Friday, October 12, 2007

An Introduction to Cheryl Haskins... and me

Cheryl Haskins is running for Renton City Council, Position 5. If you live in Renton, you've probably seen her campaign signs or giant billboards around town, or maybe you've read her Candidate's Statement in the voter's pamphlet. Her profile was also published in the Renton Reporter, along with that of her opponent, King Parker.

I was initially impressed by her qualifications, positive message, and, admittedly, her likable and photogenic persona. The current city council is 100% whitebread, and as anyone who lives in Renton knows, it does not represent the multi-racial and multi-cultural demographics of our city (that's not a slam on our city councilors, just a statement of fact). Therefore, I felt that electing a successful black woman to the council would be a very positive development for our city. I wasn't all that familiar with King Parker, her opponent, but the little I did know suggested that he was part of the old guard in the city, and he certainly didn't look like someone who'd inject the council with youthful vigor and new ideas. That was a bad assumption, and I'm now ashamed of myself for not taking the time to find more about King Parker.

It turns out that there's much more to Haskins' story than the information she provides on her campaign website. Cheryl Haskins, along with her pastor husband, is one of our state's biggest opponents of same-sex couple protections and benefits, as well as anti-discrimination protections for gay people, apparently. The fact that most voters are unaware of that fact is what initially inpired my activism.

Who am I? I'm a Renton resident of three years, and I've grown to become fiercely proud of my adopted city. My partner and I bought a home in Renton early last year, and like all citizens, we feel we have a responsibility to keep our local government in check. I often watch Channel 21 (the City of Renton's cable channel) to catch up on the happenings at City Hall, and I also read Councilman Randy Corman's blog for his inside scoop on city politics.

Politically, I'm a registered Democrat, although I have voted for well-qualified Republicans for local and state offices. I consider myself socially progressive and fiscally pragmatic. What's that mean? Well, I steadfastly support the separation of church and state, I believe in personal responsibility of all forms, and while I don't appreciate paying huge taxes for wasteful government projects, I do support things like higher gas taxes for highway construction. I am not a religious person, but I support everyone's right to practice the religion of their choice, as long as they do not attempt to impose their beliefs on others, especially in the public policy arena.

Oh yeah, I'm also a gay man. Big surprise there.

I am actively investigating Cheryl Haskins' publicly-available records, and I'll be providing readers with new information as it becomes available. In the meantime, if you have any information to add to this discussion, please feel free to leave your comments.

Finally, you have my word that I am not involved in King Parker's campaign in any way, shape, or form, nor am I serving as the puppet for any political organization or interest. It's just me here! Some of my friends have suggested that I simply throw my energies into supporting Mr. Parker's campaign to prevent Cheryl Haskins from getting elected. That's a tempting idea, but I honestly don't want to play by anyone else's rules, and I don't think a well-respected person like King Parker would put up with what some might consider "muckraking." Plus, rather than just seeing Cheryl Haskins defeated in this particular election, I want to send the message that no one who has publicly worked against a group of people -- whether they're of a different religion, sex, race, nationality, or sexual orientation -- deserves to hold public office. Those are not the kind of people we need leading our local communities or our country.

I promise
not to post information on this blog that's defamatory, libelous, denigrating, vindictive, or outrageous. My goal is to expose Cheryl Haskins for what she is: a divisive activist who has devoted her recent career to ensuring that gay people will never have any of the same rights, privileges, and protections as heterosexual couples. In addition, I believe her political ambitions are being supported and nurtured by outsiders that do not have our city's best interests at heart. Once informed of the facts, it will be up to you as voters to decide if Cheryl Haskins an appropriate person to represent our city's residents on the City Council.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi. I posted your email, with a link, on my site. If Cheryl asks, I may give her a rebuttal link. However, as you know, like you I support domestic partnership laws.

Best Wishes,

Randy Corman

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much Randy! I truly appreciate your support of domestic partnerships. The issue of gay marriage is extremely contentious (even amongst liberals, and even gay people), but our state's domestic partnership law now provides people like me with some critically important legal protections. Some day, maybe we'll be able to file joint tax returns or receive social security benefits after the death of a partner, but that's really not a debate I wish to have right now. I'm most concerned about the few rights I have being taken away by people like Cheryl Haskins.

