Update: We have posted a copy of the anonymous pink campaign mailer in this follow-up post.
Early Voting began yesterday in San Antonio as (few) voters headed to the polls to determine runoff elections in Districts 5 and 8. In the District 8 race to replace Councilman Reed Williams in northwest San Antonio, Ron Nirenberg is the apparent front-runner having nearly winning 50% outright last month. Opposing Nirenberg, is Rolando Briones who is supported by the outgoing incumbent. But in an attempt to skew to the right for the low turnout runoff, Briones seems to be engaging in some questionable gay-baiting behavior.
Since coming in second to Nirenberg in May, Briones has joined with anti-gay religious and conservative voices in opposing Mayor Castor's call to approve LGBT protections in the city's non-discrimination ordinances. As reported on QSanAntonio.com…
Rolando Briones (pictured at far left), candidate in the runoff election for City Council District 8, has aligned himself with Pastor Gerald Ripley and his followers in opposing the inclusion of LGBT protections in the city's non-discrimination ordinances.
Ripley, who represents Voices of Marriage, along with representatives of the Texas Leadership Coalition, the San Antonio Family Association and the Responsible Government Coalition held a press conference on the steps of City Hall on May 22.
The groups not only oppose the ordinance changes but they also want to roll back the domestic partnership benefits that were granted to the same-sex partners of city employees in 2011. Additionally, they are against Mayor Castro's appointment of a liaison to the LGBT community.
Briones was at the press conference but did not speak from the podium. Instead, a statement was read on his behalf by David Rosa, who last year ran for the 20th District Congressional seat against Joaquin Castro who won the race handily.
Rose prefaced reading Briones statement saying he “practices his Catholic faith, is the father of three daughters and an independent businessman.” Briones statement, which was not made available upon request, included opposition to the LGBT protections because they impose “values that San Antonio does not want.” Previous speakers, representing the sponsoring organizations, warned about San Antonio becoming “San Francisco on the River” and how LGBT-related benefits and ordinances “destroy” families if that gives you a sense of the lot Briones was throwing himself in with that day.
Fast forward to this past weekend when some voters in District 8 received an anonymous attack mailer directed at Briones's opponent Ron Nirenberg. Click here continue reading for more details.From the San Antonio Express-News…
The mailer, on pink copy paper written entirely in capital letters, includes nine bullet points under the heading “What You Should Know about Ron Nirenberg.” The points, using Nirenberg's first name only, contend he is “pro abortion & pro homosexual,” “anti 2nd amendment,” “is only endorsed by Democrats” and “supports Castro's liberal agenda,” among other things.
The fliers were delivered in white standard-size business envelopes with a Friday postmark. They lacked return addresses and are void of the political advertisement disclosure required by law.
“(Briones) has known about it for at least a couple days, and that he's not made a statement about it suggests that he's OK with it,” Nirenberg said Sunday.
While no image of the mailer seems to have found its way online yet, you can get a sense of the sort of piece it was.
The mailer includes a mocked-up campaign sign that employs the iconic “O” from President Barack Obama's campaigns and attempts to make a loose connection between Nirenberg and 1960s radical Bill Ayers through a policy center where they both allegedly worked.
The fliers also include a photo of Nirenberg when he was younger. In it, he's without a shirt and striking a bodybuilder's pose. A portion of the photo is digitally altered, without explanation, making his midsection blurry.
Hmm. Alignment with anti-gay religious leaders? Anonymous attack mailer on pink paper? Calling opponent pro homosexual and photoshopping a picture of him from when he's younger to (assumingly) make him appear nude? Something is not quite right in San Antonio.