HECTOR IN HOT WATER

Staff

Tue May 9, 2017 11:36am

Otay Water District Board member Hector Gastelum was publicly rebuked by fellow district officials for disparaging comments he made about Muslims.
In April Gastelum was censured by four other representatives of the agency, which decides and implements water policy for parts of South County including Chula Vista.
Gastelum represents Division 4, which encompasses parts of east Chula Vista.
Earlier this year it was reported in the news media that Gastelum had posted messages on social media referring to Muslims as subhuman and scum. Gastelum said he was referring to the practitioners of the religion who mistreat women.
In March he made what some on the board and in the community characterized as an insincere apology to the community at large.
Director Mitch Thompson publicly called for Gastelum to resign his post as a board member and also spearheaded the censure effort.
“This is more about values than about water business,” Thompson said. “It’s about a public agency and what it stands for. I just don’t think he is promoting the public welfare by sending anti-Muslim Tweets and Facebook posts.”
The resolution to censure Gastelum states that “the board of directors finds it necessary and prudent to publicly acknowledge that director Gastelum’s public behavior is reprehensible and intolerable.”
“If you don’t want to accept the apology, I’m sorry, it’s on you,” Gastelum told protestors in April. “But I offered multiple apologies, I’ve said multiple times that I’m not painting everyone in the same light, I’m not painting everybody with the same brush.”
He later added: “I exercised my constitutionally protected right of free speech when I posted my comment. I was very specific in the type of conduct I was condemning and my outrage was targeted against the perpetrators of sexual assault/rape, throwing homosexuals from roofs, pedophilia and terrorism.”
Critics have called for Gastelum’s resignation and have threatened a recall election if he does not comply.
Gastelum, 42, repeatedly has said he will not resign.