That’s what we tell our kids when they do something particularly egregious. It’s what I would tell Manuel Rodriguez, too.
The day after he retained his Houston school board seat by just 24 votes, Trustee Manuel Rodriguez formally apologized for a campaign brochure he distributed last week that many described as homophobic.
“I am aware that some people have said they were offended by one of my ads, and I apologize to all of those people,” Rodriguez wrote in a letter he released Wednesday afternoon. He said he “respect(ed)” challenger Ramiro Fonseca’s “contributions to our community and his record of public service.”
“I’m glad he finally did this,” [Trustee Juliet] Stipeche said Wednesday night, when she learned of Rodriguez’s apology. “I just wish he had apologized earlier. But I hope he truly understands how the ad was hurtful and harmful. Perhaps we can use this as a means of truly understanding our total non-discrimination policy and have a better understanding of what ‘bullying’ is.”
Fonseca was not impressed by Rodriguez’s words.
Fonseca said he was waiting for the final vote tally, which would count outstanding mail and provisional ballots, before deciding his next step – including a possible request for a recount.
“I think the hurt has been deep in the community,” Fonseca said in response to Rodriguez’s statement.
Mike Pomeroy, a member of the GLBT caucus, said he thought Rodriguez’s statement was insufficient, and he plans to join others – including an HISD student – in addressing Rodriguez during the public comment period.
“I don’t think he gets it,” Pomeroy said. “He was throughout the weekend saying, ‘I don’t know what’s wrong with this. It’s the truth.’ And he was still handing out the flier at the polls. This is all coming a little bit too late.”
I agree with all these reactions. Rodriguez didn’t admit to doing anything wrong – his “apology” amounts to little more than “I’m sorry if someone was offended by what I said” – and didn’t say what if anything he might do to atone for his words. Talk is cheap. Rodriguez has shown us who he is, now he needs to show us – not tell us – that he intends to be better than that. He’s got a long way to go. Hair Balls has more, while K-12 Zone and Stace report from the protests at last night’s HISD meeting.