief executive. This executive is often styled Mayor. Just like the CEO of a corporation, the city manager / mayor serves at the discretion of the council. It is actually a pretty common form of municipal governance, most common in smaller entities.

    Posted by: Gregory In Seattle | Sep 19, 2013 12:33:05 PM

  17. Gregory, my understanding of the council/manager form is that the City Manager and Mayor are separate, the latter being just one of the (usually) five members of the City Council, without any executive responsibilities but with the power to issue proclamations like this one. In that context, it makes more sense that his or her fellow council members could just vote another one of their own to be the mayor whenever.

    Posted by: Huntington | Sep 19, 2013 12:44:03 PM

  18. So, I guess the mayor in this town has to rubber stamp every council decision lest they be removed from office by mere majority voting.

    Posted by: anon | Sep 19, 2013 12:46:27 PM

  19. These pockets of resistance remind us that everyone hasn't embraced our schtick.

    Posted by: JG | Sep 19, 2013 1:15:40 PM

  20. @Jonny: Porterville is located in Tulare County, part of California's Bible Belt. Tulare County has been a Republican stronghold, but is changing: 66% Republican in 2004 versus 56% in 2012. If some of these places sound backwards, kind of like rural Oklahoma, the cause is poor environmental policies in the earlier part of the 20th century, which led to the "Dust Bowl" and a migration from Oklahoma and similarly affected states to rural parts of California. They brought their fire-and-brimstone religion with them.

    I think what is changing is that places like Porterville in the past would be simply ignored as all the news came from large news organizations. They've always been there.

    BTW, quite a few smaller California cities and towns are set up so that the mayor is elected by the city council - one of its members - and simply runs the council meetings and performs various ceremonial functions but is not directly elected.

    Posted by: Bill | Sep 19, 2013 1:24:43 PM

  21. @jamal49. took the words right out of my mouth

    Posted by: gomez | Sep 19, 2013 1:51:50 PM

  22. @Huntington - There are several different ways that a council-manager government can be put together. In California, it is common for the manager to be styled "Mayor." Less common out here (more in the midwest and east) is to have both a mayor and a manager. In that case, the mayor is typically the president of the council and not a separately elected position. An executive appointed by the council rather than elected is always a manager, regardless of what title that position may have.

    Differences also exist on how much power the manager wields. I believe that the mayor of Porterville has a fair bit of autonomy within a narrow range of authority. I'm not really certain of that, though, as I lived in nearby Visalia which has a somewhat different government system.

    Posted by: Gregory In Seattle | Sep 19, 2013 2:01:17 PM

  23. Good to know portervile has aholes and ignorant religious bigots leading it.

    Posted by: Mmike1969 | Sep 19, 2013 2:10:34 PM

  24. Another good example of why the Romans fed Christians to the lions.

    Posted by: Dearcomrade | Sep 19, 2013 3:20:56 PM

  25. If idiotic right-wing Christians can burn the Koran, it is time we start collecting Bibles and burning them I know where there are plenty of bibles to most hotel and motel rooms. Seperation of Church and State does not exist in Poeterville, Ca.

    Posted by: sean buckley | Sep 19, 2013 5:24:41 PM

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