Anonymous said...

Finally the truth about who Cheryl Haskins is and her hidden agenda is exposed. Renton doesn't need an extreme right wing, non-tolerant of all religions, anti-gay activist on the city council. Cheryl Haskins has managed to hide her anti-domestic partnerships beliefs and work in this council campaign (no more). I am not a gay person but I strongly believe in the rights of gay citizens, their children, and their families.
http://rentonfacts.blogspot.com please continue to get this news to the voting citizens of Renton.
Her opponent is King Parker, a qualified Renton citizen leader for all.

Anonymous said...

Just noticed you accidentally linked to King Parker's archived mayoral candidate site. The link you want is http://www.kingparkerforcouncil.com/ for his council site.

Randy

Renton Citizen said...

Good catch, thanks! I'll correct that right now.

Anonymous said...

You should cross-post on Washblog there are a bunch of people from renton that post there and they are probably against her too

Anonymous said...

I'm so thankful that you shared this information and research with the world! I was all set to vote for Cheryl. Like you I have nothing against King - nice guy, great community member, hardworking - but not very representative of Renton.

I loved the idea of having a young-ish black woman on council - in addition to having some new ideas. However, if those ideas are full-on crazy; I'm out.

Thank you for your research and your willingness to share - even in an anonymous way!

Renton Citizen said...

Thanks for your support!

Anonymous said...

Let's get the word out about this woman. I think the gay-friendly Presbyterian church downtown might be of some help--I can't remember the name of the church but the pastor is gay (or was, in 2002), and the congregation was helping gay youth.
- JS, former resident of Renton

Anonymous said...

Thanks your for getting the "other" story out about Ms. Haskins. Also as a local Renton citizen, I think local government should be guided by a qualified local community member. I certainly don't like the fact this candidate's financing is from outside the area and her unmentioned agendas are suspect. I'm not for an outsider shaping our diverse and inclusive here in the city of Renton.

Anonymous said...

It seems odd that Mrs. Haskins is publicly an opponent of gay marriage. I say this because I know that she must be conflicted due to some of her personal "issues" that I chose not to disclose.

Also, although Mrs. Haskins is labeled as an "African-American", she is definitely a product of mixed heritage. Isn't it ironic that she is taking a stance similar to those who took the same stance years ago regarding interracial marriage (ban on interracial marriage was completely struck down in the US in 1967).

Mrs. Haskins is not equipped to be a councilwoman until she is able to openly accept EVERYONE as equals.

Renton Citizen said...

Just to clarify, I did not write the above comments. The phrase, "...that I chose not to disclose," may imply that I, as the author of this blog, chose not to disclose something. That is not the case. I assume you meant to say, "...that I choose not to disclose."

Nonetheless, thank you very much for your thoughtful comments!

concerned-neighbor said...

Dear Renton Anonymous, you have done a terrific job of investigative reporting, and at the same time, showcasing citzenship awareness at its finest. Good job on getting the word out there in such a public way. I'll do everything I can to help get your blog some attention. Yay!

Renton Citizen said...

Thank you, neighbor!

Anonymous said...

