Sunday, August 25, 2013

The homogeneous diversity panel

The Tribune came out for non-diversity on the diversity panel in an editorial recommending the rejection of Terry Kemple for the new volunteer diversity advisory council.
After vigorously opposing the possibility of Terry Kemple being appointed to a new diversity advisory council several months ago, Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin Beckner has now softened his stance.

Kemple, the well-known Christian conservative activist, should be allowed to have his application to join the council considered by the commission, Beckner says.
Good enough... now... for Kevin Beckner, who's trying to rescue his beloved diversity panel after several miscues. Apparently Terry Kemple thinks thoughts the Tribune thinks shouldn't be thought.  Such as traditional values, as if they matter any more.

Terry Kemple
The diversity panel has been a long running saga for the Hillsborough County Commission, as the love child of Commissioners Beckner and Les Miller.  They've repeatedly tried to block Kemple's appointment through ill advised political maneuvers that only agenda driven politicians would appreciate.  We've documented these in several posts, here, here, and here.  We've interviewed Terry Kemple in the past.
The council, [Kemple] wrote, is probably “code for some effort to forward the homosexual agenda.” He went on to say the council’s work was not the “important work” commissioners should be doing.

Shortly afterward, a national diversity council helping the county review the applications decided to pull Kemple from consideration. But a heated discussion among commissioners left the application in the air and effectively delayed the council’s formation. Beckner now says he’s willing to have Kemple’s membership considered so the council can be formed, with or without him. Kemple’s membership seems likely if the four commissioners who backed his application during an earlier meeting vote in his favor.
Good thing we got some out of town help on how to have a not too diverse diversity panel. I'd hate to think where we would be without all their great help.  Who selected them and made them arbiter of properly diverse thought in Hillsborough County?

There are 58 (!) committees and boards for Hillsborough County.  I'm sure they are all very, very important to someone out there. One might say we already have a diversity of panels.  Some include:

  • Anti-Bullying Advisory Committee
  • 4 related to Child Care and Children's services
  • Commission on the Status of Women
  • Community Action Board (in the name of diversity, I demand an inaction board!)
  • Council on Aging
  • 3 Historical related councils
  • Human Relations Board (whose mission seems to substantially overlap with the Diversity Advisory Council)
  • Only 2 Arts related councils

Some are "boards", some are "councils", some are "committees"...  don't ask me why.

Exactly what is the mission of the diversity advisory council?
This Council works to facilitate communication between County government and its diverse populations, and address matters related to diversity that are important to everyone.
The membership of this Council shall be appointed by the Board of County Commissioners and will be comprised of 24 members, two representatives from each of the following categories:
  • African American
  • Caribbean
  • Far East Asian
  • Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender
  • Hispanic/Latino
  • Indian Asian
  • Middle Eastern
  • Native American
  • Northern European
  • Southern European
  • People with Disabilities
  • At-Large (identification with a specific category not required)
Pretty clear, right? After all, it is "important to everyone".
What about that Human Relations Board?  What is it's mission?
This Board encourages equality among all people by reviewing complaints filed under Hillsborough County's Human Rights Ordinance which promotes fair treatment and equal opportunity for people regardless of race, religion, color, sex, national origin, age, disability, or marital status.
The membership of this board shall be appointed by the BOCC and shall be comprised of 13 members. This Board seeks to be diverse in its membership and representation by persons of all ages, races, religious beliefs, ethnic backgrounds, conditions of employment, and both genders is encouraged. In addition, there shall be on the Board at all times, a person with a disability or a person representing persons with disabilities.
Consideration for membership shall be given to representatives from the following fields:
  • Retail Merchandising Management
  • Industrial Management
  • Real Estate Sales
  • Property Leasing
  • mortgage Financing
  • Law Enforcement
  • Labor Council
I'll leave it as an exercise to the reader to rationalize why we need yet another committee, board, or council.

Just to make sure everyone knows, according to the Hillsborough County Charter, discrimination is prohibited:
Section 9.11 Discrimination Prohibited.
To be consistent with federal and state constitutions, laws, rules, and regulations, the county  government shall not deprive any person of any right because of race, sex, age, national origin, religion, disability, or political affiliation. The administrative code shall provide adequate means for protecting these rights, including equal opportunity assurances.
Demographically, Hillsborough County is 70%+ "white".

Hillsborough County Population by race

I'm sure the Diversity Advisory Council will be 70% white, right?

This is an unpaid, non-policy volunteer position.  Why are the Tribune and politicians so afraid of Terry Kemple?  Why are they limiting a diversity of opinion?  Is this truly a diversity council, or is there some other agenda the Tribune and the politicians are trying to promote?  Are they discriminating against Terry Kemple due to his traditional religious beliefs?  Will they have the same objections for a future religious Muslim nominee?  

We cannot have diversity of thought on the diversity panel!

Nothing closes the mind as tight as groupthink.

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