Image by Michael Verhoef via Flickr Creative Commons

“Queer Eye…” Column Ending

By Dan Waterhouse

I am ending “Queer Eye…”

After the Community Alliance printed a front-page story in July about an officer-involved shooting at Belmont and Peach
avenues, I began hearing that people couldn’t understand how I, as someone who decries violence against LGBT people, could be part of a publication that seemingly demonizes all of those sworn to protect our, my, community, and supports the likes of the Bulldog street gang.

Then another officer-involved shooting occurred, this one in the Tower District, in early August. The man who was killed, Carl Maggioroni, was one of the drummers who honored my late husband at his celebration of life earlier this year. My Tom worked at Turtle Lodge (the Native American recovery program in Fresno) for two years and knew Carl. I was also acquainted with him and have known some of his family and friends for two decades.

The Southwest police district was firebombed in mid-August, two weeks after Carl died, evidently in retaliation. Since then, there’s been a second firebombing and arson, aimed at an officer’s home. Reports reached LGBT community leadership shortly afterward that the officer and her family were targeted because of her job and their perceived sexual orientation.

An entity calling itself “The Resistance” took credit for the police substation attack and said it supported the “action” against the officer (but seemed to deny being involved in it). However, there’s a widespread belief that the same people are responsible for the three most recent incidents. To a fair percentage of the queer community, the perpetrators are simply homophobes.

There’ve been messages that unless the paper ended its anti-police stance and firmly repudiated those committing the fire bombings, there would be blowback if I continue writing “Queer Eye…” Frankly, I’m not going to endanger our Pride parade and festival to continue writing something I’m not paid to do. And, after Carl’s death, I posted some comments on Indybay. Evidently, they weren’t taken well. Since then, I’ve had intruders prowling several times, and my home and serenity have been violated. Who needs that kind of heartburn? I don’t.

So, regrettably this will be my last column for the Community Alliance.

*****

Dan Waterhouse has been a longtime columnist for the Community Alliance. Contact him at bdsmdanfresno@yahoo.com.

Editor’s Note

We regret the departure of Dan Waterhouse from our pages. He has covered issues of importance to the LGBT community and the City of Fresno effectively and passionately for many years.

The series of articles that led to Dan’s departure focused on allegations of excessive force and officer-involved shootings within the Fresno Police Department (FPD). The Community Alliance newspaper has been a consistent voice for police accountability and advocate for an effective Independent Police Auditor. We will continue to demand civil rights for everyone in the community—it doesn’t matter if they are homeless, a gang member or the mayor of the city. We all deserve and should expect equal protection under the law.

Just to be clear: The Community Alliance newspaper is concerned about violence from all sides of the political spectrum, as well as violence resulting from criminal activity.

To our readers on the left who believe violence is the answer to social injustice, we will point out that political violence results in many unintended consequences, is tactically and strategically a mistake at this time and there is much more effective political work that needs to be done. Your spending the next 10-20 years in prison will not do you or the progressive movement any good.

The violence this paper has documented about Fresno police officers’ use of excessive force and shootings is disturbing, and the public needs to know about it. We will continue to expose this injustice, give voice to those in the community who are demanding police accountability and believe that this is in all of our best interest—including the many honest men and women in the FPD who know that reducing the level of violence is the right thing to do.

Gang violence can be dramatically reduced by expanding social and economic justice. If everyone had access to good educational opportunities, a job that paid a living wage, decent healthcare and housing, then criminal activity would be dramatically reduced. The Community Alliance and the progressive community reject the right’s assertion that more repression, expanding prisons and social Darwinism is the answer. Join us as we build a movement for peace, social and economic justice.

Regarding Dan’s assertion that there is a link between the firebombing at the police station and the attack against an officer, we don’t know of any evidence that connects the two incidents. The Resistance denies a link and there is no known physical evidence that links the attacks. We will let our readers decide in whose interest is it to divide the LGBTQ and progressive community on this issue.

For Dan to feel so threatened and intimidated that he fears for his safety and is ending his column in the Community Alliance is unfortunate. The staff and volunteers at this paper are firmly committed to the ongoing struggle for justice and building a movement for social and economic change.

We are also excited to welcome Kaylia Metcalfe, who will write a regular column about issues of interest to the LGBTQ community. Her first article in this series appears on this page.

Mike Rhodes

 

 

  • Mike Rhodes is the executive director of theCommunity Alliance newspaper and author of the book Dispatches from the War Zone, about homelessness in Fresno. www.mikerhodes.us is his website. Contact him at mikerhodes@comcast.net.

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