DIXON, Calif. - Two weeks after the vice mayor of Dixon wrote a newspaper column where he called gay men “tinker bells” and suggested holding a “straight pride America month,” the embattled politician could be disciplined by the city.
Several hundred people turned out at the Tuesday night city council meeting to call for the resignation of Vice Mayor Ted Hickman, who refused to step down and did not apologize for the June 29 column he wrote in the Independent Voice newspaper and for his personal website.
"I didn't give up my First Amendment rights when I became an elected official," Hickman said at the meeting.
After four council members condemned the vice mayor's column, they directed the city attorney to call a special closed session to decide what action, if any, can be taken against Hickman. It was not clear Wednesday when the outcome of that meeting will be announced.
Speakers came from all over the region to ask the council to take some sort of action against the 74-year-old Hickman, who is up for re-election in November.
"Elected officials are supposed to show common sense," said Rev. Catharine Morris. "And Mr. Hickman showed no common sense making inflammatory statements."
The column has clearly taken a toll on the small farming community west of Sacramento.
"I ask that you do some good for this community and resign so we are no longer eclipsed by the blatant disregard and temporary pain you have caused this community," said Alice Lopez of Dixon.
Hickman, who sat expressionless, did not respond to the comments.
Hickman’s column begins by announcing that he has proclaimed the month of July as “Straight Pride American Month,” where “hundreds of millions of the rest of us can celebrate our month, peaking on July 4th, as healthy, heterosexual, fairly monogamous, keep our kinky stuff to ourselves, Americans.”
It continues with the many ways the gay and lesbian community is “different” from the straight community.
“We ARE different from them…We work, have families, (and babies we make) enjoy and love the company (and marriage) of the opposite sex and don’t flaunt our differences dressing up like faries (sic) and prancing by the thousands in a parade in nearby San Francisco to be televised all over the world.”
He has suggested that the column was written "tongue in cheek:, but critics say his words were cruel, discriminatory,and unfit for an elected official.
“I was shocked, I was anger, I was frustrated, I was disgusted. This is my hometown, and its small town America but it’s also 2018,’’ said Beverly Kearney, the founder of the 5-year-old Love is Love Movement, which is organizing a “LGBTQ Pride Day” on July 28 in Dixon
Hickman has not responded to several requests from KTVU for an interview to discuss the column or his potential resignation.
In nearby Sacramento, the capital city's mayor took a hard line approach to the controversy.
“Public servants must uphold basic standards of decency,” Mayor Darrell Steinberg said on Twitter. “Ted Hickman violated these standards with his vile newspaper column denigrating people based on their sexual orientation. He should resign as vice mayor of Dixon or be voted out."