Elk Grove's Alabama-based Consultant, Economic Development Director Silent on LGBT Travel Ban

Elk Grove economic development director Darrell Doan (l) and
the City's Alabama-based vendor, Robert Jolly of Retail Strategies
are silent on Alabama's controversial HB 24 legislation. | 
June 27, 2017 |  

The City of Elk Grove's economic development director and their Birmingham, Alabama-based retail consultant have remained silent on recent actions by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra banning travel to four more states based on enacted legislation said to be hostile to the  Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community.

Last week Becerra said State of California employees would expand a ban from traveling to four states - Alabama, Kentucky, South Dakota and Texas - based on his determination that they have enacted discriminatory legislation against members of the LGBT community. With this move, the list of the states where travel is banned expanded to eight. 

“Each of those states in the recent weeks have enacted legislation that may deprive some of the individuals of those states and individuals who visit those states of their constitutional rights,” Becerra said a San Francisco new conference last week. 

Last year a California bill was passed banning non-essential travel by state employees to North Carolina, Mississippi, Kansas, Tennessee and other states that have laws permitting religious-based discrimination against people based their sexual orientation. The Alabama legislation, House Bill 24, allows adoption and foster child placement agencies to deny placements with qualified LGBT families based on religious beliefs.

In April, the City of Elk Grove entered a one-year, $50,000 contract with Birmingham, Ala-based Retail Strategies. The contract could be expanded by an additional $30,000. 

“The goal of this contract is to obtain national representation that will assist the City with recruiting high-quality retail, dining, and entertainment concepts to Elk Grove,” Elk Grove's economic development director, Darrell Doan said at the time of the announcement.

When queried by email if the City's contract with Retail Strategies were to require travel to Alabama and if he would do so, Doan did not respond. Additionally, Retail Strategies Chief Executive Officer Robert Jolly did not reply to an email seeking comment on whether or not he supports Alabama's HB 24. 

In 2015 the Elk Grove City Council refused to take a stand on legislation signed into law by then-Indiana Gov. Mike Pence. That law, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, was widely criticized for its far-reaching ability to allow businesses to discriminate against somebody, most notably members of the LGBT community, based on their religious beliefs.    

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D.J. Blutarsky said...

Maybe they can meet at a diner somewhere halfway, say Kingfisher, Oklahoma or Jefield, Kansas?

Unknown said...

Maybe this blog will understand that the law refers to State employees and has no legal impact on City employees. If the author wants Elk Grove to enact a ban, they need to go to the City Council first. I'm not sure why the author wants the City to follow a ban that does exist in our City.

Capt. Benjamin Willard said...

Although not specifically noted, it seems this story is addressing what some call a moral imperative. A moral imperative can be defined as something that must happen because it is the right thing.

For illustration purposes, if we were to go back in time to say the pre-Civil Rights era in the deep South, a moral imperative might have been a white American or a local politician taking a stand against segregated drinking fountains, lunch counters or buses. Or perhaps trying to register African Americans to vote. That politician certainly was not under any legal obligation, but in hindsight, it would have been the correct, moral course of action. No doubt that politician or individual would have been pillared and ostracized – or worse. Taking a stance on something like this in that era would have taken extraordinary moral courage. I suspect most of our City Council members have neither the historical perspective nor, more importantly, the intestinal fortitude to follow through and take a courageous stance.

If our city’s population reflects the nation as a whole, then about 10% of Elk Grove citizens are members of the LGBT community. A moral though not compulsory imperative for our City Council would be to stand up for the rights of all citizens. Sure, the City Council is not compelled as you suggest like state workers, but is there any reason not to take a moral stance on what is the civil rights issue of our day during LGBT Pride Month no less?

We must all choose what side of history to be on - the silence from the Elk Grove City Council shows what side of history they will be judged on in the future.

Some food for thought on one businesses perspective on not taking a moral stance.


Unknown said...

Don't get me wrong - I agree with you on the LGBT issue. However, n your original post, you don't bring up the City Council. You do bring up the actions of one employee and one department in the City. A non-politician of any rank is not supposed to create policy yet that is what you are asking.

Your issue should be brought up to the City Council. Until then, don't complain about the actions of City employees.

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