I am extremely disappointed and enlightened all at the same time. I am an African American female who is a Renton citizen. I was excited when I saw Ms. Haskins' billboard b/c I saw a face that looked like me. I thought Ms. Haskins would be representative of me and all that it means to embody being a strong, educated, African American woman. I visited Ms. Haskins' website; read about her background (she is family-oriented/educated/civic minded..all pluses)but I was disappointed when this information (closeted homophobia disguised as family values)came out. I believe in equality and equity for all individuals regardless of(race/orientation/gender/nationality/creed/religion..etc..). I am always amazed by intolerance and ignorance especially within the black community. Prior to the civil rights movement, African Americans were denied access to equal rights/civil rights based solely on race. So I am always astonished when those in the African American community allow themselves to be used as pawns by the right wing social conservative majority who parade around being morally superior(which has turned out to be a complete hippocracy...look at Haggard and Craig as the latest examples). No matter how pretty the package (i.e. Ms. Haskins)Prejudice/Intolerance/Bigotry is always ugly . I think it's fairly clear that Dr. King wasn't homophobic given that Bayard Rustin, an openly gay african american civil rights activist was one of the principal organizers of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Rustin counseled Dr. King Jr. on the techniques of nonviolent resistance which were used to organize the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Coretta Scott King spoke out against such bigotry which has been disguised as spiritual based ideology. I believe everyone is entitled to their own personal opinions about homosexuality however ones personal religious beliefs should not be used to deny equal rights/human rights of another group. I am a lesbian but I would feel the same way if I was heterosexual. I'd have been fine with Ms. Haskins if personally she felt homosexuality was wrong b/c everyone is entitled to their personal opinions but the fact that she is the executive director of an organization who sole purpose is to deny the same rights afforded to others to another group of individuals is very polarizing and can't be overlooked. I am saddened b/c part of me feels she would've been a very articulate innovative and effective leader and a break from the norm plus a positive role model to young black women. Ignorance/Intolerance should never be ignored and tolerated even when the face looks like mine. I went to her opponent's website (Parker)..and his website didn't exactly scream diversity/acceptance either....maybe I should run next term...hmmmmm...............

Renton Citizen said...

I just posted an entry on washblog... thanks for the idea!

technogramma said...

I just saw your posting on Washblog and I came right over here because two days ago I posted a diary on washblog about a similar situation occurring in Kenmore . Mayor Randy Eastman and council members Laurie Sperry, Milton Curtis, and Glenn Rogers received the majority of their financial contributions from people outside of Kenmore who are members of Bethany Bible Church and Christ's Church of Kirkland. I've been speaking to someone who worked closely with people on the council who discovered that starting a few years ago, the Christian Coalition, in conjunction with the Republicans, came into Washington State with the purpose of placing candidates in local city positions to groom them for higher office. The person who gave me the information said that Kenmore was the only city where they had been successful in placing people and getting an item on their agenda passed. In the last election for city council 2 years ago, they brought in 200 people from outside of Kenmore to hold signs on Bothell Way for city council candidates.

Unfortunately, since I called people on the phone to clarify information they do know who I am.

So it's apparent that this is a well-funded operation. The question now is how can we stop this?

Anonymous said...

Cheryl Haskins cannot do anything ON HER OWN. Being on a City Council means she is one of SEVERAL Councilmembers. ONE SINGLE PERSON cannot be a majority vote on any issue. You have blown what you think is an issue way out of proportion. A bigger question would be why you think the Renton City Council would (and COULD) take away your rights or alter domestic partnership laws? There are people on City Councils EVERYWHERE who are against gay relationships...you and other gay people have voted for them. Many people in the work force and in politics everyday, read the Bible, and believe God truly did mean man and woman (not same sex.) Yet, they do not allow their personal beliefs to affect their decisions and judgment. This is what really makes a professional. Right....like Cheryl Haskins is going to strip all gay people of their rights. Get real. She's not that powerful...she's just a person who wants to serve the citizens of her community on a GROUP called City Council. You are not very informed voters if you are incapable of appreciating a person's education, experience, credentials, ideas and energy, because you can only focus on sexual orientation. I realize it's more fun to toy with the idea there is a "hidden agenda." It makes for good politics! These posts are hilarious.

Renton Citizen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Renton Citizen said...

Actually, I do indeed fear that Cheryl Haskins and her organization will try to get an amendment to the state constitution that specifically denies gay people any protections under the law. It happened in Virginia, where now even legal wills drawn up by same-sex couples may not stand up in probate court. Cheryl's husband is on the board of the group that already tried to get such a measure on the ballot last year, and there's every expectation that the group will try again. I realize that she can't do much as a single city council member, but electing her to the office will only help cultivate her political aspirations.

Before I found out about Cheryl's past, I was unconcerned about gay issues in our city politics, and after she loses, I'll go back to being the lawn-mowing, law-abiding, tax-paying citizen that I am. I'll certainly keep an eye on her, though.