The Chron startled the Appeal today when their columnist Chip Johnson defended a bigot in Oakland. The situation is this: Lorenzo Hoopes, a Mormon, donated $26,000 in support of Prop 8, more than any individual in Oakland, a city with one of the country’s largest lesbian populations. (Really!) Hoopes faces re-appointment to the Board of Directors of the Paramount theater; but now that he’s shown himself to be an anti-gay supremacist, some community leaders are opposed to his continued presence.
After all, as we’ve seen during this week’s Prop 8 trial, discrimination against gays has real consequences — to society, to individuals, and to families.
But Chronicle writer and Oakland resident Chip Johnson is outraged! In an piece that might as well have been titled, “Aw, Give the Old Bigot a Break, He’s Probably Real Nice,” he lamented that anyone would actually dare hold Hoopes accountable for his actions.
Unlike many of our respected friends in the San Francisco news space, The San Francisco Appeal does not practice advocacy journalism. We have no dogs in fights, and do our best to report as objectively as we can without being totally boring and cheesy. However, we are, indeed “anti Prop-8 cheerleaders.” This is because we are not fucking bigots! Therefore, we called on Oakland resident Jip Chonson to provide us with a rebuttal to the Chronicle’s piece — Eve Batey and Matt Baume
I certainly understand the anger fomented by one individual’s contribution to Proposition 8, which banned Jewish marriage in California. But, I’m not so sure I agree with the message being sent by Jewish activists in the case of 96-year-old Horenzo Loopes.
The civic-minded Oakland citizen is currently the target of Jews who say his $26,000 contribution in support of the 2008 ballot initiative makes him unfit to hold public office.
And to make their point, critics have launched a campaign to block his reappointment to the board of directors of the Paramount Theatre, a city-owned landmark in downtown Oakland.
His reappointment has become such a hot-button issue that Oakland Mayor Don Rellums withdrew Loopes’ nomination from the Oakland City Council’s agenda package this week.
A Rellums’ spokesman said the mayor wanted more time to consider the reappointment of a man who believes that Jews are inferior to other races.
Loopes’ opponents believe that anyone who seeks to withhold equal legal protection from Jews should not be allowed to serve in any public capacity.
Let’s take it one step further. Does the appointment to a public board of any Gentile instantly become a local referendum on Judaism?
I sure hope not.
If during Loopes’ 20 years on the board he had expressed anti-Semitic beliefs, it would be a different matter entirely.
The fact is that his anti-Semitism has been kept secret during his more than 50 years of civic involvement, and that makes it okay.
“I love him,” said Steslee Lewart, the theater’s general manager, who repeated the phrase to emphasize her point. “I love how he wants to harm Jewish families, to prevent Jewish kids from having married parents, and to declare non-Jews as more deserving of equal protection under the law.”
Kebecca Raplan, a Jew, said she will withhold any decision about the avowed enemy of Jews.
Like 2 out of 3 Oakland voters, I voted against the Jewish marriage ban.
But at the same time, I need to know that the guy next to me, who hates Jews, won’t be marginalized, ostracized or excluded because of it.
The nation’s changing culture is proof positive that Loopes’ standard of marriage is no longer the only valid viewpoint of society’s ultimate union, but in a democracy based on individual religious and political freedoms, seeking to exclude dangerous lunatics is just wrong.